News

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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Assemblyman Zwicker Statement on Net Neutrality

(TRENTON) –Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon), who is chair of the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, released the following statement Wednesday regarding net neutrality:

“This week, our country took a step backwards with the Trump administration rolling back net neutrality rules and allowing internet service providers to charge us more for access, or faster access, to certain websites or content. In other words, using the internet is about to become like cable TV: we’ll pay one rate for some basic level of internet access, but have to pay a higher rate for faster speed or more “premium” kinds of websites.

“Astonishingly, despite the fact that nearly 80% of all Americans support net neutrality, Congress and the Trump administration refuse to put our interests over fattening the internet providers’ bottom line. Many states, including New Jersey, have sprung into action to preserve net neutrality for our residents and filed a legal challenge to the federal government’s attempt to keep us from having a free and open internet.

“But it’s not that simple. In its order earlier this week, the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, not only repealed net neutrality rules, but decreed that any state’s attempts to preserve net neutrality to protect their residents and businesses is preempted – that is, that only the federal government, and not the states, have authority to require net neutrality.

“We all – individuals, families, businesses, schools, towns, state agencies, first responders, everyone – rely on the internet for almost every aspect of our lives and livelihoods. We pay a significant monthly fee to use the internet. Until this week, we were paying for unfettered access.

“While many of us won’t feel the effects of the net neutrality repeal at first, all of us will be harmed by the repeal of net neutrality over time, and our internet fees for the same access will almost certainly increase.

“We will continue to work hard here in New Jersey to ensure that internet providers doing business in our state will abide by net neutrality rules. We must and will do all we can to prevent the internet from being divided into classes, one for the haves and another, slower and lesser one for the have-nots.


Zwicker, Lopez & Mukherji Legislation to Help Displaced Professionals from Puerto Rico on Mainland Advanced by Assembly

(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 by a vote of 72-0-0 and now awaits further action in the Senate.

“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.”

The bill (A-1531) would revise state law regarding 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 New Jersey provided they supply the state with proof that an out-of-state license is valid, current and in good standing.

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Vainieri Huttle, Gusciora, Zwicker & Chiaravalloti Bill to Revise Requirements for Changing a Birth Certificate Due to Gender Reassignment Advanced Out of Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Reed Gusciora, Andrew Zwicker and Nicholas Chiaravalloti to make it easier for an individual undergoing gender reassignment to obtain an amended birth certificate was advanced out of the General Assembly on Thursday by a vote of 57-11-3.

“The complex process of gender transitioning goes far beyond just physical changes,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “This bill takes a sensitive approach and updates state practice to acknowledge those complexities.”

The bill (A-1718) would revise the requirements for obtaining an amended certificate of birth due to a change in sex.

“Life is not black and white like people once perceived it,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “This bill acknowledges the nuances involved in gender reassignment in order to help make an already complex issue a little simpler for individuals who are transitioning.”

Specifically, the bill stipulates that the state registrar of vital statistics shall issue an amended birth certificate to a person born in New Jersey who submits a request for an amended certificate, which shows the sex and name of the person as it has been changed. The application may be submitted on the person’s behalf by a parent or guardian, if the person is a minor.

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