Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

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Preserving Open Space and Strengthening the Farming Industry jersey corn

  • 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, farmland, parks, flood prone areas, and historic sites. The amendment was approved by voters in November of 2014.
  • A package of funding initiatives sponsored by Senator Sweeney, Assemblyman Burzichelli, and Assemblyman Taliaferro was passed by the Legislature and signed into law in January of 2019. The bills appropriated more than $25 million for the purpose of farmland preservation and incentive grants at the county and municipal levels.  The package included $4 million in farmland preservation grants to Alloway, Mannington, Pittsgrove, Pilesgrove, and Upper Pittsgrove Townships in Salem County.
  • All three members sponsored a law in 2019 that establishes a statewide program for the cultivation, handling, processing, transport, and sale of hemp and hemp products. Once approved by the federal Department of Agriculture, this program will create opportunities for investment and expansion in the State’s agriculture industry. Hemp farming will create jobs and foster economic growth in the South Jersey region and across the State.
  • Assemblyman Burzichelli authored the “New Jersey Rural Microenterprise Act,” a law that permits 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.
  • As Vice-Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Assemblyman Taliaferro has been a leader in addressing food insecurity and a vocal supporter of promoting New Jersey Farm products. He sponsored a law that creates a pilot program aimed at providing food desert communities access to fresh and affordable produce. In addition, he has led efforts to expand student participation in the State’s school breakfast program and to encourage schools to donate excess and unused food. He also sponsored a new law that designates the last full week of July of each year as “Buy Local Week.”

Promoting South Jersey’s Wine Industry

  • Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli authored a law that allows for the direct shipping of wines produced both in-State and out-of-State to New Jersey consumers. This grants New Jersey residents greater opportunities to enjoy their favorite wines, as well as provides an economic boost to the state’s rapidly growing wine industry.

winery grapes

  • Assemblyman Burzichelli sponsored a law to promote New Jersey wineries and farms by requiring the Department of Agriculture to post information on its website regarding the location and contact information of wineries and farms in New Jersey. Agritourism is critical to ensuring the viability of New Jersey’s agriculture industry.
  • Assemblyman Taliaferro sponsored legislation enacted in February 2019 that directs the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to establish a loan program for certain vineyard and winery capital expenses.  Like other farms, vineyards have limited access to the capital needed to purchase equipment and grow their operations. This law will provide vineyard operators access to those needed funds.


Clean Energy

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  • 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.
  • In 2018, the legislators authored legislation that established a zero emission certificate program for nuclear power plants. This law ensures that New Jersey’s three Salem County nuclear power plants, which emit zero greenhouse gases, will remain open and New Jersey will continue to benefit from their operations.
  • Senator Sweeney was also a prime sponsor of the 2018 Clean Energy Act, which enhanced the solar energy program and the offshore wind program, established a new energy efficiency requirement for utilities, and promoted clean energy in several other ways.
  • Senator Sweeney is a strong proponent of New Jersey’s continued participation in the ten-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which mandates that energy producers pay for credits to emit any carbon into the environment. New Jersey’s membership in RGGI was suspended by Governor Christie, but in 2019 New Jersey re-joined the compact.