The candidate with the most support should win, right? Here’s how to make that happen in N.J., lawmaker says

Throughout our history, Americans have constantly sought ways to make our democracy stronger and more inclusive. The latest example came last week in New York City, where voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question that will make sure no candidate for office is elected without support from a majority of voters.

Starting in 2021, when New Yorkers vote for mayor, city council, and other municipal posts they can make use of ranked-choice voting, a reform that gives voters more power by giving them more votes.

They will join nearly 20 cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, Minneapolis, and St. Paul and the state of Maine that use ranked-choice voting for their elections

It’s within New Jersey’s grasp to join them. In the process, we can increase turnout, discourage negative campaigning, provide greater choice and – while we’re at it – reduce the impact of money in politics.


NJCSIT to provide assistance to small businesses seeking federal SBIR/STTR funds

The New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology announced Friday it has approved the launch of a new program to provide technical and financial support to New Jersey small businesses pursuing federal SBIR and STTR funding. The program will initially start with $500,000 to support companies applying to the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program programs, which provide more than $3 million nationally in early-stage funding to small businesses.“While the benefits of winning SBIR/STTR grants are clear, small businesses often face challenges in drafting and submitting competitive proposals or leveraging additional financial resources to maintain operations during the application process,” Gunjan Doshi, chairman, CSIT, said. “The SBIR/STTR support program will help New Jersey applicants overcome these challenges and maximize potential awards.”


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Op-Ed: In Wake of Court Ruling, Time to Fix ‘Dark Money’ Bill

In the rush of budget season, Trenton passed a poorly drafted, unfair and unconstitutional disclosure bill that imposes burdensome rules on grassroots advocacy organizations like the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters while protecting politically connected business and industry interests.These new rules, which are the most invasive in the country, would have a chilling effect on advocates fighting for a stronger state while also providing a roadmap for corporate interests seeking to roll back important environmental protections. 


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Judge Block’s NJ’s New Dark-Money Law, Citing Concerns About Constitutionality

A federal judge on Wednesday stopped — at least temporarily — New Jersey’s new law requiring disclosure by dark-money issue-advocacy groups from taking effect later this month. His reason: legal arguments thus far indicate the likelihood of the law being declared unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti gave a significant win to Americans for Prosperity, the prominent national conservative organization that was first to challenge the law. It also buoyed a host of more liberal-leaning groups — including the American Civil Liberties Union-NJ, which filed its own lawsuit, and the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters — that have been vehement about the requirement they report big donors when the groups work to influence an election, legislation or regulation


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Senator Troy Singleton and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker released the following statement today decrying the attempts by Koch Industries and the group it has bankrolled, Americans for Prosperity, for their attempts to prevent implementation of the “dark money” reform law:

“Charles Koch and his late brother David used Americans for Prosperity as a tool to deny our attempts to bring transparency to the political process and accountability by the big money donors who work to influence elections, legislation and regulations. It was their lawsuit that triggered the temporary injunction delaying implementation of the law that would require disclosure of dark money interests.

“Make no mistake about the motives of Koch and AFP – they will go to any length so that big money interests can continue to operate in the dark. The Koch brothers gained an infamous reputation for using their wealth and influence as arch-conservatives to support policies that favor the most privileged at the expense of environmental action on climate change, reducing income inequality, and protecting workers’ rights. This is the antitheses to the principles of accountability that we believe in. The Koch organization is attempting to impose its will on New Jersey.

“While we are disappointed that the judge’s ruling is temporarily delaying implementation of the law, we remain hopeful that the court will allow the law to go into effect when it rules on its merits. This is too important to allow Koch Industries to stymie our attempts to bring big money interests out of the dark.”

“Allowing big money groups to continue to hide the origins of enormous amounts of money from the voting public is an affront to the Democratic process.”

New Jersey Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker Talks about Ways to Fuel Economic Growth on State of Affairs with Steve Aduba

NEW JERSEY -- Andrew Zwicker, Chair of the Science, Innovation & Technology Committee in the New Jersey State Assembly, appeared on State of Affairs with Steve Adubato to discuss ways his committee can foster innovation and job growth in the state. 

Zwicker is also a physicist from Princeton University, and Head of Communications and Public Outreach for the university’s Plasma Physics Laboratory, and who is also the only physicist to ever serve in the state legislature. 

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Gov. Phil Murphy underscored his push to reposition the Garden State as a center for innovation and the development of cutting-edge technologies yesterday, announcing the enactment of two new related laws. The first, a law establishing an “innovation district” program means that, at the local level, municipalities can now receive that designation if they meet certain criteria, such as hosting higher-education institutions and providing access to mass-transportation facilities. The second establishes a new task force to conduct an in-depth study of blockchain, the sophisticated technology perhaps best known as the underpinnings of the digital currency Bitcoin.


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Incentive to innovate: Zwicker says new legislation will boost N.J. economy, help it keep up with rival states

In the aftermath of two major incentive programs for businesses expiring in New Jersey, there are a few ideas emerging of what the future of Garden State incentives might look like.

The state Economic Development Authority’s Grow New Jersey and Economic Redevelopment & Growth programs expired at the end of last month, which was in many ways the culmination of a drama-embroiled disagreement among politicians in the State House.

Gov. Phil Murphy didn’t sign an extension that passed the state Legislature that would have averted the discontinuation of the tax credit-driven programs. But, even as he let those long-existing business benefits expire, he signed another bill that offers a different path to tax credits.

The bill bolstered a tax credit for angel investors putting money into an emerging Garden State technology firm. The tax credit was raised from 10% to 20% of qualified investments, with additional benefits for investments in Opportunity Zones, low-income communities or in businesses certified as minority- or women-owned. 


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Zwicker food drive benefits South Brunswick Food Bank

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) held a food drive across the 16th Legislative District to benefit the South Brunswick Food Bank, the Flemington Area Food Pantry and the Food Bank Network of Somerset County.


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Recognizing that 41 million Americans are food insecure, with 900,000 residing right here in New Jersey, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) is working to help these families and individuals who face food insecurity. For nearly two months, his district office hosted a food drive across the 16th legislative district.

“For families who suffer from food insecurity, the summer can prove to be the most difficult, because children in those families no longer have access to school meals,” said Zwicker. “Choosing to host a drive leading into the summer not only highlights the need for charitable donations outside of the holiday season but provides much needed relief to those in need.”

The drive, held from May 1 to June 28, 2019, saw the donation of over 1,500 pounds of food and personal items to help those served by the South Brunswick Food Bank, The Flemington Area Food Pantry and the Food Bank Network of Somerset County.

“I am incredibly thankful for the generous support we received,” said Zwicker. “Without our individual and corporate donors, this drive could not have seen the success it did. It is truly a testament to the power of neighbors coming together to make an impact in their community.”

A special thank you is extended to McCaffrey’s Food Market of Princeton, Whole Foods Market of Princeton, Trader Joe’s of Princeton, Target of Monmouth Junction, Weis Markets of Hillsborough, ShopRite of Somerville, ShopRite of Branchburg, ShopRite of Flemington, Walmart Supercenter of Flemington, Stop & Shop of Flemington, Bishop’s Market of Whitehouse Station and the generous people who live in the 16th district for their kind support and donations.