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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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.”


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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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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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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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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