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Photo of Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr..

STATE SENATOR

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Listening to You

Expanding Access to Angel Investors

I was proud to lead passage of House Bill 5583, a bill that expands the application of Connecticut's Angel Investor Tax Credit program to all businesses in our state. Angel investors are individuals who make investments of $25,000 to $1,000,000 in small businesses. This program currently offers a 25 percent credit, up to $250,000, to individuals who invest in bioscience and high-tech businesses. The bill we passed this year will make that credit available to investors in any Connecticut small business.

Angel investors are the top source of access to capital for startups, making them a major contributor to job growth. Studies have credited angel investors with creating 264,200 new jobs in 2014 across the United States and have found that startups funded by angel investors are more likely to survive and create new jobs. Since the angel investor tax credit program was established in Connecticut, 200 investments have been made by 90 investors in more than 50 companies. These investments are critical to growing a strong economy, and we should be encouraging them, not placing limits on what kind of investments we feel people should be making. Enacting HB 5583 into law will expand access to angel investors, growing more businesses and creating jobs for people of all backgrounds and skill sets.

Combatting the Opioid Epidemic

This year, I joined my colleagues in the General Assembly in passing House Bill 7052, a critical piece of legislation that builds on our previous work to fight opioid addiction in Connecticut. Every year there is a significant increase in heroin deaths. There were 917 fatal overdoses in Connecticut during 2016, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year, and the vast majority of these involved opioids.

The bill passed by the General Assembly this year makes a range of important improvements to the state's ability to prevent and manage opioid abuse. Among other things, this year's bill does the following:

  • Establishes a "standing order" model, which makes it easier for friends and family members of opioid addicts to obtain Narcan, the life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication;
  • Reduces the maximum opioid prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days, unless the prescribing doctor can document that an extended prescription is absolutely necessary for palliative care or to treat chronic pain, an acute medical condition, or cancer-associated pain;
  • Requires that certain health insurers cover medically necessary detox services;
  • Allows for the safe disposal of unused medications by registered nurses (RNs) providing home health care, which can include taking the medications to a prescription drug drop box;
  • Increases the sharing of data on opioid abuse and opioid overdose deaths by state agencies;
  • Makes opioid prescriptions more secure by ensuring that, under most circumstances, they be electronically prescribed, rather than prescribed using a pad and paper;
  • Requires alcohol and drug treatment facilities use American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria for admission guidelines;
  • Ensures that all patients being prescribed an opioid are informed and aware of the risks of opioid use, signs of addictions, and dangers of drug interactions; and
  • Allows patients to add a file to their medical record indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or administered any opioids.

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Keeping Toxic Coal Tar off Connecticut Roadways

I recently led bipartisan senate passage of a new public health and environmental protection law that prohibits the future use of coal tar in Connecticut. Coal tar is a toxic road, driveway and surface sealant that contains high levels of cancer-causing chemicals. When coal tar is used to repair roads, these poisonous chemicals break down and leach into our states rivers and drinking water. Coal tar street dust can also poison children and aquatic life.

This issue emerged recently when the town of Pomfret, Connecticut use coal tar-based sealants to repair town roads without realizing the risks, resulting in a local outcry. Coal tar has been recently banned by the states of Minnesota and Washington, and has been removed from the shelves by Lowe's, Home Depot and other national and local retailers. Cleaning up coal tar contaminants has cost some municipalities hundreds of millions of dollars in remediation expenses.

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