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News from State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr.

June 29, 2016

Capitol address
Legislative Office Building
Room 3200
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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Capitol: 860-240-0455
Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420
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Modernizing Parking Signs for People with Disabilities

handicapAs a person with a disability, I know how symbols and words are important reflections of society's attitudes and prejudices. That is why I fought to change the outdated and static "handicapped" parking symbol on signs throughout Connecticut. The General Assembly recently adopted a new logo that will replace the current stick figure in a wheelchair with a sleeker, more positive and respectful design depicting a person who is active, engaged and independent. The word "handicapped" will also be replaced with the word "reserved." These changes will not cost the state any money because the new signs will only be used with new construction or paving or when the old signs need replacing. I hope that these changes will also prompt an honest discussion about the abuse of these parking places by those who do not have a true mobility impairment.

Tackling Marine Debris with Connecticut Students

VIDEO: Marine debri
Long Island Sound is the keystone environmental asset in the state of Connecticut, and we need to ensure that it is protected from plastic waste and other forms of contamination. Last week, I met Professor Katherine Owens from the University of Hartford and several of her students to discuss their work cleaning Connecticut's beaches and studying the causes of marine debris. During the course of this study, which was made possible by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), students gathered 1,600 pieces of debris along the beach. They then cleaned, categorized and measured the items before compiling their findings and recommendations in a report.

About 20 million tons of plastic reach the ocean annually, and while plastics comprise about 10 percent of discarded trash, they make up a far higher proportion of marine debris. Students involved in this study found that 76 percent the debris they collected were plastic items like cups, plates and plastic bags. Plastics are particularly damaging to the environment and wildlife because they can take hundreds of years to break down and are frequently consumed by wildlife, causing injury or death.

Students encouraged the adoption of policies that would reduce the amount of plastic waste generated in Connecticut. In particular, they advocated for policies that will cut down on single-use plastic bags, and an expansion of the "bottle bill," which significantly increases the recycling rates of glass, aluminum, and plastic drink bottles and cans.

Last year I worked to enact a ban on the sale of products containing microbeads in Connecticut. The students felt that this ban would go a long way toward cutting down on the amount of plastic that ends up in our waterways. It is estimated that prior to the enactment of this law, Connecticut residents washed three tons of these plastic microbeads down the drain every year, where they would find their way onto our beaches and in Long Island Sound.


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My mailing address is:
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., Legislative Office Building, Room 3200, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Capitol telephone: 860-240-0455, or Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420

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