Assembly Democrats

Vainieri Huttle & DeAngelo Bill Establishing “Art in Storefronts” Initiative to Invigorate Main Street Businesses Clears Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Wayne DeAngelo to establish the "Art in Storefronts" initiative to help struggling Main Street business districts has cleared the full Assembly by a vote of 70-2-1.

"You look at any town that has reinvented itself and is thriving, and there is a good chance that art played a role," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "This initiative would promote local art while providing Main Street municipalities looking to reinvigorate their downtowns with an economic development tool that has proven effective in transforming depressed communities."

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Lampitt, Holley & Mosquera Bill to Encourage Participation in Summer Meal Programs Clears Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Jamel Holley and Gabriela Mosquera to encourage student participation in summer meal programs has unanimously cleared the General Assembly.

In the State of New Jersey, 1.15 million residents, including 375,000 children, are food insecure. Increasingly, non-profit community-based and local government afterschool providers are offering summer learning programs to ensure students have access to educational enrichment opportunities during the summer months. However, the sponsors note, during the summer months many children lose access to school breakfast and lunch programs and are at risk of going hungry.

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Prieto, Muoio, Oliver, Schaer, Holley, Mukherji & Quijano Bill to Increase Assistance to Low-Income Families to Help Ease Poverty Heads to Governor

Speaker Vincent Prieto Bill Boosts Work First New Jersey Benefits by 30 Percent Over Three Years; Then Ties It to Social Security

Legislation Assembly Democrats Speaker Vincent Prieto, Elizabeth Muoio, Sheila Oliver, Gary Schaer, Jamel Holley, Raj Mukherji and Annette Quijano sponsored to increase the maximum cash assistance benefit for families participating in the Work First New Jersey program by 30 percent over three years, then tying it to Social Security gained final legislative approval Monday in the Senate.

"As I've said, as part of the Assembly's ongoing effort to combat poverty and rebuild the middle-class, fixing this problem isn't just about social responsibility. It's also about fiscal responsibility," said Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen). "It's appalling that New Jersey has the lowest grant level in the Northeast and that we've accepted this as child poverty increases steadily, along with all the costly problems that come along with it. If we're going to help lift people out of poverty by increasing access to work and job training, then we need to do the right thing and reform and modernize this system."

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Assembly Panel OKs 'Peggy's Law' Oliver & Giblin Bill Requiring Immediate Reporting of Suspected Abuse to the Institutionalized Elderly

Asw. Sheila Oliver An Assembly panel on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Sheila Oliver and Thomas Giblin that would require suspected abuse of the institutionalized elderly to be reported to local law enforcement immediately.

"My heart goes out to Peggy's family and any others who may have experienced similar abuse at the hands of someone they entrusted their loved one with," said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). "We need more accountability to ensure that this type of abuse and neglect is reported immediately. No one should have to experience what Peggy's family did."

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Wisniewski Statement Opposing Horizon Legislation

Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) announced his decision Monday to oppose legislative proposals to revise the state's oversight of Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey with the following statement:

"Today I am announcing that I will oppose the legislative proposals currently pending before the legislature that would change both the mission and the management of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. My decision is based on a number of concerns.

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Taliaferro, Eustace, Benson & Mazzeo Legislation to Ban 'Flakka' Possession Clears Legislature, Heads to Gov

Synthetic Drug Associated with Cases of Hallucination, Attacks on Police
(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Adam Taliaferro, Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson and Vince Mazzeo sponsored to help curb the use of a street drug often associated with violent and self-destructive behavior was approved by the full Senate, 39-0, on Monday.

The bill (A-2176) would criminalize the possession, distribution, manufacture and sale of the drug alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), an inexpensive synthetic drug commonly referred to as "flakka" or "flocka." The measure adds the drug to an existing list of similar prohibited controlled substances that includes the family of synthetic cathinones known as "bath salts."

"Flakka has been linked to a number of psychotic symptoms and violent attacks, threatening the safety of communities across the nation," said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). "With this legislation, New Jersey will be proactive about preventing this dangerous drug from taking over in our state."
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Mosquera, Moriarty, Lagana, Zwicker & Downey Bill to Help Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Victims Seek Justice Against Their Abusers Clears Legislature

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gabriela Mosquera, Paul Moriarty, Joseph Lagana, Andrew Zwicker and Joann Downey to allow victims and witnesses of domestic violence and sexual assault to testify against their abusers via closed circuit television under certain circumstances cleared the Senate, 38-0, on Monday.

"Having to recount an abusive relationship in front of your abuser can be unnerving for an individual who's been battered," said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). "For children who may have witnessed their mother being abused, it can be equally frightening to have to testify in a courtroom with the abuser, especially if the abuser is a parent. Permitting victims and young witnesses to testify via closed circuit television allows them to confront their abusers without fear."

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Quijano, Eustace Bill to Expand Tax Exemption Status to Include Military Members Who Helped at Ground Zero Advances

(TRENTON) - The Assembly Budget Panel released legislation on Monday sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano and Timothy Eustace to enable members of the United States Armed Forces who participated in rescue and recovery mission at the World Trade Center between September 1, 2001 and May 30, 2002 to receive a property tax exemption or reduction.

"September 11 was a devastating act of war on American soil that will forever be remembered in the hearts of residents of this great state," said Quijano (D- Union). "American soldiers descended on Ground Zero to save and protect thousands of lives from peril. We can provide relief through this bill for these local heroes where it counts the most, at home. They deserve every opportunity to make their lives a little bit easier as they continue their service to our nation."

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Schaer, Lampitt & Benson Bill to Encourage Greater Collaboration between Business and Higher Education Communities Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic), Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington) and Dan Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex) to encourage more collaboration between New Jersey's businesses and institutions of higher education to help spur job creation and boost the economy was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

"Fostering collaboration between our higher education institutions and our business community is vital to encourage innovation," said Schaer. "By using existing assets we are learning from what other states have done successfully. We should invest in our future."

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Sumter, Jasey, Benson, Muoio, Downey & Mukherji Higher Ed Reform Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

Asw.Shavonda Sumter Bill Would Impose New Regulations to Better Protect Families Planning for College from Taking on Unmanageable Student Loan Debt

Legislation Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Mila Jasey, Daniel Benson, Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Joann Downey and Raj Mukherji sponsored to combat student loan debt in New Jersey gained final legislative approval Monday in the Senate.

"The only concern a college student should have after graduating is choosing which job will lead them closer to their goals," said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). "It has become the norm for families and students to take on an overwhelming amount of debt to pursue educational goals. This legislation will reassess how we distribute state loans."

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Holley, McKnight, Kennedy, Mukherji, Pintor Marin & Wimberly Bill to Ban Sale of Unsafe Supplemental Mattresses Continues Advancing

Asm. Jamel Holley Measure Aimed at Protecting Babies at Risk of Suffocating in Cribs, Playpens Would Be First Law of Its Kind in the Nation

Legislation Assembly Democrats Jamel Holley, Angela McKnight, Jim Kennedy Raj Mukherji, Eliana Pintor Marin and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to protect infants from safety hazards posed by supplemental mattresses received unanimous Senate approval on Monday.

"There is this perception that if a product is sold by a major retailer, it must unequivocally be safe," said Holley (D-Union). "But we continually hear stories of babies being injured or killed when a supplemental mattress is used in a soft-sided play yard. Manufacturers of this product are quick to deny the obvious harm, while retailers are focused on selling a product."

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McKeon, Jasey & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Ensure Stiff Penalties for Vehicular Homicide while Drunk Driving Heads to Governor

"Ralph & David's Law" is Named in Honor of Morris County Man & Sussex County Boy Killed by Drunk Drivers
Bipartisan legislation 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 received final legislative approval from the Senate on Monday.

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.

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Assembly Democratic Bill to Promote Equal Pay for Women Heads to Governor’s Desk

Bill Sponsored by Downey, Lampitt, Schaer, Houghtaling, Benson, Singleton, Muoio & DeAngelo
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Pamela Lampitt, Gary Schaer, Eric Houghtaling, Dan Benson, Troy Singleton, Elizabeth Maher Muoio and Wayne DeAngelo to promote equal pay for women received final legislative approval from the Senate on Monday.

The bill, which was approved by the Assembly last month, now heads to the Governor's desk.

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Prieto, Oliver, Quijano, Pintor Marin, Schaer, Vainieri Huttle & Eustace Bill to Boost Wages for Service Workers at Newark Liberty, Newark Penn & Hoboken Terminal Goes to Governor

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto Bill Addresses Income Inequality & Requires Prevailing Wages for Service Workers Struggling to Make Ends Meet

Legislation Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver and Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Eliana Pintor Marin, Gary Schaer, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Tim Eustace sponsored to require prevailing wages be paid to all subcontracted transportation service workers at Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark Penn Station and the Hoboken Terminal was approved 23-15 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval...

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Prieto, Oliver, Gusciora, & Jasey Bill to Expand & Improve New Jersey's Paid Family Leave Program Goes to Governor

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto Pro-Worker Bill Calls for Expanded Leave Time, Higher Compensation, More Family Member Coverage, Increased Job Protections & Greater Program Promotion

Legislation Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey crafted to improve New Jersey's paid family leave program to ensure it works better for New Jersey families was approved Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.

"This is an invaluable law, but it's underused and needs improvement," said Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen). "New Jersey's hard-working men and women deserve a program that can truly help them in their time of need, whether it's caring for a loved one or welcoming a new family member..."

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Caride, Schaer & Holley Bill to Facilitate Upgrades to Aging Energy Infrastructure Clears Assembly Committee

Asw. Marlene Caride Measure Would Allow Use of P3s for Energy-Related Projects

Legislation Assembly Democrats Marlene Caride, Gary S. Schaer and Jamel Holley sponsored to facilitate upgrades to energy infrastructure in New Jersey and make the state more resilient in the face of severe weather events was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"New Jersey's aging state and local government-owned energy infrastructure demands significant investments to replace and upgrade obsolete facilities," said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Ultimately, this is a public safety issue. Enabling governmental entities to develop needed state-of-the-art energy-related projects to improve the reliability and efficiency of the energy service provided to critical governmental facilities will prevent power outages during extreme weather and keep the state's residents safe."

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McKeon, Burzichelli, Singleton & Caride Bill to Protect Sensitive Taxpayer Information Approved by Assembly

Asm. John F. McKeon Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, John Burzichelli, Troy Singleton and Marlene Caride to help protect sensitive tax information recently was approved by the General Assembly.

"Individuals who have been convicted of theft or forgery may not be the best individuals to trust with such sensitive information," said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). "We have a responsibility to the taxpayers. Requiring a criminal background check for government employees who have access to this information can help prevent having such delicate information fall into the wrong hands."

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Muoio Statement on Horizon Legislation

Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) released the following statement Monday on the pending legislation that would affect Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield:

"While I have great respect for the drafters of this legislation, my concern regarding the current proposal lies with New Jersey's 3.8 million Horizon policyholders.

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Assembly Panel Advances Gusciora, Muoio & Eustace Bill to Protect Sandy Victims

Legislation Will Establish a Clear Process to Protect Homeowners from Financially Ruinous Payback Demands by State, Mediate Funding Disputes
An Assembly panel on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Elizabeth Maher Muoio and Tim Eustace establishing protections for struggling Superstorm Sandy victims who are forced to repay rebuilding funds that were already disbursed to them, an issue that came to light during a fall legislative hearing Gusciora held on the anniversary of the historic storm.

The committee's hearing revealed that requests for repayment, or "clawbacks" as they are known, were common during the state's well-documented failure to administer a majority of the $1.1 billion in federal HUD rebuilding funds. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) would issue letters to homeowners whom it determined received too much aid under the programs, outlining how much they are expected to pay back, but without providing individuals with any other recourse.

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Vainieri Huttle Joins with Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault in Releasing Report Recommending Colleges Address Nine Issue Areas

In order to appropriately address sexual violence on college campuses, institutions must approach the issue from multiple angles, as indicated by the New Jersey Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault in a report released today.

The 39-page report, "Addressing Campus Sexual Violence: Creating Safer Higher Education Communities," was released today during a press conference at the State House and contains key recommendations addressing the following issues:
· Early Education;
· Campus Climate Surveys;
· Services for the Survivor;
· Services for the Accused;
· Investigation and Adjudication;
· Prevention;
· Coordinating with Community Agencies;
· Education and Training;
· Relationship between Substance Abuse and Sexual Assault.
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Assembly Panel Advances Houghtaling, Downey & Mosquera Legislation Establishing “Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights”

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling, Joann Downey and Gabriela Mosquera establishing the Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights was approved by the Assembly Budget Committee on Monday.

The bill (A-4007) would require the Director of the Division of Taxation to develop and publish a Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights that sets forth in simple and non-technical terms the right of every property taxpayer to understand their property assessment and to appeal an assessment that a taxpayer believes is too high.

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Mazzeo Legislation to Protect Atlantic City Police & Firefighters from Layoffs Advanced by Assembly Panel

An Assembly panel on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo that would block state imposed layoffs for Atlantic City public safety employees without the state first offering, in writing, an early retirement incentive plan.

"We can't throw away the positive strides made in Atlantic City by jeopardizing public safety. Atlantic City's Police and Fire Departments have made significant cuts over the past few years to bring themselves in line with the needs of the community..."

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Assembly Panel Approves Democratic Measures to Boost Funding for Women's Health Care

Mazzeo, Downey, Mosquera, Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Jimenez, Pintor Marin, Sumter, Oliver, Lagana, Jasey & Mukherji Two-Bill Package Would Restore Funding for Women's Health Centers & Expand Medicaid Coverage
A two-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats to boost funding for health care for low and middle income women and their children in the FY 2018 budget was approved Monday by the Assembly Budget Committee.

The measures - sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo, Joann Downey, Gabriela Mosquera, Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Angelica Jimenez, Eliana Pintor Marin, Shavonda Sumter, Sheila Oliver, Joe Lagana, Mila Jasey and Raj Mukherji - would restore the funding eliminated by Gov. Christie for women's health centers and expand Medicaid coverage under federal law to help serve some of the state's poorest women.

"In difficult fiscal times, the priorities we choose show our character as a state," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "From a financial perspective, this relatively small investment pays enormous dividends and is a cost effective way to improve the health and well-being of women and children in New Jersey."

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Vainieri Huttle & Caride Bill to Create Safe & Welcoming School Environment for Trans Students in NJ Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Marlene Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic) to help create a safe, inclusive and accepting school environment for transgender students was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

According to a study by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 41 percent of trans people attempted suicide in their lifetimes, compared to 1.6 percent of the general population.

"Trans children are harassed and bullied for daring to be themselves. This has to stop," said Vainieri Huttle. "These guidelines are needed to ensure that transgender students can safely be themselves without fear of being persecuted, and can help promote a culture of understanding and acceptance that will hopefully influence how students treat each other in and outside of school."

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Muoio, Vainieri Huttle, Mukherji, Oliver & Gusciora Bill to Enhance Benefits under Work First New Jersey Heads to Governor's Desk

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Raj Mukherji, Sheila Oliver and Reed Gusciora to ensure that some of New Jersey's most vulnerable residents receive the assistance they need under the Work First New Jersey program received final legislative approval Monday and now heads to the governor's desk.

The bill (A-33) would repeal the section of the Work First New Jersey Act that currently prohibits a household from gaining additional cash assistance benefits as a result of the birth of a child. Such policies that prevent an increase in welfare benefits as a result of the birth of a child are commonly known as family caps.

"If there was ever a situation that would precipitate the need for greater assistance under this program, it's the birth of a child and the enormous cost that comes along with it," said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "This cap harms our most vulnerable citizens - children born into poverty who must suffer the effects of even deeper poverty because their families must struggle to do more with less."
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Jasey, McKeon & Vainieri Huttle Bill Encouraging Mental Health Physicians to Work in Underserved Areas Goes to Governor

Measure Establishes Tuition Reimbursement Program for Psychiatrists, Addressing Shortage of Mental Health Care Access in Certain Parts of the State
(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey, John McKeon and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to reimburse tuition for psychiatrists who work in underserved areas of the state received final legislative approval Monday and now heads to the governor's desk.

"The reimbursement program will only be available to physicians who engage in the full-time practice of psychiatry in an area of need designated by the Commissioner of Health," said Jasey (D- Essex/Morris). "The intent of this legislation is to increase access to much-needed care in underserved communities."

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Speaker Prieto on Budget Plan That Includes Democratic Priorities

Speaker Prieto on Budget Plan That Includes Democratic Priorities

Holley Bill to Ban Sale of Unsafe Supplemental Mattresses Continues Advancing

Holley Bill to Ban Sale of Unsafe Supplemental Mattresses Continues Advancing

Vainieri Huttle Joins with Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault in Releasing Report and Recommendations

Vainieri Huttle Joins with Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault in Releasing Report and Recommendations

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