Assembly Bill to Ban Smoking in Public Parks & Beaches Clears Assembly Committee

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to prohibit smoking at public parks and beaches was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.

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Houghtaling Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Bill Continues to Advance in Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling to require LIHEAP handbooks to be updated annually and provide quarterly trainings for employees on administering the program cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a federally funded program that allows the State to provide assistance to help low-income residents cover home energy costs.

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Houghtaling and Downey Bill Authorizing Sports Betting Clears Assembly Committee

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey authorizing casinos in Atlantic City, racetracks and former racetracks to conduct wagering on professional and collegiate sport or athletic events cleared the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee on Monday.

“This is about fairness, freedom, job creation and economic development,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. “Places like Monmouth Park and Freehold Racetrack have been left in the dark for far too long. Finally, this will no longer be the case.”

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Gopal, Houghtaling, Downey Applaud Completion of Monmouth County Dredging Projects

With New Jersey’s busy summer season just beginning, Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey are pleased that the  New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has completed two dredging projects in the 11th Legislative District.

The NJDOT recently announced the completion of dredging projects in the Shark River and the Shrewsbury River. These projects were vital in restoring these local waterways, many of which had been shoaled in since Superstorm Sandy, limiting boating options, emergency response, and commercial vessel traffic in the area. These channels are now considered to be in a state of good repair for the 2018 boating season, and will provide access to enhanced recreational and economic activity for summer visitors and residents alike.

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Houghtaling and Downey Bill Expanding Issuance of Alcoholic Beverage Licenses Advances

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to issue additional alcoholic beverage licenses to a project area in three municipalities and at which a federally owned or operated military installation is closed and transferred to a government entity for the purpose of conversion, redevelopment, or revitalization advanced Monday in the Assembly.

Under the current law, a municipality may issue one plenary retail consumption license, for bars and restaurants, for each 3,000 of its population. This bill provides that an increase in population resulting from residential development in a formerly federally owned or operated military installation would not be included in the calculation issued to new licenses.

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Downey Bill Requiring DEP to Update Shore Protection Master Plan Advances

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey requiring the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to update the New Jersey Shore Protection Master Plan was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.

“It is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure the beautiful property and infrastructure down the Shore maintains its viability,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “We have suffered through some brutally destructive storms over the past several years, partially due to climate change, and the creation of managerial lists will allow us to effectively and efficiently protect our shoreline properties from coastal storm damage, erosion and rising sea levels.”

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Assembly Bill to Establish Loan Program for N.J. Wineries Advanced by Assembly Panel

Legislation aiming to help New Jersey’s burgeoning winery industry create jobs and economic development was advanced Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The bill (A-1046), sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, directs the EDA, in consultation with Department of Agriculture, to establish a loan program for certain vineyard and winery capital expenses.

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Houghtaling Bill to Help Prevent Vandalism on Farmlands Moves through Senate

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling to protect agricultural and horticultural lands against trespassing and vandalism was approved by a Senate panel on Thursday.

“This helps protect agricultural businesses in the state from encroachment that can damage crops and put a damper on their business,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. “Farming is an expensive venture. Damage caused by trespassing, whether intentional or not, should be rectified.”

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Houghtaling and Downey Host Senior Health Q&A

In an effort to engage Monmouth County’s senior community and emphasize the importance of healthy living, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey hosted a Senior Health Q&A on diabetes Wednesday.

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Houghtaling & Downey Remind Drivers to “Move Over” Ahead of Busy Memorial Day Weekend

        With more than one million New Jersey drivers expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are reminding drivers that they must move over if they spot an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.  

        According to AAA, more than one million New Jersey residents will travel this Memorial Day Weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years.

        The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28.

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Downey Bill Requiring DEP to Update Shore Protection Master Plan Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey requiring the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to update the New Jersey Shore Protection Master Plan cleared the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Thursday.

“It is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure the beautiful property and infrastructure down the Shore maintains its viability,” said Assemblywoman Downey.

“We have suffered through some brutally destructive storms over the past several years, partially due to climate change, and the creation of managerial lists will allow us to effectively and efficiently protect our shoreline properties from coastal storm damage, erosion and rising sea levels.”

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Houghtaling and Downey Applaud Signing of Earle Bill

Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are pleased to announce Governor Phil Murphy signed their bill designed to unburden the Tinton Falls School District into law on May 16.

The bill (A1114) requires new students residing on Naval Weapons Station Earle to attend the Colts Neck School District for grades K-8. Traditionally, students who live on the base -- the residential section of which is located within Colts Neck -- attended school in Tinton Falls. However, the district was not compensated for the additional students and as a result faced an undue financial burden.

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Houghtaling and Downey Support Supreme Court Decision to Allow Sports Betting in NJ

Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow sports betting in New Jersey:

“This decision stands to directly impact Monmouth County -- the home to the Monmouth Park Racetrack and Freehold Raceway -- not to mention the state at large.  In order to expedite this process, we have already introduced a bill that would allow this form of gambling at New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks. We are confident this decision will positively impact our local economy and provide job security to the countless individuals employed by this industry,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“We fully support the Supreme Court’s decision to allow sports betting in New Jersey. Our racetracks have struggled in recent years but we are confident this bill is just what the industry needs to excite and attract customers once again. We look forward to guiding New Jersey through this process to ensure we implement this change quickly but effectively to gain the most benefit for New Jersey and for customers. This will ultimately help taxpayers by bringing in more State revenue, as well,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey.

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