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Senator Kip Bateman Assemblyman Zwicker & Assemblyman Freiman to host Interfaith Forum with the Interfaith Community Action Network


NJDOT Awards Somerville $353,167 for Road Improvement

TRENTON, NJ – Somerville will receive $353,167 from the state Department of Transportation 2019 Municipal Aid Program.

Assembly members Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) made the announcement Monday. More than $3.7 million will be distributed to 12 municipalities in the 16th Legislative District through the program, according to the assemblymen.

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Zwicker, Freiman Announce Over $3.7 Million in Grants for 16th Legislative District Transportation Projects

Assembly members Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman (Both D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) announced Monday the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has awarded more than $3.7 million to municipalities in the 16th Legislative District through the Fiscal Year 2019 Municipal Aid Program. 

"Securing the funding to provide these much-needed repairs to our roadways are a crucial part of drivers' safety," said Zwicker. "Not only will these funds improve our roadways, it will ensure that several of our roadway projects that may have been stalled can move forward, something that will help improve the quality of life for our residents and commuters."

"In advocating for these funds, driver safety remains at the forefront of our efforts," said Freiman. "These funds also help create jobs in the transportation field. I am grateful that we were able to secure these funds for our district."

DOT Municipal Aid Program Grants for Legislative District 16 total $3,788,277.

The projects that will be funded under this Program are as follows:

Legislative District 16

Legislative District County Municipality Name of Project Type of Improvement Total

16 Hunterdon Delaware Township Improvements to Sanford Road Roadway Preservation $150,000.00

16 Hunterdon Flemington Borough Hopewell Avenue Road Improvement Project Roadway Preservation $212,110.00

16 Hunterdon Readington Township Old Highway Route 28 Improvements Roadway Preservation $175,000.00

16 Mercer Princeton Improvement of Witherspoon Street Quality of Life $610,000.00

16 Middlesex South Brunswick Township Major Road Roadway Improvements Roadway Preservation $276,000.00

16 Somerset Branchburg Township Holland Brook Road West Improvement Roadway Preservation $250,000.00

16 Somerset Hillsborough Township Willow Road Phase I Roadway Preservation $425,000.00

16 Somerset Manville Borough Improvements to Brooks Boulevard - Phase 1 Pedestrian Safety $375,000.00

16 Somerset Millstone Borough 2019 MILLSTONE BOROUGH ROADS FOR RESURFACING Roadway Preservation $147,000.00

16 Somerset Montgomery Township Blue Spring Road Improvements Roadway Preservation $385,000.00

16 Somerset Raritan Borough Improvements to Woodmere Street Pedestrian Safety $375,000.00

16 Somerset Rocky Hill Borough Washington Street/ Merritt Lane Intersection Pedestrian Safety $55,000.00

16 Somerset Somerville Borough South Cadillac Drive Roadway Preservation $353,167.00

The NJDOT Municipal Aid Grant Program provides grant funds to municipalities who are advancing projects that enhance safety, renew aging infrastructure and support the State's economy with new transportation opportunities. Municipalities can apply for projects for Municipal Aid within the categories of bikeway, bridge preservation, mobility, pedestrian safety, quality of life, roadway preservation, and roadway safety. 

The Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) provides the opportunity for State assistance to local governments for the funding of road, bridge and other transportation projects. Funds are appropriated by the Legislature annually and apportioned to counties based on the formula contained in the legislation which gives equal consideration to municipal road mileage within the county and municipal population. 


Zwicker, Freiman & Project BEST Host Free Vision Screening to Promote Eye Health, Prevent Blindness

With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reporting that approximately 11 million Americans over age 12 need eye correction, Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) will partner with the New Jersey Department of Human Services' Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired to host a free vision screening Tuesday, April 9, noon-3 pm, at the Hunterdon County Library, 314 Route 12, Building 3, Flemington, NJ 08822.

"Eye health can often be overlooked, but by bringing this no cost mobile vision screening to our community, we can provide both health access and education," said Zwicker. "This service and similar initiatives are crucial steps to improving overall health outcomes."

"As with many health issues, people often delay getting their eyes screened until there is a problem," said Freiman. "This is unfortunate since regular eye screenings are one of the most effective ways to protect one's vision."

The screening is part of Project Better Eye-Health Services and Treatment (BEST)-- an ongoing effort by the Commission of the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) to reduce the incidence of blindness. The program provides eye health education and safety by offering no-cost vision screenings for adults and children throughout the state. 

For more information, please call (908) 788-1434 or log onto: http://hclibrary.evanced.info/signup/Calendar. For general information about Project BEST, please call 877-685-8878 or email AskCBVI@dhs.state.nj.us. 


Benson, Zwicker & Lampitt Measure Creating Task Force to Study Autonomous Vehicles Now Law

(TRENTON) - To ensure self-driving cars are safely integrated on New Jersey roads, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Andrew Zwicker and Pamela Lampitt to establish a task force to evaluate autonomous vehicles was signed into law by the Governor Monday. 

"As major auto companies explore developing semi and fully autonomous cars, we need to prepare for the day when we'll see only self-driving vehicles on our roadways," said Benson (Mercer, Middlesex). "The goal of this task force will be to assess how we can introduce autonomous vehicles to our roadways while keeping drivers safe."

The new mandate (formerly bill AJR-164) creates the New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, comprised of eight members. The panel will be responsible for conducting a study of autonomous vehicles and recommending laws, rules, and regulations that the state may enact to safely integrate these vehicles on the roads.

An advanced autonomous vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle with a driving automation level of three, four, or five, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers International, and is used by the United States Department of Transportation for autonomous vehicle policy guidance. Level three vehicles are classified as having conditional automation, during which an autonomous system operates under certain conditions with human drivers as a back-up; level four vehicles have high automation, such as Google's test cars; and level five cars are fully automated and do not have a steering wheel.

"It may not be long before self-driving cars are commonplace in New Jersey, marking a significant change in how people get around each day," said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). "We need to make sure our transportation regulations are up to date to meet this influx of innovation."

"As drivers begin using autonomous cars equipped with new, never-before-seen technology, it's essential to study how to best introduce and regulate these vehicles," said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). "The work of this task force will help us gain a better understanding of how self-driving cars will impact our roads, and how we can improve existing laws to ensure the safety of all drivers."

The task force shall be comprised of the following members: the Commissioner of Transportation (DOT); the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC); the Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety; three public members appointed by the Governor including a member who was recommended by the Division of Banking and Insurance; one public member appointed by the Senate President; and one public member appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly.

The task force will be required to meet within 90 days after the bill's effective date, and within 180 days of the first meeting. It must also issue a report to the Governor and the Legislature evaluating safety standards and recommending best practices. The New Jersey MVC and the DOT will assist the task force with necessary duties.

Additionally, the task force will conduct an evaluation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's safety standards for advanced autonomous vehicles and whether the state may enact stricter safety standards; an evaluation of existing state and federal law concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; an evaluation of existing legislation and regulations in other states concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; recommendations on how New Jersey could safely integrate advanced autonomous vehicles on the highways, streets, and roads; any other information relevant to the subject of the report; and any draft legislation the task force deems appropriate.

If enacted, New Jersey will join Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Oregon in using a task force to study the implementation of autonomous vehicles.


Pinkin, Zwicker & Downey Bill to Safeguard Public’s Right to Enjoy the Shoreline Heads to Governor

Strengthening efforts to protect resident interest in New Jersey Shores and guard marine life and endangered species, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, Andrew Zwicker and Joann Downey received final legislative approval on Monday, passing the full Assembly by a vote tally of 71-7-2.

"Generation after generation of New Jersey families as well as visitors from out-of-state spends their summers vacationing at the shore," said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). "Although resident access to our beaches is expressed through the Public Trust Doctrine, formally adopting this principle into law will ensure continued respect of residents' rights to access New Jersey's shoreline for recreational purposes and also allow us to further our environmental efforts to protect marine life and endangered species."

The people's ownership of the tidal waters and adjacent shorelines is held in trust by the State. The bill (A-4221), through the Department of Environmental Protection, directs the State to protect the public's right of physical and visual access to public trust lands in its funding decisions and implementation of multiple State laws, including the Coastal Area Facility Review Act, the Wetlands Act of 1970, and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, as well as New Jersey's implementation of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.

"As the state continues to take necessary steps to protect our coastal environment, we have to make sure that the decisions we make in trying to protect our coastline do not come between or inhibit a resident's right to take part in shore activities or simply enjoy the view," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset). "We can protect our tidal waters, our marine life and still preserve the beautiful beaches and shore communities for which New Jersey is best known." 

"The Jersey shore is a source of joy, pride and admiration for residents of our State," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "Our beautiful coastline belongs to the public, from lifelong New Jerseyans to summer visitors. With this bill, the public's right to the shoreline will continue to be protected for years to come." 

Under the measure, the DEP is required to ensure that any approval, permit, administrative order, or consent decree issued, or other action taken, by the DEP pursuant to the above-cited laws or any other law is consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine. 

The landmark 1821 New Jersey Supreme Court Case, Arnold v. Mundy further supported the Public Trust Doctrine reinforced by the Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence, by establishing that New Jersey's tidal waters be applied under the public trust doctrine, and belonged to the state for public use. 

In addition to gaining Assembly approval, the measure on Monday passed the Senate 35-0. It now heads to the Governor's desk.


Armato, Lopez, Zwicker Bill Requiring Hospitals to Include Opioid Addiction Information with Patient Discharge Papers Approved by Assembly

As part of New Jersey's ongoing, integrated approach to preventing and fighting drug addiction, a bill requiring hospitals to include a warning about the risks of addiction, overdose and death associated with opioids in a patient's discharge papers was approved 78-0-0 Monday by the full Assembly. 

The bill (A-4883) is sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Armato, Yvonne Lopez and Andrew Zwicker. As per the measure, acute care hospitals would be required to include the information provided that the patient was discharged from the hospital with a prescription for an opioid drug.

"This bill will put safeguards in place to help prevent addiction," said Armato (D-Atlantic). "It is yet another strategy in our ongoing battle to fight this disease."

"In many instances, the time period immediately following a surgery is when patients are in the most pain and exposed to increased doses of opioids in an uncontrolled setting," said Lopez (D-Middlesex). "This bill aims to educate patients at the time when their risk for becoming addicted is higher, because the more pain they experience, the more medication they may take."

"New Jersey, like many other states, is waging an ongoing battle against opioid abuse," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). "We can win this fight through a comprehensive approach aimed at preventing addiction; through awareness and educational campaigns; helping those already suffering from this addiction with compassion and understanding; and providing resources for the thousands of individuals and families impacted."

The information would include contact information for substance use disorder treatment. The Department of Health would develop the informational materials.

This measure would take effect 60 days after enactment, although the Commissioner of Health could take administrative action in advance if necessary to implement the provisions of the act.

The bill cleared the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee on February7. A companion bill (S-3342) in the Senate has been referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior 


Pinkin and Zwicker Bill to Statutorily Protect Resident Interest in New Jersey Shores, Strengthen Efforts to Guard Marine Life & Endangered Species Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Codifying the public's right to enjoy New Jersey's coastline as designated under the Public Trust Doctrine, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin and Andrew Zwicker was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee Monday.

"Generation after generation of New Jersey families as well as visitors from out-of-state spends their summers vacationing at the shore," said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). "Although resident access to our beaches is expressed through the Public Trust Doctrine, formally adopting this principle into law will ensure continued respect of residents' rights to access New Jersey's shoreline for recreational purposes and also allow us to further our environmental efforts to protect marine life and endangered species."

The people's ownership of the tidal waters and adjacent shorelines is held in trust by the State. The bill (A-4221), through the Department of Environmental Protection, directs the State to protect the public's right of physical and visual access to public trust lands in its funding decisions and implementation of multiple State laws, including the Coastal Area Facility Review Act, the Wetlands Act of 1970, and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, as well as New Jersey's implementation of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.

"As the state continues to take necessary steps to protect our coastal environment, we have to make sure that the decisions we make in trying to protect our coastline do not come between or inhibit a resident's right to take part in shore activities or simply enjoy the view," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset). "We can protect our tidal waters, our marine life and still preserve the beautiful beaches and shore communities for which New Jersey is best known." 

Under the bill, the DEP is required to ensure that any approval, permit, administrative order, or consent decree issued, or other action taken, by the DEP pursuant to the above-cited laws or any other law is consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine. 

The landmark 1821 New Jersey Supreme Court Case, Arnold v. Mundy further supported the Public Trust Doctrine reinforced by the Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence, by establishing that New Jersey's tidal waters be applied under the public trust doctrine, and belonged to the state for public use. 

The bill recently cleared the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, of which Pinkin is chair, and now heads to Speaker for further consideration.


Zwicker, Benson & Sumter Bill Establishing Disclosure Requirements for Independent Advocacy Groups Passes Assembly

"Dark Money" Organizations Would be Subject to Greater Transparency under the Measure

(TRENTON) - Under current law, 527 groups and 501(c)4 social welfare organizations are allowed to keep their donors secret. In an effort to provide greater transparency and accountability, a bill (A-1524), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker, Daniel Benson and Shavonda Sumter passed the full Assembly on Monday, 60-1-17.

"Information is power and we need to arm voters with the most information possible," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). "More disclosure will inform residents about groups working to influence political and legislative processes. Greater transparency will lead to an increase in voter confidence and that's a good thing for New Jersey and for democracy."

Under the legislation, so-called "dark money" groups would be required to make public their donors and expenditures. An analysis by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission found the top 25 special-interest groups in the Garden State spent $74 million in an attempt to influence elections and policies in 2017, with $41 million coming from "dark money" groups.

"This bill will bring these groups out of the shadows and into the light," explained Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). "Voters deserve to know everything possible about 'dark money' organizations working to influence the political process in New Jersey. This legislation empowers the people."

The bill would revamp "The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act" to enact new reporting requirements for contributions over $10,000 and all expenditures over $3,000 by "dark money" organizations.

"Groups that are trying to influence the outcome of any election or legislation should not be permitted to operate under a veil of secrecy," stated Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). "Disclosing donors and expenditures is not a novel idea. It's something we do as candidates. We're just requiring the same of advocacy organizations." 

The bill does not apply retroactively. It is prospective only. 
The measure now heads to the Senate for further consideration


DARK-MONEY BILL ADVANCES, SANS REQUIREMENT FOR RETROACTIVE REPORTING

The requirement to disclose significant contributions and spending by politically active nonprofits — known as “dark money” — is moving ahead in the Legislature, despite the elimination of what seemed to be one of the bill’s goals — to embarrass Gov. Phil Murphy after a group that supports Murphy went back on its word to reveal its donors.

Nonprofit organizations known as 501(c)(4)s engage in electioneering and lobbying, but are not currently covered by state contribution-reporting requirements. Legislation that would require them to reveal contributions of at least $10,000 and expenditures of $3,000 or more had languished in Trenton for years until it got a push from Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), provided that it be made retroactive to the beginning of last year. That would have required the Murphy-centric group to reveal its donors from 2018.

That retroactive disclosure was not included in the Assembly version of the bill, A-1524 approved Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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