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Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Perth Amboy)

Pinkin departure sets up opening for Assembly Environment chair

Decision on new committee chair wrests with Speaker

By David Wildstein, February 10 2020 3:37 pm

The chair of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee will probably be up for grabs next January.

The current chair, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-East Brunswick), is the overwhelming favorite to become the next Middlesex County Clerk.  Democrats have not lost a countywide race there since 1991.

The panel could become even more influential following Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order No. 100, which empowers the state Department of Environmental Protection to make comprehensive regulatory changes in pursuit of climate change regulations.

Any changes proposed could find their way to the Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

Environmental groups, labor unions and business organizations are among the stakeholders when it comes to picking a new committee chair.

Assembly rules puts the appointment of all committee chairs in the hands of the speaker, Craig Coughlin.

Possible candidates to succeed Pinkin includes three current members of the panel: Yvonne Lopez (D-Perth Amboy), Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn), and James Kennedy (D-Rahway).

A fourth member of the committee, John McKeon (D-West Orange), already chairs the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

Coughlin is not necessarily limited to members of the current committee. Indeed, the speaker may pick whomever he wants.

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