Senator Haskell Fighting to Help Small Businesses, Nonprofits with Common-Sense Legislation


After meeting and talking with small business owners and nonprofit leaders in Fairfield County in past years, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) has proposed several bills to promote growth, improve operations and resolve regulatory burdens. Senator Haskell is grateful for these meaningful suggestions from constituents and looks forward to fighting to pass these bills into law.

"Some days, we debate lofty ideas and bold reforms in Hartford. But perhaps more important are the days we spend digging into the nitty gritty policy changes that can make life better for our constituents," said Sen. Haskell. "I've spent the last year talking to entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders in my district, asking for their ideas about how Connecticut can help them grow. I learned that allowing a local business to sell mead, modernizing the fuel delivery ticket process and streamlining pet adoption regulations can help our community thrive."

Senate Bill 139 is a simple but important bill that would allow small businesses like Savannah Bee in Westport to sell mead under a gift basket permit. Right now, state law allows beer and wine to be sold in gift baskets in limited quantities. Like so many small businesses, Savannah Bee is hoping to creatively serve customers and she'd like to tap into the growing mead market. This reform would cut through red tape and help this small business succeed.

“We feel that the inclusion to allow retail stores in CT to sell mead would greatly increase our ability to remain in the state," said Julie Cook, Savannah Bee store manager, and Kenneth Jenkinson, Savannah Bee mead magistrate. "Our Connecticut store is our only location in the North and the only store unable to provide the full mead experience. Given our town's exorbitant rents, the lagging economy and now the pandemic, we face numerous challenges to stay open. We started this journey for mead approval and inclusion 3 1/2 years ago. Not only are there financial benefits, but there are numerous educational benefits to the region, as we are modernizing the most ancient fermented beverage in the world through our mead experience. Through our educational mead program, customers can learn about mead fermentation practices, history and creation, which can only lead to further innovation in our agriculture and economy. We would further be able to spotlight local state mead makers and give them a platform to grow their business.”

Senate Bill 152 looks to simplify the process of delivering retail fuel oil or propane gas to customers. Currently, companies like Gault Energy in Westport must provide delivery tickets in paper form, requiring workers and businesses to dedicate extra time to each sale. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this leads to needless exposure for both customers and employees. Even after the pandemic ends, customers ought to be provided an option to receive these tickets electronically. By modernizing Connecticut's statutes and permitting electronic ticket delivery, the state can streamline operations and keep the community healthy.

“Our customers have been requesting electronic delivery tickets for years as consumers have become more accustomed and thoughtful in regards to going paperless," said Sam Gault, President of Gault Energy & Home Solutions of Westport. "This desire was heightened over the last year with COVID-19; customers did not want interaction with our drivers or have to touch a physical ticket. As a business, being able to offer our customers an electronic option will make us more consumer friendly as well as environmentally friendly; it will not only reduce paper, it will also reduce the time our truck spends idling at each home while the driver delivers the printed ticket.”

Senate Bill 457 will help agencies approved to house "wounds of unknown origin" pets such as non-profit animal shelters and municipal animal control departments. Pet adoptions have risen dramatically during the pandemic, and rescue animals are becoming valued members of families -- including the White House. In fact, so many Connecticut families have adopted rescue animals in recent months that shelters in Connecticut are accepting animals from out of state. However, unnecessary regulations require shelters to house these animals for six months before allowing a new family to take them home. This bill maintains critical health regulations while streamlining the pet adoption process, helping shelters efficiently connect cats and dogs with their new owners.

“This bill will improve the lives of pets across the state, and follows guidelines supported and studied by veterinarians across the country. The Connecticut Humane Society is grateful Senator Haskell is bringing the legislation forward. It’s challenging any time an animal welfare organization takes in a pet with a wound of unknown origin because of the six-month term before they can be adopted. A cage isn’t adequate for a long-term stay, so the pet needs a larger space such as an office. They need ample daily interaction from rabies-vaccinated caretakers to exercise their minds and bodies and prevent boredom and behavioral decline. That’s all on top of providing expert veterinary care needed to heal the wound,” said Connecticut Humane Society Executive Director James Bias. “Decreasing the required length of stay for a WUO pet allows that pet to find a new home sooner, and frees up space and resources for another pet in need. And that will lead to more local pets receiving the care they deserve. Advancing this bill is the humane thing to do, and CHS is proud to support it.”