Bill Package Dedicated to Farmland and Historic Site Conservation Clears Assembly

Fighting to protect New Jersey’s farmland and historic sites, Assembly Democrats sponsored a series of bills appropriating constitutionally dedicated corporate business tax (CBT) revenues to preserve the state’s farms and historic sites. The bills cleared the full Assembly Monday.

The first bill (A-4733), sponsored by Assembly Members Adam Taliaferro, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, appropriates $15,000,000 from CBT revenues to the State Agricultural Development Committee for municipal planning incentive grants for farmland preservation purposes. The bill passed 79-0-0.

“New Jersey’s farmlands are the foundation for a strong agricultural industry and a way of life for generations of farm families”, said Taliaferro (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Farmland preservation is a key component for our agriculture industry to sustain itself and for it to continue to be a pillar of our state’s economy.”

“The 20 municipalities receiving grants are reliant upon the agriculture industry and must have adequate farmlands in order to thrive,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “These funds will allow for farmers to build upon an industry which has remained a key part of our state’s economic sector for years to come.”

“Our agriculture industry has been a way of life for generations of New Jerseyans. It is one of the backbones of New Jersey,” said Downey(D-Monmouth). “It is our responsibility to provide the municipalities most dependent upon this industry with the resources necessary to keep our farmlands beautiful and functional.”

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December 21, 2018

Houghtaling Bill to Publicize Information of Farm-to-Table Restaurants Signed by Governor, Now Law

Seeking to bring awareness of the benefits of fresh, clean food, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling has sponsored legislation to publically promote farm-to-table restaurants on the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism website. The bill was signed into law by Governor Murphy Monday.

“In the age of mass production and processed food, it is important to promote establishments that are providing New Jerseyans with the freshest, cleanest food,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This will also encourage our citizens to shop and eat locally grown and produced food, which is good for our economy.”

The law (A-1039) would have the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism publish all pertinent information on farm-to-table restaurants, including the name and address of the establishments, divided by region. There would be three regions, namely, north, south, and central New Jersey.

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December 19, 2018

Houghtaling Bill Establishing Farm Liaison in Department in Agriculture to Encourage Farmers to Participate in Anti-Hunger Programs Clears Assembly

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling issued the following statement Monday on the advancement of their bill (A-4708) out of the full General Assembly by a 78-0-1 vote, which establishes a Farm Liaison in the Department of Agriculture to encourage farmers to participate in New Jersey’s agricultural programs:

Houghtaling (D-Monmouth): “The responsibilities of farmers are so vast that they often lack the time or resources to learn about every program offered by the Department of Agriculture, which include taxation programs, food donations, anti-hunger initiatives, as well as other programs. By creating a Farm Liaison who can assist and encourage farmers to enroll in these programs, we will expand access to food for hungry people across New Jersey, as well as ease some of the financial and physical burdens for our state’s farmers.”

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December 17, 2018

FDA: 30-40 Percent of the Nation’s Food is Uneaten

In response to the disturbing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statistic that nearly 30-40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Joann Downey to teach consumers strategies for eliminating food waste cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee Monday.

 The bill (A-4707) would mandate the Department of Agriculture to develop a food waste public awareness campaign with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, the state’s largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization. The campaign would educate the general public about the nearly 20 pounds of food the FDA estimates each consumer wastes monthly.  According to the FDA, such waste costs the nation $165 billion each year. 

“Through this bill, we want to educate consumers and help them realize that by taking steps as simple as using a grocery shopping list, they can reduce food waste,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “By using a list, consumers are less likely to purchase unwanted, unneeded food. This is often the food that is wasted.”

As part of the campaign, consumers would also be educated on proper meat storage as well as the correct meaning of common food shopping terms such as “expiration,” “use by,” “best buy,” and “sell buy.” 

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December 17, 2018

Bill Package Dedicated to Land Preservation Clears Assembly Panel

Looking to maintain the beauty and applicability of New Jersey's farm and historic lands, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann sponsored legislation included in a multi-bill package, which cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee Monday.

The first bill (A-4733), sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, appropriates $15,000,000 from constitutionally dedicated corporate business tax (CBT) revenues to the State Agricultural Development Committee for municipal planning incentive grants for farmland preservation purposes.

“Our agriculture industry has been a way of life for generations of New Jerseyans. It is one of the backbones of New Jersey," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "It is our responsibility to provide the municipalities most dependent upon this industry with the resources necessary to keep our farmlands beautiful and functional.”

The second bill (A-4735), also dedicated to farmland preservation, and sponsored by Assemblyman Houghtaling, appropriates CBT funds to certain nonprofit organizations dedicated to land conservation.

“Without the support of vital nonprofit groups working to make New Jersey’s farmlands the best in the country, our agriculture industry would not be able to thrive," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "It is important to support these organizations in their efforts to preserve our farmlands so our agricultural sector can remain strong for years to come.”

The bills originally cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.

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December 10, 2018

FDA: 30-40 Percent of the Nation’s Food is Uneaten

In response to the disturbing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statistic that nearly 30-40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Joann Downey to teach consumers strategies for eliminating food waste cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee Monday.

The bill (A-4707) would mandate the Department of Agriculture to develop a food waste public awareness campaign with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, the state’s largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization. The campaign would educate the general public about the nearly 20 pounds of food the FDA estimates each consumer wastes monthly.  According to the FDA, such waste costs the nation $165 billion each year. 


“Through this bill, we want to educate consumers and help them realize that by taking steps as simple as using a grocery shopping list, they can reduce food waste,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “By using a list, consumers are less likely to purchase unwanted, unneeded food. This is often the food that is wasted.”

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December 10, 2018

Downey and Houghtaling Bill Including Atlantic County in “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” Advances

Recently, the Governor signed a law our bill that allows Atlantic and Monmouth Counties entry into the “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” for purposes of sharing resources including a municipal clerk, a chief financial officer, an assessor, a tax collector, a municipal treasurer, or a municipal superintendent of public works.

This bill (A-4390) allows, in addition to the positions listed in the new law, the sharing of services provided by a municipal court administrator between municipalities.

“New Jersey residents pay the highest property tax rates in the nation and sharing services is a viable path for municipalities to provide taxpayer relief,” said Downey (D- Monmouth). “Many towns have already begun to discuss sharing opportunities with neighboring towns. Our ‘Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program’ will encourage and better enable municipalities to find new ways to coordinate services and in the long run lessen the property tax burden on our residents.” 

“Simply put, shared services programs are something we should always take advantage of here in Monmouth County, especially when it comes to cost-saving measures such as the ‘Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This act will allow our municipalities to work together by combining their resources and expertise in order to increase efficiency and lower costs for our hard-working residents.”

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December 06, 2018

Houghtaling Bill Promoting Shared Services Clears Committee

Both lowering the coasts to taxpayers and increasing government efficiency, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling was approved by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee on Thursday.

The bill (A-4390) would allow two or more adjoining counties to enter into an agreement to share a county tax administrator along with their respective staff.

“Shared services programs are cost-saving measures that we should always take advantage of,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This bill allows our municipalities to work together by combining resources and expertise in order to ultimately lower costs for our hard-working residents.”

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December 06, 2018

Houghtaling and Downey Respond to Distasteful NJ 101.5 Article

In response to an article published on New Jersey 101.5’s website insensitively titled, “NJ’s Move Over Law: Dead Cops Make Bad Laws,” Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey issued the following statements:

“I am absolutely shocked by the lack of sensitivity on the part of Judi Franco, who used a sensational headline to diminish the legacy of the late New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano, who was killed in the line of duty by a driver who did not adhere to the Move Over Law,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “At the end of the day, our bill is about raising awareness for this important law — one that has been ignored countless times and has cost far too many officers and maintenance workers their lives. How someone could trivialize the death of a police officer, I will never understand. Her lack of morality and decency is appalling, while her baseless argument lacks any shred of accuracy.”

“As the daughter of a retired State Trooper, I am disgusted and insulted by Judi Franco’s complete lack of respect for the memory of Marc Castellano and apparent lack of care for the safety of New Jersey’s police officers,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “This man lost his life while serving and protecting the people of New Jersey. Do our officers not deserve the protection and sense of security the Move Over Law provides? How anyone can argue that this law is unnecessary — when its violation has already resulted in the loss of numerous innocent lives — is unfathomable. Ms. Franco is unconscionable and her argument is rooted in sheer ignorance. She should be ashamed.”

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December 06, 2018

Houghtaling and Downey Bill Imposing Points on License for Violation of “Move Over Law” Clears Assembly Panel

To better protect law enforcement officers in the line of duty, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are sponsoring legislation to revise the penalties associated with violations of New Jersey’s “Move Over Law.” The bill was advanced out of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Monday.

“Violators of the move over law are putting officers at serious risk of injury or death, and they must understand that the severity of their actions,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This bill shows how seriously we take the safety of our state’s brave police officers and will create more awareness for the current Move Over Law.”

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December 04, 2018

Houghtaling & Downey “New Jersey-Made” Bill to Develop and Designate an Official State Logo Advanced by Assembly Committee

Encouraging the state to highlight products that are made in New Jersey, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have sponsored legislation that would create an official “NJ-Made” logo which could be used by in-state manufacturers on their products. The bill was released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee on Monday.

“A state brand showcases the variety of goods and products made right here in New Jersey,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “We can celebrate and raise awareness of New Jersey’s manufacturing sector by promoting state production to anywhere the product is sold in the world. That’s just good business.”

“Many other states are similarly developing a brand for products made in their state,” said Downey (D-Downey). “I think it’s a good idea and shows pride in our manufacturing industry, NJ-based companies and invests in their success.”

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December 04, 2018

Downey & Houghtaling Legislation to Promote Small Business Growth Advances

Aiming to help promising small businesses grow and thrive in New Jersey, legislation from Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling creating the Economic Gardening Program was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities throughout the state. Many remember the business owner who gave them their first after-school job or sponsored their Little League team. When small businesses succeed, the entire community succeeds,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Taking action to bolster Main Streets in New Jersey is about lifting up municipalities statewide.”

The bill (A-1104) would establish the “Economic Gardening Program,” a program modeled after the Louisiana Economic Development's Economic Gardening Initiative which provides Louisiana-based small businesses with the information they need and succeed.

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December 04, 2018

Houghtaling Bill Establishing Farm Liaison in Department in Agriculture to Encourage Farmers to Participate in Anti-Hunger Programs Clears Assembly Panel

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling issued the following statement Thursday on the advancement of his bill (A-4708) out of the Assembly Human Services Committee, which establishes a Farm Liaison in the Department of Agriculture to encourage farmers to participate in New Jersey’s agricultural programs:

Houghtaling (D-Monmouth): “The responsibilities of farmers are so vast that they often lack the time or resources to learn about every program offered by the Department of Agriculture, which include taxation programs, food donations, anti-hunger initiatives, as well as other programs. By creating a Farm Liaison who can assist and encourage farmers to enroll in these programs, we will expand access to food for hungry people across New Jersey, as well as ease some of the financial and physical burdens for our state’s farmers.”



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Assembly Members Houghtaling & Downey