Tag: Jon Bramnick

Bramnick supports landscape choice without government interference

Source: The Star-Ledger -

What does Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, the Republican leader of the Assembly, have in common with a nature-loving hippie?

Jon Bramnick

The answer: They both see the good sense in allowing Jersey homeowners to turn their yards into miniature nature preserves without running afoul of the local code enforcement officer.

Bramnick (R-Union) has just put in a bill that would offer a legal shield to those who replace grass lawns with a richer variety of native plants that can provide better homes for bees, butterflies, and other critters that can find no niche in the neatly manicured lawns that dominate suburbia.

A sweeping, manicured lawn, is the landscaping equivalent to driving a Hummer.

Consider the benefits: No fertilizers running into local streams when it rains. No lawnmowers spewing fumes. No weed whackers. And a new bountiful look that breaks from the tight-wad feel of so many suburbs.

Bramnick was inspired by his wife, Patricia Brentano, who has turned their front lawn into a mini-preserve. The neighbors, it turns out, don’t mind a bit.

“I’m just keeping the government out of your face if you want to do it,” says Bramnick (R-Union).

When you see a sweeping, manicured lawn, don’t consider it a thing of beauty. It is the landscaping equivalent to driving a Hummer. Bramnick’s bill would allow you to make a different choice.

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Westfield Could Lead the Way as Bramnick Bill Makes Growing Environmentally Friendly Gardens Easier

Source: TapInto.com -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick held a press conference Friday at his home in Westfield to talk about legislation that encourages homeowners to provide native habitats for birds and other wildlife. The bi-partisan bill, which passed the New Jersey General Assembly in June with unanimous support (76-0), establishes a native species habitat certification program and would make it easier for homeowners to grow native grasses and other native plants.

Jon Bramnick

“It’s not government getting in your face. It’s government getting out of your face,” said Bramnick.

Bramnick said that the bill was inspired by his wife, Patricia Brentano, who convinced him to help her transform their yard into habitat that supports local wildlife, including birds and pollinating insects. To demonstrate her point, Brentano later showed off native wildflowers in her backyard, audibly buzzing with bees.

“I’m very concerned that my granddaughter will live in a sterile world with no food,” Brentano said.

In front of their home, Bramnick told the crowd, “It’s not, as you can see, a traditional front lawn,” pointing out the native grasses that grow there. Bramnick said he has never received complaints about what’s growing in their yard.

Brentano, an artist, runs the Facebook page Rescaping the Suburbs with the New Jersey Audubon Society about adding native plants to suburban properties. She has been growing plants that support wildlife for more than five years, she said, and she hopes that Westfield will lead the way in doing so in New Jersey. Plans are underway to use grant money to add native plantings to Mindwaskin Park, she noted.

Mayor Andy Skibitsky expressed his support.

“You can see how passionate Patricia is, and that’s why we put her on our Green Team,” said Skibitsky. “We do want to make Westfield a community to showcase this idea.”

In addition to looking beautiful, Brentano said, native plantings need little maintenance and help reduce the amount of water and pesticides used. For more information about native plantings, she recommended visiting www.njaudubon.org.

The legislation was sponsored by Bramnick, Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli and Deputy Republican Leader Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz. Before it can become law, it must next pass in the New Jersey Senate and be signed by Governor Chris Christie.

“I think it’s all part of a big package of non-regulatory things that people can do,” said Kelly Mooij, vice president of government relations at New Jersey Auduban Society. “It’s all about people taking an active role in their backyards.”

Brentano said she hopes that more consumer demand for native plants will lead to more availability, too.

“Small steps, big changes,” Brentano said. “It’s a mindset change.”

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Bramnick, Munoz Seek Answers on NJ Transit Commuter Woes

Source: TapInto.com -

After a week of of major delays for New Jersey commuters, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, Sen. Tom Kean and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz demanded answers from Amtrak. The Republicans believe Amtrak has failed to keep part of its obligations to NJ Transit and to commuters.

“After the series of delays this week, commuters deserve a detailed explanation as to what’s going on as well as what is going to be done to prevent these issues from reoccurring,” said Kean in a press release. “Delays of this nature wreak havoc on commuters’ schedules and their work obligations. It is simply unacceptable.”

Jon Bramnick

“People need to get to work, but every day this week there has been trouble. It is aggravating and unacceptable,” said Bramnick. “It costs money and productivity when hard-working New Jersey residents can’t get to their jobs.

“Commuters want to know what’s happening and why it is happening,” Bramnick continued. “We’re not getting what we’ve paid for, and we’re looking for answers.”

“The infrastructure hasn’t been upgraded, and the rail lines are suffering from years of minimal upkeep,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, head of the Mayor’s Coalition for the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition. “This has been no real investment along the rail lines; the equipment is decades old.”

“Our community is tied into Manhattan, it really impacts us,” Mahr added. “You can’t raise rates across the board by nine percent and have service that is so poor. It is unacceptable.”

Mahr fears that people may start to weigh driving as an option.

“Our roads are in no better shape. Overall, we’re not investing enough in our transportation system.”

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Bramnick, Munoz blame Amtrak for commuter delays

Source: Politico -

Amtrak alone is responsible for massive delays on NJ Transit trains in and out of Penn Station this week, Governor Chris Christie said on Friday.

“NJ Transit commuters were victimized by nearly an entire week of extreme delays and cancellations for one reason only: Amtrak’s indifference to New Jersey commuters and its abject neglect of the infrastructure that New Jersey and our entire region relies upon,” Christie said in a statement released by his office.

Nancy Munoz

Jon Bramnick

Christie’s fellow Republicans backed the governor without explicitly naming him. In a joint press release, State Senator Tom Kean, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz accused Amtrak of “failing to keep up their part of the bargain” and requested a meeting with Amtrak officials.

Amtrak operates two cross-Hudson rail tunnels which NJ Transit also uses. The tunnels, a century old and operating at near-capacity, suffered severe flood damage during Hurricane Sandy. In 2014, Amtrak C.E.O. Joseph Boardman said the tunnels will have to be shut down within 20 years if they are not replaced. Federal transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said the situation is “almost criminal,” criticizing the leadership of both New York and New Jersey.

Power failures in the aging tunnels led to numerous delays of more than an hour in and out of Penn Station this week.



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Bramnick’s Assembly Bill Encourages Responsible Landscaping

Source: PolitickerNJ -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) welcomed members of the press and the New Jersey Audubon Society to his Westfield home this morning to discuss a bill that will allow homeowners to landscape with native species that are environmentally responsible.

The Assemblyman is one of the sponsors of Assembly Bill A-3133. The bill calls on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to allow homeowners to establish private wildlife habitats on their own properties, even if the habitats violate municipal nuisance ordinances. His own yard features one of the habitats.

“I work with the Audubon Society and we decided that if you want to do something that is environmentally sensitive it doesn’t have to do with government,” Bramnick told PolitickerNJ. “A municipal official shouldn’t decide what people can do in their own yards.”

The habitats the bill is pushing municipalities to allow feature plants that are native to New Jersey and allow homeowners to create landscapes with materials other than grass. Introducing these native species also has to potential to greatly reduce maintenance costs due to the decreased need for utility use.

“Grass uses a lot of water but it is not something that is really helpful to the environment,” said Bramnick. “Indigenous plants do a lot even if you only add them to a small part of your yard. They are helpful the birds, bees, butterflies, pollinators, and they don’t use a lot of water since they are meant to grow in New Jersey.”

Though Bramnick’s home has one of these habitats on site, he says that the bill is in no way pushing the building of these on homeowner’s properties but, instead, is just “giving them the option.”

“This bill is really about limited government,” Bramnick said. “It is about if you want to do something different in your yard not getting hassled for wanting something other than grass and having different options.”

Bramnick’s wife Patricia Brentano is a landscape artist. It is through her work that Bramnick says he first learned about creating landscapes that were beneficial to local environments and wildlife.

“She showed me that landscaping can be environmentally sensitive and responsible,” Bramnick said.

A-3133 passed by unanimous vote in the New Jersey General Assembly in late June. Now, the bill is awaiting vote in the Senate.

“I am hopeful this will get passed,” said Bramnick who cosponsored the bill with Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3).

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Bramnick: Ditch your lawn and plant native habitat instead

Source: Star Ledger -

“Nature is not neat,” Patricia Brentano reminded the crowd surveying the native grasses in her front yard Friday morning.

Brentano, an environmental artist and the wife of N.J. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, has spent the past few years turning her front and back yards into habitats that support wildlife and wants others to ditch “cookie-cutter lawns” and follow her lead.

Brentano teamed up with her husband, other legislators and NJ Audubon, to support a bill that would give homeowners who plant native grasses, wildflowers a defense against pesky zoning laws that prohibit them from doing so.

The bill – sponsored by Bramnick and Deputy Republican Leader Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz – establishes a native species habitat certification program for homeowners. It has already passed the Assembly.

Brentano said she made the decision to create native habitats at her home after watching a neighbor cut down 12 trees.

“I watched people tear down trees and build big houses and put in huge lawns and a lot of ornamental plants, and it’s not benefiting nature or man at all,” she said. “It’s a mindset change, to be proactive about creating habitats in all of our yards to benefit pollinators, bees, birds and more.”

Brentano also listed some of the issues compounded by traditional lawns – water use and droughts, polluted runoff from pesticides, air pollution from lawnmowers and no habitats for pollinators to keep food sources going – just to name a few.

Brentano said her husband was concerned at first that their front lawn might look like a jungle, but has lately been encouraging her to plant even more native grasses.

Jon Bramnick

“I was somewhat concerned since everyone on this street has a front lawn because it’s not, as you can see, a traditional front lawn,” said Bramnick. “But I can tell you I haven’t had any objections or complaints. The concept of the legislation is simply protecting all of you and us if you wish to put in a habitat.”

Brentano said she hopes to make Westfield the lead city in the effort. Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who also spoke at the conference, said she has his full support.

“This isn’t about messy versus neat, and you can’t just let your lawn go. But you can get expert advice from organizations like NJ Audubon and make changes,” Brentano said. “The truth is we don’t own nature. We’re part of it.”

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Kean, Bramnick, Munoz demand meeting about Amtrak service delays

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

After four consecutive days of major delays for New Jersey commuters, Sen. Tom Kean, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz are demanding answers. The legislators are insisting on a meeting with officials from Amtrak.

“After the series of delays this week, commuters deserve a detailed explanation as to what’s going on as well as what is going to be done to prevent these issues from reoccurring,” said Kean. “Delays of this nature wreak havoc on commuters’ schedules and their work obligations. It is simply unacceptable.”

Jon Bramnick

“People need to get to work, but every day this week there has been trouble. It is aggravating and unacceptable,” said Bramnick. “It costs money and productivity when hard-working New Jersey residents can’t get to their jobs. Commuters want to know what’s happening and why it is happening. We’re not getting what we’ve paid for, and we’re looking for answers.”

Nancy Munoz

“We want to get answers for the commuters who are paying the price for shoddy maintenance and poor customer service,” said Munoz. “The frustration of these long delays makes it almost impossible to have any confidence in Amtrak’s reliability.”

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Bramnick bringing wildlife habitats closer to home in NJ

Source: NJ 101.5 -

New Jersey’s top Republican Assembly leader is encouraging all Garden State homeowners to consider creating a wildlife habitat on part of their property.

Jon Bramnick

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said in suburbia almost everyone just has a lawn, but it would be great to “put in indigenous or native species, for example those type of plants that attract wildlife, attract the birds, and is good for the environment.”

At the same time, he said he has proposed legislation that would also keep homeowners from getting fined for certain plantings.

“(The legislation would) protect you from let’s say a code enforcement official who thinks,  ‘oh those are just weeds,’ and you’d be certified. Lawns are terrific but they use a lot of water, indigenous species don’t. “It also provides clean air, and there’s nothing wrong with helping birds or bees whatsoever, they’re good for suburbia.”

The legislation would establish a private wildlife habitat certification program that would be overseen by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

Bramnick said he got the idea from his wife, Pat Brentano, an environmental artist.

“I learned from her and from the Audubon Society that this is not a bad idea, I’ve seen this on golf courses, I’ve seen this in corporate areas where they’ve taken a small portion of their land and done the same thing,” he said. “Once people read about it and hear about they’ll think it’s probably a pretty good idea for the earth.”

The measure was passed unanimously in the Assembly, and it awaits action in the Upper House.


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Bramnick Thanks Porrino For Service

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, issued the following statement regarding the announced departure of Chief Counsel Chris Porrino, following four years of service in the Christie Administration, including the last 18 months as Chief Counsel:

Jon Bramnick

“I wish to thank Chris Porrino for his service to New Jersey. Chris is a top flight private sector attorney who gave his time to our state. He is a man of integrity, intelligence and common sense.”

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Bramnick discusses issues on Cablevision’s “Meet the Leaders” (video)

Cablevision -

Jon Bramnick

New Jersey Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick joins Meet the Leaders host Jeff Henig for a discussion on a variety of topic and the Assemblyman’s belief that the Republican Party can regain control of the lower house in Trenton. The program also concentrates on Governor Christie’s Presidential bid, the recently adopted state budget and the rising rate in heroin deaths in New Jersey.

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