Andrzejczak, Land, Vainieri Huttle, Taliaferro & Benson Bill to Protect Pets Against Inhumane Treatment Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak, Bruce Land, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Adam Taliaferro and Dan Benson to help protect pets against inhumane treatment is now law.

"Pet owners have a responsibility to care for their pets. That includes bringing their dogs indoors or providing adequate outdoor shelter during inclement weather," said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). "These animals are not immune from severe cold or hot weather. Keeping a dog outdoors under such conditions is just cruel and is now illegal."

Sumter, Jasey, Benson, Muoio & Downey Bill to Increase Transparency for NJCLASS Student Loan Programs Becomes Law

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Mila Jasey, Dan Benson, Elizabeth Maher Muoio and Joann Downey to combat student loan debt in New Jersey was signed into law on Monday.

"The only concern a college student should have after graduating is choosing which job will lead them closer to their goals," said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic).

"It has become the norm for families and students to take on an overwhelming amount of debt to pursue educational goals. We must increase transparency under NJCLASS Loan Programs, better educate families on loan repayment options and requirements as well as help families understand how much they can realistically handle in student loans."

Taliaferro, Eustace, Benson & Mazzeo Legislation Banning ‘Flakka’ Possession Signed into Law

Legislation Assembly Democrats Adam Taliaferro, Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson and Vince Mazzeo sponsored to help curb the use of a street drug often associated with violent and self-destructive behavior was signed into law on Monday.

The law (A-2176) now criminalizes the possession, distribution, manufacture and sale of the drug alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), an inexpensive synthetic drug commonly referred to as "flakka" or "flocka." The measure adds the drug to an existing list of similar prohibited controlled substances that includes the family of synthetic cathinones known as "bath salts."

"Flakka has been linked to a number of psychotic symptoms and violent attacks, threatening the safety of communities across the nation," said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). "With this law, New Jersey will be proactive about preventing this dangerous drug from taking over in our state." 

Muoio, Giblin, Mazzeo, Gusciora & Benson Bill Ensuring Furloughed State Workers Get Paid Signed into Law

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Thomas Giblin, Vince Mazzeo, Reed Gusciora and Daniel Benson to ensure that state workers who were involuntarily furloughed during the state government shutdown receive the wages or salary they were owed during that period has been signed into law.

Assembly OKs Vainieri Huttle, Eustace, Tucker, McKnight & Benson Measure Barring Christie from Transferring Addiction & Mental Health Services

By a vote of 42-25, the General Assembly on Monday approved a measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Tim Eustace, Cleopatra Tucker, Angela McKnight and Daniel Benson to block Gov. Christie's plan to transfer the functions of the state's mental health and addiction services from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health.

Last week, the Assembly Human Services Committee, chaired by Vainieri Huttle, held a joint hearing on the plan with the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee at which time representatives from over 20 organizations and stakeholders expressed concerns regarding the content, potential effects, and timing of the planned reorganization.

Muoio, Giblin, Mazzeo, Gusciora & Benson Bill to Ensure Involuntarily Furloughed State Workers are Paid for Shutdown Heads to Governor’s Desk

The full Assembly on Monday unanimously granted final legislative approval to a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Thomas Giblin, Vince Mazzeo, Reed Gusciora and Daniel Benson to ensure that state workers who were involuntarily furloughed when Gov. Christie shut down state government receive the wages or salary they were owed during that period.

Benson, Muoio & Gusciora Bill Opposing Reorganization of NJ Office of Information Technology Approved by Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Dan Benson, Elizabeth Muoio and Reed Gusciora opposing the governor's decision to reorganize the New Jersey Office of Information Technology was approved Monday by the General Assembly.

"This reorganization makes no sense, and will lead to increased operational inefficiencies and hinder important OIT functions such as identifying waste and fraud," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "The state should instead focus on enhancing OIT capabilities and building upon their record of success."

"Restructuring the OIT has the potential to waste taxpayer dollars by delaying the development and implementation of work product and infrastructure improvements," said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "The possible detrimental effects on the state's technical infrastructure are concerning to us, and should be concerning to the governor."

Eustace, Karabinchak, McKeon, Vainieri Huttle & Benson Bill to Create Water Quality Accountability Act Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Timothy Eustace, Robert Karabinchak, John McKeon, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Daniel Benson to establish a proactive cybersecurity policy for all water purveyors in order to enhance the reliability and safety of the state's drinking water systems was signed into law on Friday.

In March 2016, the BPU adopted cybersecurity requirements applicable to the electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utilities that it regulates. The new law will apply those requirements to all water purveyors. 

"We have seen many cybersecurity threats in recent years," said Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic). "Whether it is attacking our personal information online or threatening critical resources, the state must take steps to protect residents from cybersecurity breaches. This law will codify present cybersecurity requirements established by the BPU and strengthen protections of our water resources by extending these requirements to all water suppliers."

Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Benson & Wimberly Bill to Uphold Right of Service Dog Access for People with Disabilities Now Law

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 was recently signed into law.

The new law, which received unanimous approval 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 law (formerly A-4081), known as "Charlie's Law," establishes civil penalties for those who deny individuals with disabilities accompanied by service or guide dogs access to any public facility.

Mazzeo, Lagana, Vainieri Huttle, & Benson Bill to Educate Parents of Prescription Opioid Use Now Law

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 now law.
"The law 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."