Press Releases

Assembly Democratic Legislation to Document Alzheimer's Disease-Related Deaths Heads to Gov's Desk

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Carmelo G. Garcia, Joseph Lagana, Adam Taliaferro, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joe Danielsen, Jamel Holley, Daniel Benson and Angelica Jimenez to ensure that fatalities linked to Alzheimer's disease are properly recorded in official records now heads to the governor's desk.

The bill (A-4188) stipulates that Alzheimer's disease and related disorders may be listed as a secondary cause of death on a certification of death. Often, the primary cause of death on a death certificate is identified as an acute condition, such as pneumonia or heart failure. Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, however, cause a decline in brain function that may lead to problems with feeding and swallowing and can put an individual at risk for poor nutrition, dehydration and infection. This may significantly increase the risk of developing, and exacerbate the effects of, the acute condition that ultimately is listed as the primary cause of death on the person's death certificate. 

Benson Bill to Study Bringing Electronic Driver's Licenses to N.J. Advanced by Assembly Committee

Legislation Assemblyman Dan Benson sponsored to require the state to study the feasibility of electronic driver's licenses in New Jersey was advanced Thursday by the Assembly transportation panel.

The bill (A-4110) requires the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, in consultation with the New Jersey Office of Information Technology, to prepare and submit to the governor and to the Legislature a report on the feasibility of electronic driver's licenses in New Jersey.

"The report would cover the cost and resources required, advantages and disadvantages, privacy, security issues, use by law enforcement and any other concerns related to the issuance of electronic driver's licenses by the MVC," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Let's face it. It's 2016. Technology is an ever-present part of our lives, and it's only going to become more common. It's only a matter of time before we move toward electronic licenses, so let's get started to see how we can best accomplish this goal for the benefit of our drivers."

Lampitt, Benson, Vainieri Huttle & Eustace Bill to Examine Pedestrian Safety Statewide Approved by Assembly Panel

An Assembly panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Tim Eustace creating a Pedestrian Safety Study Commission to help improve pedestrian safety in New Jersey. 

"New Jersey, because of its high density, has one of the biggest causes for concern when it comes to pedestrian safety," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "Whether it's urban, suburban or rural, every area of our state has its own unique set of issues that threatens pedestrian safety. This commission will be tasked with finding solutions to make New Jersey a more pedestrian-friendly state." 

"For a variety of reasons, older adults and children are most at risk for pedestrian injuries and deaths," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "It's my hope that this commission will examine the causes and find ways to prevent tragedies and minimize injuries to some of our most vulnerable residents."

Andrzejczak & Benson Bill to Encourage Students to Honor & Assist Veterans and Active Duty Military Continues Advancing

Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Dan Benson to encourage students to honor and assist veterans and active duty military members continues to advance in the Legislature, most recently getting the approval of the Senate Education committee.

The bill (A-4148) would provide an excused absence on Veterans Day for any student who participates in activities for veterans or active duty members. Activities could include attending a ceremony honoring a veteran or active member returning from overseas deployment, or assisting a veteran at a hospital or food shelter.

Eustace, Benson & Johnson Clean Vehicle Task Force Bill Advances

Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Daniel R. Benson and Gordon Johnson sponsored to evaluate the use of low- and zero-emission vehicles or "clean" vehicles in New Jersey was recently approved, 50-17-2, by the Assembly.

The bill (A-2405) would establish the Clean Vehicle Task Force, whose 11 members would evaluate issues related to the promotion, development and use of low-, zero- or partial zero emission vehicles in New Jersey. The body would submit a report with recommendations to the governor and the legislature within a year of organizing.

Lampitt, Greenwald, Vainieri Huttle, Benson & Mazzeo Bill to Create Tax-Free Savings Accounts for Individuals with Disabilities Heads to Gov's Desk

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson and Vince Mazzeo to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with developmental disabilities has received final legislative approval and now heads to the governor's desk.

The bill (A-3956) would require the Department of Human Services and the Department of the Treasury to establish the "New Jersey Achieving a Better Life Experience" (ABLE) program in accordance with the federal "Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014," which President Obama signed into law in December 2014. Under the program, individuals with certain disabilities would be permitted to establish ABLE accounts that may be used to pay certain disability-related expenses. ABLE accounts would be exempt from state income taxation and would not be included as an asset or income when determining the individual's eligibility for state assistance programs.

Eustace, Andrzejczak, Taliaferro & Benson Bill Package to Combat Hunger Heads to Governor’s Desk

A three-bill package sponsored by Assemblymen Tim Eustace, Bob Andrzejczak, Adam Taliaferro and Daniel Benson to combat hunger by making good use of the billions of dollars in food that goes to waste every year in the United States received final legislative approval from the Senate recently.

The measures were all unanimously approved by the Assembly in March.

Benson & Coughlin Measure to Facilitate ‘Med Sync’ For Prescription Drugs Heads to Governor’s Desk

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson and Craig Coughlin to make it easier for individuals who need multiple prescription drugs to access their medications received final legislative approval from both houses recently.

"By making it more convenient for patients to pick up prescription drugs, we can increase the likelihood that people will take the medications they need, which will keep them well and reduce overall health care costs," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This legislation is a simple way to move us toward a healthier New Jersey." 

Medication synchronization, or "med sync," allows a patient to pick up refills for all of his or her monthly prescriptions on the same day instead of having to make multiple trips to a pharmacy each month. Streamlining refills has been shown to increase medication adherence, thus lowering overall long-term health care expenditures. 

Assembly Democratic Bill to Force NJ Transit to Defend Proposed Fare Increases Continues to Advance

Legislation Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, John Wisniewski, Timothy Eustace, John McKeon, Annette Quijano, Daniel Benson and Eliana Pintor-Marin sponsored to better protect NJ Transit riders from fare increases recently cleared the Senate Transportation Committee. 

The bill (A-2587) comes amid a proposed 9 percent fare hike by NJ Transit that comes after a 22 percent hike in 2010.

"These fare increases have been brutal and unfair," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Riders have made their voices heard, but sadly to no avail. Gov. Christie and NJ Transit continue to seek fare hikes without having to justify them. That must end. Riders need a stronger defender."

Benson & DeAngelo Bill to Better Inform Caregivers, New Parents of Leave Benefits Clears Panel

Legislation Assemblymen Daniel Benson and Wayne DeAngelo sponsored to increase awareness of certain benefits available to workers in New Jersey recently was advanced by an Assembly committee.

"Particularly among pregnant workers in New Jersey, benefits intended to help families and promote better work-life balance are underutilized," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This legislation increases efforts to help employees learn about what's available to them." 

The bill (A-4166) would amend state law to require employers to issue a single, consolidated Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) notice regarding temporary disability benefits, family leave benefits and related unemployment benefits and workers' rights under the state "Family Leave Act" and the federal "Family and Medical Leave Act." Under current law, employers issue two separate notices - one regarding temporary disability and one regarding family leave. 

Andrzejczak, Benson, Danielsen & Moriarty Bill to Crack Down on Illegal Telemarketing Practices Continues Advancing

Legislation Assembly Democrats Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak, Daniel Benson, Joseph Danielsen and Paul Moriarty sponsored to create an investigative section of the Division of Consumer Affairs dedicated solely to telemarketing abuses was advanced by a Senate panel on Monday. 

The bill (A-986) would establish a telemarketing fraud investigation unit within the Division of Consumer Affairs that would investigate consumer complaints related to telemarketing practices. 

Andrzejczak & Benson Bill to Promote Home Accessibility for Disabled Vets Continues Advancing

Legislation Assembly Democrats Sgt. Robert Andrzejczak and Daniel Benson sponsored to exempt veterans with disabilities from certain fees for home adaptations that would facilitate mobility in their residences was advanced by a Senate committee on Monday. 

The bill (A-2299) would require municipalities to exempt veterans with service-related disabilities from the entire cost of construction permit surcharge fees or enforcing agency fees for any construction, reconstruction, alteration or improvement done in an effort to increase the home's accessibility. 

Conaway, Benson, Pinkin & Wimberly Bill Requiring Health Insurers to Cover New Abuse-Deterrent Pain Medications Continues to Advance

Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Daniel Benson, Nancy Pinkin and Benjie Wimberly requiring health insurers to cover prescription pain relief medications designed to decrease abuse and addiction advanced in the legislature on Monday with the approval of the Senate Commerce Committee. 

Specifically, the bill (A-4271) would require health insurers to provide health benefits coverage for prescribed abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drugs.

DeAngelo, Quijano & Benson Bill to Require Comprehensive Webpage Outlining Leave Benefits Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Annette Quijano and Daniel Benson to provide workers in New Jersey with online access to information regarding certain leave benefits recently was advanced by an Assembly panel.

"It's important that workers in our state have access to information about benefits meant to help them achieve balance between their personal lives and their professional lives," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This legislation will make it easier to find out how to take advantage of these benefits."

Schaer, Eustace, Benson & Pintor Marin Bill to Help Draw Pharmaceutical & Clinical Research Companies to NJ Gains Assembly Approval

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary S. Schaer, Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson and Eliana Pintor Marin to help attract and retain pharmaceutical and clinical research companies to New Jersey was approved by the Assembly on Thursday.

"New Jersey was once known as the 'medicine chest of the world,' but New Jersey has increasingly lost numerous companies and countless jobs to California, Massachusetts, North Carolina and other states," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This legislation would help us regain our competitive edge in a burgeoning market that holds tremendous benefits in terms of high-quality jobs and the overall investment in the surrounding community that typically accompanies them."

Spencer, Muoio & Benson Bill to Boost Funds for Combating Lead Paint Hazards in New Jersey Clears Assembly

Legislation Assembly Democrats L. Grace Spencer, Elizabeth Muoio and Daniel Benson sponsored to support statewide efforts to rid lead based paint hazards in New Jersey communities was approved 46-22-1 Thursday by the Assembly.
The bill sends $10 million to the Department of Community Affairs to combat lead paint hazards. 
"This legislation provides much-needed funding for state programs which protect children and families from lead hazards in the home," said Spencer (D-Essex).

Spencer, Benson & Muoio Bill to Strengthen Current Endangerment Laws Heads to Gov's Desk

Legislation sponsored by L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex), Dan Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Elizabeth Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) that consolidates and toughens current laws dealing with the endangerment of other persons received final legislative approval Thursday and now heads to the governor's desk. 

The bill was prompted by the case of Parker Drake, a Howell teen with autism who was coaxed into jumping off the Manasquan jetty and into the freezing waters by another two men back in February. The two men were not charged after local law enforcement said there were no criminal statutes that applied. Parker's mother eventually filed a complaint against them for disorderly conduct. 

Under current law, reckless endangerment is a crime of the fourth degree and endangering the welfare of an incompetent person is a disorderly persons offense. This bill (A-4531) creates more comprehensive criminal offenses involving endangering another person to replace these statutes.

Assembly Panel Approves Benson, Danielsen & Johnson Bill to Crack Down on Illegal Monitoring of Innocent Individuals

An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Joe Danielsen and Gordon Johnson to protect innocent, unsuspecting individuals from being monitored through technological means.

"We all know the technological capacity to monitor an individual's activity exists today in ways that were unfathomable just ten years ago," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This legislation is designed to protect innocent individuals from being secretly monitored or eavesdropped on through computer programs, cellular phones or other mobile devices unbeknownst to them."

The bill (A-3858) seeks to limit an individual's lawful authority to monitor others through the use of computer programs or other devices installed on cellular phones or other wireless mobile devices. It would apply to monitoring based on location tracking as well as the monitoring of communications (including, inter alia, phone conversations, emails, and text messages).

Conaway, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter & Mukherji Bill to Notify Public of Open Beds at Drug Treatment Facilities Continues Advancing

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Shavonda Sumter and Raj Mukherji to help more individuals struggling to overcome substance abuse receive the treatment they need continued advancing through the Senate, receiving approval from the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee recently.

The bill (A-3955) would require the development and maintenance of a database to advise the public about open bed availability in residential substance use disorder treatment facilities. Under the bill, the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Department of Human Services would establish and oversee a public database that would track the number of open beds available for treatment in each facility that receives state or county funding.

"The fact that individuals who want treatment must repeatedly call multiple treatment centers to find out if beds are available - often to be rejected over and over again at a time when they are highly vulnerable - is a significant failing in our health care system," said Conaway (D-Burlington). "Having a one-stop resource that makes clear exactly where to find immediate openings can be the difference between someone turning his or her life around and that person giving up out of sheer hopelessness."

Assembly Panel Approves Mazzeo, Andrzejczak, Jimenez, Vainieri Huttle & Benson Bill Boosting Rental Assistance for Veterans

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak, Angelica Jimenez, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Daniel Benson to boost rental assistance to military veterans was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

"Our veterans were willing to endure untold sacrifices for their country. Now we need to step up to the plate and do all we can to help care for them," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). This financial assistance is meant to give a hands-up while they find the road back to self-sufficiency."

"For veterans returning to a post-combat life, especially our 'wounded warriors,' housing assistance can be critical," said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). "Boosting this program will go a long way towards helping many rebuild their lives without having to rely entirely on family."

Benson & Coughlin Measure to Facilitate ‘Med Sync’ For Prescription Drugs Continues Advancing

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson and Craig Coughlin to make it easier for individuals who need multiple prescription drugs to access their medications was advanced by a Senate panel on Thursday.

"By making it more convenient for patients to pick up prescription drugs, we can increase the likelihood that people will take the medications they need, which will keep them well and reduce overall health care costs," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This legislation is a simple way to move us toward a healthier New Jersey."

Medication synchronization, or "med sync," allows a patient to pick up refills for all of his or her monthly prescriptions on the same day instead of having to make multiple trips to a pharmacy each month. Streamlining refills has been shown to increase medication adherence, thus lowering overall long-term health care expenditures.

Schaer, Eustace & Benson Bill to Help Draw Pharmaceutical & Clinical Research Companies to NJ Gains Assembly Panel OK

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary S. Schaer, Tim Eustace and Daniel Benson to help attract and retain pharmaceutical and clinical research companies to New Jersey was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

"New Jersey was once known as the 'medicine chest of the world,' but New Jersey has increasingly lost numerous companies and countless jobs to California, Massachusetts, North Carolina and other states," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This legislation would help us regain our competitive edge in a burgeoning market that holds tremendous benefits in terms of high-quality jobs and the overall investment in the surrounding community that typically accompanies them."

Assembly Democratic Bill Package to Boost Care for Alzheimer’s Disease Advanced by Health Committee

An Assembly panel on Thursday approved a two-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Carmelo G. Garcia, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joe Danielsen, Wayne DeAngelo, Jamel Holley, Daniel Benson, Joseph Lagana, Adam Taliaferro, and Angelica Jimenez to boost care for patients with Alzheimer's disease and get a better handle on how many people succumb to the illness in New Jersey.

The first bill (A-4331), sponsored by Garcia, Vainieri Huttle, Danielsen, DeAngelo, Holley and Benson, would amend current law to permit standards and curricula for homemaker-home health aide education and training to include comprehensive training in the specialized care of a patient with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. A list of individuals who have completed this training program would be available in the New Jersey Board of Nursing's registry of persons who have completed a homemaker-home health aide training program.

Spencer, Muoio & Benson Bill to Boost Funds for Combating Lead Paint Hazards in New Jersey Clears Assembly Committee

Legislation Assembly Democrats L. Grace Spencer, Elizabeth Muoio and Daniel Benson sponsored to support statewide efforts to rid lead based paint hazards in New Jersey communities was advanced Thursday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The bill (A-2325) sends $10 million to the Department of Community Affairs to combat lead paint hazards. 
"This legislation provides much-needed funding for state programs which protect children and families from lead hazards in the home," said Spencer (D-Essex).

DeAngelo, Eustace, Mazzeo, Pintor Marin & Benson Consumer Protection Bill to Make Price Comparison Information for Energy Suppliers Available Online Heads to Gov’s Desk

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Tim Eustace, Vince Mazzeo, Eliana Pintor Marin and Daniel Benson to provide consumers with online price comparison information for various energy companies recently gained final legislative approval from the Assembly. It now heads to the governor's desk. 

The legislation is a response to testimony the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee received from consumer utilities advocates and utilities partners on the need for regulation of third-party providers.

"The deregulated market leveled the playing field for third-party competitors and gave consumers the opportunity to shop around for the best rate," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee. "However, it also has raised concerns for many regarding regulation. This legislation will begin to strengthen consumer protection for residents who choose a third party electric power or gas service as their energy provider."

Assembly Approves Gusciora, Wisniewski & Benson Bill to Penalize Unlawful Use of Handicapped Parking Placards Legislation -- Would Establish Fine of Up to $500 for Abuse of Privileges

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, John Wisniewski and Daniel Benson to strengthen penalties for unauthorized parking in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities recently passed the full Assembly, 63-0-1.

The bill (A-2352) would establish a penalty of up to $500 for unlawfully using a parking placard issued to someone with a disability. 

"Reserving parking spaces for individuals with disabilities is a fundamental element of our state's commitment to ensuring equal opportunity for all of our residents, and preserving the integrity of that commitment requires establishing consequences for abuse," said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "By discouraging drivers from unlawfully using placards that belong to a friend or relative, this bill will help ensure that the designated spaces are used only by authorized parties."

Benson & DeAngelo Bill Paving the Way for Special Municipal Parking Programs for Seniors Approved by Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Daniel Benson and Wayne DeAngelo paving the way for special municipal parking programs for seniors was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.

Specifically, the bill (A-3917) would permit municipal governing bodies and municipal parking authorities to create a Senior Citizen Priority Parking Program to provide residents age 60 or older with reduced parking permit rates and program-restricted parking spaces within the municipality, or within parking areas controlled by the parking authority.

"Getting to and from the grocery store, doctors' appointments or any other daily activity can be a real headache when a lack of parking comes into play," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This bill will give towns the ability to create a program that works best for seniors to help foster their mobility and independence."

Andrzejczak, Benson, Danielsen & Moriarty Bill to Crack Down on Illegal Telemarketing Practices Clears Assembly

Legislation Assembly Democrats Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak, Daniel Benson, Joseph Danielsen and Paul Moriarty sponsored to create an investigative section of the Division of Consumer Affairs dedicated solely to telemarketing abuses gained Assembly approval on Thursday. 

The bill (A-986) would establish a telemarketing fraud investigation unit within the Division of Consumer Affairs that would investigate consumer complaints related to telemarketing practices. 

"Unwanted telemarketing calls continue to interrupt the lives of New Jersey residents, regardless of whether they have deliberately expressed that they are not interested or perhaps even logged a complaint," said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). "It's critical that we are proactive about cracking down on companies that casually break the law on a regular basis. The investigative unit that this bill creates will be essential as we fight back against the uncompromising telemarketers who pester New Jerseyans incessantly." 

Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Benson, Mosquera, Spencer & Wimberly Bill to Create Alert System for Missing Disabled Persons Gets Final Legislative OK

Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson, Gabriela Mosquera, L. Grace Spencer and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to create an alert system for missing persons with mental, intellectual or developmental disabilities was approved 79-0 Thursday by the Assembly, giving it final legislative approval.

The bill (A-4270) would require the Attorney General to establish the MVP Emergency Alert System, which would provide practices and protocols for the rapid dissemination of information regarding a person who is believed to be a missing vulnerable person.

A "missing vulnerable person" or "MVP" is defined to mean a person who is believed to have a mental, intellectual or developmental disability who goes missing under circumstances that indicate that the person may be in danger of death or serious bodily injury.

DeAngelo, Eustace, Mazzeo, Pintor Marin & Benson Consumer Protection Bill Requiring BPU to Establish Standards for Third-Party Energy Suppliers Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Tim Eustace, Vince Mazzeo, Eliana Pintor Marin and Daniel Benson to require the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to protect consumers by establishing standards and procedures for consumer interaction with third-party electric power and gas companies has been signed into law. 

The law is a response to testimony the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee received from consumer utilities advocates and utilities partners on the need for regulation of third-party providers.

"The deregulated market leveled the playing field for third party competitors and gave consumers the opportunity to shop around for the best rate," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee. "However, it also has raised concerns for many regarding regulation. This law will begin to strengthen consumer protection for residents who choose a third party electric power or gas service as their energy provider."