Assembly Democrats


Barclay, Benson & Mazzeo Bill to Help More Police Departments Combat Heroin Overdoses Gains Committee OK

Asm. Arthur Barclay Legislation Assembly Democrats Arthur Barclay, Vince Mazzeo and Daniel R. Benson sponsored to facilitate the bulk purchase of the life-saving heroin and opioid antidote Narcan by the state for distribution to local first responders was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

"In Camden County alone, police officers have saved hundreds of lives because they had Narcan available on the scene," said Barclay (D-Camden/Gloucester). "Our law enforcement officers need to have this antidote on hand so that they are equipped to combat the state's opioid epidemic."

For More             

Downey & Houghtaling Bill to Require Gun ‘Microstamping’ Clears Assembly Committee

Asw. Joann Downey Legislation Assembly Democrats Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling sponsored to require the use of modern ballistic identification technology that would make it easier for law enforcement to analyze gun crime evidence was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

"Microstamping essentially is like assigning DNA to a firearm," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "If law enforcement officers could immediately know everything about a gun just by having a shell casing, it would increase their likelihood of quickly apprehending the perpetrator of a crime."

For More             

Pinkin, Sumter, Vainieri Huttle, Gusciora & Muoio Bill to Restrict Use of Solitary Confinement in N.J. Prisons Clears Committee

Asw. Nancy Pinkin Measure Follows Recent White House Action to Reform Solitary Confinement in Federal Prisons

Legislation Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, Shavonda Sumter, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Reed Gusciora and Elizabeth Muoio sponsored to restrict the use of solitary confinement in New Jersey's prisons was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

"There is significant proof that solitary confinement can have a severe, long-term negative impact on an inmate's mental health," said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). "While solitary confinement is necessary in some cases, the use of isolation in New Jersey's correctional facilities does irreparable psychological damage that affects people while they are in prison and detracts from former inmates' ability to make positive contributions to their communities thereafter."

For More             

Oliver, Johnson & Jasey Bill to Prohibit Sale of Realistic Toy Guns Clears Assembly Committee

Asw. Sheila Oliver Legislation sponsored by Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver and Assembly Democrats Gordon M. Johnson and Mila Jasey to prohibit the sale of toy guns that resemble real firearms was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

"Unfortunately, when a law enforcement officer is called to a scene and has to make a split-second decision, it can be difficult to differentiate between a real weapon and an imitation," said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). "If the officer is wrong in assuming that a toy is a real weapon, it can result in tragedy for a child at play. If the officer hesitates, believing that a real weapon is a toy, it can result in tragedy for the officer. By putting restrictions on the sale of replica weapons, we can get to the root of this disturbing problem."

For More             

Egan Jones & Mosquera Measure to Prevent Gun Violence Among Individuals with Mental Disorders Gains Committee Approval

Asw. Patricia Egan Jones Mental Illness, Access to Firearms Major Risk Factors for Suicide

Legislation Assembly Democrats Patricia Egan Jones and Gabriela Mosquera sponsored to prevent individuals with an elevated risk of engaging in violence due to mental illness from causing harm to themselves and others was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

"For someone who may be struggling with disturbing thoughts, having access to a firearm significantly increases the likelihood of suicide," said Egan Jones (D-Camden/Gloucester). "By reducing their access to a lethal weapon, New Jersey can help prevent fatalities among those with serious mental health concerns."

For More             

Muoio Bill to Protect Local Governments from Costs of TTF Shutdown Gains Assembly Panel Approval

Bill Will Also Ensure Continuation of Vital Projects & Shield Property Taxpayers from Shouldering Costs for Governor's Shutdown
An Assembly panel on Thursday advanced legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio to ensure the continuation of vital transportation projects and protect local governments from costs incurred by delays as a result of Gov. Christie's initial executive order (210) issued in June shutting down transportation projects until the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) crisis is resolved.

"Local governments are not to blame for the lack of a TTF plan, yet they could ultimately be on the hook for the potential cost overruns resulting from the Governor's executive order. That means local property taxpayers, who fund the bulk of local government spending, will have to bear these costs," stated Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "To add insult to injury, local governments willing to front the costs to ensure these projects get finished in a timely manner are being told they may not be reimbursed with the TTF funds promised to them."

For More             

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CHAPARRO INTRODUCES BILL TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF PEDESTRIAN AND BIKE SAFETY FOR DRIVERS

Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33) introduced a bill (A4165) this week aimed at educating new drivers on the correct ways to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians in an effort to curb injuries and accidents.

"As more and more residents in New Jersey opt to use a bicycle through share programs or just buying one for personal use, specifically in our urban areas, it's necessary to ensure that our driver education classes, tests, and manuals are updated to reflect the changing landscape of the roads," Chaparro said.

For More             

Vainieri Huttle, Lagana, Eustace & Caride Bill to Provide Better Oversight at Bergen Regional Medical Center Now Law

Legislation Prompted by Reports of Violence against Patients and Staff; Weak Oversight at New Jersey's Largest Hospital
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joseph Lagana, Tim Eustace and Marlene Caride to allow Bergen County to create a hospital authority to ensure proper oversight and quality of care at Bergen Regional Medical Center, which has been besieged by allegations of violence against patients and staff, has been signed into law.

The bill (A-3951) came in response to a media report that revealed hundreds of alleged assaults logged by Bergen County Police and a federal investigation prompted by attacks on eight workers at the Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus. The hospital, which provides long-term care, psychiatric and substance-abuse treatment and acute care, is owned by Bergen County but operated by a private for-profit company. The hospital is the largest hospital in the state with 1,000 beds.

For More             

Downey, Houghtaling, Quijano & Mosquera Measure to Designate September as "Youth Suicide Prevention Awareness" Advances

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling, Annette Quijano and Gabriela Mosquera to spread awareness of youth suicide in New Jersey was recently released by an Assembly panel.

"Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24 in the state of New Jersey," said Downey (D- Monmouth). "It is the second leading cause of death for youth ages in that group in the United States. More must be done to raise awareness of youth suicide to help parents, family and friends recognize the signs and seek support for their loved ones."

For More             

Holley & Chaparro Introduce Pro-Consumer Bill to Reduce Insurance Premiums for Certain Coverages for Residents Who Use Dashboard Cameras

(TRENTON) - Assembly Democrats Jamel Holley and Annette Chaparro recently introduced legislation that would require insurance companies to provide a reduction in certain automobile insurance premiums for residents who have installed dashboard cameras in their vehicles.

Most car insurers offer discounts for vehicles that have anti-lock brakes, air bag and passive restraint systems, and anti-theft vehicle recovery systems. However, the sponsors note that since dashboard cameras are a relatively new technology available to drivers, insurance provisions and regulations for dashboard cameras have yet to be developed in the state.

"Air bags, a collision-avoidance system and dashboard cams are all safety devices created to help decrease accidents," said Holley (D-Union). "A dashboard camera and the actual video footage it provides of an accident will become an invaluable tool for insurance companies. Consumers who install dash cams in their vehicles should see a discount in their insurance rates for providing such transparency in their driving."

For More             

Banning Real-Looking Toy Guns, Firearms Seizures When Patient Poses a Threat, Handgun Micro-Stamping & Database, Restricting Isolated Confinement & State Help for Local Transportation Funding Delays Highlight Thursday Assembly Committees

Distracted Driving Discussion Also on Tap

Bills banning the sale of toy guns that appear to be genuine firearms, requiring firearms seizure when a mental health professional determines a patient poses a threat, requiring newly manufactured handguns to be micro-stamped and establishing a handgun database, along with legislation to restrict isolated confinement in jails and require the state to compensate local governments for transportation funding delays top Thursday's Assembly committee hearings…

For More             

Singleton, DeAngelo, Caride, Mukherji & Holley Bill to Augment STEM Education in NJ's Schools Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Wayne DeAngelo, Marlene Caride, Raj Mukherji and Jamel Holley to enhance science, technology, education and math (STEM) education in New Jersey's schools and better prepare students for the 21st century workforce was released earlier this week by an Assembly panel.

"This program can help broaden and encourage student access and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics order to advance our competitiveness and innovation in these fields," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "The reality is that we are lagging behind other countries when it comes to STEM education, which places our students at a disadvantage if they want to pursue these fields professionally. Employment opportunities in STEM fields are only expected to grow. If we want our students to be able to compete, we have to expand STEM education in New Jersey."

For More             

Jasey Named Deputy Speaker of General Assembly

Asw. Mila Jasey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has appointed Assemblywoman Mila Jasey to the post of deputy speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly.

Jasey, of South Orange, was first sworn into the General Assembly in 2007.

"New Jersey faces big challenges - from making sure every student is prepared to handle the cost and academic rigor of college to upholding the right to adequate housing and so much in between," said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). "Taking on this new leadership role will be a means of working with Speaker Prieto to ensure that the Assembly carries out its mission of building a better New Jersey."

For More             

Gusciora & Muoio Introduce Legislative Compromise to Provide Lifeline to Urban Cities in the Wake of Christie’s UEZ Bill Veto

Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora and Elizabeth Maher Muoio (both D-Mercer/Hunterdon) have introduced a legislative compromise to provide a critical lifeline to urban cities in the wake of Gov. Christie's conditional veto of previous legislation (A-2576) they sponsored that would have extended the duration of Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ) for an additional ten years.

The lawmakers noted that Gov. Christie's conditional veto excised critical passages of the legislation that would have extended the UEZ designation and replaced it with a directive requiring the Commissioner of Community Affairs to conduct a study into potential alternatives to the UEZ program.

For More             

Houghtaling, Downey, Andrzejczak & DeAngelo Bill to Facilitate Motorcycle Endorsement Process for Service Members Advances

Asm. Eric Houghtaling Legislation Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling, Joann Downey, Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak and Wayne DeAngelo sponsored to make it easier for those serving in the military to receive authorization to operate a motorcycle was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"Men and women who serve in the military learn certain skills that they may be able to employ during their time in the service as well as upon their return to civilian life. For some, that includes knowing how to ride a motorcycle," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "If service members can prove that they already know how to operate a motorcycle, there's no need for the Motor Vehicle Commission to require them to take additional steps before providing them with an endorsement."

For More             

Vainieri Huttle Bill to Ensure Safe Transition to Community Housing for Individuals with Development Disabilities Advances

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle to overhaul the procedures that are used to transition an individual with a developmental disability from a state developmental center to a community placement gained approval from an Assembly panel on Monday.

"Moving can be stressful for anyone, but for someone with developmental disabilities the transition can be detrimental at times," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "The State Auditor has identified a number of concerns related to the high volume of transitions due to the closure of several developmental centers. Based on these recommendations, we've developed a comprehensive plan to ensure a safer transition for some of our most vulnerable."

For More             

Assembly Approves Conaway, Pinkin, Kennedy & Singleton Bill to Keep Voters Apprised of Polling Location Changes

Law Inspired, in part, by Havoc Created When Superstorm Sandy Forced Towns to Move Polling Locations
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Nancy Pinkin, James Kennedy and Troy Singleton to make sure voters are aware of any changes to polling locations was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

"It's important that we do everything we can to protect the integrity of the democratic process, and that includes making it crystal clear to voters where exactly they'll be able to vote," said Conaway (D-Burlington). "The current requirements can cause unnecessary confusion and put the rights of voters to cast their ballot at risk. We can do better by New Jersey voters and we should."

For More             

Coughlin & Holley Bill to Permit Municipalities to Create, Maintain Emergency Special Needs Registries Clears Committee

Asm. Craig Coughlin Legislation Would Facilitate Administration of Assistance to Vulnerable Individuals During Emergencies

Legislation Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin and Jamel Holley sponsored to advance disaster preparedness by helping ensure that New Jersey's seniors, people with disabilities and others in need of special assistance receive aid during emergencies was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"In an emergency situation, time is of the essence. The faster authorized personnel can find and assist those who need help, the better," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "If they have a directory with the names and addresses of individuals in need of special assistance, municipal police, fire and first aid and rescue units will be better equipped to locate these members of their community quickly, deliver the necessary services and save lives."

For More             

Eustace, Pinkin & Gusciora Bills to Help Protect & Preserve the Monarch Butterfly Population Advanced by an Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - A legislative package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Nancy Pinkin and Reed Gusciora to help protect the monarch butterfly population, which stops to feed in New Jersey as it migrates south and has dwindled dramatically due to a shortage of their primary food, was approved Monday by an Assembly panel.

"Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies migrate south from Canada and the United States to Mexico, stopping in New Jersey along the way to feed and reproduce." said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "However, recent reports indicate that the monarch butterfly population is at its lowest level since records began in 1993. A major cause of this decline has been the widespread loss of a plant called milkweed, which monarch butterfly larvae rely on for food. Milkweed has seen its range fall 58 percent between 1999 and 2010."

For More             

Vainieri Huttle & Mosquera Bill to Protect Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities OK’d by Assembly Panel

Stephen Komninos' Law will put Measures in Place to Better Address Reports of Abuse and Neglect in State Licensed Facilities
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Gabriela Mosquera to better protect children and adults with development disabilities from potential abuse and neglect from caregivers was unanimously released Monday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-2503), known as "Stephen Komninos' Law," honors the memory of Stephen, an individual with developmental disabilities who died at the age of 22 while under the care of a private state-licensed facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. Stephen was a non-verbal, young man who suffered through many substantiated incidents of abuse and neglect by caregivers. Tragically, the last incident resulted in his death.

For More             

McKeon, Benson & Kennedy Clean Vehicle Task Force Bill Clears Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Daniel R. Benson and James J. kennedy sponsored to evaluate the use "clean" vehicles in New Jersey was approved by the Assembly Environment panel on Monday.

The bill (A-3295) would establish the Clean Vehicle Task Force, whose 11 members would evaluate issues related to the promotion, development and use of clean vehicles in New Jersey. The body would submit a report with recommendations to the governor and the legislature within a year of organizing.

"Knowing that vehicle emissions are a major contributor to air pollution, it's critical that we find ways to get more vehicles with lower emissions on the road," said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). "This task force will help us find ways to protect the environment and advance our goal of slowing climate change."

For More             

DeAngelo, Eustace, Mukherji & Holley Bill to Create Registry of Organizations Providing Services to Veterans Clears Committee

Asm. Wayne DeAngelo Legislation Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo, Tim Eustace, Raj Mukherji and Jamel Holley sponsored to create a "one-stop shop" for military veterans seeking assistance in New Jersey was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-3748) would require the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs to create a comprehensive online registry of organizations providing services to veterans. Inclusion on the webpage would not constitute an endorsement of an organization by the department or state.

"Men and women in uniform make sacrifices to help people here at home and all around the world, but when they need a little help themselves, they sometimes find the system difficult to navigate," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Creating a registry is a simple task that can go a long way toward making life easier for some of our nation's finest citizens."

For More             

Gusciora, Oliver, Lagana & Lampitt Bill to Ban Marriage for Anyone under 18 Advances

Legislation is Designed to Combat Forced Child Marriages
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Sheila Oliver, Joseph Lagana and Pamela Lampitt to combat forced child marriages was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.

Specifically, the bill (A-3091) would bar the issuance of marriage or civil union licenses to all persons under the age of 18, regardless of parental or judicial consent. Under current law, marriage or civil union licenses may not be issued to minors under the age of 18 unless the parents or guardian, if any, consent. If the minor is under the age of 16, a judge of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part must also consent to the marriage or civil union.

For More             

Assembly Panel OKs Oliver, Conaway, Tucker, Sumter & Holley Bill Requiring Attorney General’s Office to Handle Investigation of Police-Related Homicides

Bill is Designed to Bring Fairness & Impartiality to the Process after High-Profile Acquittals Across the Country
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Sheila Oliver, Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Cleopatra Tucker, Shavonda Sumter and Jamel Holley to help ensure impartiality when a law enforcement officer kills someone in the line of duty was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

The bill (A-1115) provides that, whenever a person's death occurred during an encounter with a police officer or other law enforcement officer acting in the officer's official capacity or while the decedent was in custody, the state Attorney General would supersede the local county prosecutor, utilizing existing supersession authority, and conduct, personally or by a designated deputy or assistant attorney general, any investigation, criminal action or proceeding concerning the incident.

For More             

Assembly Panel Oks Lampitt Bill to Provide Good Samaritans Who Save Unattended Children At-Risk in Vehicles Civil Immunity from Any Damages Incurred

(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel approved legislation on Monday sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt that would provide civil immunity to person who forcibly enters a motor vehicle to remove unattended and unsupervised children.

"We have all heard the stories of children being left and locked in a car in hot or freezing temperatures and the subsequent tragedies," said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). "If a child is in immediate danger and the authorities have been notified, a good Samaritan should not have to be concerned with the cost of damages to the vehicle if they are trying to save a child's life."

For More             

Tucker, Caputo, Giblin, Mosquera & Jimenez Bill to Create Public Awareness Campaign on Child Car Safety Approved by Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Cleopatra Tucker, Ralph Caputo, Thomas Giblin, Gabriela Mosquera and Angelica Jimenez to create a public awareness campaign on the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles was released by an Assembly panel on Monday.

"Every year, heartbreaking and preventable deaths occur when children are left unattended in cars," said Tucker (D-Essex). "Making parents and child caretakers more aware of the dangers that exist will hopefully help prevent future tragedies."



For More             

Danielsen Bill to Establish ‘Support the Troops Fund’ Advanced by Assembly Committee

Asm. Joseph Danielsen Legislation Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen sponsored to support the families of military personnel serving overseas was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-935) would authorize the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to issue specialty "Support the Troops" license plates. "The stress that military families experience when their loved ones are deployed is amplified if they can't make ends meet in their absence," said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). "Purchasing specialty plates is an easy way for New Jersey residents to commit to a recurring contribution to military families in need while also expressing their support for those fighting for our freedom."

For More             

Lampitt, Mosquera, Wimberly, Downey & McKnight Bill to Ensure Equality for Pregnant College Students Clears Assembly

Asw. Pamela Lampitt Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Gabriela Mosquera, Benjie Wimberly, Joann Downey and Angela McKnight to help ensure equal rights and opportunity for pregnant students in pursuit of higher education gained Assembly approval on Thursday.

"Women who are pregnant - many of whom also work - face unique challenges as they pursue their education that their professors and peers may not even realize limit their capacity to succeed," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This bill will make it easier for expectant parents to earn a degree so that they can better provide for their children."

For More             

Andrzejczak to Take Part in New Jersey’s first “Gleaning Week” Celebration to Help Combat Hunger

In an effort to help stamp out hunger in New Jersey, Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak will take part in a statewide summit on Tuesday as part of a weeklong celebration to help promote the innovative, new practice known as "gleaning," which makes good use of the billions of dollars in food that goes to waste every year in the United States.

In doing so, Andrzejczak will deliver remarks at the statewide Gleaning Summit to be held at Fernbrook Farms in Chesterfield, NJ at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 20, which will bring together legislators, cabinet officials, farmers, emergency feeding partners and volunteers to discuss the practice, followed by an actual gleaning event.

For More             

Lagana & & Gusciora Bill to Ensure Safety of Students Transported on School Buses Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana and Reed Gusciora to prevent individuals who have had their driving privileges suspended or revoked from operating a school bus was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

"Individuals who've had their driving privileges suspended or revoked have no business being on the road, never mind transporting children to school," said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Losing your driving privileges is no small infraction. This will keep irresponsible individuals from transporting school children, and ensure the safety of students who depend on school bus transportation."

For More             

Caride & Jimenez Bill to Ensure Safety of Students in Wheelchairs on School Buses Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Marlene Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson) to improve the safety of wheelchair-bound students who are transported on school buses was released Monday by the Assembly Education Committee.

"These students are especially vulnerable," said Caride, who chairs the committee. "Equipping our school buses with this four-point securement system and requiring bus drivers to ensure that students in wheelchairs are properly secured in the system will make for a safer ride to school."

For More             

Caride, Jasey, Eustace & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Eliminate Standardized Tests as Measuring Stick for Teacher Effectiveness Approved by Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Marlene Caride, Mila Jasey, Tim Eustace and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to eliminate the use of standardized assessments as a measure of student growth or progress in evaluations of teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals was approved Monday by the Assembly Education Committee.

"There is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness," said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic), who chairs the committee. "Teachers should be held accountable via a rigorous evaluation system, but standardized testing should not be included in that system."

For More             

Lampitt, Benson, Jasey, Johnson, Mosquera, Muoio, Pinkin & Jimenez Bill to Ensure Safe Return to School for Students who have suffered Concussions Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Dan Benson, Mila Jasey, Gordon Johnson, Gabriela Mosquera, Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Nancy Pinkin and Angelica Jimenez to ensure that students who have suffered a concussion are properly vetted by a licensed health care professional before they can return to school concussion was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

"Concussions, especially in young people, should not be taken lightly. When a child suffers a concussion, there needs to be proper procedures in place for his or her return to school and learning," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This bill will help ensure the utmost caution is taken during their return to school in order to ease their transition back into the classroom and avoid further injuring themselves."

For More             

Houghtaling, Andrzejczak & Mazzeo Bill to Allow Contributions to Jersey Fresh Program through Gross Income Tax Returns Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Eric Houghtaling, Bob Andrzejczak and Vince Mazzeo to help support the Jersey Fresh Program by allowing taxpayers to contribute to the program through their gross income tax returns was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

"The state's agriculture and food industry is an essential part of New Jersey's local economy and merits our support," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "This would create an additional funding source to help support the program's advertising, promotional, and quality grading program activities."

For More             

Eliminating Standardized Tests in Teacher Evaluation, Special Police Prosecutor, School Bus Safety, Student Concussion Safety, Farm-to-School Improvements Highlight Monday Assembly Committees

Concerns on Unattended Children in Vehicles, No Under Age 18 Marriages, Cheerleading as Interscholastic Sport, Clean Vehicles & Protections for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Also on Tap

Eliminating the requirement that standardized assessments be used as a measure of student progress in the overall evaluation of a teacher, using a special prosecutor in cases involving deaths by law enforcement, improving school bus safety, student athlete concussion safety and improving the Farm-to-School program top Monday's Assembly committee hearings.

Concerns about unattended children being left in vehicles and legislation to prohibit marriages for those under 18, make cheerleading as an interscholastic sport, promote clean vehicle usage and protect individuals with development disabilities are also on tap...

For More             

Mosquera, Moriarty, Lagana, Zwicker & Downey Bill to Help Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Victims Seek Justice Against Their Abusers Gains Assembly OK

Asw. Gabriela Mosquera 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 was passed in the General Assembly on Thursday.

"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."

For More             

Wisniewski Introduces Bill to Allow for $3.2B in Total Increased TTF Borrowing for 2 years

Asm. John Wisniewski Amid the continued Transportation Trust Fund stalemate, Assemblyman John Wisniewski on Friday announced he's introduced legislation that would allow the state to borrow $1.6 billion both this and next year to allow transportation work to continue, put laborers back to work and ensure public safety.

"Borrowing money is not my preference, but unfortunately we have no choice to do so while we wait for the next governor, who unlike our current one will hopefully be a rational person who puts the public interest above politics," said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), who chairs the Assembly transportation committee...

For More             

Assembly Dems Bill Forgiving Student Loan Debt in Event of Borrower’s Death or Permanent Disability Gains Assembly Approval

Mazzeo, Zwicker, Jasey, Vainieri Huttle, Jones, Eustace, Land, Gusciora, Andrzejczak, Downey, Houghtaling & Mukherji Bill would Eliminate Student Loan Debt in the Event of Death or Permanent Disability
By a vote of 66-0-7, the full Assembly on Thursday approved legislation that would forgive certain student loan debt in the event of a borrower's death or total permanent disability, a measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Andrew Zwicker, Mila Jasey, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Gary Schaer, Patricia Jones, Tim Eustace, Bruce Land, Reed Gusciora, Bob Andrzejczak, Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling and Raj Mukherji.

"Imagine you're a family who always pays their bills, has good credit and then you lose a child and in the midst of your grief, you're saddled with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in their remaining student loan debt," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "That's just something we can't allow to happen on our watch."

For More             

Andrzejczak, Mazzeo, Lampitt, Wimberly, Pintor Marin & Downey Bill to Ease Burden of Mortgage Payments for Active Duty Military Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Pamela Lampitt, Benjie Wimberly, Eliana Pintor Marin and Joann Downey to allow members of the military to defer mortgage loan payments temporarily while they are deployed on active duty was approved on a concurrence vote by the full Assembly on Thursday, 74-0.

For More             

Vainieri Huttle, Lagana, Eustace & Caride Bill to Provide Better Oversight at Bergen Regional Medical Center Heads Back to Governor’s Desk

Legislation Prompted by Reports of Violence against Patients and Staff; Weak Oversight at New Jersey's Largest Hospital
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joseph Lagana, Tim Eustace and Marlene Caride to allow Bergen County to create a hospital authority to ensure proper oversight and quality of care at Bergen Regional Medical Center, which has been besieged by allegations of violence against patients and staff, received final legislative approval Thursday from the Assembly 68-5-2 and now heads back to the governor's desk.

The bill (A-3951) came in response to a media report that revealed hundreds of alleged assaults logged by Bergen County Police and a federal investigation prompted by attacks on eight workers at the Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus. The hospital, which provides long-term care, psychiatric and substance-abuse treatment and acute care, is owned by Bergen County but operated by a private for-profit company. The hospital is the largest hospital in the state with 1,000 beds.

For More             

DeAngelo, Benson & Quijano Bill to Expand NJ Energy Stars Program Statewide Clears Assembly

(Trenton) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Daniel Benson and Annette Quijano sponsored to require New Jersey Energy Star Homes Program incentives be available statewide was approved, 75-0, by the Assembly on Thursday.

"Helping more residents save on energy costs, that's what this bill is about," DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). "Wherever there is new residential construction there should be an opportunity for this program."

For More             

Holley Bill to Fund Counseling for Victims of Sexual Assault Gains Assembly OK

Asm. Jamel Holley Legislation Assemblyman Jamel Holley sponsored to fund counseling for victims of sexual assault gained approval Thursday in the General Assembly.

"Victims of sexual violence often feel alone. They need to know support and resources are available to them as they work to move forward," said Holley (D-Union). "The Sexual Offender Victim Counseling Fund would allow for the provision of counseling for individuals who have been through traumatic experiences."

For More             

Quijano & Pinkin Bill to Regulate Sales of Marked County & Municipal Police Cars, Emergency Vehicles Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano and Nancy Pinkin to maintain the integrity of emergency vehicles while also protecting the freedom of collectors in New Jersey was approved, 76-0, by the full Assembly on Thursday.

The bill (A-856) would require the removal of certain equipment, such sirens and strobe lights, and markings, such as state, county or municipal seals, from a used emergency vehicle prior to its sale or transfer. While such equipment and markings must be removed from emergency vehicles owned by the state prior to sale or transfer, no similar measure governs vehicles owned by counties and municipalities.

"The law prohibits the sale of state-owned emergency vehicles that bear sirens and flashing lights out of common-sense recognition that this kind of equipment can be dangerous when in the wrong hands," said Quijano (D-Union). "This legislation simply applies that same logic to emergency vehicles owned by county and municipal entities."

For More             

Schaer, Jimenez, Wimberly & Caride Bill to Ensure Health Facilities Restore Power Quickly in an Emergency Gains Assembly OK

Asm. Gary Schaer Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary S. Schaer, Angelica Jimenez, Benjie Wimberly and Marlene Caride to help ensure hospitals and other critical healthcare facilities get power back as soon as possible during an emergency was approved 76-0 by the Assembly on Thursday.

"If any good came out of Sandy, it was the lessons we learned in the aftermath as we attempted to resume a sense of normalcy throughout our state," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "While hospitals are equipped with back-up generators, they can only last so long, making it imperative that we place a priority on getting these critical facilities back up and running as quickly as possible..."

For More             

Andrzejczak & Land Bills to Promote Aquaculture in New Jersey Approved by Assembly

Asm. Bob Andrzejczak The Assembly on Thursday approved two bills sponsored by Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land to promote aquaculture in New Jersey.

"New Jersey's coastal location and its proximity to the largest consumer markets in the nation indicate that aquaculture can and should be a thriving and vital industry in the state," said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). "Aquaculture plays an important role in meeting the dietary need of an increasingly health conscious and growing population and fish farming can help supplement the harvest of wild caught fish to meet that demand. Aquaculture is also important to the future of the seas because it can provide reasonably priced, good quality, highly nutritious food while helping to maintain the long-term sustainability of wild caught fisheries..."

For More             

McKeon, Vainieri Huttle, Caputo, Jasey & Downey Bill to Create Law Enforcement Assisted Addiction Safe Havens Gains Assembly Approval

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Ralph Caputo, Mila Jasey and Joann Downey that would establish law enforcement assisted addiction and recovery referral programs throughout the state gained approval, once again, from the full Assembly, incorporating several common sense changes suggested by the Governor in his conditional veto.

The bill (A-3744), approved unanimously by the Assembly, now awaits final concurrence from the Senate before heading back to the Governor's desk.

For More             

Gusciora, DeAngelo & Lagana Bill to Allow New Cigar Bars to Open in New Jersey Gains Assembly OK

Asm. Reed Gusciora Measure Would Allow New Establishments that Meet Strict Guidelines

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Wayne P. DeAngelo and Joseph A. Lagana that would allow new cigar bars or cigar lounges to open in New Jersey gained approval Thursday in the Assembly.

"Cigar smokers are a devoted and nuanced group of aficionados who gather and socialize in an environment that would be their own," said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "This bill would give towns that want to expand their offerings and appeal to this niche market the option to do so. It would also create a new economic engine for entrepreneurs who want to cater to cigar enthusiasts, and give cigar smokers more places to go to and enjoy their hobby without affecting non-smokers."

For More             

Vainieri Huttle, Jasey & Mukherji Bill to Expand Steroid Testing for High School Athletes Gains Assembly Approval

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Mila Jasey and Raj Mukherji to expand steroid testing and education throughout New Jersey high schools was approved 69-2-5 by the full Assembly on Thursday.

"Student athletes who see steroids as a quick fix, fail to realize how detrimental they can be to a person's physical and psychological health," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "I can understand how a young person who has hopes of playing professionally wants to get an edge over the competition, but risking your health is not worth it. Random testing of student athletes can help deter steroid use among young people who might be more concerned with getting caught than the harmful side effects."

For More             

Caputo to Introduce Legislation Requiring Firing Range Patrons to Possess Permits, Purchaser ID Cards

Asm. Ralph Caputo Bills in Response to Six Shooting Deaths in Two-Year Period at New Jersey Facilities

Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo will introduce two bills Thursday that would require anyone using a firearm at a firing range to present government-issued photo identification and proof that he or she is authorized to own or carry a firearm.

"Firing ranges provide novice recreational shooters and experienced professionals alike with a platform to develop their skills," said Caputo (D-Essex). "However, while going to the range can be a fun and educational experience, recent fatal shootings at these facilities in New Jersey serve as stark reminders that, even in a controlled environment, it also can become tragic in the blink of an eye."

For More             

DeAngelo, Mukherji, Vainieri Huttle & McKeon Bill to Require NJ Transit to Notify Public Prior to Service Reduction Now Law

Asm. Wayne DeAngelo A bill Assembly Democrats Wayne P. DeAngelo, Raj Mukherji, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and John McKeon sponsored to help ensure that mass transit riders are properly informed of proposed service cuts is now law.

The new law (A-227) requires New Jersey Transit to hold a public hearing and provide notice prior to a reduction in bus or rail services. Previous law only required a hearing and notice prior to a "substantial" service cut.

"Any time there's a proposal for bus or train service to be eliminated, people's ability to get to work so they can keep a roof over their family's head and put food on the table is at stake. That's always substantial," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "At the very least, NJ Transit passengers ought to be informed of how these changes may affect their lives and have the opportunity to voice an opinion."

For More             

Burzichelli, Caputo & Houghtaling Bill to Allow Wagering at Far Hills Race Meeting Becomes Law

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli, Ralph Caputo and Eric Houghtaling to allow wagering at the annual Far Hills race meeting in Somerset County was signed into law on Wednesday.

The new law (formerly A-1697) allows a running race permit holder in good standing with the state to coordinate with the Far Hills Race Meeting Association to allow wagering on the races.

For More             

Mazzeo, Eustace, Gusciora & Holley Bill Allowing PTSD Victims to Qualify for Medical Marijuana Treatment Signed into Law

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Tim Eustace, Reed Gusciora and Jamel Holley allowing victims suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to qualify for the use of medical marijuana was signed into law on Wednesday.

"Veterans - especially post-9/11 veterans - are the group most affected by PTSD," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "The VA has stated that it wants each veteran to find the medication with the least amount of side effects that allows them the optimum level of independence. For many, medical marijuana is the drug that best fits that criteria and the only one to provide veterans with significant relief from the anxiety associated with PTSD."

For More             

Coughlin, Schaer, Jasey & Benson Bill to Facilitate More Efficient Use of Taxpayer Dollars at NJ Colleges, Universities Now Law

Asm. Craig Coughlin A bill Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Gary S. Schaer, Mila Jasey and Daniel R. Benson sponsored to make the procurement process at New Jersey colleges and universities more efficient by permitting the institutions to participate in cooperative purchasing agreements is now law.

"Cooperative pricing systems help government entities get the best possible value when seeking goods and services, which results in a smarter use of taxpayer dollars," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "Allowing public institutions of higher education in New Jersey to cut costs by joining these purchasing systems is a viable avenue toward making operations at our colleges and universities more efficient."

For More             

Override of Christie Veto of Bill to Allow for Automatic Voter Registration as Part of Driver's License Application & Renewal Tops Thursday Assembly Session

Aquaculture, Domestic Violence Victim Protections, Deterring Steroid Abuse among Students & Equal Rights for Pregnant Higher Education Students Also on Tap

The Assembly on Thursday will vote to override Gov. Christie's veto of legislation that would allow for automatic voter registration as part of driver's license application or renewal. The bill (A-1944) passed the Assembly 54-25 in June...

For More             

DeAngelo & Pinkin Bill to Help Fund Security Improvements in NJ Schools Advanced by Senate Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo and Nancy Pinkin to provide schools with the wherewithal to fund security enhancements was advanced Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

"The thought of a violent attack at an elementary school might have seemed unimaginable before, but it is a harsh reality of the world we live in today," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Schools have their work cut out for them having to meet demands with limited resources. Creating a safe environment for our children to learn is essential. Providing schools with the resources needed to enhance security measures and make schools safer is an investment worth making."

For More             

Caputo, Tucker, Quijano, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter & McKnight Bill to Install Silent Alarms & Red Emergency Lights In Schools Advances

Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Ralph R. Caputo, Cleopatra Tucker, Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Shavonda Sumter and Angela McKnight to require the installation of panic alarms and red emergency lights in public elementary and secondary schools for use in security emergencies was advanced Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

The bill was approved by the Assembly in April.

"Our children deserve the chance to learn in peace," said Caputo (D-Essex). "I am not suggesting this will stop all security threats, but coupled with security measures already in place, it can increase the chances of diffusing a bad situation without further harm to students and staff."

For More             

Holley, Jasey, McKnight and Quijano Legislation to Enhance Security & Safety Measures in NJ’s Schools Continues Advancing

Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jamel Holley, Mila Jasey, Angela McKnight and Annette Quijano to enhance security in New Jersey's schools and better protect students and teachers from a wide range of potential threats was advanced Monday by the Senate Education Committee.
Both bills were approved by the Assembly in April.

"We've learned some hard lessons over the years about the dangers facing our schools and our students," said Holley (D-Union). "It is critical that we educate school staff about the best safety practices, and keep security and safety measures at the forefront when building new schools and renovating existing ones. Investing in the safety of our students and school staff is a must."

For More             

Singleton, Wisniewski, Conaway, Caride, Quijano, Sumter & Wimberly Legislation Inspired by Death of Cinnaminson Firefighter Gains Panel Approval

Asm. Troy Singleton Measure Would Ensure Health Coverage for Family Members of Deceased First Responders

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, John Wisniewski, Herb Conaway, Marlene Caride, Annette Quijano, Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly to help ensure the continuation of family medical coverage for spouses and children of deceased first responders was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.

The measure was inspired by the death of Lt. Chris Hunter, a Cinnaminson firefighter.

"Most of us go to work every day and never worry about whether we'll return home safely," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "For family members of first responders, this is a persistent fear every day. This is the least we can do to help honor the sacrifices their loved ones make day in and day out. Whether Lt. Hunter's death was a direct result of his official duties is immaterial given the constant sacrifices he made throughout his career."

For More             

Quijano, DeAngelo, Giblin, Benson, Zwicker, Danielsen & Houghtaling Bill to Extend Unemployment Benefits to Striking Workers Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Wayne DeAngelo, Thomas Giblin, Daniel R. Benson, Andrew Zwicker, Joe Danielsen and Eric Houghtaling to extend unemployment benefits to workers on strike for more than 30 days due to unresolved labor disputes was advanced Monday by the Assembly Labor Committee.

The measure (A-3819) would have, for instance, benefited workers in strikes against Verizon and Trump Taj Mahal.

For More             

Eustace & DeAngelo Bill to Allow for Online Unemployment Benefits Application for Claimants who Served in Military & Others Advanced by Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace and Wayne DeAngelo sponsored to permit online unemployment benefits application for claimants who have served in the military was advanced Monday by the Assembly Labor Committee.

Under state law, people who are claiming UI benefits who previously served in the military, worked for the federal government or worked outside the state were excluded from online application and must apply on the telephone or in person.

For More             

Caputo Lays Out Plan for Funding From North Jersey Casinos

Assemblyman Plans to Introduce Measure on Thursday
(TRENTON) - Assemblyman Ralph Caputo announced plans to introduce a measure that will explicitly detail how state funding derived from casinos in the northern part of the state will be used, including aid to senior programs such as Senior Freeze, Meals on Wheels and PAAD (Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled), funding for public space and transportation improvements and support for Atlantic City recovery initiatives.

For More             

Lampitt Bill to Allow Termination of Car Leases Upon Death of Lessee Clears Assembly Committee

Asw. Pamela Lampitt Legislation Would Prevent Surviving Spouses, Children from Being Held Responsible for Payments

Legislation Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt sponsored to allow the termination of a car lease if the lessee dies was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

"When someone dies before the end of his or her lease agreement, grieving family members are left to worry about paying the remaining balance and fees," said Lampitt (D-Burlington/Camden). "This can leave people who neither signed a lease nor agreed to be co-signers suddenly liable for thousands of dollars in charges."

For More             

Greenwald Unveils Legislation to Refinance Student Loans through County Improvement Authorities

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald introduced legislation Thursday to refinance student loans, making it financially easier for former students to stay in New Jersey by allowing county improvement authorities to establish programs to refinance student loan debt owed by county residents.

"Student loan debt has crippled an entire generation, making it nearly impossible to start a family, buy a home, or open a business," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "Creating an incentive for young people to settle down by offering debt relief brings new energy into our local communities and improves the quality of our workforce."

For More             

Conaway Bill to Help Identity Theft Victims in Cases of Fraud, Mistaken Identity Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - The Assembly Financial Institution and Insurance Committee approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway to make it easier for identity theft victims to clear their names in criminal cases associated with fraud and mistaken identity.

The bill (A-2991) requires the Attorney General to provide an Identity Theft Passport to certain victims of identity theft.

"Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, affecting nearly ten million Americans a year," said Conaway (D-Burlington). "Victims of identity theft can spend thousands of dollars and many years undoing the damage caused by these crimes."

For More             

Lampitt Bill to Expand Fertility Coverage in NJ Approved by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt to increase fertility coverage for New Jersey families was advanced by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on Thursday.

Under current law, hospital, medical and health service corporations, commercial group insurers and health maintenance organizations are required, in certain circumstances, to provide coverage under group policies for medically necessary expenses incurred in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.

For More             

Lampitt Introduces Legislation to Promote Pay Equity, Strengthen Protections against Discrimination

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt introduced legislation Thursday to bar employers from asking job applicants about their salary history.

"Young women are often offered a lesser salary than their male counterparts, and this inequity will follow them for the rest of their career," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "My legislation will force companies to evaluate new hires based on their skills and experience, not what they made in a previous position."

For More             

Land, Andrzejczak & Pinkin Bill to Crack Down on Illegal Telemarketing Practices Clears Committee

Legislation Assembly Democrats R. Bruce Land, Bob Andrzejczak and Nancy Pinkin sponsored to create a state investigative unit dedicated solely to cracking down on telemarketing abuses was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

"The 'Do Not Call' list is an important consumer protection measure, but it's only effective if it's properly enforced," said Land (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). "Telemarketers need to know that aggressive, unlawful practices will not be tolerated, and consumers who report such practices need to have confidence that their concerns will be taken seriously."

For More             

Schaer & Jasey Introduce Legislation to Address Student Loan Debt, Increase College Preparedness

Asm. Gary S. Schaer Five-Bill Package Includes NJCLASS Income-Driven Loan Repayment, College Readiness Commission

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Gary S. Schaer and Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Mila Jasey on Thursday introduced a comprehensive legislative package aimed at helping New Jersey residents better navigate the college process before, during and after their time on campus.

"Too many students today are unprepared entering into a higher education system that leads them to incur crushing student loan debt. We need to provide a path forward for New Jersey students by allowing them access to college curricula in high school, opening higher education possibilities and exposing them to the academic rigor ahead, and then providing them an option for a debt-free future," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "We must offer the next generation the tools to be successful at our colleges and universities. For their sake and our sake as a state, we must develop a more practical, more affordable means of preparing New Jersey's workforce to compete in the 21st-century global economy."

For More             

Conaway Bill Package to Combat the Soaring Price of EpiPens Gains Assembly Panel Approval

An Assembly panel on Thursday approved a two-bill package sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D. to help combat the soaring price of EpiPens that have made the life-saving treatment unaffordable for many Americans.

Conaway noted that the EpiPen, the name-brand epinephrine auto-injector device that is used to treat the symptoms of anaphylactic shock, cost about $100 in 2007. Today, the medication now costs approximately $600 for a two-pack before any rebates. Currently, there are no generic equivalents that have been deemed therapeutically equivalent by the FDA, thus limiting the ability of pharmacists to offer an affordable alternative to the brand-name device. However, Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPen, has recently announced the offering of a generic version of their own brand-name product. The generic version is estimated to cost around $300 for a two-pack.

For More             

Assembly Labor Panel to Consider Bill Allowing Unemployment Benefits for Striking Workers

The Assembly Labor Committee will meet Monday to consider, among other bills, legislation to permit the payment of unemployment insurance benefits during labor disputes.

The Assembly Labor Committee will meet on Monday at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 15 on the Fourth Floor of the State House Annex in Trenton...

For More             

Assembly Panel Approves Conaway Bill Creating Hepatitis C Screening Requirements for High Risk Baby Boomer Population

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., establishing requirements for Hepatitis C screenings for the high risk baby boomer population was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 75 percent of adults infected with Hepatitis C are baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965. While the reasons are not completely understood, most baby boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970's and 1980's when rates of Hepatitis C were highest and widespread screening of the blood supply and universal precautions had not yet been implemented.

For More             

Conaway, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter & Lampitt Bill Requiring Insurers to Cover Off-Label Rx Drug Treatments Advances

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway Jr., Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Shavonda Sumter and Pamela Lampitt that would require certain health insurance carriers to cover off-label uses of prescription drugs was approved by an Assembly panel Thursday.

The bill (A-1807) would require certain health insurance plans - the State Health Benefits Program, the School Employees' Health Benefits Program and health benefits plans offered in the individual and small employer markets that cover Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs - to provide coverage for off-label uses, or medically-appropriate uses that deviate from the original intent designated by the FDA.

For More             

Assembly Dems Bill Forgiving Student Loan Debt in Event of Borrower's Death or Permanent Disability Advances

Asm. Vince Mazzeo Mazzeo, Zwicker, Jasey, Vainieri Huttle, Jones, Eustace, Land, Gusciora, Andrzejczak & Benson Bill would Eliminate Student Loan Debt in the Event of Death or Permanent Disability

An Assembly panel on Thursday advanced legislation that would forgive certain student loan debt in the event of a borrower's death or total permanent disability, a measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Andrew Zwicker, Mila Jasey, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Patricia Jones, Tim Eustace, Bruce Land, Reed Gusciora, Bob Andrzejczak and Daniel Benson.

"Imagine you're a family who always pays their bills, has good credit and then you lose a child and in the midst of your grief, you're saddled with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in their remaining student loan debt," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "That's just something we can't allow to happen on our watch…"

For More             

Jasey, McKeon & Vainieri Huttle Bill Encouraging Mental Health Physicians to Work in Underserved Areas Advances

Asw. Mila Jasey 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 was advanced by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

"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..."

For More             

Singleton, Green, DeAngelo, Sumter & Lampitt Bill to Help Homeowners with Negative Home Equity Avoid Foreclosures & Short Sales Advanced by Assembly Panel

By preventing foreclosures and short sales, sponsors hope to help homeowners keep homes & prevent further damage to state's troubled housing market
An Assembly panel on Thursday released legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Jerry Green, Wayne DeAngelo, Shavonda Sumter and Pamela Lampitt to help homeowners with negative home equity avoid foreclosure and short sales, and prevent further agitating the state's troubled housing market.

The bill (A-303) would establish the "Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program" in the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) for a period of three years to allow homeowners, who have negative home equity and who are in default on an agency owned mortgage, to lower their principal balances by transferring shares of equity in the mortgaged property to the agency.

For More             

Assembly Panel OKs Gusciora, DeAngelo & Lagana Bill to Allow New Cigar Bars to Open in New Jersey

Measure Would Allow New Establishments that Meet Strict Guidelines
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Wayne P. DeAngelo and Joseph A. Lagana that would allow new cigar bars or cigar lounges to open in New Jersey was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

"Cigar smokers are a devoted and nuanced group of aficionados who gather and socialize in an environment that would be their own," said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "This bill would give towns that want to expand their offerings and appeal to this niche market the option to do so. It would also create a new economic engine for entrepreneurs who want to cater to cigar enthusiasts, and give cigar smokers more places to go to and enjoy their hobby without affecting non-smokers."

For More             

Singleton Bill to Spur Creation of Small Businesses in NJ Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) to help spur the creation of small businesses and empower individuals with the tools to become self-sustaining entrepreneurs was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-3333) would provide assistance for certain individuals who own or are starting a microenterprise business. A microenterprise is a commercial enterprise that has five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the enterprise.

"The majority of businesses in this country are microbusinesses, making it critical that we invest in this sector in order to boost our lagging economy...," said Singleton.

For More             

Mazzeo Bill to Help Businesses in Western Atlantic County Expand, Create Jobs was Approved by Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) that would allow industrial businesses in the Pinelands looking to expand to take advantage of certain incentives currently not available to them was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-3914) would allow rural development areas zoned for industrial use as of the effective date of the bill, as designated within the Pinelands Commission's comprehensive management plan, to be included as areas eligible for qualifying business facility and developer project incentives under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program. Both of these business incentive programs are administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

For More             

Benson, Johnson, Mazzeo, Mosquera, Vainieri Huttle & Coughlin Bill to Encourage Job Creation & Economic Development in Small, Highly Developed Municipalities Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Dan Benson, Gordon Johnson, Vince Mazzeo, Gabriela Mosquera, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Craig Coughlin to encourage job creation and business development in small, highly developed municipalities was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-2223) would establish the "Main Street Economic Growth Program" in the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide financial and technical assistance to a business located in a Main Street area within a small municipality. The bill hopes to encourage business development in small municipalities with substantially developed commercial areas.

For More             

Muoio to Governor: Trenton Needs & Deserves More for Economic Development

Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio issued the following statement Wednesday in response to claims from the Governor's Office that the "Christie Administration has made revitalizing New Jersey's urban communities a priority" since the first days of the administration:

"Development in our capital city is always good news and I look forward to working to ensure that these building projects provide much needed jobs for our local workforce. But while these new state building projects will benefit Trenton, to truly be a formula for success it is equally important that Trenton be given the tools to develop its city and the sites that the state will be abandoning.

For More             

Student Loan Forgiveness in Event of Death or Disability, Infertility Insurance Coverage for Same-Sex Couples, Telemarketing Fraud Crackdown & Hepatitis C Testing Improvement Highlight Thursday Assembly Committees

Epinephrine Auto-Injector Alternatives & Main Street Economic Growth Act Also on Tap

Legislation to direct the state to forgive student loans in the event of a borrower's death or disability, require infertility insurance coverage for same-sex couples, crack down on telemarketing fraud, improve testing for hepatitis C and the Main Street Economic Growth Act highlight Thursday's Assembly committee hearings.

Legislation to allow pharmacists to seek approval to dispense alternative products in place of prescribed epinephrine auto-injector devices is also on tap...

For More             

***WEDNESDAY ADVISORY***

Schaer & Jasey to Host Media Teleconference on Student Loan Debt, Effect of Declining Public Investment in Higher Ed

Lawmakers to Join New Jersey Policy Perspective During 11:30 AM Call with Reporters

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Gary S. Schaer and Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Mila Jasey will host a teleconference Wednesday morning to discuss a new report on higher education debt to be unveiled by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that conducts research on public policy issues in New Jersey.

Schaer and Jasey will join New Jersey Policy Perspective in holding an 11:30 a.m. media teleconference Wednesday to discuss the specifics of the report, "Debt Sentence: The Effects of New Jersey's Declining Public Investment in Higher Education," with members of the media.

For More             

Singleton Takes Christie to Task for Salacious Characterization of Public School Teachers as ‘Mafia’

Assembly Education Committee Vice Chair Troy Singleton on Tuesday took Gov. Christie to task for his salacious characterization of New Jersey's public school teachers and the disservice it does to New Jersey children headed back to school this week.

Singleton was responding to reports that Christie called the New Jersey Education Association "New Jersey's version of the Corleones," in reference to the Godfather movies, while at a public school for a bill signing event.

For More             

Schaer, Prieto, Lagana, Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Eustace, Quijano & Wimberly ‘Secure Schools for All Children Act’ Becomes Law

Legislation Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Speaker Vincent Prieto, Joseph Lagana, Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Tim Eustace, Annette Quijano and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to establish a state aid program for security services, equipment and technology to ensure a safe and secure school environment for students attending nonpublic schools has been signed into law.

"School security has become a paramount concern in recent years, particularly in light of the many tragedies we've witnessed across the country and around the world," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "While we've taken many steps to increase security efforts throughout our public schools, much more needs to be done, and we cannot overlook the needs of students in nonpublic schools in the process."

For More             

Vainieri Huttle Bill to Prohibit School Expulsions for K-2 Students Signed into Law

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle to prohibit public and charter schools from expelling students in kindergarten through second grade with certain exceptions has been signed into law.

"Suspensions and expulsions of young students for minor misbehavior is not only a misguided concept, it raises serious concerns about bias" said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "The curtailing of unnecessary suspensions and expulsions for minor misbehavior will provide a benefit to students who are not a threat to others as well as diminish school dropout and crime rate that often follow disciplinary removal from school."

For More             

Vainieri Huttle Bill to Ensure Substance Abuse Education in Schools Includes Latest Evidence-Based Standards & Practices Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) to ensure substance abuse education in New Jersey schools includes the most up-to-date information available has been signed into law.

"We cannot effectively reach young people about the dangers of substance abuse with outdated information," said Vainieri Huttle. "Substance abuse among young people is a serious concern and, without proper intervention, can lead to lifetime addiction or worse. "This will help ensure that the substance abuse education that our students are getting is reliable and useful."

For More             

Holley, Schaer & Kennedy Bill to Facilitate Stockholder Disclosure By Entities Seeking Public Contracts Now Law

Asm. Jamel Holley A bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jamel Holley, Gary S. Schaer and James Kennedy to facilitate transparency and protect taxpayers is now law.

The new law (A-3540) permits a bidder with any direct or indirect publicly-traded parent entity to submit the aforementioned names and addresses as of the last annual filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

"The SEC filing businesses already are required to submit shows their ownership annually to ensure transparency," said Holley (D-Union). "This law removes red tape in an effort to make New Jersey more business-friendly while protecting taxpayers from paying more for the same services."

For More             

Zwicker Bill to Help Combat Future Flooding in Hunterdon & Somerset Counties Becomes Law

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker to bolster preparations for future flooding events in Hunterdon and Somerset counties was signed into law this week.

The new law (S-166/A-3901) establishes the Hunterdon-Somerset Flood Advisory Task Force, which is charged with reviewing past flooding events within Hunterdon and Somerset counties from flooding of the Delaware and Raritan rivers and their respective tributaries, and recommending measures to reduce future impacts from flooding on residents, businesses, and local government units in the Delaware River and Raritan River basins.

For More             

Muoio on Christie Veto of UEZ Extension Bill: This is a “devastating blow for urban cities”

Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio on Wednesday called Gov. Christie's conditional veto of legislation she sponsored to extend the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program for another 10 years a "devastating blow for urban cities."

"It's obvious the Governor doesn't understand the realities of struggling urban cities. Between his new school funding proposal and now this veto, it's clear that he either doesn't get it or doesn't have much concern for the challenges they face.

For More             

Sumter & Benson Bill to Establish ‘Secondhand Valuables Transaction Reporting Task Force’ Now Law

Task Force Will 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 has been signed into law.

"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."

For More             

Eustace, Gusciora & Quijano Bill to Ensure Needle Exchange Continues in NJ Now Law

Asm. Tim Eustace A legislative effort spearheaded by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Reed Gusciora and Annette Quijano to ensure needle exchange programs continue statewide is now law.

"Needle exchange programs have effectively reduced the sharing of needles and the spread of bloodborne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This new law will allow these critical programs to serve more New Jersey communities."

For More             

Johnson, Wimberly, Pinkin & Mukherji Bill to Lower Costs of Prison Phone Calls Becomes Law

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Benjie Wimberly, Nancy Pinkin and Raj Mukherji to reduce inmate telephone charges was signed into law on Wednesday.

The new law (formerly bill A-1419) requires the state and the counties to contract with a qualified vendor whose rates should not exceed 11 cents per minute for domestic, debit, prepaid, and collect calls and who does not bill to any party any service charge or additional fee exceeding the per minute rate, including any per call surcharge, account set up fee, bill statement fee, monthly maintenance charge or refund fee.

"I understand we are all looking for ways to increase revenue, but raising the cost of prison phone calls is not the way do it," said Johnson (D-Bergen). "Charging such high rates puts an unfair burden on these families and makes it harder for them to stay in touch, which can make reintegration into the community that much harder for inmates once they get out. The new law ensures that families don't have to choose between paying their bills and calling their relatives by prohibiting these facilities from charging unnecessarily high rates."

For More             

Greenwald, Burzichelli, DeAngelo & Mukherji Bill to Allow Use of Rearview Cameras, Parking Sensors During Road Test Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald, Deputy Speaker John J. Burzichelli and Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo and Raj Mukherji that would allow driver's license applicants to employ rearview cameras and parking sensors during road tests has been signed into law.

"Virtually everyone who learns to drive today eventually will have to operate a vehicle equipped with this new technology, which is designed to make automobiles significantly safer," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "This measure will update state statute to ensure that new drivers, driving instructors and Motor Vehicle Commission employees are clear about what is permissible during the road test."

For More             

Coughlin, Johnson, Andrzejczak & Wimberly Bill to Exempt Vets' Organizations from State Filing Fee Now Law

Assemblyman Craig J. Coughlin Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig J. Coughlin, Gordon M. Johnson, Bob Andrzejczak and Benjie E. Wimberly that would exempt veterans' organizations that organize as corporations under the "New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act" from paying the annual report filing fee is now law.

"Veterans' organizations provide valuable services to our military returning home," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex)...

For More             

Downey, Houghtaling, Chiaravalloti, Coughlin & Greenwald Bill to Bar DUI Drivers from Operating NJ Transit Trains Now Law

Legislation Stems from Recent Report of NJT Engineer with Suspended License
Legislation Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling, Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Craig Coughlin and Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald sponsored to prohibit anyone whose driver's license is suspended for DWI from operating a New Jersey Transit train has been signed into law.

The law (A-20) prohibits any individual whose driver's license is suspended or revoked due to driving while intoxicated or refusing to take a breathalyzer test from operating an NJ Transit locomotive or train.

"No one who is prohibited from operating an automobile should be in a position to transport passengers who take NJ Transit trains..," said Downey (D-Monmouth).

For More             

Gusciora Decries Governor's Veto of UEZ Extension Bill

Gov. Christie to Trenton: Drop Dead
Calling it a "devastating blow" to the capital city, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora on Wednesday lambasted Gov. Christie for conditionally vetoing legislation he sponsored (A-2576) that would have extended New Jersey's Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZs) by an additional 10 years.

"In effect, the Governor is telling the City of Trenton, as well as many others, to 'drop dead,'" said Gusciora (D -Mercer/Hunterdon). "Over the past year, Gov. Christie has made it very clear where his priorities and loyalties lie. It's clear that he doesn't care about New Jersey, her people, or her problems. This move is actively detrimental to thousands of businesses across the state, not only those who benefit directly through tax breaks, but those countless others who rely on them for supplies to conduct their operations."

For More             

Eustace to Lead Assembly Environment Committee

38th Legislative District Assemblyman Appointed to Chair Legislative Panel
(TRENTON) - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced on Tuesday Assemblyman Timothy Eustace will take the lead of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee for the remainder of the 217th legislative session.

"Eustace has spent much of his legislative career championing important environmental issues which have promoted renewable energy initiatives and increased protection of the state's natural resources," said Prieto (D-Bergen, Hudson). "I am confident in his ability to lead the Assembly environment panel on the critical issues affecting New Jersey and its residents."

For More             

Speaker Prieto, Disappointed with Christie’s Veto, Vows to Continue Fighting for a Livable Wage in NJ

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, the lead sponsor of legislation (A-15) that would have increased New Jersey's minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years to help working families, expressed his disappointment Tuesday over Gov. Christie's veto of the measure, a move that will now force the Legislature to take the question to voters.

"Creating a livable minimum wage is a key component in the comprehensive strategy we've been working on since last year to combat poverty," said Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson). "That makes the Governor's veto all the more disappointing, though not unexpected. The age-old rhetoric he is relying on also ignores the evidence - a substantial minimum wage increase will help lift countless families out of poverty, decrease government dependency and boost commerce by pumping more dollars back into the economy.

For More             

Greenwald Calls on Christie to Extend Reciprocity Agreement to Avoid Harming South Jersey Residents

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald on Tuesday urged Gov. Christie to continue the nearly four decade old reciprocity agreement between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, allowing residents who work across the river to pay income taxes where they live. The governor has until Friday, September 2, to provide the legally necessary 120 days' notice of a termination for calendar year 2017.

"Ending the reciprocity agreement between New Jersey and Pennsylvania would hurt South Jersey residents working in Philadelphia, costing them thousands of dollars a year in new taxes to Pennsylvania," said Greenwald (D- Camden/Burlington). "Right now our clear mandate as elected officials is to save the taxpayers of New Jersey money in a sustainable way, yet the governor's continued desire to focus on short-term fixes for our budget hole never ceases to amaze me."

For More             

Wisniewski Statement on Gov. Christie Veto of Minimum Wage Increase

The bill vetoed by governor would have raised state's minimum wage to $15 an hour
Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) today issued the following statement in response to the governor's veto of the minimum wage bill (A-15):

"The disappointments continue with this governor.
"Raising the minimum wage would have given those residents who work hard, but must supplement their low wages with assistance from the government, the boost needed to be financially independent. This veto punishes hard-working residents who simply don't earn enough to make ends meet, and exacerbates the burden on our economy by making it harder for them to wean themselves from that dependency.
For More             

Taliaferro Supports South Harrison Township Community Day

Asm. Adam Taliaferro Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro joined South Harrison Township residents Saturday at Stewart Memorial Park to celebrate Community Day, an annual event featuring carnival rides, vendors, food, fireworks and activities for children.

"A Community Day is a wonderful opportunity for families, friends and children to spend quality time together and enjoy the outdoors. This sense of community and family is distinct to many towns throughout Gloucester County, and it is what makes our region a great place to start a family and call home," said Taliaferro.

For More             

Muoio -- Women's Equality Day: Much to Celebrate, Much to Fight For

Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio (D-Mercer) had the following published recently in NJBIZ:

"Since the Equal Pay Act was signed by President John F. Kennedy over 50 years ago, the increased presence of women in the workforce has added a $20 trillion boost to our economy. Working mothers provide, on average, nearly 40 percent of a family's household income.

"While there has been a significant narrowing of the 40 cent pay gap that existed in the early 1960s, women still make approximately 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. African-American women and Latinas fare even worse, earning 60 cents and 55 cents on the dollar, respectively.

"According to a report released by Congress in April, full time working women earn on average $10,800 less per year than men, equivalent to over half a million dollars over the course of a career."


For More             

Caputo Urges NJ Voters to Support North Jersey Casinos Referendum & Reject Efforts of Outside Interests to Defeat It

Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee Chair Ralph Caputo on Friday urged New Jersey voters to support the North Jersey casino referendum that will be on the ballot this November and reject outside influence aimed at defeating it.

"There's no doubt about it. Powerful and well-heeled political, corporate and labor interests outside New Jersey will spend whatever it takes to defeat the Referendum for North Jersey casinos in order to keep billions of dollars of our gaming revenue flowing out of New Jersey and into their pockets," said Caputo (D-Essex). "They like things exactly the way they are, and will use innuendo and outlandish accusations to convince New Jersey taxpayers to vote against our own best interests because it benefits them, and that offends me."

For More             

Speaker Emeritus Oliver on Banning Sale of Real-Looking Toy Guns

Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver on her bill to ban the sale of real-looking toy guns and imitation firearms. Speaker Emeritus Oliver is joined by East Orange Councilman Ted R. Green.
From NJ Assembly Democratic Office on Vimeo.

Concerns about Distracted Driving in New Jersey

A look at Thursday's Assembly transportation panel hearing to hear recommendations on distracted driving and explore how New Jersey can better prevent distracted driving on its roadways from NJ Assembly Democratic Office on Vimeo.

Asw. Caride, Asw. Jasey, NJEA & Education Advocates in Support of Eliminating Standardized Testing in Teacher Evaluations

Asw. Marlene Caride, Asw. Mila Jasey, New Jersey Education Association and education advocates announce support for bill to eliminate student test scores from teacher evaluation from NJ Assembly Democratic Office on Vimeo.



For all previous Assembly Majority videos, please click here.
Assembly Democrats, P.O. Box 098 Trenton NJ 08625 Phone 609-292-7065, Fax 609-292-2386