April 14, 2009

Legislative Action
This week the Assembly Budget Committee held a public hearing on the Governor’s budget proposal. The hearing focused on economic development, public safety, transportation, environment and arts, history and cultural issues. Next week both the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee will receive a budget overview and revenue forecast form the Office of Legislative Services and a budget overview from the State Treasurer.

Governor Signs Legislation on Energy Master Plan
Governor Jon Corzine this week signed three pieces of legislation that will help support both cogeneration projects, and the development of solar energy and wind energy installations.

The Governor signed A1558/S2265 which requires developers to offer solar energy systems in certain new home construction. It also provides that the Commissioner of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Board of Public Utilities, would be required to adopt standards on technical sufficiency of the solar energy systems to be installed. He also signed A2550/S1299 which permits the location of certain wind and solar facilities in industrial zones. Finally, Corzine signed A2507/S1932 which authorizes the Board of Public Utilities to use Retail Margin Fund monies to provide grants for combined heat and power production, energy efficiency projects and programs promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. This money will primarily be used to develop cogeneration facilities, and will provide a $450 rebate for every kilowatt of capacity installed.

Environmental quality and reducing the impact of greenhouse gasses has been an ongoing goal of the Corzine administration. The Governor also signed the Energy Savings Improvement Plan into law, making it easier for municipalities, among other entities, to retrofit municipal buildings and schools with energy-saving measures with no up-front costs. In 2007, New Jersey passed the Global Warming Response Act, which requires a reduction in carbon emissions to our 1990 level by 2020, and 80 percent below the 2006 level by 2050.

Assemblyman Eric Munoz Dies
Assemblyman Eric Munoz, a Republican who represented the 21st district, died suddenly on Monday from complications following surgery related to a ruptured aorta. Munoz died at University Hospital in Newark, where he worked as a professor of surgery and a trauma surgeon since 1988. He served as a member of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee and the Assembly Human Services Committee.

Munoz was sworn to the Assembly in May 2001 filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Senator Kevin O’Toole. He was elected to a full term that November and was re-elected in 2003, 2005 and 2007. He was chairman of the Summit Republican Committee from 1998-2004 and served on the Summit City Council from 1995-2001.

Munoz was born in the Bronx but grew up in Colts Neck, New Jersey. He received a B.A. at the University of Virginia in 1969 and graduated from Albert Einstien College on Medicine in 1974. He received an M.B.A. in finance from Columbia University in 1983. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and five children.

Republican members of the County Committee in the 21st district will meet to select Munoz’s successor within the next 35 days.

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