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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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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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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