Red Tape, Equal Pay, Guadagno’s New Job and Primary Election Dates

May 12, 2018
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By Jay Cook |

Gopal Aims To End ‘Red Tape’ In Small Business

Do you find yourself or your business entangled in never-ending red tape?

Well, now there’s a platform to air your concerns.

State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-11) will be making stops throughout his district this month to solicit feedback from small business owners.

“Too often, government gets in the way,” said Gopal, “whether it’s an unfair ordinance, an unfair department or someone just slowing down the process for construction or an appeal.”

Gopal on Monday launched Report Red Tape, a tool for small business owners to report any issues or blockades slowing down their progress. He also hopes to introduce legislation aimed at cutting down on unnecessary regulations.

The senator will make two stops during May to talk with constituents who’ve encountered such hurdles.

Gopal’s first of two roundtable discussions begins at noon, Friday, May 4, at Red Bank Borough Hall, 90 Monmouth St., Unit 1. New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney will be in attendance as a guest speaker. The second roundtable is set for noon Wednesday, May 30 at Freehold Borough Hall, 51 West Main St. New Jersey Business and Industry Association president Michele Siekerka will be there to talk with constituents.

For more information or to fill out a complaint, visit To attend a Small Business Roundtable Discussion, RSVP to Camilla Kofod at or 732-383-7720. Include the name of your business as well as a contact number and email address in your RSVP.

D’s and Rs Come Together On Equal Pay Bill

One of Gov. Phil Murphy’s first major initiatives upon reaching Trenton was to equalize the pay scale for women and minorities in New Jersey workplaces. After a few months behind the scenes, that task was completed with support from both political parties.

Titled the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, the bill makes it illegal for employers to offer lower salaries to women compared to what a male counterpart would make in the same position.

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The bill also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for discussing their pay with others and provides for three times the monetary damages for a violation. That employee may also obtain relief for up to six years of back pay.

“Equal pay is vital for hardworking families in New Jersey, many of which increasingly rely on women’s earnings to make ends meet,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11), who sponsored the bill. “When women bring home less money, it means it can be difficult to provide everyday needs of their families such as groceries, rent and child care.”

The law is named after former state Sen. Diane Allen, who was subject to pay disparities when employed as a broadcaster during the 1990s.

“Today we ensure that our laws expressly state that we will not tolerate wage discrimination for equal work,” said Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-13). “It’s an honor to be here today with Sen. Allen and my fellow women legislators as this historic bill becomes law.”

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act will become effective on July 1, 2018.

Guadagno Back To Her Roots

Former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno took a hiatus from her law career during her time in Trenton, but the Monmouth Beach resident announced her return to the private law sector last week.

Guadagno, 59, announced April 26 that she’ll be joining the Connell Foley law firm as a partner at its Jersey City offices.

“I know that my years of experience at the state and federal levels, along with my deep involvement in the business community, will empower clients and contribute to Connell Foley’s continued growth,” she said in a statement.

Before becoming New Jersey’s first lieutenant governor, Guadagno began her career as a federal prosecutor on the Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force in Brooklyn, New York. She was then an assistant U.S. Attorney and a senior member to the State of New Jersey Attorney General’s Office before she moved into private practice and taught law classes at the Rutgers School of Law in Newark for six years. In 2005 Guadagno was elected to the Monmouth Beach Board of Commissioners and later elected as the first woman Monmouth County Sheriff in 2007.

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With Connell Foley, she’ll join the corporate and business law, white collar criminal defense, commercial litigation and corporate compliance and internal investigations practice groups.

Primary Election Things to Know

With local primary elections only a month away, here are some notes to keep in mind before heading to the voting booths in the near future.

• The 2018 Primary Election Day in Monmouth County is June 5. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• The deadline to register to vote in the 2018 Primary Election is creeping up as nonregistered citizens have until May 15 to file their paperwork. Voter turnout during the primary is typically very low compared to the general election. In last year’s primary, only 11.84 percent of the 441,614 registered Monmouth County voters took the time to cast a vote.
• Potential independent candidates have until 4 p.m. on June 5 to file their nominating petitions to run in the general election.
• For residents in nonpartisan government towns, candidates have until Sept. 4 to file their respective nominating petitions to run in the November general election.
• There’s still some time until voters know what public questions will show up on their ballot. Aug. 28 is the deadline for submission of public questions other than proposed amendments to the state constitution. Nonbinding public questions adopted by a municipal government can be submitted to the county clerk until Aug. 31.

Send additional tips, notes or information to reporter Jay Cook at

This article was first published in the May 3-10, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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