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Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Measures Become Law

(TRENTON) – Gov. Jon S. Corzine today signed into law three Assembly Democratic measures designed to improve energy efficiency, expand solar and wind energy production and promote solar energy usage in new homes.

The first bill (A-1558) sponsored by Assemblywomen Linda R. Greenstein, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Pamela R. Lampitt promotes the installation of solar energy panels in newly constructed homes.

“We can vastly improve the quality of life for all New Jersey families by encouraging investment in solar energy systems in all new houses,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “Sound public policy and environmentally responsible practices can come together to provide dividends for generations.”

The new law requires a developer of 25 or more residential units to offer to install a solar energy system when a prospective owner enters into negotiations, provided installation of such a system is technically feasible as determined by the Department of Community Affairs in consultation with the Board of Public Utilities.

“We must reduce our reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels by making use of renewable energy resources that can save consumers money and reduce the burden on our precious natural resources,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “By using solar energy for heat and electricity we can significantly decrease dangerous greenhouse gases emissions.”

Greenstein/Watson Coleman/Lampitt Bill to Promote Solar Energy Passes Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assemblywomen Linda R. Greenstein, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Pamela R. Lampitt sponsored that would promote energy efficiency through the installation of solar energy panels in new homes was approved today by the Assembly.

The Assembly voted 72-5-2 to approve the bill. It was to receive Senate consideration later today.

“We can vastly improve the quality of life for all New Jersey families by encouraging investment in solar energy systems in all new houses,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex-Mercer). “Sound public policy and environmentally responsible practices can come together to provide dividends for generations.”

The measure (A-1558) would require a developer of a residential development of 25 or more units to offer to install a solar energy system when a prospective owner enters into negotiations, provided installation of such a system is technically feasible as determined by the Department of Community Affairs in consultation with the Board of Public Utilities.

“We must reduce our reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels by making use of renewable energy resources that can save consumers money and ensure our precious natural resources,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “By using solar energy for heat and electricity we can significantly reduce the emission of dangerous greenhouse gases.”

Public Assembly Budget Hearing Schedule Announced

(TRENTON) – Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Louis D. Greenwald today announced that the panel will hold three public hearings as committee members begin their examination of Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed Fiscal Year 2010 state budget.

“Hearing directly from residents makes these among the most important sessions this committee ever holds,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “Especially with the challenges we face this year, the input and ideas we receive from residents and community leaders will be invaluable.”

Greenwald said all three hearings will be held in Committee Room 11 of the State House Annex to maximize the building’s Internet capabilities and expand public access to the proceedings. All hearings will be carried live via the Internet – something that could not be done when the committee held its hearings in remote locations – and will be archived on the Office of Legislative Services’ Web site.

“In the past, the only way for the public to fully participate and follow these hearings was to physically attend them,” said Greenwald. “Now, every minute of these hearings will be easily accessible.”

The dates and topics for the public hearings are:

-March 24 – Health, Human Services, Senior, Family and Children’s Issues;
-March 26 – Education, Higher Education and Local Government Issues;
-April 2 – Public Safety, Economic Development, Transportation, Environment, Arts, History and Cultural Issues and any other subjects not listed.

Assembly Panel Clears 10-Bill Package to Improve Internet Safety

Comprehensive Package Stems from Attorney General Milgram’s Initiatives; Would Enhance Penalties and Laws to Protect Children on the Internet

(TRENTON) – The Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously released a sweeping 10-bill package Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein and 13 other Assembly Democratic lawmakers sponsored that would give law enforcement enhanced abilities to crackdown on child Internet crimes.

The 10-bill package, among other things, would upgrade penalties and crimes for offenders who communicate in a harassing, sexually offensive or abusive manner with minors on Web sites and through electronic communication.

The bills are part of Attorney General Anne Milgram’s Internet safety initiatives.

“This 10-bill package would give law enforcement the tools they need to better protect children who use the Internet for education and recreation,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer), who is sponsoring each bill. “No longer will Web sites be the playgrounds of criminals looking to prey on vulnerable children.”

Beach, Greenwald, and Lampitt Urge Residents to Apply for ‘Senior Freeze’ Program for Property Tax Relief

Offices of 6th District Legislators to Assist Eligible Seniors, Disabled Residents in Completing Applications for Tax Relief

(VOORHEES)– Senator James Beach, Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Louis Greenwald, and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (all D-Camden) today urged seniors and those with disabilities to take advantage of the state property tax reimbursement program known as the “Senior Freeze.”

“Our senior citizens and residents with disabilities are feeling the one-two punch of economic recession and rising property taxes,” said Beach. “For many eligible New Jerseyans, the ‘Senior Freeze’ means much-needed relief.”

Now in its eleventh year providing reimbursement to eligible seniors and disabled residents for property tax increases, the “Senior Freeze” deadline is June 1 this year. Under the program, eligible applicants receive direct reimbursement for the difference between the property tax amount paid in their “base year” (the first year a resident became eligible and filed for the program) and the amount paid in the current year. 

“In tough economic times, every penny counts, especially if you’re living on a fixed income,” said Greenwald. “I urge eligible residents to apply for the ‘Senior Freeze,’ which can provide significant savings.”