Legislation sponsored by Sen. Donald Norcross, D-Camden, that would ensure public work is done by qualified contractors cleared the full Senate Monday. The bill requires that any contractor or subcontractor who contracts for public work must demonstrate that it is a responsible bidder.
Bidders have to submit certification that the contractor or subcontractor has valid and effective licenses, registrations or certificates; has not been debarred by a federal or state government agency or authority in the past three years; and has not had any type of business, contracting or trade license, registration or other certificate suspended or revoked in the past year.
Norcross highlighted Friday the success of new craft brew regulations, two years after they were signed into law.
The law, which cuts red tape, encourages more independently-owned microbreweries and brew pubs to open in New Jersey.
Since passage, more than a dozen breweries have opened or expanded, with still more in the works.
Two of the state’s most recent breweries slated to open are in Camden County — Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing of Cherry Hill and Lunacy Brewing of Magnolia.
The craft brewery law increased barrel production limits for brew pubs to 10,000 gallons per year, and allowed these businesses to sell their products to liquor stores and restaurants.
Legislation to facilitate operations for the agriculture industry was released Monday by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
The bill, co-sponsored by John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, and Celeste Riley, D-Cumberland, exempts certain temporary farm structures from permit and transition area requirements under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act of 1987. The installation of temporary farm structures, including hoophouses and polyhouses, would be categorized as “normal farming activity.”
Funds for police
U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, both D-N.J., announced Wednesday more than $12.2 million in federal funding through the U.S. Justice Department’s COPS Program to hire 87 additional police officers to patrol the streets of New Jersey.
The Camden County Police Department will receive $3.2 million to hire 15 officers.
Crop protection law
The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Monday approved a bill co-sponsored by Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, D-Camden, to boost farming in New Jersey and make it easier for farmers to protect their crops through improved wildlife management.
Animal protection approved
The Senate Monday passed legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Fred H. Madden, D-Gloucester, to better protect animals from accidental poisonings through stronger enforcement of a state law requiring antifreeze manufacturers to add a bittering agent to the sweet-tasting liquid.
The Senate Monday approved a bill co-sponsored by Madden to improve the state’s program for screening newborns for congenital disorders in New Jersey hospitals.
The program would screen all infants born in the state based on the list of disorders that is recommended by the Newborn Screening Advisory Review Committee and approved by the Commissioner of Health.
The measure permits parents of newborn infants to opt out of having their child screened.
The Senate Monday passed legislation co-sponsored in the Assembly by Riley, Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, and Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden, to assist breakfast programs in schools, particularly for underprivileged children.
The bill requires the state to make every effort to assist school districts and nonpublic schools in increasing the participation rate of students in the federal School Breakfast Program by establishing a “breakfast after the bell” regimen.
Check fraud protection
The Assembly approved legislation Monday co-sponsored by Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester, to make it illegal to mail unsolicited checks that, once cashed, enroll consumers in costly programs, giving it final legislative approval.
The Senate on Monday approved legislation co-sponsored in the Assembly by Riley requiring the state to establish standards for exposure limits to mold in residential buildings and certification of mold inspectors and abatement workers.
Also on Monday, the Senate passed legislation co-sponsored by Moriarty to prohibit advertisers from sending unwelcome and unsolicited advertisements to consumers via text messaging.
Animal cruelty protections
The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee released legislation Monday co-sponsored by Singleton and Herb Conaway Jr., D-Burlington, which bars individuals convicted of animal cruelty offenses from owning pets and working in close contact with animals.