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N.J. lawmakers approve direct car sales by Tesla

Philadephia Inquirer
March 17, 2015
Andrew Seidman
Link to original

Electric-car manufacturers such as Tesla Motors would be able to bypass auto dealerships and sell their vehicles directly to consumers under a bill passed by the Legislature on Monday.

The Democratic-controlled Senate also tried but failed to override Gov. Christie's controversial veto of legislation that would overhaul the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Senate voted 30-2 in favor of the Tesla bill. The Assembly passed it 77-0, with one abstention, in June.

It now heads to Christie, about a year after the Motor Vehicle Commission ruled against Tesla's direct-sales model and the company's chief executive, Elon Musk, accused the governor of cutting a "backroom deal" with the auto-dealer lobby.

Christie had said Tesla needed to work with the Legislature to change the law to accommodate its model. Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the Republican governor, said the bill would "be reviewed in the 45 days we have to take action now that it has passed in a final form."

Under current regulations, cars must be sold through franchised dealers.

Bill to Create Tax-Free Savings Accounts for Individuals with Disabilities Advanced Assembly Panel

March 20, 2015

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Daniel Benson to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

The bill (A-3956) would establish a program within the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities known as ABLE - Achieving a Better Life Experience - in accordance with the federal "Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014," which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014.

"The goal of this law is to ease the financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover many day-to-day expenses," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This is an important tool to help provide financial security throughout their lives."

"This new law will allow people with disabilities to open specialized accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government programs," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "Even more importantly, individuals can keep their Medicaid coverage no matter how much money they accrue in an ABLE account."

To be eligible, individuals must have a condition that occurred before age 26 and each person may only open one ABLE account. As set forth in the federal law, qualifying disability expenses would include expenses made for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including:

· education expenses;

· housing and transportation expenses;

Greenwald, Eustace, Moriarty, Lampitt & McKeon Bill to Strengthen Auto Industry & Keep Tesla in New Jersey Signed into Law

March 18, 2015

Legislation New Jersey Assembly Democrats Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Timothy Eustace, Paul Moriarty and Pamela Lampitt sponsored to permit certain zero emission vehicle manufacturers to directly sell motor vehicles to consumers and require them to operate service facilities has been signed into law.

The law (A-3216) keeps Tesla in operation in New Jersey. Under a Motor Vehicle Commission decision, automobiles had to be sold through franchises.

Under the law, Tesla will be allowed to sell directly to consumers at up to four licensed locations in New Jersey. Manufacturers engaging in direct sales will also be required to operate at least one retail facility in the state for vehicle service, thus addressing public safety and consumer protection concerns.

"Tesla is an innovative company that has produced a top-rated, environmentally conscious product," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "Their commitment to innovation, job-creation and customer satisfaction is precisely the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we should be encouraging in New Jersey. That's why getting this bill signed into law was so important."

"As an electric car driver, I'm honored to be part of this effort to find solutions to keep a state-of-the-art product and the future of the auto manufacturing industry right here in New Jersey," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This will incentivize entrepreneurship, create jobs, promote environmental protection and address the important concerns of consumers in our state."

Greenwald Statement on Domestic Violence Roundtable with Gabrielle Giffords

March 18, 2015

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald issued the following statement on Wednesday after meeting with former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, with whom elected officials and domestic violence advocates discussed the need for laws that protect women and families from gun violence:

"Having survived the senseless act of violence that took place in Tucson four years ago, Congresswoman Giffords has displayed a sense of relentless resolve - both personally and as a staunch advocate for a safer nation - that inspires us all to continue fighting for commonsense measures to reduce gun violence.

"According to a 2014 report from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Center for American Progress, one in three women killed in our state was the victim of domestic violence homicide. Knowing this, it is only right and responsible that we work together to take action.

"As the sponsor of legislation to limit domestic abusers' access to firearms, I am honored to have Congresswoman Giffords support this cause in New Jersey. Every day, in homes right here in our state and nationwide, years of physical and emotional abuse come to an abrupt and tragic end. More often than not, the difference between a domestic dispute and a homicide is the presence of a gun.

"Our push for responsible gun laws is about protecting the fundamental right of every resident of New Jersey to live in peace. No one - whether they're outside the local grocery store or in the middle of the living room - should live with the fear of becoming a gun violence statistic."

Bill to Strengthen Auto Industry & Keep Tesla in New Jersey Gets Final Legislative OK

March 16, 2015

Legislation New Jersey Assembly Democrats Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Timothy Eustace, Paul Moriarty and Pamela Lampitt sponsored to permit certain zero emission vehicle manufacturers to directly sell motor vehicles to consumers and require them to operate service facilities received final legislative approval 30-2 by the full Senate on Monday.

The bill (A-3216), which now heads to the Governor's desk, would keep Tesla in operation in New Jersey. Under a Motor Vehicle Commission decision, automobiles must be sold through franchises.

Under the legislation, which was approved by the Assembly in June, Tesla will be allowed to sell directly to consumers at up to four licensed locations in New Jersey. Manufacturers engaging in direct sales would also be required to operate at least one retail facility in the state for vehicle service, thus addressing public safety and consumer protection concerns.

"Tesla is an innovative company that has produced a top-rated, environmentally conscious product," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "Their commitment to innovation, job-creation and customer satisfaction is precisely the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we should be encouraging in New Jersey. Unfortunately, the Motor Vehicle Commission's decision threatened to hamstring those efforts."