Murphy SOTS; NJ Legislature re-organizes; Community Solar expands; Winter4Kids is top non-profit biz of 2023; NorthStar’s Mann sworn in

NorthStar Strategies TrueNorth Insights

Murphy delivers sixth State of the State address

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy delivered his sixth annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature in the General Assembly chambers on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.  Read NorthStar’s recap of the address including initiatives proposed for 2024.

221st Legislature convenes, swears in 37 new members

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The 221st New Jersey Legislature convened on Tuesday January 9, 2024 with 37 new members being sworn in.  The new Legislature represents significant turnover from the one that adjourned Sine Die the evening before.  Ten new Senators and 27 new members of the General Assembly took their oaths of office during Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony in Trenton.

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin became the longest serving Assembly Speaker in New Jersey history with his election to a fourth term.  Senator Nick Scutari was elected to a second term as Senate President.  Senator Tony Bucco and Assemblyman John DiMaio were elected Minority Leader of the Senate and General Assembly, respectively.

In the Assembly, Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, Majority Whip Carol Murphy, and Majority Conference Leader Annette Quijano will continue in their leadership posts.  Gary Schaer will take on an expanded leadership role as policy chairman.  Verlina Reynolds-Jackson will be the constituent outreach chair.

With 27 new Assembly members taking office and the departure of twelve committee chairs, Speaker Coughlin has reorganized his chamber’s committee structure and leadership as follows: 

Budget Committee:  Eliana Pintor Marin will begin her seventh year as the powerful Budget Committee chair, with Benjie Wimberly as the vice chair.

Appropriations Committee:  Lisa Swain continues as chair, with Reynolds-Jackson serving as vice chair.

Aging and Human Services Committee:  Coughlin has combined the Aging and Senior Services Committee and the Human Services Committee, with Shanique Speight leading the new Aging and Human Services Committee.

Community Development and Women’s Affairs Committee:  The Speaker has eliminated the Women & Children Committee and appointed Shavonda Sumter to chair the new Community Development and Women’s Affairs Committee.

Children, Families, and Food Security Committee:  A new panel important to Coughlin’s legislative agenda, the Children, Families, and Food Security Committee, will be led by Shama Haider.  The Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee has been eliminated.

Commerce, Economic Development, and Agriculture Committee:  William Spearman will lead the Commerce, Economic Development, and Agriculture Committee.   He replaces Britnee Timberlake, who chaired Commerce and Economic Development before her election to the Senate.

Financial Institutions & Insurance:  Roy Freiman will assume the chairmanship of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, replacing John McKeon who was elected to the State Senate.  Schaer will serve as vice chairman.

Regulated Professions Committee:  Sterley Stanley is the new chair.  He replaces Thomas P. Giblin, who retired after eighteen years as an assemblyman.

Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee:  Clinton Calabrese is the new chair of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

Judiciary Committee:  The new Judiciary Committee chair will be Ellen Park.  She replaces Raj Mukherji who has moved up to the Senate.

Labor Committee:  Anthony Verrelli, a former Carpenter’s Union official, replaces the now-retired Joseph Egan.

State and Local Government Committee:  Verrelli had previously led the quietly powerful State and Local Government Committee; that panel will now be run by Robert Karabinchak.

Public Safety and Preparedness Committee:  Joseph Danielson will trade his Oversight, Reform, and Federal Relations Committee chairmanship to head up a new committee, Public Safety and Preparedness.  The new panel combines two previous committees: Law and Public Safety, and Homeland Security.

Oversight Committee:  Reginald Atkins will replace Danielson as Chair of the Oversight Committee.

Higher Education Committee:  Linda Carter will succeed now-retired Mila Jasey as chair of the Higher Education Committee.

Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee:  Bill Moen is the new chair.

Environment, Natural Resources, and Solid Waste Committee:  Coughlin has eliminated the Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources; some of those responsibilities will now fall under the rebranded Environment, Natural Resources, and Solid Waste Committee chaired by James Kennedy.

Consumer Affairs Committee:  William Sampson is the new chair, replacing Paul Moriarty who is now a Senator.

A number of incumbent chairs will continue to helm their committees, including:

  • Education Committee:  Pam Lampitt
  • Health Committee:  Herb Conaway
  • Housing Committee:  Yvonne Lopez
  • Veterans and Military Affairs:  Cleopatra Tucker
  • Telecommunications & Utilities:  Wayne DeAngelo
  • Science, Innovation & Technology:  Chris Tully

Community Solar Energy Program expands

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New Jersey’s Community Solar Energy Program - one of the most successful and robust in the nation - is about to become even more so.  Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a law officially expanding the program.  Read more about the Governor's bill signing here.

Community Solar allows New Jersey renters and homeowners to receive between 15% and 20%  in savings each month on their electric bills by tapping into solar power even if they can’t put panels on their own homes.  Community Solar projects are built on large commercial structures and connect to the grid through a utility company.   Projects range in size up to 5 megawatts, which is enough to power 100,000 homes.

The legislation signed by Murphy was introduced by State Senator Bob Smith and then-Assemblyman John McKeon (who just moved up to the State Senate).  The program is implemented by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities under the leadership of President Christine Guhl-Sadovy.

Community Solar’s success in New Jersey is due in large measure to NorthStar client, Solar Landscape.  Based in Asbury Park, Solar Landscape is community solar’s leading developer and has pioneered the model of generating solar energy on commercial rooftops for community solar.  According to November 2023 data from nonprofit Groundswell, Solar Landscape is now the nation’s leading community solar provider to lower-income households.

In addition to providing a source of clean power, this success is paying dividends for customers.  Solar Landscape has just announced that its 10,000+ community solar subscribers have saved more than $1 million off their energy costs, an average of $247 per household.

NorthStar Strategies is proud to represent Solar Landscape and help this homegrown Jersey company reach even greater heights.

    Winter4Kids is top nonprofit business of the year


    Winter4Kids has been awarded NJBIZ’s Non-Profit Business of the Year for 2023.

    NJBIZ named nine companies and one individual as winners of the 2023 Business of the Year awards during a December 14 ceremony.  Finalists were selected by an independent panel of judges.

    Launched in 2006, NJBIZ’s Business of the Year program recognizes the state’s most dynamic companies and business leaders who share a commitment to professional excellence, business growth and the community.

    Winter4Kids is led by its dynamic founder and CEO, Schone Malliet, pictured above with NorthStar's Director of Government Affairs, TJ Mann.  The organization’s mission is to improve the lives, health, and fitness of young people through winter and summer activities.  Its vision is to be recognized as the leading provider of outdoor winter and summer activities for kids that change and save lives.  By 2027, Winter4Kids will be serving 11,000 kids annually.

    NorthStar is proud to represent Winter4Kids and support the mission of this incredible organization.

      Mann sworn in as Holmdel Planning Board member


      On Tuesday January 9, 2024, NorthStar Strategies Director of Government Affairs TJ Mann was sworn in and seated as a Member of the Planning Board of the Township of Holmdel, New Jersey.

      A respected leader in the Holmdel community, TJ was appointed to the Township Planning Board by Mayor Rocco Impreveduto.  His term runs through December 31, 2027.

      TJ’s responsibilities as a Member of the Planning Board include the Township’s Master Plan; the Capital Improvement Program; subdivision and site plan review; and reporting to the Township governing body on proposed developments. A big consideration for the the Holmdel Planning Board will be the proposed redevelopment of a large parcel of land previously owned by Vonage.

      TJ is active in his community in a number of ways.  He also serves as a coach for Holmdel Youth Lacrosse which won the Coastal Lacrosse League Championship for the first time last Spring.  When he's not crushing it for NorthStar's clients or considering important matters before the Planning Board he can be found on the sideline of many youth sports events either coaching or cheering his kids throughout the year.

      NorthStar applauds TJ for his commitment to public service and to his community.