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Improving the Economy
New statistics from the state Department of Labor show unemployment in Connecticut has dropped to a three-year low, and that a total of 10,300 new jobs were added in January and February of this year.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate is now down to 7.8 percent as of February, lower than the national average of 8.3 percent. That’s positive news for our state, but we still have a long way to go in lowering that rate even more.
Among the largest employment sectors showing growth were the construction industry, which added 3,100 jobs in January (thanks in part to a mild winter), the transportation and utilities sectors, which added 2,100 positions, and the education and health services sectors, which added 1,500 jobs.
This positive economic trend proves to me that major jobs legislation we passed in October and other job initiatives are starting to pay off in this state.
Labor Department statistics also show that over the past year, the largest job losses have occurred in the state and local government sectors, which lost a combined 4,400 jobs, or nearly 2 percent of its workforce.
Reporting Sewage Spills
One of the great things about living in Connecticut is you are never far from a body of water and a day of recreational boating, swimming or fishing. However, it sure can put a damper on the day if you arrive at the beach, river or lake only to find a posted sign warning of contaminated water.
As Senate chairman of the Environment Committee, I am sponsoring legislation that would require the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to promptly post on its website information about sewage spills that contaminate rivers and other bodies of water, including Long Island Sound.
According to the legislation, which passed in the Senate and goes for a final vote in the House, the state DEEP has until July 1, 2013 to post a map showing the locations where sewer overflows are likely to occur after a major storm. The DEEP has until July 1, 2014 to post online notification of sewage spills that occurred but were not anticipated and of state waters that have chronic and persistent sewage contamination that poses a public health threat.
When this bill goes into effect, people can check the DEEP website and conveniently find out if their favorite beach is safe for swimming or boating.
A New Long Island Sound Caucus
Anyone living in southern Connecticut knows the importance of protecting the Long Island Sound from pollution and preparing for severe storms down the road. Well, these are just a couple of topics I will focus on as a member of the steering committee for a new Long Island Sound Caucus.
A 12-member, bipartisan group of Connecticut state legislators has teamed up to form the steering committee for the new Long Island Sound caucus that will address environmental, energy and economic issues impacting the Sound. The steering committee is comprised of six representatives and six senators.
Goals of the caucus include: