Green, Benson, Moriarty, Mukherji & Pintor Marin Bill to Establish Penalties for Pyramid Scheme Participation Clears AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green, Daniel R. Benson, Paul Moriarty, Raj Mukherji and Eliana Pintor Marin to establish criminal penalties for promoting or participating in a pyramid scheme gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
"Pyramid schemes make victims out of vulnerable people who often are just looking for a way to make ends meet," said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). "Individuals who understand that an enterprise is a pyramid scheme and still choose to participate ought to face serious consequences."
Schaer, Vainieri Huttle, Pinkin, Holley, McKnight & Quijano Measure to Help Spur Cure for Zika Virus Gains Approval by the Assembly(TRENTON) - The General Assembly on Thursday cleared a measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Nancy Pinkin, Jamel Holley, Angela McKnight and Annette Quijano backing the federal government's recent move to prioritize a cure for the Zika virus, which has caused widespread concern because of the devastating impact it has on children born to infected pregnant women. The measure passed 64-0-1.
The resolution (AR-142) applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for recently adding the Zika virus to the list of eligible Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) under the FDA's Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program, which incentivizes drug companies to develop a cure for such diseases.
"With the spread of Zika in Latin America and its arrival in the United States, this was an important move on the part of the FDA to add Zika to the list of diseases eligible under the voucher program," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Incentivizing drug companies to put their ingenuity to work could save countless lives and prevent thousands of children from being born with devastating health consequences that could impair them for the rest of their lives."
***MULTIMEDIA PACKAGE*** Speaker Prieto on Assembly Passage of Atlantic City Economic Recovery LegislationAssembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) issued a multimedia package Thursday following the General Assembly's passage of new economic recovery legislation (A-2569 and A-2570) for Atlantic City.
The multimedia package consists of Speaker Prieto's comments on the new compromise bills - legislation that respects Atlantic City's right to self-governance and worker's rights while providing reasonable benchmarks to put the city back on sound fiscal footing - and audio and a transcript of same.
Prieto: Fight for Atlantic City Compromise was Worth it for NJFollowing legislative approval of compromise Atlantic City economic recovery bills, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto had the following published in the Newark Star-Ledger:
"The Atlantic City compromise bill was worth the time and effort. This bill, while not perfect, is much better than when we started. No one individual or one branch got everything they wanted. And while tempers sometimes flared, it was not because of personal animosity or political wrangling, but because of a strong desire by the Assembly that we had to do what was necessary and right for New Jersey.
"Twenty-three pages of amendments from the Assembly were added to the bill (S1711/A2569). All make the bill better. All work to protect New Jersey's taxpayers. Some people have argued that these amendments were not worth the time and energy it took to complete. I disagree..."
Prieto, Wisniewski, Schaer & Tucker Bill to Phase-Up NJ's Minimum Wage to $15 per Hour Approved by AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski, Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker to phase-in an increase in the state's minimum wage to $15 per hour was approved 42-30-1 Thursday by the Assembly.
"This is an integral component in our efforts to stop the decline in the middle class and lift working families out of poverty," said Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen). "The constitutional minimum wage that we established a few years ago set a floor, not a ceiling. We must ensure that all workers are paid fairly for their labor. We now need to strive for better to reverse the poverty trend in this state..."
Assembly Democratic Bill to Expand Primary Voting Rights, Encourage Youth Participation in Elections Clears AssemblyLegislation Would Allow Certain 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primaries
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker, Jamel Holley, Elizabeth Muoio, Tim Eustace, Arthur Barclay, Angela McKnight and Raj Mukherji that would allow more young New Jersey residents to participate in elections gained Assembly approval on Thursday.
The bill (A-3591), the "New Voter Empowerment Act," would allow 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election provided they will turn 18 on or before the next succeeding general election.
"Young people in New Jersey are eager to raise their voices and make a difference," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). "More than 23,000 of them will have a birthday after the primary but before the general election. Under my legislation, they would be able to vote in both elections. It's an important step forward to fully empower thousands of new voters every year."
Karabinchak Sworn In as Newest Member of General AssemblyLifelong Edison resident Robert Karabinchak received the oath of office from Speaker Vincent Prieto on Thursday to become the newest member of the New Jersey General Assembly. Karabinchak will represent the 18th Legislative District alongside Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin.
"I'm honored that I can serve the people of the 18th District as a member of the Assembly," said Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). "I look forward to working with my new colleagues on behalf of my constituents in the district and people all across New Jersey."
Eustace Bills on Transporting Game Trophies Through N.J. Airports Returns to Governor
Additional Eustace Bill Would Boost Protections for Endangered Species in N.J.(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace proposed to help protect threatened animals from extinction by banning the transport of game trophies of threatened or endangered species through airports and facilities controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was approved by the full Assembly.
Since the airports and facilities controlled by the Port Authority - Newark Liberty International, J.F.K and LaGuardia - are some of the most heavily traveled routes back to the U.S. from countries in Africa, Eustace hope the ban will serve as a disincentive for killing endangered animals for sport.
"This ban would cut off a link back to the United States for game hunters' intent on importing the dead carcasses of endangered animals," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Hopefully making it more difficult for these types of hunters to transport their 'prizes' will give them pause or perhaps even make them reconsider this type of inhumane activity."
Andrzejczak, Land, Houghtaling & Gusciora Bill to Prohibit Harvesting Diamondback Terrapin in NJ Clears LegislatureLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak, Bruce Land, Eric Houghtaling and Reed Gusciora to protect New Jersey's declining diamondback terrapin population by making it illegal to harvest these turtles was approved 37-0 Thursday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
"Diamondbacks are unique to New Jersey and play a significant role in our coastal ecosystem," said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic & Cumberland). "The diamondback terrapin is threatened by loss of habitat, road mortality and increased demand from food markets overseas that has intensified its harvest. This bill would help protect our diamondbacks from going down the road towards extinction..."
Coughlin & Downey Bill Extending Deadline to Apply for Senior Freeze Property Tax Rebates Gains Assembly ApprovalLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin and Joann Downey granting seniors and disabled residents more time to apply for their property tax rebates was unanimously approved by the full Assembly on Thursday.
"For those living on a fixed income, like seniors and certain disabled residents, every little bit helps," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "The senior freeze program can provide a substantial boost to those individuals so we'd like to make sure they have as much time as possible to apply and take advantage of it."
Assembly Approves Gusciora, Eustace, Holley & Muoio Bill to Encourage Redevelopment of Long-Dormant, Historic Taverns
Bill Aims to Preserve & Revive Historic Watering Holes like Eagle Tavern in TrentonBy a vote of 64-5-3, the full Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Tim Eustace, Jamel Holley and Elizabeth Maher Muoio allowing municipalities to issue retail liquor licenses to qualified buyers looking to redevelop historic taverns into 21st century drinking and eating establishments.
Gusciora introduced the bill in hopes of facilitating redevelopment of the abandoned Eagle Tavern on South Broad Street in Trenton, which has sat vacant for decades after several failed attempts to operate the building as a restaurant. Built as a private home in 1765, it was enlarged for use as a tavern in the early nineteenth century and was frequented by patrons of the nearby Eagle raceway. It served as the political center for the city's South Ward, and was a meeting place of the Masons.
McKeon, Jasey, Eustace & Holley Bill to Study the Condition of NJ Drinking Water Infrastructure Advances in Legislature(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Mila Jasey, Tim Eustace and Jamel Holley to create a task force to review the state's drinking water sources was cleared the Assembly, 64-0, on Thursday.
The sponsors note the water crisis in Flint, Michigan has raised concerns across the country about the water filtration process and the risk of contaminates in the water system, especially lead.
"The situation in Flint Michigan should be a lesson to us all to ensure protection of our water supply," said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). "This should be a priority for New Jersey as well. A task force can help us identify the areas in need of strengthening in regards to the state's water supply.
Assembly OKs Pinkin, Lagana, Mazzeo, Mukherji & Houghtaling Bill to Better Inform Taxpayers of Property Tax Appeal DeadlineLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, Joe Lagana, Vince Mazzeo, Raj Mukherji and Eric Houghtaling to ensure homeowners who want to appeal their property taxes are aware of the appeal deadline was unanimously approved by the full Assembly on Thursday.
"This is a simple step that can go a long way in ensuring that homeowners who want to appeal their property taxes do not miss their opportunity to do so," said Pinkin (D-Middlesex)
DeAngelo, Pinkin, Tucker, Andrzejczak, Conaway & Land Bills to Fortify NJ Military Installations Gain Assembly OKLegislation Incorporates Recommendations from July 2015 Task Force Report
Two bills Assembly Democrats Wayne P. DeAngelo, Nancy Pinkin, Cleopatra Tucker, Bob Andrzejczak, Herb Conaway, Jr. and Bruce Land sponsored to fortify New Jersey's five military installations gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
"Our military installations clearly play an important role when it comes to national defense, but when you consider the thousands of jobs tied to the military, the businesses that support the installations and the billions of dollars in revenue that the installations generate, the local economic significance of New Jersey's military installations is irrefutable," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Any legislation that supports our installations, therefore, will have a positive impact on our state as a whole."
Coughlin, Schaer, Eustace & Downey Bill Creating Automatic Voter Registration through MVC Gains Assembly ApprovalBy a vote of 52-21-1, the full Assembly on Thursday approved legislation (A-1944) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Gary Schaer, Tim Eustace and Joann Downey that would require the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to automatically register or update a person's voter registration as part of the process of applying for or renewing a driver's license.
"This bill is designed to encourage participation in the democratic process by integrating voter registration with the process of driver registration," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "This simple move will hopefully encourage more young people to register to vote and make it easier for residents to fulfill their civic duty."
Taliaferro, Houghtaling & Andrzejczak Bill to Encourage Donation of Excess & Unused Food to Food Assistance Programs in NJ Clears AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Adam Taliaferro, Eric Houghtaling and Bob Andrzejczak that would make it easier for certain entities to donate excess food to food assistance programs was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.
"It is almost sinful to waste food that could help feed people in need," said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). "Providing a how-to guide to schools on how to donate excess food could help increase supply for food banks. This not only helps reduce food waste, but helps provide for people who depend on food assistance programs to feed themselves and their families."
Vainieri Huttle, Jimenez & Moriarty to Ban Smoking at Parks & Beaches Heads to Governor’s DeskBy a vote of 51-6-4, the General Assembly on Thursday granted final legislative approval to a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Angelica Jimenez and Paul Moriarty to protect public health by prohibiting smoking at public parks and beaches.
The bill (A-893) would extend the provisions of the "New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act," which generally prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, to apply to public parks and beaches throughout the state.
Tucker, Johnson, Holley & DeAngelo Legislation to Facilitate Relocation for Military Families Clears General AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Cleopatra Tucker, Gordon Johnson, Jamel Holley and Wayne DeAngelo to help provide military families with more flexibility regarding the use of their housing allowance when they receive orders to relocate gained the approval of the General Assembly on Thursday.
"Oftentimes service in the military requires members to relocate with little or no prior notice, which puts a great deal of stress on military families," said Tucker (D-Essex). "By minimizing disruption to the lives of service members' spouses and children, this legislation will ensure that members can balance their commitments to both the military and their families."
Assembly Approves McKeon, Jasey & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Ensure Stiff Penalties for Vehicular Homicide while Drunk Driving
"Ralph & David's Law" is Named in Honor of Morris County Man & Sussex County Boy Killed by Drunk DriversLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Mila Jasey and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to ensure stiff penalties for anyone who commits vehicular homicide while driving drunk was approved 68-0-1 by the full Assembly on Thursday.
The bill (A-3686), known as "Ralph and David's Law," would establish a new crime of "strict liability vehicular homicide" for killing a person while drunk driving. The bill is named in honor of Ralph Politi, Jr. and David Heim who were both tragically killed by drunk drivers.
Assembly Advances Coughlin, DeAngelo & Vainieri Huttle Legislation Urging Comcast and YES Network to Settle Dispute(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Craig Coughlin, Wayne DeAngelo and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to urge Comcast and YES Network to settle their contract dispute was advanced by the full Assembly, 60-0-6.
The ongoing dispute between the two entities has disrupted nearly 900,000 Comcast subscribers' access to coverage of professional sports games since November.
"Baseball fans - some of whom retain a cable subscription solely to be able to watch these games - ought to receive the service for which they have paid," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "They shouldn't have to leave the provider they're familiar with because of a schoolyard fight between multi-million dollar companies."
Sumter & Benson Bill to Establish ‘Secondhand Valuables Transaction Reporting Task Force’ Clears AssemblyTask Force Would Evaluate Systems Used to Track Stolen Jewelry
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Daniel Benson to maintain the integrity of the sale of secondhand jewelry and precious metals in New Jersey gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
"Individuals who wish to purchase used jewelry from a legitimate establishment should be able to do so with the confidence that the merchant's products were obtained lawfully," said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This task force will help get stolen goods off the market and give consumers peace of mind."
McKnight Bill to Safeguard Privacy of Violent Crime Victims Gains General Assembly ApprovalLegislation Would Prohibit Victims' Personal Identifying Information from Entering Public Record
Legislation Assemblywoman Angela McKnight sponsored to protect the safety and privacy of violent crime victims and witnesses gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
The bill (A-3626) would prohibit the release of personal identifying information of violent crime victims and witnesses under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act.
"For some violent crime victims, the mere anticipation of public scrutiny is a deterrent to reporting an incident or providing information that may help law enforcement officials," said McKnight (D-Hudson). "If these victims have assurance that their privacy will be respected, they may be more likely to come forward, which would be a major step forward for public safety overall."
Assembly Advances Caride Bill to Establish Protections for New Homeowners of Foreclosed Properties(TRENTON) - The General Assembly advanced on Thursday legislation Assembly Democrat Marlene Caride sponsored to require provisions regarding a sellers' obligation to deliver marketable and insurable title in certain residential real estate contracts of sale. The measure was approved 70-1-1.
The bill (A-2180), which supplements the "Fair Foreclosure Act," addresses situations in which a residential mortgage lender foreclosures on a residential property, buys the property at the resulting sheriff's sale, and subsequently seeks to sell the property (commonly known as a "Real Estate Owned" or "REO" property) through a contract with a new purchaser.
Lesniak, Quijano & Holley Honor Elizabeth High School Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team for Outstanding AchievementNorth II Group IV State Champions Finished Season With 18-4 Record
Union County legislators Senator Raymond Lesniak, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano and Assemblyman Jamel Holley recognized the Elizabeth High School boys' varsity soccer team Thursday on the Assembly floor for its outstanding performance during the previous season.
Jasey & McKnight Bill to Inform Public about Number of Students Taking PARCC Test Approved by AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey and Angela McKnight to require school districts and the state Department of Education to post PARCC student participation rates on their websites was approved Thursday by the Assembly.
"The debate over the PARCC test has been a contentious one, and partly fueled by what many parents felt was a lack of clear information about its implementation," said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). "Posting participation rates on multiple websites will ensure that any member of the public who wants to know this information will be able to get it without jumping through hoops."
Muoio, Gusciora & Benson Measure Seeking Tougher Federal Approval Process on Natural Gas Pipelines Clears AssemblyThe Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Reed Gusciora and Daniel Benson urging the federal government to toughen its policies on the approval of interstate natural gas pipelines in order to fully weigh the environmental costs, as well as the impact on private property owners and state and local government policies.
The measure (ACR-53) urges the President and Congress to change the laws concerning approvals of interstate natural gas pipelines so they better implement current energy policy considerations, require consideration of the cumulative impacts of the overall development of natural gas transmission infrastructure on a region, and require deference to certain competing state policy determinations.
"Federal law currently stipulates that in order for a proposed natural gas pipeline project to be approved, it must find that the project is in the public interest and that the overall benefits of the project outweigh the adverse impacts...," said Muoio.
DeAngelo & Sumter Bill to Create System to Help Apprehend Persons Suspected of Killing Police Officers Clears Assembly
"Blue Alert System" Would Allow Rapid Dissemination of Information, Facilitate InvestigationsLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo and Shavonda Sumter to help protect law enforcement officers in New Jersey and bring to justice those who attack them was approved Thursday by the Assembly.
The bill (A-2674) would establish a ¡§Blue Alert System¡¨ to provide for the rapid dissemination of information to facilitate the apprehension of persons suspected of killing or seriously injuring law enforcement officers. The legislation also would aid in locating missing law enforcement officers.
"Law enforcement officers take on the dangerous task of protecting communities across New Jersey. When they're attacked or go missing, every resident of this state with any relevant information has a duty to come forward..," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). For More
Jimenez, Green, Mukherji & Sumter Bill to Establish Rules for Handling of Hazardous Drugs, Protect Health Care Personnel that Administer them Approved by AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson), Jerry Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union), Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) and Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic) to adopt regulations concerning the handling of hazardous drugs that could be harmful to health care personnel was approved Thursday by the full Assembly.
"These hazardous drugs pose a real risk to health care personnel who may be exposed to them in the air, and through contact with work surfaces, clothing, medical equipment and patients," said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson). "This bill would help ensure that all necessary precautions are taken so that health care professionals who must work with these drugs are well protected."
Assembly Approves Conaway, Singleton & Muoio Measure Urging Congress to Posthumously Award NJ Native & Women's Rights Activist Alice Paul the Congressional Gold MedalA measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Troy Singleton and Elizabeth Muoio petitioning Congress to pass legislation that would posthumously award New Jersey native and women's rights icon Alice Paul a Congressional Gold Medal for her crucial role in the women's suffrage movement was approved Thursday by the Assembly.
"Alice Paul was a women's rights activist, suffragist, and principal leader of the early 1900's campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Without her and other fearless women who led the fight in the women's suffrage movement, I can only imagine how long it would have been before the basic rights of women were recognized and respected," said Conaway. "Given her tremendous contributions, it would be more than fitting to honor her with a Congressional Gold Medal. I urge Congress to pass the bill that would make this a reality."
Speaker Prieto on Assembly Passage of Atlantic City Economic Recovery Legislation (A-2569 & A-2570)
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