Preserving Open Space and Strengthening the Farming Industry
- Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli supported the passage of a constitutional amendment to establish a long-term source of sustainable funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s open spaces, parks, waterways and historic sites. The amendment was passed by voter approval in November of 2014. We are working with our colleagues on legislation to implement this amendment.
- Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli sponsored a law that would exempt certain temporary farm structures, including hoophouses and polyhouses, from the permit and transition area requirements of the “Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act.”
- Assemblyman Burzichelli authored the “New Jersey Rural Microenterprise Act,” a law which will provide for agriculture-related events to be held on preserved farmland if the owner of the land first obtains a permit from the county agriculture development board to hold such an event.
- In an effort to replicate the success of New Jersey’s “Jersey Fresh” program, Assemblyman Taliaferro introduced legislation that would establish the “Jersey Canned Goods Program” and the “Jersey Frozen Foods Program.” The department would adopt policy to promote the sale of canned goods and frozen foods that were made in New Jersey and create a labeling program to identify products as New Jersey agricultural commodities.
- Assemblyman Taliaferro is sponsoring legislation that would expand and promote the use of New Jersey’s Farm Fresh products. The package of bills would support the expansion of New Jersey’s Farm to School and Farm to Restaurant program and establish a Farm to Public Institution of Higher Education program. The legislation would enable the Department of Agriculture to expand its role in the promotion of New Jersey Farm Fresh products in local schools and restaurants.
Promoting South Jersey’s Wine Industry
- Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli authored a law that allows for the direct shipping of wine to New Jersey consumers. This grants New Jersey residents greater opportunities to enjoy their favorite wines, as well as provide an economic boost to the state’s burgeoning wine industry.
- Assemblyman Burzichelli sponsored a law to promote New Jersey wineries and farms by requiring the Department of Agriculture to post on its website, information regarding the location and contact information of wineries and farms in New Jersey.
- Assemblyman Taliaferro introduced legislation that would cut down on industry regulation and make it easier for small local wineries to operate. The bill would exempt certain wineries from governmental filing requirements imposed on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of litter-generating products whose wine sales amount to more than $500,000. The majority of wineries do not reach this sales threshold, making the fee inapplicable, and rendering the filing requirement unnecessary.
- Assemblyman Taliaferro is working on legislation that creates viticulture trail tourist directional signs for the region’s growing wine trails and tourist industry.
Developing Renewable Wind Energy
- Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli worked in 2010 to pass the “Offshore Wind Economic Development Act,” which established an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program, and authorized the Economic Development Agency (EDA) to provide tax credits for qualified wind energy facilities in wind energy zones. This legislation is critical to the Port of Paulsboro project, and will be instrumental in bringing jobs into New Jersey.
- Senator Sweeney is a proponent of New Jersey’s continued admittance into the ten-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). New Jersey’s current membership into RGGI has been suspended by Governor Christie, which mandates that energy producers pay for credits to emit any carbon into the environment.