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KENNEDY, HOLLEY & ZWICKER BILL TO AID 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS SIGNED INTO LAW

Legislation to assist first responders who voluntarily participated in 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts was signed into law Monday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The new law, sponsored by Assemblymen James Kennedy, Jamel Holley and Andrew Zwicker, expands eligibility for accidental disability allowance to include members or retirees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) who voluntarily responded to the attack.

“When police and firefighters in New Jersey, received word that two planes had struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, many of them didn’t hesitate before responding to the scene, even though they were not specifically ordered to go,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “Unfortunately, some suffered permanent or total disability. Due to the fact that they responded as volunteers, they are not entitled to the same compensation as their counterparts who were considered to be ‘on the job that day. It’s time to change that.”

The law (A-4882) provides that a member or retirant of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) is eligible to receive an accidental disability retirement allowance for a permanent and total disability resulting from participation in 9/11 World Trade Center rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations, whether or not they are instructed by an employer to participate. If a member participated in World Trade Center rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations for a minimum of eight hours, a disability resulting from a qualifying condition or impairment of health would be presumed to have occurred during and as a result of a member’s regular or assigned duties and not the result of the member’s willful negligence, unless the contrary can be proved by competent evidence. The presumption is available whether or not the member was assigned to participate.

A member who did not participate in those operations for a minimum of eight hours would be eligible for the presumption provided that:

  • the member participated in the rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations at the World Trade Center site between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2001;
  • the member sustained a documented physical injury at the World Trade Center site between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2001 that is a qualifying condition or impairment of health resulting in a disability that prevented the member from continuing to participate for a minimum of eight hours; and the injury that resulted in a disability that prevented the member from doing so is the qualifying condition or impairment of health for which the member is seeking a presumption.

“All of the heroic men and women who responded to Ground Zero deserve our utmost respect and admiration, regardless of whether they were on the clock,” said Holley (D-Holley). “They all saw the same terror, took the same risks, and worked towards the same goal. If their health has been affected in the time since, they all should be eligible for the same disability allowance. “

“Our country is still feeling the effects of 9/11 today. The impact on those who were there – particularly our first responders – remains even more prevalent,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex and Hunterdon). “We can go further to honor our first responders by ensuring they are recognized and compensated for their service on 9/11, voluntary or otherwise. They deserve nothing less.”

The law also provides for a reclassification of a service retirement or an ordinary disability retirement as an accidental disability retirement if the retirant, while a member of the retirement system, participated in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations a minimum of eight hours and incurred a disability in retirement caused by a qualifying condition or impairment of health which the medical board determines to be caused by the member’s participation in World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations. The board of trustees is required to promulgate rules and regulations and to notify members and retirants in the retirement system of the enactment of the bill within 30 days of enactment.

Additionally, the measure delineates the diseases recognized as qualifying conditions or impairments of health, and defines “World Trade Center rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations” to mean the rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations at the World Trade Center site between September 11, 2001 and October 11, 2001. The law also defines “World Trade Center site” to mean any location below a line starting from the Hudson River and Canal Street, east on Canal Street to Pike Street, south on Pike Street to the East River, and extending to the lower tip of Manhattan.

The law was approved in June by the full Assembly, 76-0, and the full Senate, 37-0.


New Law Co-Authored by Zwicker Benefits Volunteer 9/11 First Responders

TRENTON, NJ – Legislation to assist first responders who voluntarily participated in 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts was signed into law Monday by Governor Phil Murphy.

 The new law, sponsored by Assemblymen James Kennedy, Jamel Holley and Andrew Zwicker, expands eligibility for accidental disability allowance to include members or retirees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) who voluntarily responded to the attack.

“When police and firefighters in New Jersey, received word that two planes had struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, many of them didn’t hesitate before responding to the scene, even though they were not specifically ordered to go,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “Unfortunately, some suffered permanent or total disability. Due to the fact that they responded as volunteers, they are not entitled to the same compensation as their counterparts who were considered to be ‘on the job that day. It’s time to change that.”

 

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NOW LAW: FREIMAN, PINKIN, MILAM, ZWICKER, LAND MEASURE TO RAISE TAX CREDIT AMOUNT PROVIDED UNDER “NEW JERSEY ANGEL INVESTOR TAX CREDIT ACT”

Looking to encourage investment into women and minority owned businesses, a bill to increase the Angel Investor Tax credit percentage by a taxpayer into a New Jersey emerging technology business from 10 to 20 percent of the qualified investment was signed into law Sunday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The measure (A-5604), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman, Nancy Pinkin, Matthew Milam, Andrew Zwicker and R. Bruce Land, also allows for the increased credit percentage when the qualified investment is made into a New Jersey emerging technology business holding company making a verified transfer of funds into a New Jersey emerging technology business for all applicants.

The law also stipulates that a taxpayer may be allowed a tax credit of 25 percent of the qualified investment if the emerging technology business is located in a qualified opportunity zone, low-income community, or is a certified minority or women-owned business.

The measure passed the full Assembly last month by a vote of 75-2, and the Senate 37-0.

“This new law is a win for investors who are truly committed to seeing innovation technology businesses grow and thrive in New Jersey,” said Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). “It serves as an incentive for doing what is right.”

“There are so many businesses that have the potential to be successful and to thrive,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “They just lack sufficient financial backing. This law is designed to help them in their efforts.”

“Women and minority owned businesses can provide first-class, top-tier goods and services just as any other business,” said Milam (D-Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland).  “They just need to be given a chance, and financial backing helps to ensure that they are given a solid opportunity.”

“New Jersey is striving to have an innovation economy,” said Zwicker (D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). “A key component of that economy is financial backing, especially for new businesses looking to be a part of that economy. This law will help make that possible.”

“Investing into women and minority-owned companies is a wise business decision that has been a long time in the making,” said R. Bruce Land (D-Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland). “It is proving to be rewarding financially and socially.”

The Angel Investor Tax Credit Program was approved by the Legislature in 2013. The program, which is jointly administered by the Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Department of Taxation, provides refundable tax credits against New Jersey corporation business or gross income tax for 10 percent of a qualified investment in an emerging technology business with a physical presence in New Jersey that conducts research, manufacturing, or technology commercialization.

Currently, the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program provides an angel investor with a tax credit of 10 percent of the qualified investment made in a New Jersey emerging technology business, up to a maximum allowed credit of $500,000 for each qualified investment per tax year. While this is and continues to be an attractive incentive for the angel investor, a common critique among the life sciences and technology community is that the program could go further in providing a benefit to the business receiving the angel investment, as well as the investor.

In 2016, the Legislature created the “New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force” for the purpose of communicating with the biotechnology industry to develop recommendations for steps that the Legislature and State could take to retain and attract new biotechnology companies to New Jersey. On June 13, 2018, the New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force released a final report of policy recommendations to retain and attract biotechnology companies to New Jersey.  One of the legislative recommendations was to enhance the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program.

Effectively immediately, the law applies to qualified investments made during privilege periods and taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2020.


New Law Raises Tax Credit Amount Under “New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Act”

Trenton, New Jersey –  On Sunday, Governor Murphy signed into law a new measure that seeks to encourage investment into women and minority owned businesses.

Introduced by Assembly members Roy Freiman, Nancy Pinkin, Matthew Milam, Andrew Zwicker and R. Bruce Land, the law increases the Angel Investor Tax credit percentage by a taxpayer into a New Jersey emerging technology business from 10 to 20 percent of the qualified investment.   

The law also stipulates that a taxpayer may be allowed a tax credit of 25 percent of the qualified investment if the emerging technology business is located in a qualified opportunity zone, low-income community, or is a certified minority or women-owned business.

 

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Timberlake, Zwicker, Vainieri Huttle Measure Protecting Student Confidentiality with Online Education Services Unanimously Passes Assembly

TRENTON, NJ – Aiming to protect the personal information of students utilizing online education services, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Britnee Timberlake, Andrew Zwicker and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to impose several restrictions on the information shared by these services passed the full Assembly Thursday, 77-0-0.

The bill (A-4978) would prohibit online education services from disclosing student records and creating student profiles under certain circumstances, while requiring security measures for that data.

“This bill was prompted by concerns about the illegitimate sharing of and access to student data,” said Timberlake (D-Essex, Passaic). “These services amass an incredible amount of information about students including their identity, academic records, test scores, criminal records and even photos. With such sensitive information, there has to be guidelines and rules as to who accesses this information, why they access it, and how the information will be used.”

 

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Task Force To Study Loneliness, Social Isolation Among Elderly, Vets And Those With Mental Illness

TRENTON, NJ – With loneliness affecting three out of four Americans, a bill that would create a task force to study how social isolation and loneliness impact certain populations was passed by the full Assembly Thursday, 74-0-0.

Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker, Matthew Milam and Vincent Mazzeo are the sponsors of this legislation.

The measure (A-5314) would establish the New Jersey Task Force to Prevent Loneliness and Social Isolation to assess and report on the nature and frequency of social isolation in New Jersey, specifically among people aged 65 and older, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with mental illness. Other vulnerable populations, including military service members, would be included in the study as deemed appropriate.

 

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ZWICKER ON “DARK MONEY” BILL PASSAGE

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon) on the final passage, 68-0-4, of his bill:
“I thank Governor Murphy for his willingness to work cooperatively with us. This is, above all, a good government bill. The people of New Jersey deserve to know the origin of the money used to influence our political process. Transparency is critical if we are to ensure the trust of the public. This bill goes a long way to achieving that goal.”


KENNEDY, JOHNSON, ZWICKER & BENSON BILL TO ENCOURAGE MUNICIPALITIES TO PLAN FOR, BUILD ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING STATIONS HEADS TO SENATE

Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen James Kennedy, Gordon Johnson, Andrew Zwicker and Daniel Benson to encourage municipalities to plan for the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure at appropriate locations was approved 65-4 in the full General Assembly on Monday.

A report by the New Jersey Energy Master Plan Alternative Fuels Work Group identified the development, installation, and maintenance of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, both at home and at strategically selected public places, as one of the most significant opportunities for, and barriers to, advancing the deployment and use of EVs in New Jersey.

“Including charging systems in municipal land planning not only benefits the environment and environmentally conscious consumers, but the economy as well,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “Planning for and developing this infrastructure can help create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our reliance on foreign fuels.”

The bill (A-1371) would help improve and expand the state’s EV charging infrastructure by encouraging each municipality, at the time of the reexamination of its master plan, pursuant to the “Municipal Land Use Law,” to identify existing sites of public EV charging infrastructure, and propose locations for future development of public EV charging infrastructure.

The bill would also amend the “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law” to provide that the development of public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in appropriate locations be considered for inclusion in local redevelopment plans.

“The lack of charging infrastructure can discourage people who are interested in electric vehicles, but are concerned about their recharging options,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “No one wants to get stuck on the side of the road. Ensuring there is sufficient charging stations can help alleviate these consumer fears and encourage more people to invest in environmentally-friendlier vehicles.”

“Although most EV charging occurs at home, drivers still rely on publicly available charging,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Planning ahead can help ensure that EV owners or consumers interested in electric vehicles will have the supporting infrastructure to meet their needs.”

“Limited driving distance between battery charges is a fundamental disadvantage and obstacle to broad consumer adoption of vehicles powered by electricity,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “If we want to encourage more people to buy these vehicles, it is essential that a network of convenient electric vehicle charging opportunities be developed.”

The bill now heads to the Senate President for further consideration.


ZWICKER, FREIMAN, DOWNEY MEASURE REQUIRING DOH TO LICENSE QUALIFYING HOSPITALS AS FULL SERVICE DIAGNOSTIC CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION PROVIDERS CLEARS ASSEMBLY

Looking to increase patients’ access to full-service, adult diagnostic cardiac catheterization services, a bill that would enable the Department of Health to license qualifying hospitals to provide these services was approved 69-3-5 Thursday by the full Assembly.

The measure (A-3769) is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker, Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset), and Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) who released the following joint statement:

            “This piece of legislation will help to give patients increased access to high-quality cardiac care services. This bill institutes quality and safety standards for more hospitals in our state and, by allowing them to perform elective angioplasty procedures, we are ensuring all of our residents are getting the highest level of care.”         


ZWICKER, MILAM, MAZZEO BILL TO STUDY LONELINESS AMONG CERTAIN GROUPS CLEARS ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE

Task Force Will Examine Impact on 65+, Disabled, Mentally Ill and Military

With loneliness affecting 3 out of 4 Americans, a bill that would create a task force to study how social isolation and loneliness impact certain population groups cleared the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee recently.

Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset), Matthew Milam (D-Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland) and Vincent Mazzeo
(D-Atlantic) are sponsors of the legislation.

The measure (A-5314) would establish the New Jersey Task Force to Prevent Loneliness and Social Isolation and be responsible for assessing and reporting on the nature and frequency of social isolation in New Jersey, specifically among people aged 65 and older, individuals with disabilities, and the mentally ill. Other vulnerable populations, including military service members, would be a part of the study that determined available resources for combatting social isolation in the state.

“Social isolation is not just a social issue, but a public health concern. For elderly and other vulnerable and special populations, isolation can negatively impact health outcomes and lead to premature death. This task force will have the critically important work of studying this issue and how it impacts certain populations. With the research and evidence discovered as a result, we can begin to effectively address social isolation.”

The taskforce would consist of the following 11 members:

  • the Commissioner of Health, or designee;
  • the Commissioner of Human Services, or a designee; and
  • Nine public members: three appointed by the Governor, three appointed by the Senate President, and three appointed by the Assembly Speaker

“The task force will uncover how often the people in these groups feel isolated, the number and percentage of people in the groups who feel isolated, and the number of people in the group who are more prone to feeling isolated,” said Milam. “We also need to understand the triggers that contribute to such isolation.”

The appointed public members would be professionals working in or representing organizations and agencies that provide counseling, health care, mental health care, support care, or other social or daily living assistance to members of the vulnerable populations and their caregivers.
‘Many people don’t realize that loneliness really does impact health and wellness,” said Mazzeo. “It’s actually a public health issue that is linked to smoking, obesity and the risk of death in older adults.”
The task force would also identify demographic and other characteristics of the groups; symptoms and indicators of social isolation; circumstances and situations that contribute to isolation; available State resources to help the socially isolated; and trends among the socially isolated.

The bill would become effective immediately. Upon enactment, the task force would be required to prepare and submit a report to the Governor and Legislature within 12 months of being established. It would consist of findings and recommendations to be published on the Department of Human Services’ website.

The bill was introduced on May 13 and now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.