October 1, 2014
Andrew Kitchenman
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An effort to improve the health of the homeless in New Jersey is gaining the attention of legislative and insurance-industry leaders, laying the groundwork for the statewide expansion of a program that concentrates on finding housing for the homeless before focusing on healthcare services.

Housing First, which has seen success in the Trenton area, is scheduled to expand to Camden next year. And advocates point to a growing body of evidence that it would be a cost effective way to reduce homelessness and improve healthcare quality and costs across the state. They say existing sources like Medicaid and money used to fund shelters could instead be put to provide permanent housing.

The program provides housing to homeless people, as a first step to addressing their healthcare and other social-service needs. Traditionally, public assistance for housing the homeless has been used as a potential reward for residents, but these approaches -- unlike Housing First -- have been ineffective for those with addictions and other behavioral-health needs that lead to a cycle of expensive treatments.

Greenwald Hails ‘Real, Bipartisan Progress’ in Job-Growth Legislation

September 29, 2014

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) released the following statement Monday upon the Assembly's concurrence with the conditional veto of A-3213, the Economic Opportunity Act of 2014, Part 3:

"Today's vote continues the critical bipartisan work we began last year with the Economic Opportunity Act. By streamlining and reforming a complex system of incentives, we have strengthened New Jersey's ability to attract job growth and economic development. While we have much more work to do, this bill represents real, bipartisan progress.

"This legislation also tackles an important facet of our state's overall economic health--the struggling economy of Atlantic City. By expanding eligibility for economic growth incentives to key projects, our work today is an important step toward rejuvenating Atlantic City's economy."

McKeon, Prieto, Greenwald, Mainor, Jasey & Schaer Bill to Create Statewide Gun Buyback Program Approved by Assembly

September 15, 2014

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman John McKeon, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Charles Mainor, Mila Jasey and Gary Schaer to create a statewide gun buyback program to cut back on the number of firearms out in communities throughout the state was approved 53-22-5 Monday by the Assembly.

"Gun violence claims lives every day. In some communities, it is an-all too common reality," said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). "We realize a gun buyback program alone will not eliminate gun violence, but it can help enhance public safety by reducing the number of firearms in circulation."

"A gun in the hands of a violent or disturbed individual is a bad combination," said Prieto (D-Bergen, Hudson). "This can help keep guns from falling into the wrong hands by creating a controlled environment where individuals looking to get rid of their weapons can do so safely and anonymously."

"A gun buyback program is not the be-all and end-all solution to gun violence, but it can help make a dent by giving people the option to safely discard their weapons," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "Anything we can do to reduce the number of guns in our communities is a worthwhile pursuit."

Greenwald: Christie Veto of Economic Stimulus Bill Disappointing

September 12, 2014

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) on Friday released the following statement in response to Gov. Christie's conditional veto of legislation (A-3123) he sponsored to provide needed updates to the Economic Opportunity Act:

"I am disappointed to see the governor veto this critically-needed legislation. In a time where New Jersey's unemployment rate continues to lag behind much of the nation, we need to move quickly to revitalize our economy.

"The Economic Opportunity Act has already spurred millions of dollars in new investments and thousands of jobs created, which is why providing needed updates to the improve the law is so important.

"We are reviewing the governor's proposed changes to the legislation. While we are always willing to listen to input from the governor's office, efforts to jump-start New Jersey's stalled economy would be best served by negotiations before a bill being passed, rather than through a lengthy veto process after-the-fact.

"Nevertheless, we will evaluate the governor's proposals and take the best course of action to strengthen New Jersey's economy and create jobs."

Greenwald, Moriarty & Chivukula Bill to Help Improve Natural Disaster Response Signed into Law

September 10, 2014

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula to improve the state's ability to respond to large-scale natural disasters has been inked into law.

The law (A-2025) bolsters safety inspection capacity in the aftermath of disasters like Superstorm Sandy - the scale of which can easily overwhelm local governments - by shielding licensed architects and professional engineers from liability when they volunteer to help local governments respond to major natural disasters.

"Whether it's tornadoes in Alabama, earthquakes in California or hurricanes in New Jersey, Good Samaritan laws are critical in ensuring a safe, effective and speedy response to major natural disasters," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "By passing a Good Samaritan law in New Jersey, we better prepare our state to respond rapidly and efficiently to the next Superstorm Sandy."

"Not having had this protection deterred many of these professionals from volunteering their services in times of critical need, which unduly restricted our ability to quickly and effectively provide safety inspections after a large-scale disaster," said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). "We cannot afford to go without such valuable assistance when the next big storm hits."