PSI Ranks Second out of New Jersey Lobbying Firms

Every year, New Jersey lobbying firms send their annual reports to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) to be publicly disclosed. The commission just released its annual analysis today. The ELEC gathers total expenditures and total receipts from lobbying efforts and their represented entities to provide oversight and ensure accountability in campaign and legislative finances. Public Strategies Impact is, once again, the second top multi-client lobbyist firm in New Jersey. PSI increased our lobbying receivables by $1.02 million (from $6.17 million to $7.18 million) and continues to prove effective for our clients. This growth has placed us even more strongly among the best lobbying firms in New Jersey. This honor only occurs because of loyal clients, friends, and hardworking and dedicated lobbyists and staff.

Overall, the total spending by lobbyists in New Jersey dropped 2.5 percent to $89.4 million. Even with the dip in spending, three sectors greatly increased their spending due to new legislation introduced by Governor Phil Murphy: offshore wind production, cannabis, and nuclear plant subsidies. Offshore wind production lobbying spending increased $613,015, cannabis lobbying spending increased $1.03 million, nuclear plant subsidy support decreased $671,114, and nuclear plant subsidy opposition increased $817,997.

As the political landscape continues to change it is important to have a New Jersey lobbyist firm with a diverse portfolio, varied connections, and experience in government positions. At PSI, we have many years of experience in not only public service but in the political arena. We have a diverse portfolio of clients who are seeing the great importance of our work as the landscape changes. As new marijuana legislation appears on the horizon and sports gambling legislation has already taken effect, there has never been more of a need for lobbyists in the Garden State.

As these changes continue to affect industry, government, and the public sector it is best to work with a New Jersey lobbyist firm with experience in all areas. Our areas of expertise include:

If you’re looking for assistance with government relations, public affairs, or association management, please reach us via email at info@njpsi.com or via phone at (609) 393-7799.

2019 State of the State Recap

Yesterday at 2 p.m., Governor Phil Murphy delivered his first State of the State address just one day shy of his one-year anniversary of being in the statehouse. The state assembly chamber was packed with all key members of state government, including government officials, lawmakers, lobbyists, and other New Jersey leaders.

Before taking the traditional route of looking back at 2018 and discussing goals for 2019, Murphy spent a great deal of time discussing his findings from the recent corporate tax audit. Calling New Jersey’s corporate tax incentive program broken, he said the audit’s finding were alarming and displayed a stunning lack of controls and the workings of a rigged system to work for the favored few. Then, he discussed what could have been done with the billions of dollars the state handed out to corporations, including funding public schools, funding NJ Transit, meeting pension obligations, and providing property tax relief. Moving forward, Murphy wants to implement a new corporate tax incentive program that includes a cap on handouts, clear eligibility criteria, and will focus on investing in high wage and high growth sectors. He said it will take some time, but together we can fix it.

Looking back on 2018

When looking back on his first year in office, Governor Murphy said the state of the state is stronger and fairer than it was a year ago, which is an homage to his campaign slogan. He said he’s seen New Jerseyans struggle and has made, and will continue to make, a commitment to helping everyone succeed, ensuring our state’s families have better, brighter days. In the administration’s first year, they passed a total of 169 bills, which is more than any other administration in decades, and passed four dozen executive orders on job creation, environment, equal rights, and fair pay. Murphy listed off what he considered the administration’s greatest wins:

  • Creating more jobs
  • Building a better school system with more access to pre-k and tuition-free associate’s degrees
  • Increasing income tax fairness and property tax relief
  • Decreasing health insurances
  • Passing the strongest equal pay law
  • Creating a national model for earned sick leave
  • Funding planned parenthood
  • Safeguarding LGBTQ rights
  • Increasing Veteran access to medical marijuana
  • Fighting climate change by promoting clean energy alternatives and rejoining regional green gas initiatives
  • Passing common-sense gun safety laws
  • Bringing unions back to the table

Sights set on 2019

After discussing the broken tax incentives program and the successes of 2018, Governor Murphy wasted no time jumping into what he plans to accomplish in the coming year. He has ambitious goals that he promises to accomplish with the help of his administration, including:

  • NJ Transit – currently a broken system, Murphy aims to make it work again for the more than one million people who use it every day. He wants to increase passenger safety and customer service to make NJ Transit the turnaround story of New Jersey by the end of 2020. More information about funding will be discussed in the Budget Address.
  • $15 minimum wage – stating that the recent 25-cent wage increase is not enough, Murphy wants to give more than one million families a better chance of providing a successful life and making their way into the middle class. He said the $15 an hour minimum wage bill is making progress between him, Senate President Sweeney, and Speaker Coughlin.
  • Adult-use cannabis – the legalization of adult-use marijuana was a hot topic during Murphy’s campaign, but it has seen struggles when it comes to getting passed. The governor is still looking for low-level marijuana offenses to be removed from criminal records. Using other states as a model, cannabis will generate revenue and Murphy will allocate it to where New Jersey needs it most. He also promised fairness and equality to minority communities and business owners.
  • Gun control – while New Jersey has passed strict gun control legislation, Murphy wants to close loopholes in current legislation, regulate and track ammo sales, implement violence innovation strategies, and become a global leader in gun control.
  • Aging water infrastructure – some parts of New Jersey have a water infrastructure that was inherited over a century ago, causing elevated lead levels. Murphy wants to ensure clean water to every child and every family by updating our water infrastructure.
  • Voting – following the highest midterm election voter turnout in a generation, the governor wants to increase the right to vote. He wants to allow 17-year-olds to vote if they will be 18 by the election and give people on probation or parole the right to vote.
  • Drivers licenses – finally, Murphy wants to increase the number of licensed and insured drivers, following the model of 12 other states, and create lower car insurance premiums.

In closing, Governor Murphy announced the administration did what they said they were going to do in their first year. He promised to make New Jersey a state of innovation where young people want to start their careers, an affordable state where seniors want to grow old, and a state with top-notch education where families want to live and grow. Murphy’s next big public speech will be the budget address in six weeks.

2018 Midterm Elections: The Results

This year’s midterm elections were some of the most expensive and highly publicized in history. Many attribute this as a reaction to President Donald Trump’s policies throughout the first two years of his term, particularly in the areas of healthcare and immigration. So how did the elections play out in New Jersey as well as the rest of the United States? Here are breakdowns of each election, including flips, flops, and everything in between:

Senate

There were 35 races in the senate election, and at this time this article was written, 32 of them have been called. All the seats projected to go democrat, including Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and West Virginia, did just that. Tennessee and Texas both remain republican. Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota flipped to republican while Nevada flipped to democrat. Overall, even without all the senate races being called, Republicans will continue to hold majority, currently sitting at 51 republicans to 46 democrats.

House

A total of 26 house seats flipped democrat so far, with 417 of 435 races being called. All of the districts expected to vote democrat and republican for the most part did, but there were a few surprises along the way. Oklahoma’s fifth district, which many thought would likely remain republican, flipped to democrat. The same situation happened in New York’s 11th district and South Carolina’s first district – both expected to lean republican but flipped to democrat. Even without all the elections being called, the house majority has flipped to democrat with 219 dems to 193 republicans.

Governors

There were 36 governor races in this year’s midterm elections. For the most part, everything went as expected, with the exception of Kansas, which many thought would stay red. Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Maine, Nevada, and Wisconsin flipped from republican to democrat. However, many democrats were hoping to secure Florida and Georgia, but Florida was called red and Georgia looks like it will be the same. With 34 of 36 races being called, there are 23 democratic governors and 25 republican governors.

New Jersey

The blue wave definitely hit in New Jersey’s midterm elections. In the Senate vote, incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez, who was projected to win reelection, defeated Republican pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin. Menendez held nearly a 10 percent lead against Hugin, and the race was called by several news organizations less than an hour after the polls closed.

In New Jersey’s House of Representatives, the races were either huge landslides or very tight – no in between.

  • District 1: incumbent Democrat Donald Norcross defeated Republican Paul Dilks, 63 percent to 34 percent of the vote
  • District 2: flipped from republican to democratic district, electing Jeff Van Drew with 52 percent of the vote over Seth Grossman with 46 percent
  • District 3: one of the most publicized races, it’s still too close to call at the time of this article. Republican Tom MacArthur currently has 49.8 percent of the vote and Democrat Andy Kim has 48.9 percent with 99 percent of the precincts reporting
  • District 4: the only district with a republican victor, incumbent Chris Smith defeated Democrat Joshua Welle, 56 percent to 43 percent respectively
  • District 5: another incumbent victory, Democrat Josh Gottheimer received 55.2 percent of the vote to defeat Republican challenger John McCann with 43.5 percent
  • District 6: Democrat Frank Pallone, Jr., incumbent, defeated Republican Richard Pezzullo, 62.7 percent to 37.3 percent
  • District 7: another district the flipped from red to blue, Democrat Tom Malinowski received 50.3 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Republican Leonard Lance, who received 48.2 percent of the vote
  • District 8: remained blue, with incumbent Democrat Albio Sires, who received nearly 78 percent of the vote, easily defeating Republican John Muniz
  • District 9: another large disparity, Democrat Bill Pascrell, Jr. was reelected after defeating Republican Eric Fisher, 70 percent to 29 percent of the vote respectively
  • District 10: the biggest slide landslide victory, Democratic incumbent Donald Payne, Jr. received a whopping 87 percent of the vote to defeat Republican challenger Aha Khan
  • District 11: the final district to flip (and one democrats considered very important to secure), Democrat Mikie Sherrill became the second woman to represent New Jersey in Congress after receiving 56 percent of the vote to defeat Republican Jey Webber
  • District 12: Democratic incumbent Bonnie Watson Coleman received 68.3 percent of the vote to defeat Republican Daryl Kipnis, who received 32 percent of the vote

Whether you’re a democrat or republican, you have to be happy that regardless of how bad the weather was yesterday, New Jersey saw one of the largest turnouts for a midterm election in our state’s history. That says a lot for the future of the Garden State.

Where are we with Cannabis Legislation in New Jersey?

As you know, cannabis legislation in New Jersey is ever-changing. Since Governor Phil Murphy took office, he’s made cannabis a top priority, and there’s been many conversations about what exactly legislation would look like in the Garden State. But where are we now?

After many months of silence and minimal detail on New Jersey’s plan for cannabis, lawmakers presented a bill late last month. The bill calls for legalization of possession and use of a regulated amount of cannabis for people 21 or older. When the bill passes, the legalization will immediately take effect, but it’s expected to take a year for New Jersey’s cannabusiness industry to take shape.

Rather than being limited to use of marijuana at your residence only, the proposed cannabis legislation in New Jersey would allow use at facilities with a marijuana retail license. These businesses would need a space separate from the dispensary itself, allowing for consumption separate from their typical storefront. But it doesn’t stop there; these businesses will also offer cannabis delivery. It’s possible the cannabis businesses with retail licenses will provide so many options for cannabis users to enjoy their products because home-grown marijuana will not be legalized if the proposed bill stays as is.

On the business side, there are regulations for where and who owns licenses. There’s a mandate stating that 25 percent of licenses must be given to women, minorities, and veterans. Additionally, micro-licenses will be offered to small businesses, and the industry must have a minimum of 10 percent micro-licenses in the state. As for where, 25 percent of licenses must be given to people who have lived in an area with a high unemployment rate for a minimum of three years.

The marijuana tax in the new bill would give New Jersey the lowest marijuana tax in the country, with a fixed 10 percent tax. Many people have speculated this tax will change to be more in-tune with other states, meaning the tax may be somewhere between 15 and 25 percent.

Currently, the cannabis bill is awaiting Governor Phil Murphy’s feedback. As a big supporter of legalizing cannabis, Murphy said he’s looking for cannabis legislation in New Jersey that expands the medical marijuana program, closes the racial gap of people jailed for marijuana possession, and removes criminal records for those arrested for cannabis-related offenses that would be legal with the new bill.

Last week, Senate President Steve Sweeney announced October 29 is his goal for bringing the cannabis bill to a vote in the Assembly and Senate. Until then, we can expect to hear a little more about the proposed cannabis legislation in New Jersey, such as tweaks requested by the Governor. But all eyes will be on the vote when the end of October hits.

Interested in breaking into New Jersey’s cannabis industry? We have formed a strategic alliance with law firm Brach Eichler to help people break into this exciting new business in the Garden State. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Bill Maer to Speak on the New Jersey Cannabis Application Process at Cannabis Summit

On Wednesday, October 24, Public Strategies Impact’s Bill Maer, senior partner, will discuss the New Jersey cannabis application process at NJ Cannabis Media’s inaugural New Jersey Cannabis Summit. The event, held at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, is an all-day conference focusing on how businesses can capitalize on the cannabis market and the complexities related to emerging legislation and regulation.

Maer will speak on a panel from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. called “The Application Process.” Moderated by George L. Garcia, partner at Connell Foley, Maer and fellow panel members will discuss how to prepare for the next round of medical cannabis licenses, how adult-use licenses will be different, real estate and site control, and tips for navigating the New Jersey cannabis application process. He will be joined by Bert Steinman, Ewing Township mayor; Tara Sargente, CEO and founder of Blazin’ Bakery; and Charles Latini, principal at Latini & Geleitz Planning.

Other summit topics include “Establishing a Legal and Compliant Cannabis Business,” “Access to Capital: Funding Options for your Cannabis Business,” and “Opportunities and Obstacles in Running a Dispensary, Manufacturing, and Growing.” In total, there will be more than 15 speakers, each with a different background and connection to the cannabis industry.

Tickets to the event are $95 and include access to all speakers and panels, a continental breakfast, networking opportunities, and lunch. You can register for the event and view the list of speakers here. If you’d like to learn more about PSI’s cannabis expert Bill Maer, you can read his bio here.

What are Government Relations?

Government relations, while similar to public affairs, does have its differences. Rather than focusing on multiple audiences, government relations focuses entirely on influencing public and government policy on a local, state, regional, national, or global scale. That means getting in front of the key government officials and decision makers to influence their decision on a particular piece of policy.

The most commonly used government relations tactics include advocacy, lobbying, and identifying allies in other organizations or government officials. By getting in front of the leaders across the state or national level, government relations experts are able to educate them on a particular issue or piece of legislation to find common ground and a satisfying resolution. Businesses frequently hire government relations firms to protect their industry from changes to certain legislation, protecting their rights and the way they operate.

How our Trenton Lobbying Firm Handles Government Relations

With decades of experience operating in Trenton as a lobbying firm, we have developed very strong relationships with the key players in state government. We couple these extensive relationships with a deep immersion into our clients and their issues. This allows us to fully understand the client goals and objectives and create unique, effective strategies. We specialize in several areas of government relations, including:

  • Legislative advocacy – our experience in this arena is unmatched by any other Trenton lobbying firm. By taking a deep-dive into our clients’ companies and the legislation they want to protect, amend, or defend, we create actionable goals and objectives. Then, we get in front of key government employees and monitor legislation progress until our clients’ receive the desired outcome.
  • IT and government procurement – more companies select us to represent them in both government and IT procurement than any other firm because we understand the nuances in both the government and private sector. We are experts in answering RFPs, finding business opportunities, and assisting with implementation of our strategies.
  • State and federal environmental issues – with several partners well-versed in environmental lobbying, we help clients understand common laws, position them favorably with key decision makers, and create strategies to most effectively resolve any issues.
  • Regulatory services – this is a space we are very familiar with, which is why we are able to find creative solutions to even the most difficult regulatory issues. We customize our services to each client, but no matter what, our multidisciplinary team provides our  expertise from start to finish.

If you or your company could benefit from government relations services by a Trenton lobbying firm, we’d love to discuss the possibilities with you. Please reach out to us via email at info@njpsi.com or by calling 609-393-7799.

What is Public Affairs and When Should Your Company Work with a Firm

Sometimes considered a crossbreed between public relations and lobbying, public affairs is a culmination of all the management and tactics required to ensure a positive image with the media, community, and policymakers. It’s all about relationship development, controlling public policy and how the public views your company or project. Most of the time, public affairs services are utilized by large companies or charities, trade unions, membership-based organizations, or interest groups. However, occasionally smaller businesses will seek public affairs services on a project, rather than retainer, basis.

Why People Should Work With a Public Affairs Firm

Unless you have an internal communications team, thinking about how policymakers, stakeholders, communities, media, or other groups perceive your company or project isn’t usually top-of-mind. However, managing your reputation is a crucial part of your overall success. When you hire a public affairs firm, you have all the resources and political connections you need to ensure a positive reputation and sway public policy. Some organizations hire public affairs firms for situational issues, and others hire firms on an ongoing retainer – the length of time you need these services ultimately depends on your needs. Regardless, having a team of individuals who are experts at the ins and outs of government to handle your lobbying efforts, public and community relations, crisis management, and project management puts you a step ahead of other companies.

A Different Approach

PSI offers public affairs in New Jersey and has experience in a wide-range of different industries. Rather than doing a one-size-fits-all-approach, we customize our services to meet the specific needs of your company. Some of the most commonly utilized services include:

  • Public and media relations – we identify key groups, determine their wants and needs, listen to their concerns, and serve as your spokesperson to ensure there are no misunderstandings or complications.
  • Community relations – we open a dialogue with key policymakers and establish community support for projects, including presenting at town meetings or in front of town councils.
  • Project management – we specialize in organizing and managing projects with a lot of moving parts, whether that means handling the project entirely ourselves or working together with your internal team.
  • Crisis management – we prepare a strategy for a crisis before it even happens, including fielding calls, creating a uniformed stance on the issue, and reaching out to key media to get ahead of the issue.

If you are looking for public affairs in New Jersey, we’d love to discuss your needs more in-depth. Please reach out to us via email at info@njpsi.com or call 609-393-7799.

Why it’s Beneficial to Work with a Trenton Lobbying Firm

Trying to find government relations or public affairs services in New Jersey can be a challenge. Do you seek a firm located near you for convenience, or do you work with a firm strategically located? Whether you are a New Jersey based business or a larger company with a location in New Jersey, there are a lot of benefits to working with a Trenton lobbying firm over a firm located somewhere else in the state. These benefits include: 

  1. Close relationship with key individuals in state government. Getting an “in” with the key players in our state government can be tricky for some, but we pride ourselves on our ability to get in touch with the people most vital for our clients’ needs. We often work with the governor’s chief of staff, deputy chiefs of staff, cabinet level officials, members of the executive branch, and department staff. These aren’t just people we turn to when we need something for our clients. These are people we talk to most days and have built a relationship with, and being a Trenton lobbying firm is a huge reason for that.
  2. Subject matter experts. Because we are so close to the action in state government, our partners are often called upon to service as guests and political commentators on local television programs, such as Jersey Matters with Larry Mendte, One-on-one with Steve Adubato, and other various NJTV programs. Our partners have also been featured as moderators and panelists for many different organizations, including the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Business and Industry Association, and many others, and we are often called for quotes in publications across the state.
  3. Team comprised of former veterans of government. While it isn’t a bad thing to only have a team of individuals who were born and bred lobbyists, it gives you a leg up to have some team members who worked in government. Our team has a healthy mix of individuals with experience in public service, the political arena, lobbying, state associations, and much more. Being close to Trenton has helped us inherit individuals who wanted to step away from the public sector and give lobbying a shot. Since our partners have such varying backgrounds, we are positioned to help clients in a wide-range of industries in innovative ways.

If you are looking for government relations or public affairs services from a Trenton lobbying firm, we’d love to work with you. Please contact us via our website or by calling 609-393-7799.

PSI Wraps up a Successful March 2018

Our team members are always out and about throughout New Jersey, whether it is with clients, with legislators, or with news organizations. As March comes to a close, we want to look back on some exciting PSI news and public relations we were lucky to be a part of:

Brendan Gill Selected for ROI-NJ’s 2018 Power List

ROI-NJ published their 2018 Power List and selected the top influencers from dozens of different categories, including healthcare, executives, real estate, and politicians. PSI affiliate Brendan Gill, who had a very successful 2017, was selected to the consultant list. Gill was a key figure in getting Governor Phil Murphy elected and has strong connections to the current administration, which makes him one of the most influential consultants in 2018 and beyond. To view the complete list, click here.

Election Commission’s Ranking of the Top 10 Lobbying Firms

Every March, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission releases its listing of the top 10 lobbying firms in the Garden State. This ranking is based on total receipts from each firm’s clients, meaning the total amount that each organization spent on trying to influence legislation in the state.

We are proud to once again be ranked as the second top firm in New Jersey, reporting $6,161,016 in total receipts. We want to send a big thank you to our great clients whom we are continually advocating for and providing services to every day. Read our blog to learn more about what these rankings mean for our clients.

John Holub on Jersey Matters with Larry Mendte

John Holub, PSI associate and president and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, was featured on Jersey Matters with Larry Mendte. Broadcasted on WJLP in North Jersey and KJWP in South Jersey, Jersey Matters discusses news, politics, arts, and current events throughout the Garden State. Holub discussed the future of retail and dispelled the myth that there is a retail apocalypse.

“This news is more click-bait than anything,” said Holub. “Retailers have come and gone – that’s nothing new.” While everyone seems to be predicting brick and mortar stores will become a thing of a past as online retailers continue to grow, Holub explained that simply isn’t true. Even though we are seeing newspaper headlines about large retailers going out of business, that is something that has unfortunately always happened. It is just magnified more now that people are expecting online retailers to dominate the market. To view the interview, click here.

John Holub Featured in Walmart Articles

At the beginning of March, New Jersey’s 21,413 Walmart associates received a total $6.3 million in combined bonuses. Walmart also instituted pay raises for hourly field associates, which is the first step in their plan to maximize the offerings and pay for its staff members.

PSI Associate John Holub, as an expert in retail, was quoted in several New Jersey articles regarding Walmart’s contributions to its New Jersey employees. “Walmart has made a considerable investment in New Jersey,” said Holub. “We’re honored that they’re part of our business community. The company’s commitment to its associates and their families serves as a model for the entire retail and business community.” To read one of the articles, click here.

Brendan Gill Selected for NJBIZ Power List

Brendan Gill wrapped up March by being selected for the NJBIZ Power List, a list created to identify the people impacting business in New Jersey in a positive way. Credited as the person who is most responsible for helping Governor Phil Murphy get elected, Gill has a history of success with campaign management. He served as campaign manager and adviser for Senator Frank Lautenberg in 2009 and Cory Booker in 2014. He has also held campaign positions at virtually every level of government, including for former Governor Jon Corzine and Congressman Albio Sires. To view the full list, click here.

We feel grateful to be able to look back on March in a positive light, which has made us very excited to see what April and the rest of 2018 has to bring us. If you are interested in learning more about the latest PSI news and public relations information, click here.

PSI Ranked as Second Top Multi-Client Firm in New Jersey for 2017

Every year, New Jersey lobbyists must submit their total expenditures, including salary and compensation, support personnel, communication expenses, and travel and lodging, as well as the total receipts from the lobbying efforts for the represented entities. These numbers, which are accessible to the public via the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s website (ELEC), help monitor and provide accountability for the integrity of campaign and legislative finances in New Jersey.

The summary of total receipts from represented entities showcases the total amount certain businesses and organizations spent on paying governmental affairs agents to influence legislation or communicate with the public. In 2017, Public Strategies Impact reported a total of $6.16 million in receipts from represented entities, putting us once again as the second top multi-client firm in New Jersey.

One of the reasons we are able to generate enough client receipts to be ranked second in New Jersey lobbying efforts is because we have a team of individuals who are politically well-connected, many of whom previously held government positions, and who specialize in a wide-range of arenas. With such vast diversity in our partners’ areas of expertise, we can tailor our government relations and public affairs services to meet the needs of nearly every organization.

Even though we represent all industries, some of our particular areas of expertise include:

  • Arts and entertainment
  • Development
  • Energy and alternative energy
  • Environmental permitting
  • Financial services
  • Gaming
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Procurement
  • Information technology procurement
  • Real estate
  • Regulated professions
  • Telecommunications
  • Tourism
  • Transportation

If you’re looking for assistance with government relations, public affairs, or association management, please reach us via email at info@njpsi.com or via phone at (609) 393-7799.

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414 River View Plaza
Trenton, New Jersey
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