Say NO to lawmakers who wish to downgrade safety standards and mismanage taxpayers dollars

Say NO to lawmakers who wish to downgrade safety standards and mismanage taxpayers dollars

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Lorena Montecalvo started this petition to New Jersey Governor and

August 8, 2019 story taken from The Philadelphia Inquirer):
https://www.inquirer.com/news/new-jersey/blueberry-farm-new-jersey-violations-migrant-workers-water-pollution-fire-code-20190808.html

(August 19, 2019 podcast from  WHYY The Why)
https://whyy.org/episodes/trouble-in-the-blueberry-capital-of-the-world/ 

(August 27, 2019, updated story taken from The Philadelphia Inquirer):
https://www.inquirer.com/news/blueberry-farm-new-jersey-violations-migrant-workers-water-pollution-fire-code-20190827.html 


As evidenced in the attached August 8, 2019, Philadelphia Inquirer article -- N.J. blueberry farms house workers in storage sheds, pollute groundwater, it is evident that numerous disingenuous and harmful agendas involving a decades-long, local produce/blueberry industry have been at work for far too long.  The farmers involved in these agendas, between housing seasonal farm workers in pole barn sheds and pumping septic/grey water into the protected New Jersey waterways and leaching water in areas close to where the blueberries are being grown, have only recently been given, at best, a slap on the wrist by the local, state, and federal agencies in New Jersey.  In issuing notices of violations and not enforcing them, these agencies have allowed these farmers to create an unsafe and unhealthy environment for consumers and seasonal farm workers alike. Further, these agencies have failed to inspect all of the farms for these violations resulting in only minimal enforcement at the least.

It is extremely important for the taxpayers to be aware of four Bills, ( A-5534 ; A-5535 ;  A-5536 and A-4491 ) proposed by the New Jersey Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee within the New Jersey Assembly and unanimously voted yes on June 13, 2019, which are collectively designed to--

*Downgrade the fire safety requirements for housing seasonal and permanent migrant workers.

*Provide “training” for fire officials to be prepared for the downgraded fire standards.

*Prevent all municipalities in New Jersey from administering stricter enforcement regulations (allowing the State Department of Agriculture to maintain control and status Quo).

FURTHER,  Bill A4491 seeks TAXPAYERS’ DOLLARS INSTEAD OF RESTITUTION BY THE FARMERS by permitting the Commissioner of Community Affairs to allocate, at the Commissioner’s discretion, resources from the New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund to be used to fund farm worker housing projects. YES, THE SAME FARMERS WHO POTENTIALLY MAY HAVE AND CONTINUE TO POLLUTE OUR WATER AND ABSCOND FUNDING FROM BOTH STATE & GOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMS. THE SAME FARMERS THAT ARE EVADING REQUIRED HOUSING PERMITS AND INSTEAD, HOUSE MIGRANT WORKERS IN POLE BARN SHEDS (LIKE FARM ANIMALS).  Now, legislature is attempting to dupe the taxpayers by dipping into funds set aside for the needy to pay for housing for millionaire farmers who refuse to comply with laws that have been in existence for over forty (40) years as they stall enforcement.

Meanwhile, enforcement has been intentionally stalled and systematically thwarted by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, who has coveted these investigations involving the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA); the Department of Labor; the Department of Fire Code Enforcement; the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as well as county and local agencies. 

The bills in question were brought forth by the State Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, comprised of:
Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Chair,  AsmHoughtaling@njleg.org;
Assemblyman Adam J. Taliaferro, Vice Chair,  AsmTaliaferro@njleg.org;
Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese,  AsmCalabrese@njleg.org;
Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, AsmDancer@njleg.org;
Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam, AsmMilam@njleg.org and
Assemblyman Parker Space, AsmSpace@njleg.org.

Presently these Bills are  Recommitted to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Please contact these assemblymen, as well as Governor Phil Murphy, constituent.relations@nj.gov  and object to these proposed bills and demand these farmers to adhere to the same fire safety standards set forth for decades. THESE BILLS ARE COLLECTIVELY A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS’ DOLLARS AND SEEKS ONLY TO PROTECT THE FARMERS AND POTENTIALLY LINE THE POCKETS OF THOSE WHO SEEK TO TURN A BLIND EYE.

ASK WHAT IS BEING DONE TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE TO LAWS ENFORCING PROTECTION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT AND FOOD SAFETY!!

 

 

 

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