News

ZWICKER MEASURE ESTABLISHING “ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP ACT” CLEARS ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE

A measure sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) to establish the “Energy Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership Act” cleared the Assembly Science and Technology Committee Thursday.
The bill (A-4535) would allow private entities to propose energy-related projects to government entities, at government facilities, as part of a public-private partnership.  The measure would create an Energy Public-Private Partnership Unit, known as the Energy P3 Unit, within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). The unit would be responsible for formulating and executing comprehensive, statewide policy for public-private partnership agreements.
Assemblyman Zwicker, chair of the Committee, issued the following statement:

“The benefit of this bill is that it will allow government entities to leverage the expertise and financial resources of the private sector to develop a number of energy-related projects. The Energy EP3 Unit would be fully engaged in this process by evaluating the private entity’s qualifications, financial strength, adequacy and other pertinent parameters deemed necessary by the unit.

“With collaborations being a key component of sound energy infrastructures, this legislation will help government entities partner with the private sector to develop crucial state-of-the art, energy-related projects that can help improve the reliability, efficiency and lower the cost of energy services provided to government facilities.”

The bill is now poised for a vote by the full Assembly.


ZWICKER: DON’T LET YOUR INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER FORCE YOU TO BEND THE KNEE

Assemblyman Wants Restoration of “Net Neutrality”

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon), chair of the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, is staunchly advocating for the passage of three bills in the New Jersey Legislature that would help restore “net neutrality.” Zwicker issued the following statement today:

“Imagine being a ‘Game of Thrones’ fan and having to pay extra to watch the series finale on Sunday simply because your internet service provider (ISP) wanted to make extra profit off of what will be one of the most-watched television shows in history.  If we don’t take steps to preserve the principle of ‘net neutrality,’ this type of scenario will likely be part of our future.

“Under net neutrality, when you pay your ISP a monthly fee for accessing the internet, whether it is to check email, watch a movie, post a photo with friends on social media, or research a topic, you are in control, not the ISP.

“However, under the Trump administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) changed the rules and allowed ISPs to engage in content-based discrimination, specifically, speeding up, slowing down, or blocking access to lawful online content based on the ISPs’ political view or business interests.

“This is simply unacceptable.

“Last year, the NJ General Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, of which I am chair, held hearings on three different net neutrality bills sponsored by my colleague, Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). (A-2131, A-2132, A-2139)

“During these hearings, many New Jersey state legislators, from both parties, supported the need for us to do what the FCC and Congress will not do: protect consumers from a slower internet while ensuring that small businesses, content creators and community-based organizations are not discriminated against.

“The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in March, the ‘Save the Internet Act,’ that restored net neutrality rules and received bipartisan support.  However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the bill ‘dead on arrival’ and it stands no chance of passing the Senate and becoming law.

“The NJ legislature can do what Congress cannot and protect our right to a free and open internet. I hope, in the very near future, to pass our package of bills in both the Assembly and Senate and send them to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

“Don’t let your internet service provider force you to bend the knee.”


Zwicker issues statement about restoring "net neutrality"


TRENTON, NJ - Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon), chair of the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, is staunchly advocating for the passage of three bills in the New Jersey Legislature that would help restore “net neutrality.” Zwicker issued the following statement today:

“Imagine being a ‘Game of Thrones’ fan and having to pay extra to watch the series finale on Sunday simply because your internet service provider (ISP) wanted to make extra profit off of what will be one of the most-watched television shows in history. If we don’t take steps to preserve the principle of ‘net neutrality,’ this type of scenario will likely be part of our future.

“Under net neutrality, when you pay your ISP a monthly fee for accessing the internet, whether it is to check email, watch a movie, post a photo with friends on social media, or research a topic, you are in control, not the ISP.

 

Read More Here 


ASSEMBLY SPONSORS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION RESPOND TO BILL MOVING FORWARD BY JULY

Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Joseph Danielsen, Eliana Pintor Marin, Andrew Zwicker, Eric Houghtaling and Carol Murphy released the following joint statement following Senate President Steve Sweeney’s announcement that the Senate will act on this legislation (A-10-3740-3437) fixing the flaws in the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act and making medical marijuana more accessible to patients:

“We are glad to see this critical bill move forward. It’s been a long road, but we have not lost sight of our goal of removing restrictions on access to medical marijuana for patients who could benefit from it. This bill will put patients and doctors back in charge of a patient’s medical care plan. We look forward to taking the next steps to ensure more New Jersey residents have access to this potentially life-changing treatment.”


SINGLETON AND ZWICKER CONDEMN GOVERNOR’S CV OF DARK MONEY BILL

The following is a statement by Senator Troy Singleton and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker in response to Governor Phil Murphy’s conditional veto of their “dark money” legislation, Senate Bill 1500/ Assembly Bill 1524:

“To say we were disappointed to learn that the Governor planned to conditionally veto this landmark legislation via press reports, before hearing from the administration, is a severe understatement. However, upon reading the conditional veto today, we are truly flabbergasted by the explanation presented.

“The Governor says that this bill ‘falls short’ of the goal to bring greater transparency to our political process. That is a gross misrepresentation of months, and frankly, years of hard work by not just those of us who prime sponsored this legislation, but the highly esteemed Executive Director of the Election Law Enforcement Commission, Jeff Brindle, who has long championed this issue. The only thing that “fell short” today was the Governor’s will to truly address the behemoth of dark money that has eroded the public’s trust in our government and the political process.

“While we are pleased we were able to draw attention to this important issue, and elevated the conversation about the need for true reform in this area, the Governor’s actions today are, ironically, an example of politics at its worst.”


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.

 

Read More Here


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. 

Read More Here