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.”


FDA: 30-40 Percent of the Nation’s Food is Uneaten Bill Aims to Teach Best Practices for Eliminating Food Waste

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, Assemblywoman Joann Downey has introduced legislation to teach consumers strategies for eliminating food waste. The bill cleared the Assembly Human Services committee 6-0 Thursday.

The bill (A4707) 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.

“Implementing strategies as simple as utilizing a grocery shopping list can help consumers 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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Downey Resolution Designating Thursday of Third Week in September Each Year as “Food Waste Prevention Day” Clears Assembly Panel

Assemblywoman Joann Downey issued the following statement on the advancement of her joint resolution (AJR-172) out of the Assembly Human Services Committee naming the Thursday of the third week in September as “Food Waste Prevention Day,” in order to increase awareness of the harms of food waste and limit waste in New Jersey:

Downey (D-Monmouth): “Each year in the United States, approximately 160 billion pounds of food end up as food waste, while about 12 percent of households lack consistent access to adequate food. This is unacceptable. By dedicating a day to our country’s food waste epidemic and educating the public on this critical issue, we can reduce the financial, environmental and social impacts of food waste, and make sure that good food ends up with people who need it rather than in the trash. As chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, I am proud that we advanced this resolution today.”


Downey & Houghtaling Bill Including Monmouth County in “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” Now Law

Combining municipalities’ resources in an effort to ease the burden on taxpayers, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling that would add Monmouth and Atlantic Counties as pilot counties for purposes of “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” was signed into law by the Governor on Tuesday.

Previously, five counties were designated as “pilot counties” under that law: Camden, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Warren counties.

“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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Houghtaling and Downey Create “A Day In the Life — Type 1 Diabetes Day”

It’s the second most common chronic illness in children behind asthma and its incidence rate is rapidly increasing worldwide.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease with no known cause and no current cure. That means there is a growing community of people living with type 1, and their loved ones, who are not giving up on science and hope until there is a cure.

Following an inspiring meeting with junior ambassadors from JDRF, New Jersey legislators Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, both representing the 11th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly, proposed a joint resolution to create New Jersey’s first ever type 1 diabetes awareness day — also known as T1D —to be held each November.

Officially titled “A Day in the Life – Type 1 Diabetes Day,” the date is confirmed for November 19, 2018, and subsequently will occur on the Monday before Thanksgiving each year.

“In an increasingly divisive world, we are proud to support a holiday that underscores the importance of inclusion, understanding and compassion,” says Assemblywoman Joann Downey.

“We are asking the residents of New Jersey to walk a mile in the shoes of a neighbor living with type 1 diabetes in order to gain a deeper understanding into the challenges they face on a daily basis. At the same time, we are shining a spotlight on those who live with this disease, and encourage the community to learn more about the individual as a whole, rather than define them by their disease.”

“Diabetes impacts a significant proportion of New Jersey’s population, with approximately 11 percent of our adult population diagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “With so many of our residents impacted by this disease, it is important that we do our part to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and establish a supportive community upon which New Jerseyans living with diabetes can rely.”

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Assembly Members Houghtaling & Downey