McKeon & Gordon Statement on FRA Stating it would have Canceled NJ Transit Meeting to Allow NJ Transit to Testify before LegislatureAsm. John McKeon (D-Essex/Morris), chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic), chairman of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, released the following statement Friday after learning the Federal Railroad Administration stated it would have canceled its meeting today with NJ Transit to allow the agency to testify before their committees on its safety and operations:
"It's disheartening to hear that the Federal Railroad Administration would have gladly rescheduled its meeting with NJ Transit today to allow the agency to testify today before the joint legislative committee. Commissioner Hammer certainly made it seem like the FRA meeting could not be rescheduled, so once again we question whether the commissioner was misleading legislators. We do not appreciate it..."
McKeon, Chaparro, Johnson & Muoio NJ Transit Investigation Opening Statements VideosClick here for video clips of Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Annette Chaparro, Gordon Johnson and Elizabeth Muoio making opening statements as the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee began its investigation into NJ Transit safety and operations:
Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle & Mosquera Bill to Add Cyber-Harassment to Domestic Violence Statutes Heads to GovernorLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Pamela Lampitt, Troy Singleton, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Gabriela Mosquera to bolster protections against cyber-harassment for domestic violence victims in New Jersey gained final legislative approval on Thursday. It now heads to the governor's desk.
"The internet is being used as another way for domestic violence predators to stalk and harass their victims," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "It's time to put cyber-stalking and harassment on the books to continue to protect domestic violence victims under the law."
Houghtaling, Downey, Holley & Muoio Bill to Require Annual Report on Unspent Funds in State Accounts Clears AssemblyLegislation Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling, Joann Downey, Jamel Holley and Elizabeth Muoio sponsored to help ensure that taxpayer dollars are allocated and spent efficiently gained Assembly approval on Thursday.
The bill (A-4164) would require the State Auditor to report annually on unspent state account balances.
"When a unit of government says it needs a certain amount of money but then doesn't use it, it raises concerns about whether projects and programs are being adequately funded," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "If there are funds idling in a government account, the state ought to examine why that is and perhaps seek more efficient ways to use them in the future."
Wimberly Acts to Ensure Insurance Coverage for Student Athletes
Legislator to Introduce Legislation Requiring School Coverage for Team & Intramural Sports, and Extracurricular ActivitiesTRENTON -Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly joined by Senator Paul Sarlo (Both D-Bergen, Passaic) announced today that they will introduce legislation requiring public schools in New Jersey to provide accident and injury insurance for their students who participate in school sports and other extracurricular activities.
The legislators are acting after learning that Paterson School District dropped its student accident insurance, leaving student athletes and others who participate in school activities without coverage. The legislators agree that it is foolish for schools to try to save money by eliminating insurance because it compromises and undermines student safety.
Assembly Dems Bill Forgiving Student Loan Debt in Event of Borrower’s Death or Permanent Disability Heads to Governor’s Desk
Mazzeo, Zwicker, Jasey, Vainieri Huttle, Schaer, Jones, Eustace, Land, Gusciora, Andrzejczak, Downey, Houghtaling & Mukherji Bill would Eliminate Student Loan Debt in the Event of Death or Permanent DisabilityThe Senate granted final legislative approval Thursday to a bill 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."
Holley, Jasey, McKnight and Quijano Legislation to Enhance Security & Safety Measures in NJ's Schools Goes to GovernorLegislation 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 approved Thursday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
"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..."
DeAngelo, Holley, Mazzeo & Downey Bill to Establish Plan to Publish Missing Persons Alerts Goes to GovernorLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Jamel Holley, Vincent Mazzeo and Joann Downey to expand the reach of missing persons notices via social media was approved 38-0 Thursday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
"Just as people use outlets like Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and family, law enforcement officials can also use social media to reach the public when someone is missing," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex)...
Assembly Passes Pinkin, Sumter, Vainieri Huttle, Gusciora & Muoio Bill to Restrict Use of Solitary Confinement in N.J. Prisons(TRENTON) – 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 passed the full Assembly, 45-26-1, on Thursday. “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.” For More
Lampitt, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Tucker, Wimberly & Downey Bill to Help Residents with Disabilities Access Services AdvancesLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Cleopatra Tucker, Benjie Wimberly and Joann Downey to increase awareness of the application processes for programs and services available to New Jersey residents with developmental disabilities cleared the Assembly, 72-0, on Thursday.
"For many individuals with developmental disabilities, the ability to live independently and be economically stable depends on the ability to access the appropriate housing, transportation and the proper medical and behavioral care. Unfortunately, gaining that access can be a complex and confusing process," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This legislation will help ensure that residents of New Jersey who have developmental disabilities can get the services they need."
Mazzeo, Land, Andrzejczak & DeAngelo Measure Urging USAF to Base New Fighter Jets at 177th Fighter Wing Passes AssemblyTRENTON) - Legislation Assemblymen Vincent Mazzeo, Bruce Land, Bob Andrzejczak and Wayne DeAngelo sponsored to encourage the military to base some of its newest fighter jets in New Jersey cleared the full Assembly, 68-0-2, on Thursday.
The resolution (AR-149) urges the United States Air Force to base F-35 Lightning II fighter jets at the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard in Egg Harbor Township. The F-35s would replace the older F-16s currently flown by Guard members at the base.
DeAngelo, Giblin & Singleton Bill to Establish Licensure Procedures for Pool and Spa Service Contractors; Creates 7-Member Advisory Committee Passes Assembly(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo, Thomas Giblin and Troy Singleton to put in place safety procedures and trade guidelines for pool and spa contractors in New Jersey cleared the full Assembly on Thursday, 53-13-7.
"As it stands now, it is too easy for an individual to claim they are certified and knowledgeable in pool and spa contracting without actually having completed certification," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). "Just as plumbing and electrical contractors, pool and spa contractors should have to meet certain certification requirements and safety guidelines."
Assembly Approves Giving Judiciary Committee Subpoena Power to Investigate NJ Transit
Asm. McKeon will Lead Assembly Investigation into NJT Safety & Financing Operations; Judiciary will Work with Senate Legislative Oversight CommitteeThe Assembly on Thursday voted 71-0 to launch an investigation into the safety and financial practices of NJ Transit, giving the Assembly Judiciary Committee subpoena power to conduct the inquiry.
The Judiciary panel will work on the inquiry with the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, starting with a 10 a.m. Friday hearing.
Assembly Passes Caputo Bill to Promote NJ's Contributions to America's Military History(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo to help highlight and promote places and sites in New Jersey of historic significance to the military or the country's war efforts was approved by the full Assembly on Thursday, 70-0.
"New Jersey has played in important role in America's military history. One of the most important battles of the American Revolution was fought just blocks from the State House. People need to know this," said Caputo ((D-Essex), who chairs the committee. "This bill would create a website dedicated to New Jersey's contributions to America's military efforts, which not only honors these stories, but can help boost tourism to our state by providing a one-stop information shop for individuals interested in visiting these sites."
Mosquera, Jones, DeAngelo, Mazzeo, Johnson & Houghtaling Bill to Allow NJ Overseas Voters to Cast Ballots Passes Assembly(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gabriela Mosquera, Patricia Jones, Wayne DeAngelo, Vince Mazzeo and Gordon Johnson to expand voting rights for overseas residents, especially military personnel received final legislative approval, 69-2-2, in the Assembly on Thursday.
The bill (A-2815) revises the "Overseas Residents Absentee Voting Law" to more closely resemble the federal Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act by incorporating into New Jersey law those provisions that have not yet been adopted.
Singleton, Gusciora, Benson, Zwicker & Danielsen Bill to Fight Christie Admin’s Attempt to Resurrect Cruel & Inhumane Hunting Practice Gains Assembly OKThe full Assembly on Thursday approved legislation (ACR-25) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Reed Gusciora, Daniel Benson, Andrew Zwicker and Joe Danielsen that would overturn the Christie administration's decision to resurrect a cruel and inhumane hunting practice that the Legislature outlawed over 30 years ago.
"This is yet another blatant attempt by the Christie administration to circumvent existing state law," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Enclosed foothold traps are cruel and inhumane. The Legislature made that clear in 1984 when it passed a law prohibiting the use of steel-jaw, leg-hold animal traps in order to improve animal welfare and prevent extreme cruelty."
Burzichelli, Eustace & Danielsen’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act Approved by AssemblyMeasure Would Create a Thorough Process to Allow Terminally Ill Patients to Choose Their End of Life Option
The Assembly voted 41-28-5 Thursday to approve the New Jersey Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Burzichelli, Tim Eustace and Joe Danielsen to create a process for terminally ill patients who wish for medicinal assistance to end their lives.
"This discussion is about revisiting a statute last looked at in 1978 that never took into account an individual's right to control their body and their circumstances," said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). "Like society, medicine, palliative care and hospice services have changed dramatically since then. While there are many choices available right now that may be right for certain people, there is one more choice, not currently available, that deserves an honest discussion."
Mazzeo Bill to Help Businesses in Western Atlantic County Expand & Create Jobs Heads to Governor’s DeskBy a vote of 72-1, the full Assembly on Thursday granted final legislative approval to a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) that would allow industrial businesses in the Pinelands looking to expand to take advantage of certain incentives currently not available to them.
The bill (A-3914) would allow rural development areas zoned for industrial use as of the effective date of the bill, as designated within the Pinelands Commission's comprehensive management plan, to be included as areas eligible for qualifying business facility and developer project incentives under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program. Both of these business incentive programs are administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
Lagana, Singleton, Moriarty & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Foster Treasury Department Transparency Clears AssemblyMeasure Would Create Committee to Develop Public Finance Site, Publicize Central Accounting Data
Legislation Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana, Troy Singleton, Paul Moriarty and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to make data regarding public finances in New Jersey more accessible to everyday residents gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
"New Jersey's taxpayers deserve an easy way to understand how their money is being spent," said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). "A website that makes information on state finances clear and simple to find will further transparency in the state."
Schaer, Tucker, Benson & Caputo Bill to Increase Personal Needs Allowance Under Medicaid, SSI for Vets Clears AssemblyLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Cleopatra Tucker, Daniel R. Benson and Ralph Caputo to ensure that veterans on Medicaid and living in a facility, such as a nursing home or developmental center, have enough money to purchase personal items gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
"This allowance has stayed the same for years while the cost of living in this state has not," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This is an opportunity to help veterans continue to provide for themselves and their families in a changing economy. Requiring cost-of-living adjustments on the allowance is extremely important. New Jersey veterans will not have to wait for another increase in the future."
Assembly Approves Conaway, Vainieri Huttle, Benson & McKnight Bill to Help Increase Affordability of EpiPens Amidst Skyrocketing CostsThe full Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson and Angela McKnight to help increase the affordability of EpiPens by requiring them to once again be sold as single units rather than in multiples.
Specifically, the bill (A-4094) would prohibit manufacturers or distributors of epinephrine auto-injectors for patients in New Jersey from marketing or distributing the devices in a fashion that requires a patient to purchase multiple epinephrine auto-injectors in a single transaction.
Singleton & Downey Bill to Require Governor to Detail New Revenue Proposals Gains Assembly ApprovalMeasure Would Provide More Accuracy, Transparency in Annual Budget Process
Legislation Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton and Joann Downey sponsored to require a clear and concise analysis of new revenue sources proposed by the governor was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.
"Essentially, this change is designed to avoid any delay in disclosure or a less than full and detailed analysis of new or additional revenue sources proposed by the governor," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "In order to produce a budget that's both responsible and compassionate, we need to ensure that revenue proposals are not just smoke and mirrors and that the money is being allocated wisely."
Singleton, Speaker Prieto, DeAngelo, Lagana & Houghtaling Bill to Require Debt Affordability Study in Annual Debt Report AdvancesMeasure Aimed at Reducing State Debt, Restoring Credit Rating
Legislation Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo, Joseph Lagana and Eric Houghtaling sponsored to help keep debt levels affordable in New Jersey and restore the state's credit rating gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
"Reports about our mounting state debt are disconcerting, to say the least," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Fiscal responsibility can't be achieved blindly. We need a comprehensive and precise forecast on what we can and cannot afford in order to create more sound fiscal policies for the future."
Schaer & Prieto Bill to Help New Jersey Combat Spread of Zika Virus Gains Assembly ApprovalLegislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gary Schaer and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to help New Jersey ready itself against the encroaching Zika virus was approved unanimously by the full Assembly on Thursday.
"The CDC has warned that a Zika vaccine is likely several years away. Meanwhile, neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania have already developed action plans," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "In June we saw the first baby born in New Jersey with Zika-related microcephaly, the results of which can have a devastating, lifelong impact on both a child and their family. The time to act is now before it's too late and we're left scrambling if the virus continues to spread northward."
Zwicker, Benson, Schaer & Holley Legislation Urging Congress to Ensure Students Access to Debt-Free Higher Education Clears AssemblyLegislation Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker, Daniel Benson, Gary Schaer and Jamel Holley sponsored urging Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation ensuring students have access to debt-free higher education at public colleges and universities gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
"A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make, but it has never been more difficult for families to afford the dream of a college education, as the cost has grown exponentially in decades," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). "As a result, an increasing number of young Americans, including many from New Jersey, have been forced to assume significant student loan debt to afford the cost of higher education."
Lagana, Singleton & Wisniewski Bill to Establish Standards for Ride-Hailing Companies Clears Assembly
Legislation is Aimed at Protecting Consumers Via Insurance, Recordkeeping RequirementsLegislation Assemblymen Joseph Lagana, Troy Singleton and John Wisniewski sponsored to protect customers of Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services was approved 61-11-3 by the full Assembly on Thursday.
"New Jersey has no safety and insurance standards whatsoever to govern an industry that has the potential to affect all motorists - regardless of whether or not they have a direct affiliation with a transportation network company. I admire the modernization these companies bring to transportation, but that does not excuse them from an obligation to conduct business safely," said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Residents of our state who take advantage of ride-hailing services must be able to do so without compromising their own well-being or that of other drivers on the road."
Zwicker, Prieto, Vainieri Huttle, Lampitt & Muoio Measure to Commemorate 100th Anniversary of Planned Parenthood Clears General AssemblyResolution Reaffirms Women's Fundamental Right to Reproductive Health Care
Legislation Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Pamela Lampitt and Elizabeth Muoio sponsored to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Planned Parenthood's founding gained approval Thursday in the General Assembly.
"We will not rest until access to health care is a reality for all people," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). "We must build equity into a health care system that has left many communities behind. In the world we want, all people have full control of their own bodies and can determine their own destinies. Planned Parenthood is determined to fight for this vision, now and always."
McKeon Opening Statement on NJ Transit Inquiry
Chaparro Opening Statement on NJ Transit Inquiry
Johnson Opening Statement on NJ Transit Inquiry
Muoio Opening Statement on NJ Transit Inquiry
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