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State Senator

James Maroney

Representing Milford, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge

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Maroney Introduced Legislation to Ban Styrofoam Trays in Schools and Establish Cyber Competition Pass State Senate

HARTFORD, CT – Today, the state Senate voted to ban Styrofoam trays from all schools by a bipartisan 29 to five vote. State Senator James Maroney (D-Milford) introduced this bill at the beginning of the legislative session with the help of Milford high school students who participate in his legislative internship program. Sen. Maroney voted in support of this legislation and said getting this harmful material out of Connecticut schools will greatly benefit our students and our state’s ecosystem and thanked the Milford students for bringing this to his attention.

“Thank you to Ming-May Hu and Kruttika Gopal, the two Jonathan Law High School students for bringing to proposal to me,” said Sen. Maroney. “Due to their efforts in assisting me in drafting the original language of this bill, the hard work of the Environment Committee to take this legislation on and pass it, and the state Senate’s overwhelming support of this legislation, we are closer to having safer alternatives for trays in our schools which will not put our students or our ecosystem at risk.”

Senate Bill 229, “An act prohibiting the use of Styrofoam trays in Connecticut schools,” will ban Styrofoam, the brand name for expanded polystyrene in all Connecticut schools, colleges and universities. This material is not biodegradable and can wreak havoc on animals and sea life that might confuse the harmful material for food or shelter after it has been discarded. This bill prohibits school districts and regional school districts from entering into purchasing contracts for trays made of expanded polystyrene.

Under the bill, each school district is required to develop a plan for discontinuing the use of expanded polystyrene trays. Each plan must require the district to discontinue the use of expanded polystyrene trays by July 1, 2021. The state Senate’s passage of this legislation comes as cities across the nation are banning this harmful material. Currently, 12 cities have expanded polystyrene bans. On May 1, Maine became the first state to ban food containers made of the non-biodegradable material.

“Today we have taken a step towards ensuring our young people and our environment are safe,” said Sen. Maroney. “Chemicals in expanded polystyrene trays can leach into food presenting considerable, serious health risks. I am hopeful Senate Bill 229 will continue to advance and become law, keeping Styrofoam trays out of our schools.”

Before passing the state Senate, SB 229 made it out of the Environment Committee by a 20-8 vote on March 18. The bill now awaits action by the state House of Representatives and if passed by the House, it will head to Governor Ned Lamont.

Cyber Competition Legislation Passes State Senate

Legislation which will require the Military Department to create a cyber technology competition advanced in the state Senate with bipartisan support. The bill was introduced by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, a committee Sen. Maroney co-chairs, and passed by a unanimous vote. Sen. Maroney said this bill is a win-win for students and the Military Department.

“This bill presents a fun and engaging method to get young people involved,” said Sen. Maroney. “Furthermore this will also enable students to learn about cyber career opportunities as well as educational and career opportunities available from the military.”

The cyber competition established by the Military Department due to Senate Bill 953, “An Act Establishing a Cyber Technology Competition for Certain Students,” will be used for the purpose of encouraging secondary school students to collaborate with government agencies and private industry to strengthen and secure information systems.

If enacted, the cyber competition will take place annually at the State Armory in Hartford and the Military Department will be responsible for promoting the cyber competition and reaching out to school districts throughout the state. The Military Department will also be responsible for establishing the rules of the competition.

On March 12, the SB 953 passed the Veterans’ Affairs Committee by a unanimous and bipartisan 16-0 vote. The bill now awaits action by the State House of Representatives. If enacted, it will go into effect on October 1, 2019.

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