ATLANTIC CITY – Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the New Jersey State League of Municipalities annual conference here Nov. 15.
Some highlights of his address included:
We enacted the nation’s strongest equal pay law, and instituted paid sick leave for all workers. This means that our residents will find greater economic security, so they will be able to do more for themselves and for their families.
We put in place one of the country’s most forward-thinking automatic voter registration laws. And, the new provision for vote-by-mail resulted in more than 400,000 mail-in ballots, contributing to the record midterm turnout we saw last week. More of our residents are participating in our democratic process and that is a very good thing.
We are moving forward on a new Energy Master Plan that will move us to our goal of a 100 percent clean-energy economy by 2050. We have seen the beginnings of our efforts to bring offshore wind to New Jersey, with the BPU’s first offshore-wind solicitation, and with two of the world’s leading developers coming to New Jersey – Orsted right here in Atlantic City.
We put in place a tough law to protect the Jersey Shore from the danger of oil and gas exploration and drilling.
We designated 169 Opportunity Zones across 75 municipalities, at least one in every county. These zones, areas with great unrealized promise, are where we will focus new private business investments to create new jobs.
We also made a long-overdue commitment to properly funding our public schools, starting ourselves on a ramp-up for fully satisfying our school funding formula, and – through the work of Senate President Steve Sweeney – we also reformed that formula to better meet the realities of New Jersey in 2018.
We had to do this. School taxes make up the lion’s share of the property tax burden in the overwhelming majority of our communities. Properly funding our schools is what is needed to alleviate that weight from the shoulders of our working and middle-class families, and our seniors.
I also remain committed to putting us responsibly on a path to a $15 an hour minimum wage. Doing so will mean so much to the hundreds of thousands of working families who – despite clocking 40-hour weeks at their jobs – still can’t earn enough to stay afloat. Raising the wage will mean more money in their pockets to spend downtown, which will help keep our local economies strong.
I remain equally committed to sensible legislation to legalize adult use of marijuana, and to continue to expand our medical marijuana program, which can also be an important tool to fighting our opioid epidemic.
I know that some of you have already taken steps in your communities to prevent such sales once I sign a legalization bill into law – and, make no mistake, assuming the Legislature gets it to me, I will.
Our current prohibition has utterly failed. We have branded countless thousands of our fellow residents – mostly residents of color – as criminals for low-level possession crimes, impeding their ability to get jobs or an education. These crimes have crowded our jails, while leaving the bad guys in place on the street corner.
Legalization is the right thing to do, for safer communities, for protecting our kids, for erasing the stain that is keeping so many of our fellow New Jerseyans from a better future. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans agree. We should listen to them. I am ready to work alongside the Legislature, and each of you, to get this done.
Please remember, if you remain skeptical – we are not inventing marijuana. What we are doing is restoring social justice, putting the bad guys out of business, protecting our kids, and regulating and taxing the industry as we should.
To read Murphy's complete address click: https://bit.ly/2K7E7vx