Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Message From Senator Menendez on Connecticut School Shooting

No More Senseless Tragedies

Dear Friend,

The senseless, horrific tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday has shaken us all to our cores.  We ask ourselves, why?  Today, I spoke on the Senate floor to join with every American in expressing our deep and abiding grief as a nation and our deepest -- most heartfelt -- condolences to the families of the victims.

As the father of two, this strikes painfully close to my heart, painfully close to the heart of every parent.  There is no greater sorrow -- no deeper pain -- than the enormous grief that these families are suffering: 20 innocent children, 6 teachers and school employees and their families.  No parent should ever have to bear the unspeakable pain of losing a child, especially to this type of tragedy.
Enough is enough. 

We must ensure the Newtown tragedy marks a turning point when we are all willing to come together and do what’s right.  As we pray for the victims, I believe we must commit ourselves -- as a nation -- to a long-overdue debate about gun violence and how we help those who suffer mental illnesses in our society.
We must finally pass common sense gun laws.  No more politics. No more excuses.

Robert Menendez
United States Senator
Please do not reply to this e-mail as this address is not monitored. To contact my office, please use the contact form found on my website at

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Riley, Mosquera, Moriarty & Fuentes Bill to Help Domestic Violence Victims Seek Justice Against their Abusers Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Celeste M. Riley, Gabriela M. Mosquera, Paul D. Moriarty and Angel Fuentes to allow domestic violence victims to testify against their abusers via closed circuit television under certain circumstances was released Thursday by an Assembly panel. 

“Many victims struggle with reporting their abusers out of fear for their safety. The same fear extends to testifying against them in court,” said Riley (D- Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This bill ensures a victim can have her day in court without being intimidated by her abuser.”

“Having to recount an abusive relationship in front of your abuser can be unnerving for an individual who’s been battered,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Allowing victims to testify via close-circuit television allows them to confront their abusers without fear.”

“Domestic abuse is traumatic. Some victims are so frightful of their abusers that they would rather not press charges or even testify in court for fear of retribution,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This bill makes it easier for victims to come forward and get justice.”

“It takes a lot of courage and strength for victims of domestic abuse to face their perpetrators. We should be able to accommodate these victims who want to hold their abusers accountable, but are too afraid to do so under their glare,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). 

The bill (A-3219) would allow a domestic violence victim to testify against an alleged abuser via closed circuit television in prosecutions for a crime or offense involving domestic violence.  

Under the bill, the court may, following a hearing, order the taking of the testimony out of the presence of the jury, defendant, or spectators. Closed circuit testimony would be allowed if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that there is a substantial likelihood that the witness would suffer severe emotional or mental distress if required to testify in open court.

The bill was released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Green, Sumter Bill to Help Communities Transform Idle Hospitals into Newly Productive Health Care Centers Clears Committee

Legislation Would Provide Tax Credits to Help Redevelop Aging/Obsolete Hospitals

(TRENTON) – An Assembly Panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green and Shavonda E. Sumter to help transform ailing or obsolete hospitals into productive healthcare facilities once again.

“Shifts in population, economic pressures and scientific advancement often lead to the construction of new hospital facilities and the closing of older hospitals,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union).  “This is unfortunate for the communities that house these once productive hospitals because they often contribute greatly to local employment and tax revenue.  This legislation would aid in repurposing former hospitals health in a positive transition to health centers that can still provide much needed support to the community.”

“If we can help transform these former hospitals into centers for the delivery of other health care services and health support services then we can achieve a win-win for our communities,” said Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). “The bill would support the transition of former medical buildings into viable, productive community centers and service support for other hospitals in the area.”

The bill (A-3043) targets facilities that were general hospitals but that have been granted a certificate of need to cease operation as a general hospital. These “qualified health care facilities” can be renovated and redeveloped as a health care and health support services center.  

Specifically, the bill would grant corporation business tax credits to developers who make certain capital investments for repurposing qualified health care facilities. 

The bill would allow the developer of a repurposed qualified health care facility to qualify for corporation business tax credits equal to 100 percent of the capital investment, if that capital investment is at least $10 million and is applied towards repurposing a facility that will have tenants with a total of 100 or more full-time employees. Annually for ten years the taxpayer may use a credit equal to 10 percent of the qualified capital investment. The bill was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Diegnan’s ‘Tabitha’s Law’ Requiring Parents to Notify School of a Child’s Absence Signed into Law

Measure Inspired by Nashville Teen’s Disappearance is Designed to Help Law Enforcement in the Event of a Missing Child

 (TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. to require parents to notify a school if a child will be absent, and in turn require schools to notify parents if a student fails to attend - an idea stemming from the tragic disappearance of a Nashville teen – has been signed into law.

            “It’s well known that the first few hours of a child’s abduction are the most vital to the recovery process,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex).  “Tabitha's Law is meant to provide families and law enforcement with an early warning trigger during that critical time.  Our hearts go out to the family of Tabitha Tudor who to this day still has not received complete closure.”

The law (A-1902) requires parents to notify school administrators whenever their child will be absent from school, and requires administrators to contact parents whenever a pupil is absent without the parent's having provided prior notice. 

On the morning of April 29, 2003, 13-year-old Nashville, Tennessee student, Tabitha Tudor, did not show up for school. 

Although school administrators had received no notification from Tabitha's parents that she would be absent that day, the school failed to alert the Tudors of their daughter's unexplained absence.  As a result, her parents did not learn that Tabitha was missing until after her father arrived home at 4:45 p.m.  Due to the delay, law enforcement officials and Tabitha's parents lost an entire day before their search could begin.  Tabitha is still missing.

Josef C. Gutenkauf (October 13, 1925 – December 8, 2012)

Josef C. Gutenkauf
(October 13, 1925 – December 8, 2012)

On behalf of the Plainfield Democratic Committee I would like to send my condolence to Joe's wife Dottie and the rest of the Gutenkauf Family.

You couldn't have found a better and more loyal Democrat and also a personal friend then Joe Gutenkauf he's in a better place but all of us that knew him will always remember what a wonderful man he was.

Josef Charles Gutenkauf, 87, a 30-year resident of Plainfield, NJ, died Saturday, December 8th, 2012 at JFK Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family. Born October 13, 1925 in Chicago, he was the son of Joseph and Martha (Madison) Gutenkauf, and spent much of his childhood on the family farm in Clifton, IL. A World War II Army veteran, he served during the liberation of the Philippines and in the occupation of Japan. After the war, he attended the University of Chicago, where he received a B.A. in History.

Active in the Civil Rights movement, Joe joined the Socialist Party in 1944, and in 1948 served as executive secretary of the Chicago branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), working with Bayard Rustin, Michael Harrington, Norman Thomas, and many other noted political and intellectual luminaries. He was a founding member of what is now Democratic Socialists of America.

At Southern Illinois University, he met fellow Sociology graduate student Dorothy Miller, and they were married in 1964. Joe enrolled in the graduate program at Syracuse University in 1966, joined the faculty at Ithaca College, and later taught at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University). After moving to New Jersey, Joe worked at the NJ Treasury Department’s Affirmative Action Office until his retirement in 1992, and was a member of the American Federation of Teachers and the Communications Workers of America. He was an avid WWII historian, a voracious reader, and a terrific cook, and loved classic films and European history.

An active member of the Plainfield community, Joe worked on political campaigns for school board and for candidates for local, state and national office. A member of the Democratic City Committee for many years, Joe worked to abolish the death penalty, achieve marriage equality, and keep - and later restore – Plainfield’s Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. He received awards for his commitment to social justice from the Plainfield Area NAACP and Garden State Equality.

Joe is survived by his devoted wife of 48 years, Dottie Gutenkauf; his daughter, Polly Armour and her husband, Jay of Gardiner, NY; and his son, Jon Martin and his partner, Craig Roseberry of New York City. He was the beloved brother-in-law of Alice Gutenkauf of Morton Grove, IL; uncle of Diane Gutenkauf and her husband Michael Hassan of Elmhurst, IL, and Karen Gutenkauf of Broken Arrow, OK; grandfather of Sarah and Josh Armour; and cherished friend to Joan Hervey and Linda Geczi and to his loyal canine companion, Sheba. Joe was predeceased by his dear brother Martin.

At his request, his remains have been donated to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Plainfield Rescue Squad at P.O. Box 707, Plainfield, NJ 07060, and to the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players at 302 West 91st St, New York, NY 10024.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Congratulations Mayor-Elect of Scotch Plains Kevin Glover

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Mayor-Elect Kevin Glover on his victory in Scotch Plains.

I had the opportunity to work with him over the years as a councilman and when he decided to run he asked for my advice and support. I shared with him that as a mayor there’s a commitment that you have to be mayor for all people and it’s a 24/7 job. I saw then his commitment and saw in him the ability and I am confident he will do a good job.

I am also committed to the Township of Scotch Plains.

Today he offered me the honor of swearing him in as the next Mayor of Scotch Plains. I told him I would be happy and honored to swear him in.

I look forward to working with him as one of his Assembly representatives of the 22nd district. So again I want to take this opportunity to thank him publicly for the honor of swearing him in.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Green, Singleton, Jasey & Wimberly Bill to Help Rid Neighborhoods of Vacant, Nuisance Properties Now Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey and Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly authorizing lenders to foreclose mortgages on vacant and abandoned properties has been signed into law.

“Vacant properties are problematic for neighborhoods. More than being unsightly, they drag down property values and attract criminal activity,” said Green. “This law will help clear neighborhoods of these nuisance properties by changing a process that can take over a year in most foreclosure cases, and compact it to a few months.”

The law (A-3248) authorizes lenders to bring summary actions to foreclose mortgages on vacant and abandoned residential property. In order to secure entry of a foreclosure judgment, the lender will have to follow procedures in addition to those set out in the “Fair Foreclosure Act” and the Rules of Court. The court may enter a final residential mortgage foreclosure judgment under the law if it finds that the residential property is vacant and abandoned, and that a review of the pleadings and documents filed with the court supports the entry of a final judgment. The court may not enter a final residential mortgage foreclosure judgment if it finds that the property is not vacant or abandoned, or the mortgagor or any other defendant has filed an answer, appearance, or other written objection asserting defenses or objections that provide cause to preclude the entry of judgment.

“These are properties that have been left behind by their owners to sit and deteriorate without thought or concern to the impact they might have on neighborhoods,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “This law will help speed up the foreclosure process for these problematic properties and provide much needed relief to neighborhoods that must deal with the headaches they create.”

“It’s unfair to neighbors who keep up their properties to have these dilapidated properties just sit there,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “If a property has been abandoned by its owner, and the owner has let the property fall into such a state of disrepair that it represents a blight on the community, then the court should be able to step in so municipalities can turn these properties around.”

“Abandoned properties not only attract trouble, but can be dangerous depending on the extent of neglect and disrepair. Neighborhoods should not be held hostage by the irresponsibility of these property owners,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “This law will help these communities reclaim their neighborhoods from these properties and the nuisances they attract.”

Under the law, real property would be deemed “vacant and abandoned” if the court finds that:

· The mortgaged property is not occupied by a mortgagor or by a tenant who entered into a lease agreement before the mortgagee served notice of intention to commence foreclosure under section 4 of the “Fair Foreclosure Act” and;

· There exists at least two of 15 conditions enumerated in the bill which indicate vacancy and abandonment.
Real property would not be considered “vacant and abandoned” under the following circumstances:

· There is an unoccupied building on the property which is undergoing construction, renovation, or rehabilitation that is proceeding diligently to completion, and the building is in compliance with all applicable ordinances, codes, regulations, and statutes;

· There is a building occupied on a seasonal basis, but otherwise secure; or

· There is a building that is secure, but is the subject of a probate action, action to quiet title, or other ownership dispute.

Wisniewski Urges Republicans to Work With President Obama on Middle Class Tax Cuts

(Trenton)– With less than a month remaining before the New Year, President Obama is committed to fighting for an extension of the middle class tax cuts and working toward a balanced approach to reducing our nation’s deficit.  Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, issued the following statement:

“Even as people in our state were still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey voters went to the polls this November and elected President Obama with a larger margin than we had in 2008.  We sent a clear message to Washington: we support President Obama and want Congress to work with him to help middle class families and find a solution to bringing down America’s deficit in a balanced manner.  President Obama has a plan that reduces our deficit by $4 trillion. It asks the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and continues making the investments needed for economic growth – such as key investments in small businesses, American manufacturing, education, and clean energy.

As many New Jerseyans are still struggling after the devastation wrought by Sandy, we need Congress to renew the middle class tax cuts and offer these families relief and certainty at a time when they need it most.  If Congress does not act, New Jersey families- some of whom are still displaced from their homes- will see an income tax hike of $2,200.  We call upon New Jersey Republicans, both in Congress and in Trenton, to urge their colleagues to do the right thing by coming to the table and agree with the President on a credible plan that pays down our nation’s deficit and protects the investments that will continue to grow our economy.”

Insurance & Utility Issues Related to Sandy, Casino Gaming at Meadowlands for 2014 Super Bowl & Innovative Social Impact Bond Top Thursday Assembly Agendas

Fire Safety, Energy Receipt Property Tax Payments Also on Tap
(TRENTON) – Insurance issues related to Superstorm Sandy, the state utility industry’s response to the storm and the role higher education played in the planning and response to it highlight Thursday’s Assembly agenda, along with legislation to allow temporary casino gaming at the Meadowlands during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Also on tap is innovative legislation to create a five-year pilot program that allows private entities to fund public policy initiatives through pay-for-success contracts, or social impact bonds.
            The hearings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. They will be streamed live at:

The agenda is attached. Highlights include:

·         The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee will meet at 10 a.m. to receive testimony on insurance issues facing New Jersey residents in the aftermath of Sandy, including responsiveness to insurance claims submitted and the extent of insurance coverage available to restore homes and businesses. The committee will hear testimony from the Department of Banking and Insurance, organizations involved in providing property and casualty insurance in the state and other invited guests. Members of the public are also welcome to testify.
·         The Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee will meet at 10 a.m. to take testimony from utility industry representatives concerning the utilities’ response efforts to Sandy to date as well as the industry’s ongoing and remaining efforts in the aftermath of the storm.
·         The Assembly Higher Education Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. to hear from representatives from New Jersey's institutions of higher education to discuss the role of the higher education community in recovery efforts following Sandy.
·         Legislation (A-3266 and ACR-160) to allow temporary casino gaming at the Meadowlands complex for the 2014 Super Bowl will be discussed. The resolution seeks voter approval to amend the state Constitution to allow it. The bill provides for regulation and enforcement. They’re sponsored by Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hudson), Jerry Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset) and Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen) and will be discussed at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.
·         An innovative measure (A-3289) sponsored by Angel Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Albert Coutinho (D-Essex) to create a five-year pilot program that allows private entities to fund public policy initiatives through pay-for-success contracts, or social impact bonds. The bill will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
·         A bill (A-1570) sponsored by John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), Jerry Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset) and Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris) to require fire suppression systems in new single- and two-family homes. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
·         Legislation (A-2753) sponsored by Daniel R. Benson and Wayne DeAngelo (both D-Mercer/Middlesex) that would require certain energy tax receipts currently collected by the state be paid directly to municipalities for property tax relief. The intent of the bill is to ensure towns are able to collect the amounts of energy tax receipts that they were originally promised when the state revised the collection and distribution process in 1997. Energy tax receipts are collected from utilities and energy companies. The bill will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

Prieto Calls Proposed Privatization of New Jersey’s Award-Winning Lottery ‘Troubling’

(TRENTON) – Assembly Budget Committee Chair Vincent Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson) on Wednesday issued the following statement after the committee’s hearing on the administration’s proposal to privatize the New Jersey Lottery:

“This latest proposal to monetize one of our most profitable and well-run assets is troubling to say the least. Absent any testimony from the administration, we appear to be looking at a plan to forfeit substantial long-term revenue for a one-shot upfront payment that will hurt small business owners and deprive us of considerable revenue to serve students, veterans and the disabled. 

“Privatization should be reserved for when the government cannot perform that function well on its own. In the case of our award-winning lottery system, we have one of the most efficient operations in the world. 

“At the end of the day, it appears that the only one that stands to benefit from this proposal is the company chosen to take over this asset,” said Prieto.

Schaer, Lampitt, Giblin & Mosquera Bill to Require Health Benefits Coverage of Early Refills of Eye Drop Medicine OK’d by Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Pamela Lampitt, Thomas P. Giblin and Gabriela Mosquera to require health insurance providers to cover early refills of prescription eye drops under certain circumstances was approved Monday by the full Assembly. 

“Anyone who has used eye drops knows how easy it is to miss or have more than one drop fall from the bottle. Punishing patients who rely on prescription drops to treat diseases like glaucoma for this inevitability is unfair and puts their well-being at risk,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This bill helps ensure that people do not skip taking critical prescription eye drops simply because they spilled or lost some of their eye drops and were not allowed by their insurer to get an early refill.”

The bill (A-3080) requires, in certain circumstances, that health insurers that provide coverage for prescription eye drops provide coverage for expenses incurred for a refill of prescription eye drops in accordance with Guidance for Early Refill Edits on Topical Ophthalmic Products provided to Medicare Part D plan sponsors by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

The CMS issued guidance on topical ophthalmics to prevent the unintended interruption of drug therapy in situations where patients legitimately need earlier refills of prescription eye drops. While the guidance acknowledges that health insurers monitor appropriate refill periods as part of utilization management, it also recognizes that self-administration of drops may involve some reasonable amount of waste and that earlier refills may be appropriate in some circumstances.

The requirement to provide this coverage is conditioned on two factors: (1) the prescribing health care practitioner indicates on the original prescription that additional quantities of the prescription eye drops are needed; and (2) the refill requested does not exceed the number of additional quantities indicated on the original prescription by the prescribing health care practitioner.

 “The refill limits imposed by insurance providers leave no room for error which is unfair to patients who depend on this medicine to treat serious eye problems,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “The bill won't let patients get any more medicine then their prescription allows, it simply allows them to get the next refill sooner when they actually need it.”

“These quantity restrictions can be difficult to meet. It’s not about being wasteful, it’s about being human,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “Individuals who rely on prescription eye drops to treat certain diseases should have the peace of mind that their refills will be covered if their drops run out before their insurance company says they should.”

“Individuals who use prescription eye drops to treat diseases like glaucoma can’t risk missing even a couple of days of medicine,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “They should not have to go without important medicine because their usage on occasion did not meet the timeline set by their insurance company.” 

The bill was approved 69-7 by the Assembly on Monday and now awaits further consideration by the Senate. 

Assembly Democratic Leadership on Final Legislative Approval Of Bill to Boost New Jersey’s Minimum Wage

Measure Would Increase Minimum Wage to $8.50/hr; Requires Annual Adjustments

(TRENTON) – Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex), Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), Majority Conference Leader Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) on Wednesday issued a multimedia package on the final legislative approval of their bill to increase New Jersey's hourly minimum wage to $8.50 and require the rate to then be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.

The multimedia package consists of a video of the sponsors discussing the benefits of their legislation and the need to increase the state’s minimum wage and audio and a transcript of same.

The video can be accessed directly via our website – – or by pasting the following link into a Web browser: The audio file is available upon request. 

The Assembly initially voted to approve the bill in May. The Senate approved it on Thursday. The Assembly then had to reconsider it because of amendments that moved the effective date to March 1, 2013 and the start of the CPI indexing to Jan. 1, 2014.  The Assembly gave final legislative approval to the measure by a vote of 44-33-1.  It now heads to the governor.

The bill is sponsored by Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic), Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex), Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), Speaker Pro Tem Jerry Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset), Majority Conference Leader Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) and Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex).

Speaker Oliver, during the Assembly reorganization ceremony in January, announced increasing the minimum wage – which is currently $7.25 per hour – would be a Democratic priority this legislative session.

The bill (A-2162) specifically increases New Jersey's hourly minimum wage rate to $8.50 on and then requires it be adjusted annually based on any increase in the Consumer Price Index, with the adjustment taking effect on July 1 of each year.

A transcript of comments by Assembly Democratic leadership is appended below:

Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex):
“The minimum wage is the legal minimum that an employer can pay anybody in the State of New Jersey.  The current minimum wage, at $7.25 an hour, puts a family at below the poverty rate.”

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex):
“Minimum wage earners bring home approximately $15,000 a year.  That translates into about $290 a week.
“You cannot afford housing, food, transportation, medicine; the things you need just to have a modicum of a quality of life on minimum wage.  And we’ve not elevated the minimum wage in New Jersey since 2005.  We all know that the cost of living has gone up, and I think it is imperative – morally and ethically – for the state legislature to take action to elevate the minimum wage.”

Majority Conference Chair Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen):
“This bill raises the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour and also ties the minimum wage to the CPI – the Consumer Price Index.
“Now, what does that do for a person who’s in that income bracket?  It makes their life just a little better, because now they will have more money to take care of their family to take care of their expenses.  But also, the impact of this is that this money goes right back into the economy.”

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson):
“It’s so important, because the working poor of the State of New Jersey, a lot of them work for minimum wage and a lot of them supplement their income with minimum wage.  And we think that an increase, it’s the right thing to do.  We need to help out the most vulnerable in the State of New Jersey.”

“There are families that need this money.  There are families that are working hard, playing by the rules, but struggling to get ahead.  And it’s our obligation as a legislature; it’s our obligation as a state to create the rules that allow these families to earn just a little bit more.”

Assembly to Move Job Creation & Economic Development Bill Package

Effort Aims to Create New Jobs, More Robust Economy as Part of Sandy Recovery

(TRENTON) – Members of the Assembly Democratic leadership – Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex), Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden) and Budget Committee Chair Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) – on Tuesday issued a multimedia package in which they announced the Assembly will focus much of its December activity to an extensive job creation and economic development initiative.

The multimedia package consists of a video of the news conference announcement by Assembly Democratic leadership and audio of same.

The video can be accessed directly via our website – – or by pasting the following link into a Web browser: The audio file is available upon request. 

The December effort will build off the final legislative approval (A-2162) recently given by the Assembly to increase New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour and adjust it annually in order to create a more livable wage for working class residents and in turn boost economic activity.

A detailed agenda will be announced soon, but highlights will include:

·         Revised legislation sponsored by Oliver to create the Back to Work NJ job creation and economic growth initiative. The governor has vetoed previous versions of the job training bill modeled after a successful Georgia program, but the Speaker remains committed to fighting for its passage.
·         The New Jobs for New Jersey tax credit program to provide incentives to small private sector employers who increase their workforce by hiring unemployed workers. It’s sponsored by John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Wayne DeAngelo and Daniel R. Benson (both D-Mercer/Middlesex).
·         Legislation sponsored by Gabriela Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden) to authorize creation of a new corporate structure designed to create high-paying manufacturing jobs.
·        Legislation sponsored by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) to help more small-, women- and minority-owned businesses qualify for economic development assistance.
·         Various bills to support veteran-owned businesses and businesses that employ veterans and to help veterans find work.
·         Legislation sponsored by Singleton and Benson to provide tax credits for qualified investment in biotechnology businesses.
·         A bill to provide tax credits for investing in New Jersey’s emerging business technology sector. It’s sponsored by Annette Quijano (D-Union), Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen), Nelson Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland), DeAngelo and Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).
·         A bill to encourage training in labor fields with workforce shortages. It’s sponsored by Oliver, Greenwald, Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris), Watson Coleman, Connie Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington).