Lou in the News

Greenwald and Lampitt push bill allowing sick kids to use medical marijuana oil in school

NJ.com
June 22, 2015
Susan K. Livio
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TRENTON — As the family of a severely ill teenage girl in south Jersey sues for her right to consume medical marijuana oil at school, two state lawmakers Monday introduced a bill that would require school boards to set policies that would allow it to be used in schools across the state.

Parents or a person they designate would be required to come to the school and administer the medical marijuana dose in the form of an edible oil, according to the legislation. No one would be allowed to smoke marijuana on school grounds.

State Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt said she and Assembly Lou Greenwald (both D-Camden) were moved by the Barbours' plight. They also understand the challenge for school officials who fear they may violate federal drug laws by allowing cannabis use on school property.

"We both feel it's going to be a heavy lift," getting the bill passed, Lampitt said. "But when you put a face behind an issue like this, people realize there is a strong need. It's not arbitrary, it's real."

New Jersey lawmakers to vet Democrats' $35.3 billion budget

The Associated Press
June 22, 2015
MICHAEL CATALINI
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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The fate of New Jersey's multi-billion dollar budget is about to come into sharper focus.

The Democrat-led Legislature on Tuesday is set to take up a just-unveiled $35.3 billion budget that contrasts sharply with Gov. Chris Christie's $33.8 billion spending blueprint. During budget committee action, lawmakers are expected to vet the proposal that includes a tax increase on income over $1 million as well as a corporate business tax surcharge of 15 percent. Democrats also are making a $3.1 billion payment to the public pension, compared with Christie's proposed $1.3 billion.

The Democratic proposal comes as Christie considers a run for the White House and as the fiscal year ticks closer to its June 30 expiration. It's also a familiar legislative tug-of-war. Democrats have previously proposed raising taxes, only to see Christie line-item veto them out.

Democrats say their proposals make good on a 2011 obligation to pay into the state's pension fund despite a state Supreme Court ruling that bolstered Christie's proposal for a reduced payment.

N.J. lawmakers approve direct car sales by Tesla

Philadephia Inquirer
March 17, 2015
Andrew Seidman
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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.

Assembly Majority Leader: NJ, like the US, is beset by anxiety Read More: Assembly Majority Leader: NJ is beset by anxiety too

NJ101.5
January 20, 2015
Kevin McArdle
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“Let me share with you the anxiety of a woman that I met at the supermarket line in Berlin (NJ),” said Greenwald. “She is nervous because her property taxes have gone up 19 percent in the last five years.”

A woman in North Jersey recently asked Greenwald why she can’t find a job despite the fact that employment is up in surrounding states. He said that anxiety is real.

“Let me share with you the anxiety of a couple in their 80s outside of our church at St. Andrews in Gibbsboro, New Jersey who is concerned that they have not received their (property tax) Homestead rebate and they keep asking me week after week, ‘When is it coming?’” Greenwald saidd. “Well we know the answer to that. It is not coming under the (Christie) administration.”

The property tax problem, the economic crisis, funding the Transportation Trust Fund and reforming the public workers’ pension system can all be tackled according to the assemblyman.

“The reality is those issues can be addressed,” Greenwald said. “If we are here enough to work together to address the problems and not be afraid of the negativity of the consequences.”

In his State of the State, the governor also talked about the progress being made in the efforts to revitalize the city of Camden. Greenwald said that is an example of how problems can be solved if everyone is on board and working together.

NJ Republicans and Democrats sparring again

NJ101.5
December 19, 2014
Kevin McArdle
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Democrats and Republicans are closing out 2014 by arguing over which party was more ineffective this year.

During a press conference on Thursday in Trenton, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said top Democrats wasted 2014 trying to link Gov. Chris Christie to a scandal while ignoring the economy and the business community. But Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Voorhees) said Bramnick is wrong, and added that no one cares what Republicans in New Jersey have to say anyway.

“For the past year, the Democrats in my judgment have concentrated on the negative – Bridgegate. A year of Bridgegate hearings did anything but instill confidence in businesses in this state,” Bramnick said.

For four days in September of 2013, access lanes in Fort Lee leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed without warning causing massive traffic jams. Many Democrats believe the lanes were shutdown as political retribution because Fort lee’s Democratic mayor refused to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign. Christie has denied any involvement and an internal probe cleared him, but the scandal is still dogging the governor as he mulls a run for president in 2016.