News

Mazzeo, Lagana, Vainieri Huttle, & Benson Bill to Educate Parents of Prescription Opioid Use Heads to Governor

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo, Joseph Lagana, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Daniel Benson creating a state-led effort to educate parents of student-athletes and cheerleaders on the use and misuse of prescription opioids is headed to the Governor after receiving final legislative approval from the Senate on Thursday.

"The bill ensures that young people and their parents are educated as early as possible about the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "It is critical to provide this information to students who participate in athletics to make certain that, in the event they are prescribed an opioid for an injury, they will be fully knowledgeable of the risks of misuse." 

The legislation was unanimously approved by the Assembly in February.

"Prescription drug abuse has taken a heartbreaking toll on many young residents and their families," said Lagana (D-Bergen, Passaic). "Student-athletes are more vulnerable than others due to injuries that may occur while playing a sport. We must step up efforts to inform parents about the potential of opioid abuse and how to prevent it from happening to their children."

DeAngelo, Giblin, Singleton, Holley & Benson Bill to Ask Voters to Support Creation & Expansion of Public Libraries Approved by Assembly

 Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Thomas Giblin, Troy Singleton, Jamel Holley and Dan Benson to ask voters to provide grants for the construction, expansion and equipping of public libraries in New Jersey was approved Thursday by the Assembly.
"Some might question the relevance of libraries when technology is so prevalent, but for one, not everyone has access to technology, and secondly, libraries are more than just a place to get books," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "They are gathering places. They are places where people can get college prep and career assistance. They are places where people without access to computers or an internet connection can have free access to both. Given the value of libraries and what they provide our communities, it would be irresponsible not to invest in their viability."

Greenwald, Land, Andrzejczak, Mazzeo, Houghtaling, Benson & Danielsen Bill to Assist Gold Star Families Goes to Governor

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lou Greenwald, Bruce R. Land, Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Eric Houghtaling, Dan Benson and Joseph Danielsen to assist Gold Star families was approved 39-0 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill, approved by the Assembly in February, is part of a larger package of bills to help Gold Star families, two of which have already become law.
"Gold Star families have given the greatest sacrifice they can for our freedoms, and we need to do our part to support them," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "These bills will provide needed support to navigate the challenges and difficulties they face in the wake of losing a loved one."

Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Benson & Wimberly Bill to Uphold Right of Service Dog Access for People with Disabilities Heads to Governor's Desk

Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to uphold the right of people with disabilities to have equal access to public facilities is headed to the Governor's desk after receiving final legislative approval from the full Senate on Monday.
The legislation, which was unanimously approved by the full Assembly in January, was first proposed by the sponsors after 16-year-old Cherry Hill resident Ben Shore raised concerns about a policy in his school district outlining preconditions to be met in order for a student to be accompanied by a service animal, like his service dog Charlie. 
The bill (A-4081), known as "Charlie's Law," would establish civil penalties for those who deny individuals with disabilities accompanied by service or guide dogs access to any public facility. 

DeAngelo, Giblin, Singleton, Holley & Benson Bill to Support Creation, Expansion of Public Libraries in NJ Advances

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Thomas Giblin, Troy Singleton, Jamel Holley and Dan Benson to provide grants for the construction, expansion and equipping of public libraries in New Jersey was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee. 

"Some might question the relevance of libraries when technology is so prevalent, but for one, not everyone has access to technology, and secondly, libraries are more than just a place to get books," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "They are gathering places. They are places where people can get college prep and career assistance. They are places where people without access to computers or an internet connection can have free access to both. Given the value of libraries and what they provide our communities, it would be irresponsible not to invest in their viability."

The bill (A-222), entitled the "New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act," would authorize the issuance of $125 million in state general obligation bonds to provide grants for the construction, expansion, and equipping of New Jersey's public libraries.

Wisniewski, DeAngelo, Coughlin, Benson & McKnight Bill to Ease Home Improvement Costs for Seniors Advanced by Assembly Committee

An Assembly panel on Monday released legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Wisniewski, Wayne DeAngelo, Craig Coughlin, Daniel Benson and Angela McKnight to ease home improvement costs for seniors by exempting them from municipal building permit fees.

The bill (A-1891) would authorize municipalities to enact ordinances that would allow an individual age 65 or over to apply for a waiver from paying construction permit surcharge fees or other fees associated with the construction or alteration of their primary home.

"It is hard enough with property taxes for our senior citizens to stay in their homes," said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). "The unexpected cost of a permit for a water heater or roof replacement can push them out of their homes. This legislation will help municipalities make sure their residents can take the steps necessary to comfortably and safely remain in their residences. Particularly for those on a limited income, an exemption from building permit fees can go a long way."

Pinkin, Karabinchak, DeAngelo & Benson Bill Urging Congress to Protect Federal Property Tax Deduction Advanced by Assembly Committee

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, Robert Karabinchak, Wayne DeAngelo and Daniel R. Benson to petition the United States Congress to not eliminate the federal property tax deduction so valuable to New Jerseyans was released Monday by the Assembly Budget Committee.
Under current law, a taxpayer is allowed to deduct from federal taxable income the amounts paid to state and local entities for assessments on real property. This deduction is known as the property tax deduction. This deduction, however, is under consideration and may be abolished as part of a reform of federal tax law proposed by President Trump.
The change would hit New Jersey homeowners hard.

Eustace, Benson, Zwicker, Wimberly Bill to Authorize Virtual Net Metering For Certain Customers Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson, Andrew Zwicker, and Benjie Wimberly to allow "virtual" net metering for customers connected to hydropower facilities was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday. 

Virtual net metering (VNM) is a bill crediting system. A customer receives credits on their electric bill for excess energy drawn from a hydropower facility.

"For residents who have invested in a renewable energy source for their homes, this legislation would reduce their utility bill by giving them credit for the excess energy produced," said Eustace (D- Bergen, Passaic). "Virtual net metering allows the customers to keep tabs on how much energy they actually use through alternative energy sources. Because of their investment, residents should see the savings on their utility bills from month to month."

Under the bill (A-2204), a small scale Hydro power facility put into service after the effective date with the capacity of 3 MW or less is eligible for net metering. The bill authorizes a facility to deliver or sell power to up to 10 end-use customers, who are located within 10 miles of the facility and net-metered within the service territory of a single electric public utility, and designate the end-use customers to be credited by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider with the excess generations of the facility. 

Sumter, Eustace, Benson & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Require Companies that Offshore Jobs Out of State to Return State Aid Advanced by Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen), Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), Dan Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) to require employers that offshore call center jobs overseas to return any state aid or business incentives they have received was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

American companies have embraced the practice of exporting call center jobs as a way of reducing labor costs. Over the past decade, the U.S. has lost more than 200,000 call center jobs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. These jobs are often sent to the Philippines, India, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras and other developing nations.

"Outsourcing jobs contributes to unemployment which hurts the economy," said Sumter. "These incentives are meant to support businesses that are committed to the state. Moving jobs overseas threatens our economy. This bill helps protect our investment and economic vitality."

"These companies transfer business functions to developing countries because they can take advantage of skilled foreign workers, while paying them a fraction of U.S. worker wages," said Benson. "This not only hurts our workers, but jeopardizes the level of service that consumers get."