Welcome to my Virtual District Office!
This page has been created to make it easier for you to learn how my office can be your advocate in Trenton and to get answers to some common questions about state government. In addition, you can visit the Web page of your town from the links below. You also can click to send me and my staff an e-mail. Whether you have a problem that needs to be solved or just want to send your opinion on a pressing state issue, my office is at your service.
As we move forward, this page will be updated and expanded, so please visit often.
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.
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."
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)...
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."
Schaer Introduces Legislation to Help Ready New Jersey against the Zika VirusWith the first case of Zika virus hitting close to home, Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic) has introduced legislation to help New Jersey ready itself against the encroaching disease.
The bill (A-3969) would require the Department of Health (DOH) to develop a Zika Virus State Action Plan to reduce the impact of infection from the virus on residents of New Jersey.
Coughlin, Schaer, Singleton, Lampitt & Spencer Legislation to Increase Transparency in Out-of-Network Care Costs Clears Assembly PanelBills Call for Written Disclosure of Services Insurance May Not Cover Prior to Medical Procedures, Establishment of Health Care Cost Database
A two-bill consumer protection package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Gary S. Schaer, Troy Singleton, Pamela Lampitt and Grace Spencer intended to eliminate surprise out-of-network health care charges when an individual receives medically-necessary emergency services or inadvertent out-of-network care was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.
"Far too many New Jersey families - even those with quality health benefits plans - find themselves fighting over thousands of dollars in out-of-network charges they never even had the opportunity to review, let alone agree to, prior to receiving medical attention," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "This legislation is about putting patients first and defending the consumer's right to be able to make an informed decision about how to proceed with his or her health care..."
Schaer, Danielsen & Sumter Cost-Saving Measure to Expand Medical Parole for Those Posing No Public Safety Threat Clears Assembly PanelLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Joseph Danielsen and Shavonda Sumter that would expand eligibility for medical parole for inmates who are physically incapacitated and do not pose a public safety threat was advanced by an Assembly committee on Monday.
"This is both a humane and cost-effective approach to incarceration," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Those who would be eligible for parole under this bill are physically incapacitated and do not pose a threat to public safety. Releasing them from the confines of our prison system would save the state money by shifting the costs to Medicaid, which is funded in part by the federal government, and in turn enable them to get treatment in a more humane setting."
*** Rebuilding NJ's Middle-Class ***
Schaer, Vainieri Huttle, Lampitt, Mosquera, Sumter & Wimberly "Breakfast after the Bell' Bill Continues Advancing
Measure Would Establish an Incentive Fund for the School Breakfast ProgramLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Pamela Lampitt, Gabriela Mosquera, Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly to create an incentive fund to support the Breakfast after the Bell program was released Monday by a Senate committee.
The sponsors said the purpose of the fund is to provide an incentive for the school districts to move to a school breakfast model that will reach more students. They also note in the bill that low- to middle-income school districts face more fiscal challenges in covering the cost of effective breakfast programs.