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NOW LAW: PINKIN, ZWICKER & DOWNEY MEASURE TO SAFEGUARD PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO ENJOY THE SHORELIN

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 was signed into law Friday by Governor Phil Murphy.

“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 law (formerly 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 law, the public’s right to the shoreline will continue to be protected for years to come.”

Under the new law, 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.


Hillsborough Schools Eliminate 50 Jobs; Legislators Look for Help in Trenton

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Local legislators are trying to find money in Trenton that would help reverse, or lessen the loss of 50 jobs in the township school district announced earlier this week.

Those affected received notice during the week of April 15-18, just prior to Spring Break, according to Henry Goodhue, president of the Hillsborough Education Association, which represents 1,086 employees in the school district.

The job cuts are spread throughout the district, with 18 at the elementary schools, including 5 at Woods Road Elementary School; 6 at the Middle School and 10 at the High School. The others are support staff positions spread throughout the district.

 

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FREIMAN AND ZWICKER ISSUE STATEMENT ON CONTINUED SUSPENSION OF RARITAN VALLEY LINE ONE-SEAT RIDE INTO NYC

TRENTON) – Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman and Andrew Zwicker (D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) issued the following joint statement Thursday in response to New Jersey Transit’s announcement that the currently suspended Raritan Valley Line one- seat ride into New York Penn Station will not resume until September, at best.

“This delay is extremely disappointing, because it requires Raritan Valley Line riders to continue coping with lengthy, stressful commutes into midtown Manhattan. Without direct rail service, these riders must endure the inconvenience of exiting their train at Newark Penn Station, switching to another train in the Northeast Corridor of the station, and then taking another train into New York. Missed connections add another layer to the distress.

“The continued suspension of the one-seat ride not only impacts commuters going into New York for work, but it also affects individuals and families traveling into one of the greatest cities in the world for pleasure. This is not welcome news as the summer months draw near and Raritan Valley Line riders look forward to convenient rail service into New York City.”


Zwicker to Host Claims Clinic for New Jersey Veterans

As part of a New Jersey General Assembly statewide effort to assist New Jersey veterans with the services that they have earned and deserve, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) will host a claims clinic for these service women and men on Wednesday, May 1 from 3-7 pm at the Somerville YMCA, 2 Green St, Somerville, NJ 08876. 

"Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices in order to defend our country and ensure our freedoms," said Zwicker. "It's only fitting that we provide them with the resources and support that they were not only promised, but deserve for their service to our country."

During the clinic, veterans will be able to file new claims, review the status of open claims, and discuss veteran-related issues with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) staff who will be onsite. 

"It is my privilege to do all I can to serve these courageous men and women and their families. We have an obligation to help them navigate the complex benefits system so that they receive the benefits they've earned," he said. "Bringing the VA into the community allows our local veterans convenient and direct access to those important resources and benefits."

For more information on the veterans' clinic, please contact the district office of Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker at (732) 823-1684.


Interfaith Forum Helps Teens, Parents Navigate Youth Angst

SOMERVILLE, NJ -- The Interfaith Community Action Network willl host a discussion panel and forum to help teens and their parents navigate the topic of youth mental health on Sunday, April 28, 2-4 p.m.. at St. John's Episcopal Church, 18 West High St. here.

From Surviving to Thriving: Navigating Adolescent Angst will include a keynote speech from Dr. Patricia Colontino, a Crisis Psychologist and Anti-Bullying Specialist at Hillsborough High School; several breakout sessions and a panel discussion.

“I am proud to have been a part of this group since its conception. It is an honor to be hosting our first event as I.C.A.N., which I hope will continue to grow as well as inspire our communities to keep coming together and rallying behind the important issues we are all facing,” said Father Ron Pollock of St. John’s Episcopal Church. 

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Freiman, Zwicker, Bateman on Early Opening of Dinky Line

Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman and Andrew Zwicker (D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset), joined by State Senator Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset), issued the following joint statement Wednesday regarding the governor's announcement that the New Jersey Transit Princeton Branch (Dinky) line will be fully restored on May 12--nearly two weeks ahead of schedule:

"This is extremely welcoming news for the members of our community who rely on the Dinky Line both personally and professionally. Restoring the line ahead of schedule will help riders better plan the various logistical aspects of their daily commuting--a major win as the warm weather approaches. While this is significant progress, there is more work to be done for New Jersey commuters who depend on the other lines that are still suspended. We look forward to these lines being restored in the future to better meet the transit needs of all New Jerseyans."