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, Vainieri Huttle, Mazzeo, Mukherji, Downey & Wimberly Opioid Antidote Bill Gains Assembly Approval

Measure Will Allow Pharmacies to Dispense Antidote without Rx
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Vince Mazzeo, Raj Mukherji, Joann Downey and Benjie Wimberly to ensure that opioid antidotes are available to help prevent overdoses was approved unanimously by the full Assembly on Thursday.

The bill (A-2334) would expand public access to opioid antidotes, such as naloxone hydrochloride, by amending the provisions of the "Overdose Prevention Act" (OPA) in order to allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone to any person, without a prescription, pursuant to a standing order issued by a prescriber or, upon request by the pharmacist, pursuant to a standing order issued by the Commissioner of Health or the Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services.

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Assembly Signs Off on McKeon, Quijano, Benson, Houghtaling & Downey Bill Barring Public Agencies from Settling Whistleblower Suits Confidentially

Bill Stems from Christie Administration's Secret $1.5M Corruption Allegation Settlement that Cost the State an Additional $4M in Legal Fees
(TRENTON) - The General Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Annette Quijano, Daniel Benson, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey that would bar public entities from entering into confidential settlements of whistleblower lawsuits with public employees and mandate that such settlements are part of open public records.

McKeon first introduced the bill in response to the settlement reached with former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Bennett Barlyn, who testified extensively on the bill during a hearing this week before McKeon's Judiciary Committee. Barlyn filed a lawsuit against the state in 2012 alleging he had been fired in 2010 after complaining to a superior that an indictment brought by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office had been dismissed by then Attorney General Paula Dow for political reasons.

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Singleton, Vainieri Huttle, Downey, Mosquera, Lampitt & Benson Bill to Boost Domestic Violence Training at Local Level Advances

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joann Downey, Gabriela Mosquera, Pamela Lampitt and Daniel Benson to enhance domestic violence training at the local level gained unanimous approval Thursday from the full Assembly.

The bill (A-2185) would establish mandatory domestic violence training for municipal prosecutors.

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Houghtaling & Downey Bill to Aid Ocean Grove Fire Victims by Lowering Property Assessments While they Rebuild Clears Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to help beleaguered property owners in Ocean Grove whose homes were either damaged or destroyed by a five-alarm fire earlier this month was approved Thursday by the Assembly.

"Since Monmouth County currently operates under a different system, this bill would extend the date that an assessment based on damage can occur so that those who were devastated by last week's fire can have their property reassessed to reflect the damage, thereby lowering their taxes while they deal with the recovery," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "Hopefully, this will provide a measure of relief in the aftermath of this tragedy while everyone works to rebuild..."

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Mazzeo, Lagana, Andrzejczak, Zwicker, Land, Benson & Downey Bill to Require Schools to Maintain Narcan Supply Clears Panel

Bill Would Allow School Nurses to Administer Opioid Antidote During an Emergency

Legislation Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Joseph Lagana, Bob Andrzejczak, Andrew Zwicker, Bruce Land, Daniel Benson and Joann Downey sponsored to require schools to maintain a supply of an opioid antidote was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"Narcan has been proven to save lives," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "Having it readily available in schools can help ensure that our schools are ready to respond in every emergency situation."

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Downey, Houghtaling, Holley & Benson Bill to Connect More Who Served to Programs, Benefits for Veterans Advances

Asw. Joann Downey 13-Member Commission on Veterans' Benefits Would Help Support Veterans & Their Families

Legislation Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling, Jamel Holley and Daniel Benson sponsored to more effectively deliver services to veterans in New Jersey was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"Many veterans are aware of how they can benefit from resources the federal government offers, but they're sometimes uncertain about what they and their families may qualify for at the state level," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "A commission dedicated to making sure veterans have access to the programs and benefits they're eligible for and deserve will help New Jersey honor its obligation to those who have served this nation."

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McKeon, Quijano, Benson, Houghtaling & Downey Bill Barring Public Entities from Entering into Confidential Lawsuit Settlements Advances

Bill Stems from Christie Administration's Secret $1.5M Corruption Allegation Settlement
An Assembly panel on Monday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Annette Quijano, Daniel Benson, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey that would bar public entities from entering into confidential settlements of whistleblower lawsuits with public employees and mandate that such settlements are part of open public records.

McKeon first introduced the bill in response to the settlement reached with former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Bennett Barlyn, who testified extensively on the bill during today's hearing. Archived audio from today's hearing will be posted here after the hearing concludes, with Barlyn's testimony beginning around the 20 minute mark.

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Mazzeo, Houghtaling, Downey, Andrzejczak & Land Bill to Bolster Disaster Preparedness in At-Risk Counties Clears Committee

Measure Would Establish Biennial Risk Assessment, Provide Funding for Counties Prone to Weather-Related Disasters

Legislation Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Eric Houghtaling, Joann Downey, Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land sponsored to help minimize damage during severe weather events was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"More than four years after Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey continues to repair the damage, and families continue to deal with the financial and emotional toll of the storm. Fostering connections between the state and counties most prone to catastrophic storm damage can reduce the likelihood of similar devastation in the future," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic)...

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Houghtaling & Downey Bill to Aid Ocean Grove Fire Victims by Lowering Property Assessments While they Rebuild Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to help beleaguered property owners in Ocean Grove whose homes were either damaged or destroyed by a five-alarm fire earlier this month was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-4673) would change the dates concerning the assessment of buildings or structures following their material depreciation, given the fact that Monmouth County, where the fire was located, operates under a Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program, which is different than many other parts of the state.

"Since Monmouth County currently operates under a different system, this bill would extend the date that an assessment based on damage can occur so that those who were devastated by last week's fire can have their property reassessed to reflect the damage, thereby lowering their taxes while they deal with the recovery..," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth).

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Assemblywoman Joann Downey Main Page