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AT SMALL-BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE, SANDY SURVIVORS SHARE FRUSTRATIONS, ANGER

NJSPOTLIGHT
April 8, 2014
Scott Gurian
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Assemblyman Greenwald listens to tales of lengthy delays and checks that never came, despite repeated promises of NJ Economic Development Authority.

When Sandy made landfall along the Jersey Shore in October 2012, Keansburg restaurant owner Chris Madden had his hands full working his second job as a Holmdel firefighter. He said protecting his business wasn’t really among his top concerns. But while he was away, “Charlie’s Place Bar and Grill” filled with seven feet of water, part of the roof ripped off, and his brand new, $20,000 kitchen was completely destroyed.

Madden has spent the past year-and-a-half trying to apply for various state and federal grants and loans, but despite being promised he’d receive all sorts of funding, that help has yet to arrive.

“They dangle these giant carrots out in front of you,” he said. “‘Do this, do that!’ You feel like you’re jumping through hoops. I feel like a circus animal, you know?” Despite all his efforts, he’s told it could take another nine months before any money appears.

Lower capacity for gun magazines approved by NJ Assembly panel

Star Ledger
March 13, 2014
Matt Friedman
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TRENTON — Despite the protests of dozens of New Jersey gun-rights supporters — including a 9-year-old girl — a state Assembly panel today approved a bill that would reduce the number of bullets an ammunition magazine could hold from 15 to 10.

The bill (A2006), which was approved by a 5-3 vote along party lies after a three-hour-long hearing, was sought by gun-control advocates and family members of some of the 20 elementary school children killed at the sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

The measure has the support of Senate and Assembly leaders, but the question is what Gov. Chris Christie will do when it reaches his desk. Last year Christie signed several minor gun-related bills, but vetoed those most sought by gun-control advocates, including a ban on .50 caliber rifles that he had called for months earlier.

Asked about New Jersey’s gun laws at a town hall meeting in Mount Laurel, Christie didn’t say what he would do about new proposals, though he did take the opportunity to note that he had vetoed more bills than any governor since at least 1947.

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), the sponsor of the bill considered today, said that gunmen in several recent mass shootings had used high-capacity magazines, and were only disarmed when they needed to reload.

More and More Kids Smoking Electronic Cigarettes

New Jersey 101.5
February 7, 2014
Kevin McArdle
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Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity among adults because they’re odorless and smokeless, but that’s exactly the same reason the use of e-cigarettes among children is skyrocketing.

With no smoke or smell, if kids are using electronic cigarettes, it’s tougher for parents to know if they’re smoking. A pair of New Jersey lawmakers are now asking the federal government to get involved.

“Not only are electronic cigarettes a nicotine delivery device, which obviously is addictive, but there’s also other chemicals often in there and there’s also irritants, so there’s damage than can occur,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton Square). “Because of the marketing, especially with the different flavors that we’re seeing out there, we’re concerned — is this being marketed to children?”

An Assembly resolution, co-sponsored by Benson and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Voorhees) urges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Congress, and the President to enact measures overseeing the sale and use of electronic smoking devices, and to conduct research regarding the devices’ impact on the health of users and third parties.

Greenwald at Roundtable Event: On Sandy Grants, Small Business Owners Deserve Action, Not Excuses

April 7, 2014

New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) met with a group of small business owners Monday, in a roundtable event discussing the Economic Development Authority's grossly mismanaged administration of the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant program. The event, which took place at Francesco's Italian Restaurant in Highlands, New Jersey, featured several business owners expressing serious frustrations about lengthy, unexplained delays, being bounced from caseworker to caseworker, and a lack of transparency surrounding the process.

"This grant program was designed to provide small businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy a helping hand to help businesses get back on their feat," said Greenwald. "What they got instead was a horror story: endless delays, unanswered questions, bureaucratic foot-dragging, finger-pointing, and mismanagement."

"The stories I heard today from the small business owners who are the backbone of our state's economy are extremely disturbing," Greenwald continued. "When it comes to this grant program, our small business owners deserve action and answers, not excuses."

The Stronger New Jersey Business Grant program began in April 2013, with the goal of helping small business owners repair damage their businesses suffered as a result of Superstorm Sandy. The program, which provides up to $50,000 to businesses with revenues bellow $5 million, provides funds may be used by impacted businesses for working capital, inventory, equipment, furnishings, and construction.

Greenwald: Sandy Affected Businesses Need Relief Now

March 25, 2014

(TRENTON)--New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) released the following statement Tuesday, expressing shock and disappointment at ongoing delays and red tape in the Economic Development Authority's (EDA) administration of the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant program:

"It's extremely disturbing to me to learn that the small businesses devastated by Sandy- businesses that are the backbone of our economy - have encountered severe delays and red tape instead of the simple relief promised them by EDA when it announced this program.

"Out of $100 million of eligible grant money, EDA's most recent report shows that less than 20 percent has been approved to help small businesses recover from the impacts of Sandy. Out of more than 3,300 applications for this grant money, EDA's most recent report indicates only 314 grants have been approved.

"These numbers suggest a stunning lack of urgency in helping small business owners get back on their feet after one of the most historically devastating storms our region has ever faced.

"Business owners have now come forward to describe severe red tape they have faced in getting their applications processed by EDA, including serious delays, a lack of transparency and being bounced from case worker to case worker.

"It's been almost a year since the inception of this program, and fewer than 314 grants have been approved - comprising less than 10 percent of all applicants. This lack of action is completely unacceptable. These small business owners deserve action, not excuses."