Conn. approves legislation to protect children during bioterror attacks

The Connecticut House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday that requires that the state include the well-being of children when planning for emergency responses to natural or man-made disasters like bioterrorist attacks.

The legislation would require annual reports by the Commissioner of Emergency Management and Homeland Security that would address the health needs of children for bioterrorism and other crises, the Associated Press reports.

Rep. Diana Urban, the House chairwoman of the Select Committee on Children, said that communities are not currently prepared to care for children during disasters. She noted an absence of plans to reunify children with families in emergency situations.

The one representative who voted against the legislation, Rep. Vincent Candelora, a Republican from North Branford, said that he opposed the legislation because it would make formerly confidential details available through freedom of information requests, the AP reports.

The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

In related news, Gov. Malloy recently passed a bill in Connecticut that will create over 16,000 jobs in bioscience fields between 2012 and 2037.

“This is about creating new jobs, sustained economic development, and staking out the ground that will again make Connecticut a leader in an emerging industry,” Malloy said. “In my opinion, it’s a win-win. More than that, it sends a clear message and plants a very firm flag in terms of Connecticut’s commitment to being a leader in the bioscience industry. The state’s flagship public university and its Health Center must be looked at as more than just a school or just a hospital – we need to view them as economic drivers and ways in which we can leverage our education system into long-term, sustained economic growth. I look forward to signing this bill into law and embarking upon this new project to help put people back to work.”