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Photo of Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr..

STATE SENATOR

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Listening to You

Strengthening Connecticut's Bioscience Pipeline

In the last few days of the 2017 legislative session, I led the unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation that will ensure that students graduating from Connecticut's institutions of higher education are equipped with the tools they need to pursue careers in the growing bioscience sector. Senate bill 959 will help us target curriculum to meet the needs of the many bioscience and precision medicine firms that are looking to hire new talent. Connecticut is well-positioned to become a major hub for bioscience research. These firms are going to continue to form, grow, and create jobs in Branford and surrounding communities, and we need to make sure those jobs are being filled by Connecticut residents.

Senate Bill 959 will establish a working group tasked with taking an inventory of current educational resources available in the state to prepare students for careers in bioscience. In January of 2018, the group will deliver recommendations on how those resources can be improved and expanded upon. This will ensure that Connecticut's state college and university system is preparing students for jobs needed in these sectors, include: researchers and clinicians to data scientists, health informaticians and, and genomic counselors.

Cutting Costs and Improving Care with Community Paramedicine

Paramedics are highly trained and capable medical professionals who are more than capable of providing a range of first responder care, and yet under current law they are only paid for driving patients to the hospitals. These ambulance rides and hospital stays are often unnecessary and can be very expensive, creating an undue financial burden on the State of Connecticut and the patients themselves. I recently led Senate passage of a bill seeks to fix this problem by implementing a community paramedicine model.

EMT

Community paramedicine is a new and emerging model of community-based care that allows EMTs and paramedics to operate in expanded roles outside their traditional emergency response and transportation functions. Community paramedics can provide needed primary care services and allow unnecessary overuse of emergency room visits for patients who do not require costly ambulance transportation to an acute care hospital, especially frequent 911 callers living in underserved areas. With the costs of healthcare rising dramatically, and recognizing the huge sums that Connecticut's Medicaid plan pays for unnecessary ambulance transport, community paramedicine may be just the thing we need to improve the quality and speed of care while cutting costs.

"Cow Power" Receives Final Legislative Approval

More than ever before, farm jobs are becoming green jobs, particularly when it comes to the development of renewable energy sources. I led passage of Senate Bill 943, which promotes the use of cow manure and food waste as a renewable energy source through the process of anaerobic digestion. The bill also creates an easier, cheaper and faster regulatory permitting process for farmers who are interested in adopting this technology.

cows

Connecticut farmers are struggling to compete with industrial dairy operations in the Midwest, where labor and land costs are cheaper. The 'cow power' initiative will help even the scales by establishing a new source of farm revenue. This bill creates a pathway for Connecticut's dairy farmers to begin converting cow manure into electricity for sale. Instead of storing tons of manure in open cesspools that contaminate the water supply and release tons of climate-destroying methane into the atmosphere, farmers can place the animal waste in an anaerobic digester located on their property. Senate Bill 943 authorizes $3 million in credits for farms that use anaerobic digesters for virtual net metering. These credits are expected to prompt the rapid development of six to ten anaerobic digester facilities on many of Connecticut's 111 registered dairy farms.