Zwicker, Coughlin Bill to Reinstate, Change Name of NJ Commission of Science and Technology Now Law

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and Speaker Craig Coughlin to re-establish the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology as NJ Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology was signed in to law Wednesday by the Governor.

At the inaugural meeting of the Assembly Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee on February 1, the panel received testimony from invited guests on ways to enhance and promote the state's innovation ecosystem. Zwicker, chair of the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee recurring theme from all testifying was to breathe new life into the Commission on Science and Technology.

"Reinstating the NJ Commission on Science and Technology and adding "Innovation" to its name both emphasizes the rich history and the importance to NJ of innovation as an economic driver. It also provides a focal point for the work we have already begun this year of spurring the creation of high-quality 21st century jobs for all New Jerseyans," said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex and Hunterdon). "The past work of the Commission accounted for economic growth, job creation and aid in the positioning of New Jersey as a global leader and I expect great things from this body of science and technology experts as we move forward."

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Zwicker Legislation to Increase Transparency from Candidates Signed into Law

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) applauded Gov. Murphy’s recent signing of a bill encouraging voter access to candidates running in local and statewide elections.

Zwicker is primary sponsor of the law (formerly bill A-3461) which requires candidates for a state, county, school, or municipal public office to include a functioning e-mail address, in addition to a mailing address, when filing a petition to run. 

“Voters must be able to effectively communicate with candidates and their campaigns,” said Zwicker. “Requiring candidates to include an email address in their petition promotes transparency, accountability and the documentation of communication exchange.”

The law was approved by the Assembly by a vote of 69-2 on June 7 and the Senate 30-8 on March 26.  It was signed into law on July 20.

Zwicker to Attend Clean Energy Legislative Academy

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon) has been accepted as one of 25 state legislators to attend the 2018 Clean Energy Legislative Academy  hosted by the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University July 24-July 27.

The bipartisan group of state legislators from across the nation will convene for the three-day academy to discuss strategies for state-led clean energy policy solutions. Attendees will hear from policy experts and discuss topics such as energy storage, grid modernization, electrifying transportation, utility perspectives, and bipartisan policy approaches.

This year marks the second annual Clean Energy Legislative Academy hosted by CNEE. Alumni from the 2017 Clean Energy Legislative Academy sponsored over 100 energy-related bills following their attendance. During this year’s Academy, legislators will collaborate and work with policy experts to develop policy ideas specific to their state.

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Statement from Governor Murphy on Proposed STEM Loan Forgiveness Program

TRENTON - Governor Phil Murphy announced support for S2723/A4183, a bill introduced by Senator Paul Sarlo and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker to establish a loan forgiveness program for New Jersey residents who graduate with degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

“I applaud Senator Sarlo and Assemblyman Zwicker for taking action to allow our STEM graduates the chance to offset some of their loans, stay in New Jersey, and contribute to our local economy,” Governor Murphy said. “While this legislation is still in the very early stages, I look forward to reviewing it when it reaches my desk. It is through initiatives like these that New Jersey can fuel growth and reclaim our state’s position in the innovation economy.”

In May, Governor Murphy announced his goal to work with the Legislature to pass legislation establishing the STEM Loan Forgiveness Program. According to program requirements, after an employee has worked four years in a designated high-growth STEM occupation in New Jersey, the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) will redeem eligible qualifying student loan expenses for up to four years. HESAA would provide eligible employees with $1,000 annually to defray outstanding loans. Employers would be required to at least match this award – or otherwise partner with the State – to provide a total benefit worth at least $8,000 over the four-year period.

“A long-term strategy to expand NJ’s innovation economy depends upon training and retaining the best and brightest of the next generation of our high-tech 21st century workforce,” said Assemblyman Zwicker. “This initiative acknowledges that we must ensure that these students, regardless of their economic status, receive the training they need while reducing their financial burden.  In return, our innovation ecosystem grows and our businesses have access to the finest NJ has to offer.”

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Zwicker, McKeon, Greenwald, Jasey, Murphy & Moriarty Bill to Keep Guns Away from Dangerous Persons Now Law

(TRENTON) – The Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018 - which authorizes new protective orders against those who pose a significant danger by either possessing or purchasing a firearm – sponsored by Assembly members Andrew Zwicker, John McKeon, Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Mila Jasey, Tim Eustace, Carol Murphy and Paul Moriarty has been signed into law.

The order prohibits the subject from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition and from holding a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun and permit to carry a firearm.

“This law provides a sensible process that protects the rights of lawful gun owners while allowing concerned family members to take action when there are ‘red flags’ that indicate a gun owner poses a serious risk to others,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon). “This is the right thing to do, and I’m certain it will save lives.”

The law (A-1217) establishes a process and procedures for obtaining a protective order against persons who pose a significant danger of bodily injury to themselves or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm.  

The order prohibits the subject of the order from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition and from holding a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, and permit to carry a handgun.

A look at the law:

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Zwicker, Lopez & Mukherji Legislation to Help Displaced Professionals from Puerto Rico on Mainland Heads to Governor

Bill Would Revise Law on Out-of-State Licenses to Include Professionals from Storm-Ravaged Island

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Andrew Zwicker, Yvonne Lopez and Raj Mukherji on Monday aimed at recognizing the professional licenses of displaced Puerto Rican doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals who relocated to New Jersey following Hurricane Maria was advanced by the General Assembly on Monday by a vote of 75-0-0 and now heads to the governor after being moved through the Senate earlier in the day.

“Prior to Hurricane Maria six months ago, New Jersey had one of the highest populations of Puerto Ricans on the mainland. Following the hurricane, we've seen more of our fellow Americans from the island seek safety with family and friends here,” said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). “As they settle into their new lives in New Jersey, we can and should ensure that men and women from Puerto Rico are treated just as professionals moving here from any state would be, so they're able to continue in their professions and support their families here.”

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