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.
Benson, Mukherji, Muoio, Holley, Sumter, Downey, Lampitt, Oliver, Danielsen & Wimberly Bill to Protect NJ Public Safety Officers Gains Assembly OKLegislation Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson, Raj Mukherji, Elizabeth Muoio, Jamel Holley, Shavonda Sumter, Joann Downey, Pamela Lampitt, Sheila Oliver, Joe Danielsen and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to support workers who are attacked while supervising inmates or detainees received Assembly approval on Wednesday.
"These officers assume a significant deal of risk every day on the job, yet they're excluded from provisions that make compensation available to other public safety officers," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. "This legislation is about taking action to eliminate that inconsistency so that people who put their lives on the line aren't left helpless in the event of an attack."
Chaparro, Vainieri Huttle, Benson, Jimenez, Mukherji & Downey Bill to Establish Alert System for Hit-and-Runs Passes Assembly
Legislation Honors Zackhary Simmons, 21-Year-Old Man Killed In June Accident(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Annette Chaparro, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel R. Benson, Angelica Jimenez, Raj Mukherji and Joann Downey sponsored to establish an emergency alert system to help more quickly apprehend drivers responsible for fatal hit-and-run accidents was approved by the full Assembly, 71-0, on Wednesday.
The legislation commemorates the life of Zackhary Simmons, a 21-year-old man who died in Hoboken in June after being hit by a vehicle that subsequently left the scene.
"I hope this bill reminds drivers thinking of fleeing an accident that the whole state will be looking for you, and you will be caught," said Chaparro (D-Hudson). "I want to thank the Simmons family for working so hard on this bill and sharing their time and inspiring this legislation to honor Zack and encourage other drivers to stop and help an injured person instead of cowardly fleeing a scene."
Andrzejczak, Mazzeo, Land, Tucker & Benson Bill to Create Veterans Diversion Program to Divert Eligible Servicemembers Away from Criminal Justice System and Into Appropriate Care Approved by AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Bruce R. Land, Cleopatra Tucker and Dan Benson create a Veterans Diversion Program to divert eligible servicemembers away from criminal justice system and into appropriate case management and mental health services was approved 69-0 Wednesday by the Assembly.
"The wounds of war are not just physical. Many soldiers return home with mental trauma that, when untreated, puts them and others at risk," said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). "These veterans need mental health services, not jail. We owe it to them, and the public to ensure that we are treating those veterans with mental health issues so that they are not a danger to themselves or others..."
Greenwald, Lampitt, Benson, Caride & Chiaravalloti Bill to Help Increase Mobility for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Heads to Governorís Desk
11-Member Task Force Would Seek Ways to Improve Transportation for Adults with ASDThe full Assembly on Wednesday unanimously granted final legislative approval to a measure sponsored by Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Daniel Benson, Marlene Caride and Nicholas Chiaravalloti to help better meet the transportation needs of New Jersey residents with developmental disabilities.
The bill (A-3432) would establish the "New Jersey Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Mobility and Support Services Task Force," an 11-member task force to study and make recommendations concerning the mobility and support services needs of New Jersey adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The task force would hold at least three public hearings concerning barriers adults with ASD face in using New Jersey's transportation infrastructure and in accessing other basic services in the state.
Mazzeo, Lagana, Vainieri Huttle, & Benson Bill to Educate Parents of Prescription Opioid Use OK'd by AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo, Joseph Lagana, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Daniel Benson to require the state Department of Education to develop educational fact sheet for distribution to parents of student-athletes and cheerleaders concerning use and misuse of prescription opioids was approved 69-0 Wednesday by the Assembly.
"This bill ensures that young people and their parents are educated as early as possible about the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "It is critical to provide this information to students who participate in athletics to make certain that, in the event they are prescribed an opioid for an injury, they will be fully knowledgeable of the risks of misuse..."
Vainieri Huttle, Benson, Lampitt, Johnson, McKnight & Sumter Bill to Guard Against Loss of Health Care Services for the Most Vulnerable Gains Final Legislative Approval
Bill Would Create Oversight Mechanism to Monitor Christie Administration's New Fee-For-Service Payment Model for Treatment ServicesLegislation Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson, Pamela Lampitt, Gordon Johnson, Angela McKnight and Shavonda Sumter sponsored to ensure that the state does not recklessly limit access to health care treatment by changing the way it pays treatment service providers gained final legislative approval 66-2 Wednesday by the full Assembly.
The bill (A-4146) was prompted by the state's decision to begin transitioning most community-based health care treatment services from the traditionally-used cost reimbursement system to a fee-for-service reimbursement system this past summer. The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services plans to require all providers to complete the transition by July 2017, while the Division of Developmental Disabilities is transitioning providers in a more gradual fashion.
Prieto, Lagana, McKeon, Sumter, Benson & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Tackle Opioid Crisis Signed Into Law
Comprehensive Strategy Will Mandate Insurance Coverage, Limit Opioid Prescriptions, Boost Education & Raise AwarenessThe full Assembly on Wednesday granted final legislative approval 64-1-5 to a bipartisan bill sponsored by Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana, John McKeon, Shavonda Sumter, Daniel Benson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle that employs a multi-faceted approach to tackle the continuing opioid crisis in New Jersey from every angle. The bill was promptly sent to Gov. Christie's desk where it was signed into law shortly thereafter.
The legislation (S-3/A-3) employs a comprehensive strategy to address the opioid epidemic, including mandated insurance coverage for substance use disorders, restrictions on the prescription of opioids, patient notification on the dangers of abuse of controlled dangerous substances, and professional education on topics related to prescription opioids.
Benson, Quijano & Prieto Bill Calling on USDA to Repost Animal Welfare Data on its Website Clears Assembly
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Dan Benson, Annette Quijano and Speaker Vincent Prieto urging the United States Department of Agriculture to restore deleted animal welfare records on its website was approved Wednesday by the General Assembly.
Sponsors say information purge endangers animals, harms consumers and hinders transparency
The USDA removed the information from its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHS) website earlier this month. Before the purge, the USDA posted violations, inspection records and annual reports for all commercial animal facilities in the nation, and complaints from members of the public against specific individuals or organizations. According to the resolution, this information has been an invaluable tool for government officials and advocates seeking to protect animal welfare.
"This data serves a real purpose. It keeps breeders in check and consumers informed. Denying the public easy access to this information takes away important oversight and puts animals in danger..." said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex)
Assembly Democratic Bill Package to Provide Free Mental Health Services, Facilitate Access to Benefits & Resources to Gold Star Families Approved by Assembly
Bills Sponsored by Greenwald, Johnson, Land, Andrzejczak, Mazzeo, Houghtaling, Benson, Jones, Mukherji & DanielsenA legislative package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lou Greenwald, Gordon Johnson, Bruce R. Land, Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Eric Houghtaling, Dan Benson, Patricia Jones, Raj Mukherji and Joseph Danielsen to provide mental health services and other resources to Gold Star families was approved Wednesday by the General Assembly.
The term "Gold Star" describes a family member who has lost a loved one in military service. A Gold Star Family member is defined to mean a spouse, domestic partner, partner in a civil union, parent, brother, sister, child, legal guardian, or other legal custodian.
"Gold Star families have given the greatest sacrifice they can for our freedoms, and we need to do our part to support them," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "These bills will provide needed support to navigate the challenges and difficulties they face in the wake of losing a loved one."
Mazzeo, Andrzejczak, Mukherji, Moriarty, Benson, Danielsen & Houghtaling Bill to Boost Care for 'Wounded Warriors' Goes to GovernorLegislation Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo, Bob Andrzejczak, Raj Mukherji, Paul Moriarty, Daniel Benson, Joseph Danielsen and Eric Houghtaling sponsored to boost assistance for "wounded warriors" and their caregivers, an ever-growing demographic that faces unique challenges in the post-9/11 era, was approved 37-0 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
"The purpose of the bill is to help care for those who are caring for our veterans," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "Care-giving for post-9/11 veterans is a massive economic and societal undertaking that we're facing right now. The enormous sacrifice our military members have made during two wars for over a decade now deserves a better response from our end..."
Benson, Muoio & Conaway Bill to Require Health Care Facilities to Test for Lead in Drinking Water Clears Assembly Panel(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Elizabeth Muoio and Herb Conaway to require care facilities to test for and remediate lead in drinking water was approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Monday.
"According to the DEP, high levels of lead were recently detected in a hospital in Englewood as well as a medical center in Morristown last February," said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). "This raises concerns for all health care facilities and should implore the state to implement mandatory lead testing requirements for these facilities."
Johnson & Benson Bill Requiring Disclosure of Money Spent by State & Local Governments on Lobbying Activities AdvancesAn Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson and Daniel Benson to improve transparency by requiring lobbyists to disclose the money they receive from state and local government entities to lobby any government agency.
The sponsors noted that a 2009 Comptroller report found that state government entities spent close to $4 million on lobbying firms to lobby state government.