Barclay, Benson & Mazzeo Bill to Help More Police Departments Combat Heroin Overdoses Gains Committee OKLegislation 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."
Downey & Houghtaling Bill to Require Gun ‘Microstamping’ Clears Assembly CommitteeLegislation 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."
Pinkin, Sumter, Vainieri Huttle, Gusciora & Muoio Bill to Restrict Use of Solitary Confinement in N.J. Prisons Clears CommitteeMeasure 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."
Oliver, Johnson & Jasey Bill to Prohibit Sale of Realistic Toy Guns Clears Assembly CommitteeLegislation 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."
Egan Jones & Mosquera Measure to Prevent Gun Violence Among Individuals with Mental Disorders Gains Committee ApprovalMental 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."
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 ShutdownAn 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."
ASSEMBLYWOMAN CHAPARRO INTRODUCES BILL TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF PEDESTRIAN AND BIKE SAFETY FOR DRIVERSAssemblywoman 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.
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 HospitalLegislation 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.
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."
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."
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 CommitteesDistracted 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…
Singleton, DeAngelo, Caride, Mukherji & Holley Bill to Augment STEM Education in NJ's Schools Clears Assembly PanelLegislation 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."
Jasey Named Deputy Speaker of General AssemblyAssembly 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."
Gusciora & Muoio Introduce Legislative Compromise to Provide Lifeline to Urban Cities in the Wake of Christie’s UEZ Bill VetoAssembly 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.
Houghtaling, Downey, Andrzejczak & DeAngelo Bill to Facilitate Motorcycle Endorsement Process for Service Members AdvancesLegislation 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."
Vainieri Huttle Bill to Ensure Safe Transition to Community Housing for Individuals with Development Disabilities AdvancesLegislation 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."
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 LocationsLegislation 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."
Coughlin & Holley Bill to Permit Municipalities to Create, Maintain Emergency Special Needs Registries Clears CommitteeLegislation 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."
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."
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 FacilitiesLegislation 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.
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."
DeAngelo, Eustace, Mukherji & Holley Bill to Create Registry of Organizations Providing Services to Veterans Clears CommitteeLegislation 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."
Gusciora, Oliver, Lagana & Lampitt Bill to Ban Marriage for Anyone under 18 Advances
Legislation is Designed to Combat Forced Child MarriagesBipartisan 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.
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 CountryLegislation 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.
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."
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."
Danielsen Bill to Establish ‘Support the Troops Fund’ Advanced by Assembly CommitteeLegislation 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."
Lampitt, Mosquera, Wimberly, Downey & McKnight Bill to Ensure Equality for Pregnant College Students Clears AssemblyLegislation 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."
Andrzejczak to Take Part in New Jersey’s first “Gleaning Week” Celebration to Help Combat HungerIn 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.
Lagana & & Gusciora Bill to Ensure Safety of Students Transported on School Buses Clears Assembly PanelLegislation 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."
Caride & Jimenez Bill to Ensure Safety of Students in Wheelchairs on School Buses Clears Assembly PanelLegislation 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."
Caride, Jasey, Eustace & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Eliminate Standardized Tests as Measuring Stick for Teacher Effectiveness Approved by Assembly PanelLegislation 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."
Lampitt, Benson, Jasey, Johnson, Mosquera, Muoio, Pinkin & Jimenez Bill to Ensure Safe Return to School for Students who have suffered Concussions Clears Assembly PanelLegislation 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."
Houghtaling, Andrzejczak & Mazzeo Bill to Allow Contributions to Jersey Fresh Program through Gross Income Tax Returns Clears Assembly PanelLegislation 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."
Eliminating Standardized Tests in Teacher Evaluation, Special Police Prosecutor, School Bus Safety, Student Concussion Safety, Farm-to-School Improvements Highlight Monday Assembly CommitteesConcerns 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...
Mosquera, Moriarty, Lagana, Zwicker & Downey Bill to Help Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Victims Seek Justice Against Their Abusers Gains Assembly OKLegislation 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."
Wisniewski Introduces Bill to Allow for $3.2B in Total Increased TTF Borrowing for 2 yearsAmid 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...
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 DisabilityBy 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."
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.
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 HospitalLegislation 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.
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."
Holley Bill to Fund Counseling for Victims of Sexual Assault Gains Assembly OKLegislation 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."
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."
Schaer, Jimenez, Wimberly & Caride Bill to Ensure Health Facilities Restore Power Quickly in an Emergency Gains Assembly OKLegislation 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..."
Andrzejczak & Land Bills to Promote Aquaculture in New Jersey Approved by AssemblyThe 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..."
McKeon, Vainieri Huttle, Caputo, Jasey & Downey Bill to Create Law Enforcement Assisted Addiction Safe Havens Gains Assembly ApprovalLegislation 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.
Gusciora, DeAngelo & Lagana Bill to Allow New Cigar Bars to Open in New Jersey Gains Assembly OKMeasure 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."
Vainieri Huttle, Jasey & Mukherji Bill to Expand Steroid Testing for High School Athletes Gains Assembly ApprovalLegislation 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."
Caputo to Introduce Legislation Requiring Firing Range Patrons to Possess Permits, Purchaser ID CardsBills 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."
DeAngelo, Mukherji, Vainieri Huttle & McKeon Bill to Require NJ Transit to Notify Public Prior to Service Reduction Now LawA 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."
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.
Mazzeo, Eustace, Gusciora & Holley Bill Allowing PTSD Victims to Qualify for Medical Marijuana Treatment Signed into LawLegislation 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."
Coughlin, Schaer, Jasey & Benson Bill to Facilitate More Efficient Use of Taxpayer Dollars at NJ Colleges, Universities Now LawA 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."
Override of Christie Veto of Bill to Allow for Automatic Voter Registration as Part of Driver's License Application & Renewal Tops Thursday Assembly SessionAquaculture, 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...
DeAngelo & Pinkin Bill to Help Fund Security Improvements in NJ Schools Advanced by Senate PanelLegislation 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."
Caputo, Tucker, Quijano, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter & McKnight Bill to Install Silent Alarms & Red Emergency Lights In Schools AdvancesAssembly 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."
Holley, Jasey, McKnight and Quijano Legislation to Enhance Security & Safety Measures in NJ’s Schools Continues AdvancingAssembly 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."
Singleton, Wisniewski, Conaway, Caride, Quijano, Sumter & Wimberly Legislation Inspired by Death of Cinnaminson Firefighter Gains Panel ApprovalMeasure 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."
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.
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.
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.
Lampitt Bill to Allow Termination of Car Leases Upon Death of Lessee Clears Assembly CommitteeLegislation 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."
Greenwald Unveils Legislation to Refinance Student Loans through County Improvement AuthoritiesAssembly 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."
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."
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.
Lampitt Introduces Legislation to Promote Pay Equity, Strengthen Protections against DiscriminationAssemblywoman 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."
Land, Andrzejczak & Pinkin Bill to Crack Down on Illegal Telemarketing Practices Clears CommitteeLegislation 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."
Schaer & Jasey Introduce Legislation to Address Student Loan Debt, Increase College PreparednessFive-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."
Conaway Bill Package to Combat the Soaring Price of EpiPens Gains Assembly Panel ApprovalAn 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.
Assembly Labor Panel to Consider Bill Allowing Unemployment Benefits for Striking WorkersThe 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...
Assembly Panel Approves Conaway Bill Creating Hepatitis C Screening Requirements for High Risk Baby Boomer PopulationLegislation 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.
Conaway, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter & Lampitt Bill Requiring Insurers to Cover Off-Label Rx Drug Treatments AdvancesLegislation 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.
Assembly Dems Bill Forgiving Student Loan Debt in Event of Borrower's Death or Permanent Disability AdvancesMazzeo, 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…"
Jasey, McKeon & Vainieri Huttle Bill Encouraging Mental Health Physicians to Work in Underserved Areas AdvancesLegislation 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..."
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 marketAn 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.
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 GuidelinesLegislation 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.
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.
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.