(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Nancy Pinkin, Eliana Pintor Marin and Wayne DeAngelo requiring the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to establish online reporting systems for schools and child care centers to report lead testing results cleared the Assembly Budget Committee on Monday.
“While the State Board of Education has adopted regulations requiring every New Jersey school to test for lead in drinking water, there is no centralized database for children, parents and lawmakers to view this information,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex), who serves as chairwoman as of the Committee. “It would add transparency for all of our residents to see exactly what is in school drinking water.”
The bill (A-4121) would require the DOE and the DCF to establish online reporting systems for schools and childcare centers to report their lead testing results electronically.
“For something as dangerous as lead-infected water, we must make access to this information as straightforward as possible,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “Children’s lives are at stake, and we should take every precaution necessary.”
Under the bill, every school and childcare center that was required to test for lead would be required to submit or resubmit its test result and any other relevant information to the online reporting system.
“Publicly disseminating information online is one of the most simple and efficient ways to educate parents, educators and the public at-large about the drinking water quality in our schools and child care centers. The more information that is public available, the better equipped we can be to make smart decisions about ways to address possible concerns,” said DeAngelo (Mercer/Middlesex).
The DOE and DCF would be required to compile the test results on their respective websites to be accessed by the public.
The Departments would also be required to prepare and submit a report to the governor and the legislature outlining the contamination in the drinking water of the schools and child care centers, the associated need for assistance with remediation activities and recommendations for how New Jersey can assist schools and child care can remedy lead in drinking water.
The Environment and Solid Waste Committee initially passed the bill in a 6 to 0 vote on June 14 and now moves to the Speaker’s desk awaiting further action.