Exciting Things to Come!
Your Monthly Update From Lead-Free NJ

March 29, 2022
Smiling school children sitting at a lunch table.
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Greetings! Thank you for subscribing to Lead-Free NJ’s monthly newsletter! Our newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the collaborative’s work and what’s going on throughout the state related to issues you’re passionate about, including protecting children from lead poisoning and equitable lead policy change. Most importantly, the newsletter will provide you with opportunities to work with us to #GetTheLeadOut. We know that so many emails come into your inbox, but we hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to stay connected!

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What's New at LFNJ?
Introducing Heather Sorge, LFNJ’s New Program Manager!

Heather Sorge came on board as the LFNJ program manager on March 1 and oversees the collaborative’s day-to-day operations. Heather’s work is centered on facilitating and expanding the diverse statewide network, which hopes to ultimately ensure the eradication of childhood lead poisoning in New Jersey within 10 years. 

Prior to joining LFNJ, Heather was the organizer for Healthy Schools Now with the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC). Heather graduated from Churchman Business School with a degree in accounting finance. Email Heather at hsorge@njfuture.org or reach her by phone at 609-393-0008 ext. 116.
Introducing LaTina Gaines, LFNJ’s New Community Organizer!

LaTina joined our team mid-month and comes to us with a long history of successful community organizing. As Lead-Free NJ’s community organizer, LaTina connects directly affected community members and organizations with local resources that will help meet specific needs. 

Before joining LFNJ, LaTina founded the non-profit organization Adolescent Achievers Inc., which assists teens and young adults with living free of system involvement. LaTina has over 12 years of experience working directly with communities, from individuals as young as six years of age to older adults. This diversity of experiences comes from working with numerous community-based organizations and always finding ways to advocate for the needs of underserved populations. LaTina graduated with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in sociology and business from Rowan University. Email LaTina at lgaines@njfuture.org.
Register Now!
Join Us for Our May 5 Membership Meeting - All are Welcome!
Save the date and register now to attend this important, informative meeting. Join and listen to our community members, receive important updates from our community hubs, get informed about policy updates on lead remediation, and find out about how you can help expand the LFNJ collaborative and advocate for much-needed change across the state.

With communities determined to remove lead from the environment and potential opportunities in place to fund their efforts, this is an important moment for lead-free advocates to join in and support them.

*NOTE: A limited number of $30 Visa gift cards are available to those who need compensation for attendance. For more information, email hsorge@njfuture.org.
Women's History Month
Each year, women across the country become more involved and instrumental in addressing environmental issues. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our members, partners, and allies for their hard work and dedication to the fight to protect our children and their communities from exposure to lead from all sources. This article spotlights 41 women environmentalists in the United States who have dedicated their lives to protecting the environment and helping to make a difference. A huge thank you to our New Jersey leaders for all that you do!
Get Connected!
We hope you’ll take a minute to:
  • Share your story about your experience with lead exposure as we work to help people better understand the devastating effects of lead exposure and the need for change.
  • Check out our community organizing toolkit, which provides practical advice and guidance not only for lead-free organizers, but for anyone looking to create lasting policy change in their community as well.

Stay Connected With LFNJ on Social Media

Are you following us on social media yet? Get up-to-date information from Lead-Free NJ even faster on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Take a minute to hit that follow button!
Community Hubs
Interested in learning more about how LFNJ Community Hubs are working to get the lead out? Watch these videos to learn more about the LFNJ Community Hubs. LFNJ Community Hubs are local grassroots organizations that participate in the statewide collaborative, but they also convene to coordinate local efforts, strategize on solutions, educate residents, and more.
Events, Highlights, and Opportunities
  • The LFNJ collaborative delivered a letter to Governor Murphy, Senate President Scutari, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin on Wednesday calling for the allocation of $600 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward lead remediation. More than 130 signatories, including statewide policy organizations, environmental advocates, and community members, expressed their support for the investment, which will particularly benefit children in communities of color and lower-income communities across the state.
  • Environmental justice advocate Yvette Jordan is inspiring others to become agents of change. “Whether it be talking with other groups on a national level in roundtables or co-chairing Lead-Free New Jersey’s advocacy committee, it’s my mission to raise the voices of those who feel they can't,” said Yvette in this NRDC article.

Budget Highlights
  • The NJ State budget includes $10 million in State funds for home-based lead remediation on top of the $10 million allocated from the American Rescue Plan in Fiscal Year 2022. 
  • The NJ Department of Environmental Protection is creating programs to spend $241 million of federal dollars for lead pipe replacement. 
  • American Rescue Plan (ARP) Amount to address lead to be determined: 
  • $2 billion for Infrastructure was included in Governor Murphy’s proposed budget ($100 million has been allocated to date).
  • In our letter Lead-Free NJ requested that the State of New Jersey allocate $600 million from its ARP funds to remediate lead in homes, replace lead service lines, and educate residents. It’s now up to the legislature to specify how these funds should be used. 
  • The legislature is holding hearings on the budget. You can testify at the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 10:00am. 
  • Register here

Job Opportunities

Do you have a lead-free event, opportunity, or highlight you'd like to share? Email Heather Sorge with the details and get it featured in the next newsletter!
Pending Lead Legislation
  • S280 - Requires DOE and DCF to establish online reporting systems for schools and child care centers to report lead testing results.
  • A799 - Allows gross income tax deduction of $45k/yr for spending on removal of lead and other contaminants (e.g., asbestos) from taxpayers’ property. The bill was reintroduced for the 2022 session and is presently in the Assembly Community Development Committee.
  • A659 - Authorizes common law public nuisance suits regarding lead paint under State law; exempts Attorney General from certain aspects of public nuisance claims when pursuing lead paint actions.
  • A1892 - Allows municipalities to establish loan programs to fund replacement of lead service lines.
  • A2416 - Requires financial institution that has foreclosed on property to remove water service lines that contain lead.
The Mission of Lead-Free NJ

About 4,000 children in NJ are lead-poisoned every year. Many of these children reside in low-income communities and/or communities of color and are most at risk because investments have not been made to remove lead from its most common sources—paint, water, and soil. Lead-Free NJ is a collaborative made up of neighbors, friends, families, faith leaders, professionals, and elected officials working together to #GetTheLeadOut. 

Staff Contact Information
Heather Sorge, Program Manager
New Jersey Future

LaTina Gaines, Community Organizer
New Jersey Future