Zwicker Co-Sponsors Bills Granting Priority College Course Registration to Military Service Members and Veterans, Academic Credit to Certain Veterans

Making the path to higher education easier for New Jersey service members and veterans, two bills sponsored by Assembly Democrats assisting with college course registration and earning credit for their skills were advanced by the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Monday.

The first bill (A-790), known as the "Combat to College Act," and sponsored by legislators Bob Andrzejczak, R. Bruce Land, Gabriela Mosquera, Raj Mukherji, Joann Downey, Andrew Zwicker and Vincent Mazzeo, provides military service members and veterans living in New Jersey and attending a public institution of higher education with priority status when registering for courses. The priority registration benefit would apply to current military service members serving on active duty and to veterans honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances. This registration procedure would occur using the same methods as those used by other segments of the student population, if any, for priority registration purposes at the institution.

"In many instances, military service members and veterans must wait, along with other tuition waiver students, to register for classes," said Andrzejczak (D-Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland). "While such a system is intended to manage class size and allow paying students to register first, it can disrupt a service member or veteran's benefits and career progression, because both are linked to their being registered in school. This bill will help eliminate such disruptions."

Read more

Zwicker, Lopez & Mukherji Legislation to Help Displaced Professionals from Puerto Rico on Mainland Now Law

Measure Revises Law on Out-of-State Licenses to Include Professionals from Storm-Ravaged Island

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker, Yvonne Lopez and Raj Mukherji to recognize the professional licenses of displaced Puerto Rican doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals who relocated to New Jersey following Hurricane Maria has been signed into law.

"Prior to Hurricane Maria, 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."

The law (A-1531) revises the section of state law involving the reciprocity process for out-of-state professional and occupational licensing. Currently, licensed professionals from jurisdictions with standards that are substantially equivalent to New Jersey's may work in their respective industries in the state provided they supply the state with proof that an out-of-state license is valid, current and in good standing.

Read more

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."

Read more

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.

Read more

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.”

Read more