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Bill to spur bioscience and pharmaceutical growth in region moves forward

By Johanna Somers

Publication: theday.com

Published March 19. 2013 11:00AM   Updated March 19. 2013 11:55PM

A bill requiring the Department of Economic and Community Development to create a plan for bioscience and pharmaceutical growth in southeastern Connecticut was voted out of the Commerce Committee on Tuesday. The vote as of 10:30 a.m. was 11 in favor and nine absent.

This bill has merit because Southeastern Connecticut has the physical structure assets of Pfizer buildings and the talents of people who were laid off by Pfizer, said committee co-chairman and state Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford.

"So I think it's a good bill, so as we say, 'auto-pass'," LeBeau said.
Committee co-chair and state Rep. Chris Perone, D-Norwalk, said he wanted to see the bill go forward to keep the discussion going on how to utilize southeastern Connecticut's assets.

Last week DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith said the bill was too narrow and that she does not support it.

She is in favor of the governor's proposal to provide $200 million for a bioscience initiative across the state, she said. Small businesses, individual researchers, universities and hospitals could apply for the funds, Smith said On Tuesday LeBeau said, "We do have a bioscience bill that is currently in the legislature, and we are probably going to act on it. It's being advocated for by the governor, and I think that both bills have credit."

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