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."

Greenwald organizing property tax summit

Burlington County Times
August 13, 2014
David Levinsky
Link to original

Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald believes New Jersey’s slow economic recovery and budget woes can be traced to a single source: the state’s high property taxes.

If lawmakers can solve the property tax dilemma, Greenwald predicts other pressing issues such as the state’s underfunded pension system and replenishing transportation project funding will become substantially more manageable by extension.

“Property tax is the tumor to the cancer. The others are the symptoms to the disease,” Greenwald, D-6th of Voorhees, said Wednesday. “We need to cut out the cancer.”

With that in mind, he is assembling a bipartisan group of current and past lawmakers as well as civic and business leaders to meet this fall to devise a long-sought-after solution to reducing New Jersey’s property tax burden.

“Our goal is to bring together these business leaders, civic leaders, political leaders, and bring together their resources,” said Greenwald, who announced the endeavor this week in an opinion piece published by the Newark Star-Ledger.

Greenwald said he’s been recruiting possible participants for several months. He did not release any names, but said he hoped the final group would be assembled soon and begin meeting next month.

Greenwald: A roadmap for property tax reform

Star Ledger
August 12, 2014
Link to original

For too long, the promise of property tax reform has been stymied by political calculation and partisan gridlock, which is why it’s time for an innovative approach — one that applies lessons from elsewhere and prioritizes fairness to middle-class families and seniors.

I propose convening a series of bipartisan high-level meetings to find a way to finally tame property taxes.

We can have no sacred cows in our discussions, with no topic off-limits. We should consider all ideas to reduce the property tax burden, regardless of the political affiliation of whoever proposed it. Throughout it all, our priority would be cuts in property taxes, but nothing would be off-limits. If needed, this can become all-encompassing, as long as it involves fixing New Jersey’s economic problems.

The bipartisan talks I’m proposing would be composed of respected business, civic and community leaders, and would tackle needed reforms in a way that promotes responsible funding for our communities and fairness to our residents. Freed from political pressures, this group should be able to design a comprehensive and fundamental restructuring of the way we fund local services, providing the legislative and executive branches a roadmap for reform.

We know this won’t be easy.