Transportation Funding & State Budget Bills, Pension Payment Ballot Question, Personalized Handguns, Women's Health Care & Permanent Needle Exchange Program Top Monday Assembly SessionTransportation Trust Fund and state budget legislation, along with measures to ask voters to require annual state pension payments, require firearms retailers to sell personalized handguns, fund women's health care, extend Urban Enterprise Zones and make the needle exchange program permanent top Monday's Assembly voting session...
Prieto, Muoio, Oliver, Schaer, Holley, Mukherji & Quijano Bill to Increase Assistance to Low-Income Families to Help Ease Poverty Advanced by Senate Budget Panel
Bill Boosts Work First New Jersey Benefits(TRENTON) - 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 was advanced Thursday by the Senate budget panel.
The bill (A-30) is part of efforts by Assembly Democrats to lift people out of poverty and rebuild New Jersey's middle-class. It was approved by the Assembly in March and is part of the Democratic state budget proposal.
The Work First New Jersey program provides cash and other assistance to low-income families with dependent children in order to alleviate the negative effects of poverty.
Speaker Prieto on Minimum Wage Passage: Gov. Christie Must Sign this Bill
'Democrats have now - once again - stood up strong for the hard-working men and women who deserve a living wage. Gov. Christie now - finally - needs to do the same.'
(TRENTON) - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) released the following statement Thursday after the Senate gave final legislative approval to legislation (A-15) he sponsored to phase New Jersey's minimum wage up to $15 per hour:
"This is a great day for New Jersey's working class families struggling to make ends meet. This is an integral part of our efforts to rebuild the middle class and lift working families out of poverty, and I'm thrilled to see it get to the governor's desk. As we know, the economy works best when it has a healthy middle-class."
Prieto & Schaer: Democratic Budget Plan an Investment in New Jersey's Working Families
Assembly Leaders Hail Budget Plan as Yet another Step toward Rebuilding New Jersey's Middle-Class & Combating Poverty
Includes Increased Funding for Senior & Disabled Property Tax Relief, Preschool Education Expansion, Charity Care, Lead Safety in Schools & Homes, Needy Families, Domestic Violence & Rape Victims, Abused Children, Educational Opportunity Fund, School Breakfast Program, Substance Abuse Prevention, Autism Care, Cancer Research, Zika Virus Prevention & Adult EducationAssembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer on Thursday hailed the Democratic state budget plan as yet another key step toward rebuilding New Jersey's middle-class, combating poverty, ensuring access to quality health care and protecting the state's most vulnerable residents.
The plan (A-4000) includes increased funding for concerns ranging from fully funding the Senior and Disabled Citizens' Property Tax Freeze program, expanding preschool education, lead safety in schools and homes and preventing the governor's cut in hospital charity care.
"This Democratic budget represents a crucial down payment on our commitment to rebuild New Jersey's middle-class and combat the shocking rise in poverty we've seen under Gov. Christie's watch," said Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen)...
***MULTIMEDIA PACKAGE*** Speaker Prieto on Need to Pass and Enact Transportation Trust Fund Re-authorization LegislationAssembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) issued a multimedia package Thursday, following the Assembly Budget Committee's release of legislation -- sponsored by Speaker Prieto -- that would authorize and secure new funding for New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
The TTF, once regarded as a national model for transportation finance, runs out of money on July 1. Speaker Prieto's legislation sets out a 10-year, $20 billion capital transportation program for the state's highway and rail infrastructure (A-10) and secures dedicated funding for the plan (A-11).
Sumter & Wimberly: FY’17 State Budget Includes Relief for City of Paterson Schools
Assembly Panel Releases budget legislation, Includes Expenditure of $19.7 Million for Paterson School DistrictAssembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly (Both D- Bergen and Passaic) on Thursday announced language in the fiscal year 2017 proposed budget includes relief for Paterson taxpayers and school district. The budget bill (A-4000) was approved by the Assembly Budget panel on Thursday.
The 35th District legislators said the aid is crucial to helping relieve overburdened Paterson taxpayers and passage of the bill with this language is a win for the city, its residents and students. Sumter and Wimberly further note that because the school formula is not fully funded, Paterson loses out on $68 million in state school aid each year. In addition, Paterson property tax increased 44 percent over 4 years. There are nearly 4000 properties in the city which are either exempt or vacant.
Gusciora on Christie’s School Funding Plan: “Does this mean you will be paying property taxes in Trenton?”
Assemblyman Says Governor's Plan Does Not Take into Account All the Tax-Exempt Properties that Abound in Urban CitiesAssemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) on Thursday criticized Gov. Christie's proposed education funding plan as disingenuous, saying it flies in the face of the state's constitutional requirement to provide a "thorough and efficient" education for New Jersey school children, "particularly those in urban centers."
Gusciora pointed out that the State Supreme Court's decisions in Robinson v. Cahill (1970) and Abbott v. Burke (1981-2008; 19+ decisions) have reaffirmed the fundamental principle that each and every child in the state have access to a quality education.
Assembly Panel Approves Eustace, Gusciora & Quijano Bill to Ensure Needle Exchange Continues in NJA legislative effort spearheaded by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Reed Gusciora and Annette Quijano to ensure needle exchange programs continue statewide was approved by the Assembly budget panel on Thursday.
"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). "The legislation makes permanent vital funding that will allow these critical programs to serve New Jersey's communities."
Assembly Democratic Legislation to Boost Funding for Women’s Health Care Clears CommitteeBills Would Expand Medicaid Coverage for Women's Health, Provide $7.5M for Family Planning
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 state's budget was advanced by an Assembly committee on Thursday.
"This legislation represents the fundamental idea that all residents of New Jersey have a right to health care and the freedom to make personal choices about their well-being - regardless of gender or income level," said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). "It will go a long way toward helping more women in New Jersey take charge of their health."
Vainieri Huttle, Lagana, Eustace & Caride Bill to Provide Better Oversight at Bergen Regional Medical Center Clears Committee
Legislation Prompted by Reports of Violence against Patients and Staff; Weak Oversight at New Jersey's Largest HospitalAn Assembly panel on Thursday released 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.
The bill (A-3951) is 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.
"The incidents cited are deeply troubling and show a serious lapse in oversight," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "Creating an entity solely dedicated to the management of the hospital will help ensure that staff can provide and patients can receive the care they need."
Wimberly, Sumter, Jasey & Johnson Bill to Bring Healthier Food Options to Urban & Rural Communities Goes to Governor(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Benjie Wimberly, Shavonda Sumter and Mila Jasey to provide fresher and healthier food choices to residents in urban and rural communities where healthy food options are limited was approved 30-3 Thursday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill was approved by the Assembly in April and now goes to the governor.
The measure (A-1877) would require the state Department of Health (DOH) to develop a "Healthy Corner Store Program" to increase the availability and sales of fresh produce and nutritious, healthy food by small food retailers in rural and urban low and moderate income areas.
"Many urban and rural communities lack affordable healthy food options," said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This program would provide funds for retailers to increase the availability and sales of fresh and nutritious food, including fresh produce and other healthy foods, at affordable prices to neighborhood residents in an effort to improve the health and wellness of community residents."
Pintor Marin & Muoio Bill to Boost Aid to Newark & Trenton Hospitals that Serve Some of the Most Uninsured AdvancesAn Assembly panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eliana Pintor Marin and Elizabeth Maher Muoio to provide additional aid to hospitals in Newark and Trenton that provide high levels of uncompensated care to some of New Jersey's poorest communities.
Specifically, the bill (A-4003) would make supplemental appropriations to the FY 2017 Appropriation Act in the amount of $9,563,415 to the Department of Health for Grants-in-Aid to Newark Beth Israel Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton to implement improved health outcomes and sustainable transformation of healthcare delivery.
Schaer, Vainieri Huttle, Chiaravalloti & Caride Bill to Increase Protections for Young Persons with Developmental Disabilities Receiving State Services Continues AdvancingThe Assembly Budget Committee on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Marlene Caride to provide protections for children under the age of 18 with developmental disabilities and individuals with developmental disabilities ages 18 to 21 receiving services from Division of Children's System of Care.
"With regards to abuse and neglect, the law fails to provide statutory provisions for our most vulnerable residents," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "The legislation rectifies this oversight by requiring the state to institute regulations and monitor closely care service providers within the division as well as community providers."
Schaer & Pinkin Bill to Expedite Licensing Process for Home Health Aides Clears Assembly CommitteeLegislation Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer and Nancy Pinkin sponsored to facilitate the licensing process for home health aides and help more trained New Jersey residents secure employment was advanced by an Assembly committee on Thursday.
"Home health aides provide services that help people live comfortably in their home environments. Such services have become more critical as New Jersey residents live longer," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "The state has set aside money to ensure that the demand for licensed home health aides is met, but unless that allocation is spent on its intended purpose - expediting the licensing process - qualified workers will not be to find jobs and those who need care will not receive their assistance."
Gusciora, Muoio, Caputo, Mukherji & Chiaravalloti Bill to Extend Urban Enterprise Zone Program Continues Advancing
Bill Would Extend Economic Perks to Bolster City RevitalizationsLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Elizabeth Muoio, Ralph Caputo, Raj Mukherji and Nicholas Chiaravalloti to extend the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) designation for participating cities for another 10 years so that they may continue to benefit from the economic incentives continued advancing Thursday, gaining approval from the Assembly Budget Committee.
"Over the years, the Urban Enterprise Zone program has helped attract both new businesses and consumers alike, and has helped revitalize cites struggling to reinvigorate once-thriving business districts," said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "It makes little economic sense to suddenly halt this momentum. By extending this designation, we can help these towns continue their renaissance."
Schaer, Vainieri Huttle, Coughlin & McKnight Bill to Create Real-Time System to Track Available Psych Beds Continues AdvancingAn Assembly panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Craig Coughlin and Angela McKnight to create a "real-time" system to track the number of psychiatric beds available statewide to treat mental health and substance use disorders.
"Last year we hosted a number of roundtable discussions and meetings on issues related to behavioral and mental health care and professionals in the field continuously raised the need for increased information sharing on bed availability across the state," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Therefore, this legislation is designed to help providers and emergency rooms to quickly place patients in need of behavioral health services for the appropriate treatment."
Muoio & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Enhance Benefits Under Work First New Jersey Program AdvancesLegislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Elizabeth Maher Muoio and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to ensure that some of New Jersey's most vulnerable residents receive the assistance they need under the Work First New Jersey program was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3410) 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).
Assembly Speaker Prieto on Bills to Continue Funding Transportation Trust Fund in NJ (A-10 & A-11)
Taliaferro, Andrzejczak & Houghtaling Promote Bills to Enhance Farm-to-Table Experience in NJ (A-3053 & A-3054)
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