Press Releases

Gusciora, Vainieri Huttle & Benson Bill to Create Pilot Program to Help Aging Mercer County Residents Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora (Mercer/Hunterdon), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Dan Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex) to create a pilot program that would provide social, health and mental care services for Mercer County communities with large elderly populations was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-2043) would establish a "Naturally Occurring Retirement Community" or NORC pilot program in the Division of Aging Services in the Department of Human Services.

Unlike housing built specifically for elderly residents, a NORC is a residential area with a high concentration of elderly residents who are aging in place in their communities.

Muoio, Benson, Singleton, Greenwald, Pinkin, Spencer & Downey Bill to Boost State Response to Elevated Lead Levels in Children Gains Assembly Panel Approval

An Assembly panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Daniel Benson, Troy Singleton, Louis Greenwald, Nancy Pinkin, L. Grace Spencer and Joann Downey to strengthen the state's response to elevated blood lead levels in children.

"When it comes to the health and safety of our children, the CDC has essentially concluded that there are no 'safe' blood lead levels," said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "This bill takes that into account and will boost the state's response accordingly to help prevent more children from falling victim to a lifetime of irrevocable damage."

Benson & Moriarty Bill to Help Prevent Consumers from Getting Roped Into Endless Auto-Renewals Clears Committee

A consumer protection measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson and Paul Moriarty was approved by an Assembly committee on Thursday, moving New Jersey closer to requiring notification to customers when a contract is to be renewed automatically.

Assembly Democratic Bill to Help Students Facing a Medical Condition or Family Death to Maintain NJ STARS Scholarships Advances

Legislation Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson, Wayne P. DeAngelo, Mila Jasey, Gordon Johnson, Gabriela Mosquera, Joann Downey, Andrew Zwicker and Pamela Lampitt sponsored to let NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarship recipients who suffer a medical condition or death of a parent or spouse to retain their program eligibility recently cleared the General Assembly.

The bill (A-2565) allows NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarship recipients to maintain program eligibility in the event that medical condition or recent death of a parent or spouse prevents enrollment as full-time student.

"This is the decent thing to do," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "College is the gateway to a brighter future, and for many students, these scholarships are a lifeline. No one should lose their eligibility because they must deal with a medical condition or tragic loss."

Assembly Democratic Bill to Protect NJ Public Safety Officers Clears Committee

Legislation Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson, Raj Mukherji, Elizabeth Muoio, Jamel Holley, Shavonda Sumter, Joann Downey, Pamela Lampitt, Sheila Oliver and Joe Danielsen sponsored to support workers who are attacked while supervising inmates or detainees recently was advanced by an Assembly committee.

Under current law, a corrections officer or juvenile detention officer who is seriously injured after a prison riot or inmate attack and cannot work does not receive any salary while waiting for workers' compensation to take effect, which can take several months.

A recent rise in attacks on corrections officers highlights the need to address this gap in state statute, Benson noted.

Mosquera, Greenwald, Lagana, Benson, Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Danielsen & Sumter Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims from Gun Violence Heads to Governor’s Desk

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana, Dan Benson, Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joe Danielsen and Shavonda Sumter to strengthen New Jersey's gun laws and protect victims of domestic violence from gun violence gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday. The bill now heads to the governor's desk.

Mazzeo, Andrzejczak, Mukherji, Moriarty, Benson & Danielsen Bill to Boost Care for ‘Wounded Warriors’ Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo, Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak, Raj Mukherji, Paul Moriarty, Daniel Benson and Joseph Danielsen sponsored to boost assistance for "wounded warriors" and their caregivers, an ever-growing demographic that faces unique challenges in the post-9/11 era, was advanced by an Assembly committee on Monday.

The lawmakers were inspired by a recent RAND Corporation study that included a number of unsettling statistics regarding the care of wounded veterans in the post-9/11 era, most notably that an estimated 1.1 million civilians are providing volunteer care-giving services to wounded veterans. Meanwhile, the study found that 53 percent of post-9/11 voluntary caregivers have no support network. 

Lampitt, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Tucker & Wimberly Bill to Help Residents with Disabilities Access Services Advances

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Cleopatra Tucker and Benjie Wimberly to increase awareness of the application processes for programs and services available to New Jersey residents with developmental disabilities was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.
"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."

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

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 released Monday by an Assembly panel.

"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 pre 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 we invest in their viability."

Mosquera, Greenwald, Lagana, Benson, Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle & Danielsen Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims from Gun Violence Advanced by Assembly Committee

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana, Dan Benson, Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Joe Danielsen to strengthen New Jersey's gun laws and protect victims of domestic violence from gun violence was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"For victims and their children, domestic violence turns a chance to live the American Dream into a horrific nightmare. I know, because I've lived that nightmare," said Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden). "Too many victims are killed at the hands of abusers who have easy access to firearms before they ever have a chance to get out. This legislation will change that, strengthening our gun violence laws in order to protect victims of domestic violence."

Vainieri Huttle, Singleton, Holley, Mosquera, Benson, Tucker & Wimberly Bill to Help Guard Child Protection Caseworkers Gains Assembly Panel Approval

An Assembly panel on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Troy Singleton, Jamel Holley, Gabriela Mosquera, Daniel R. Benson, Cleopatra Tucker and Benjie Wimberly to help safeguard child protection workers from the kind of attacks over the past year that left one seriously injured and sent two others to the hospital.

The bill (A-2322), known as "Leah's Law," is named in honor of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency caseworker who was nearly stabbed to death while performing her duties for the division in Camden in November 2014.

The bill was vetoed by Gov. Christie last month but was reintroduced by Vainieri Huttle in the new legislative session given the persistent need that still exists to protect child caseworkers.

Spencer, Muoio, Benson, Pintor Marin & Quijano Bill to Boost Funds for Combating Lead Paint Hazards Gains Assembly Approval

Legislation Assembly Democrats L. Grace Spencer, Elizabeth Muoio, Daniel Benson, Eliana Pintor Marin and Annette Quijano sponsored to support statewide efforts to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in New Jersey's communities gained Assembly approval on Monday.

The bill (A-1378) would allocate $10 million to the Department of Community Affairs to combat lead paint hazards. 

The measure is part of efforts by Assembly Democrats to lift people out of poverty and rebuild New Jersey's middle-class. 

"This legislation provides much-needed funding for state programs which protect children and families from lead hazards in the home," said Spencer (D-Essex).

Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle & Mosquera Bill to Add Cyber-Harassment to Domestic Violence Statutes Continues to Advance

Legislation 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 continues moving through the legislature with approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. 

The bill (A-1946), sponsored by Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle and Mosquera, would add cyber-harassment to the list of crimes considered domestic violence under the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991." 

In doing so, the bill would allow temporary and permanent restraining orders on the grounds that the person seeking the order is a victim of cyber-harassment. 
"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."

Benson, Eustace & Lagana Bill Package to Restore Funding for Anti-Smoking Efforts in NJ Clears Assembly Panel

A two-bill legislative package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Dan Benson, Tim Eustace and Joseph Lagana to restore funding for anti-smoking initiatives that were eliminated from the state budget was released Monday by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. 

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 11,000 lives are prematurely lost due to tobacco use in New Jersey each year. In addition, tobacco use costs the state more than $3 billion in health care bills annually, including nearly $1 billion in Medicaid payments alone. 

Rebuilding NJ's Middle-Class - Spencer, Muoio, Benson & Pintor Marin Bill to Boost Funds for Combating Lead Paint Hazards Advances

Legislation Assembly Democrats L. Grace Spencer, Elizabeth Muoio, Daniel Benson and Eliana Pintor Marin sponsored to support statewide efforts to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in New Jersey's communities was advanced Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The bill (A-1378) would allocate $10 million to the Department of Community Affairs to combat lead paint hazards.
It's part of efforts by Assembly Democrats to lift people out of poverty and rebuild New Jersey's middle-class.

Sumter & Benson Bill to Establish ‘Secondhand Valuables Transaction Reporting Task Force’ Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Daniel Benson to maintain the integrity of the sale of secondhand jewelry and precious metals in New Jersey was released by an Assembly panel on Monday.

"Individuals who wish to purchase used jewelry from a legitimate establishment should be able to do so with the confidence that the merchant's products were obtained lawfully," said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This task force will help get stolen goods off the market and give consumers peace of mind."

Wimberly, Jasey, Benson & Moriarty 'Reader Privacy Act' To Upgrade NJ Book Privacy Laws Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation Assembly Democrats Benjie E. Wimberly, Mila Jasey, Daniel R. Benson and Paul Moriarty sponsored to place readers and purchasers of books and electronic books under similar protections as library records by expanding New Jersey's reader privacy law was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The sponsors note that the invention of digital books and e-readers has raised questions around the country about privacy and broadening protections to include these new literary mediums. California and Arizona enacted similar legislation in 2011 extending library privacy laws to include digital book records.

Moriarty, Diegnan, Quijano & Benson Bill to Prohibit ID Scanning Requirement for Returns Gains Panel Approval

Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Patrick Diegnan, Annette Quijano and Daniel Benson sponsored to prohibit return policies that require scanning a consumer's driver's license or other form of identification was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.

"Consumers should never have to sacrifice their privacy and the security of their personal information in order to return a product," said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). "By limiting the merchant's access to a customer's information, this legislation will help reduce the risk of identity theft for everyday consumers in New Jersey."

The bill (A-3065) would prohibit retailers from scanning, photocopying or otherwise retaining a copy of a consumer's identification card, such as a driver's license or non-driver photo ID card, if he or she wishes to return an item.

Gusciora, Sumter, Wimberly & Benson Bill to Help Get Dormant Properties Redeveloped & Back on Tax Rolls Clears Assembly Panel

An Assembly panel on Monday released legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Shavonda Sumter, Benjie Wimberly and Dan Benson to help get properties that have otherwise been ignored by developers redeveloped and revitalized.

The bill (A-2065) would direct the executive director of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to, in consultation with the Commissioner of Community Affairs, establish and administer a "pilot program" to assist qualified rehabilitation entities with the process of obtaining permits and approvals necessary to redevelop certain properties. 

"Properties that have been dormant for years do nothing for neighborhoods, except attract nuisances and deny municipalities much needed tax revenue," said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "This bill would ease some of the bureaucracy involved in getting permits and approvals for redevelopment projects in order to get these properties developed and back on the tax rolls."

Greenwald, Tucker, Johnson, Benson & DeAngelo Bill to Reimburse College Application Fees to Veterans and Armed Forces Members Gains Assembly OK

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald and Assembly Democrats Cleopatra Tucker, Gordon M. Johnson, Daniel Benson and Wayne P. DeAngelo to encourage veterans and members of the military to pursue higher education goals gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.

"These are real-life heroes who too often come home to face financial troubles despite their great sacrifice to our nation," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "A college education is the gateway to a better future, so this simple step is the right thing to do for our veterans and members of the armed forces."

"Those who serve in our military deserve every break we can give them for their enduring service to our country," said Tucker (D-Essex). "An opportunity to further their education will help them to continue making invaluable contributions to our country."

Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle & Mosquera Bill to Add Cyber-Harassment to Domestic Violence Statutes Approved by Assembly

Legislation 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 cleared the Assembly on Thursday, 74-0.

The bill (A-1946), sponsored by Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle and Mosquera, would add cyber-harassment to the list of crimes considered domestic violence under the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991." 

In doing so, the bill would allow temporary and permanent restraining orders on the grounds that the person seeking the order is a victim of cyber-harassment. 
"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."

Assembly Panel OKs Lampitt, Benson, Vainieri Huttle & Tucker Bill to Help Residents with Disabilities Access Services

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Cleopatra Tucker to increase awareness of the application processes for programs and services available to New Jersey residents with developmental disabilities gained approval from an Assembly panel this week. 

"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."

Vainieri Huttle & Benson Bill to Ensure Snow Does Not Block Public Access for the Disabled Gains Assembly Panel Approval

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Daniel Benson to ensure that critical public access points for the disabled are not blocked by snow was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

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

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Tim Eustace to create a council within the Department of Transportation to help improve pedestrian safety in New Jersey was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.

"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 council 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 council will examine the causes and find ways to prevent tragedies and minimize injuries to some of our most vulnerable residents."

Greenwald, Tucker, Johnson, Benson & DeAngelo Bill to Reimburse College Application Fees to Veterans and Armed Forces Members Clears Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald and Assembly Democrats Cleopatra Tucker, Gordon M. Johnson, Daniel Benson and Wayne P. DeAngelo to encourage veterans and members of the military to pursue higher education goals was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

"These are real-life heroes who too often come home to face financial troubles despite their great sacrifice to our nation," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "A college education is the gateway to a better future, so this simple step is the right thing to do for our veterans and members of the Armed Forces."

"Those who serve in our military deserve every break we can give them for their enduring service to our country," said Tucker (D-Essex). "An opportunity to further their education will help them to continue making invaluable contributions to our country."

Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle & Mosquera Bill to Add Cyber-Harassment to Domestic Violence Statutes Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation 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 cleared its first legislative hurdle on Monday.

The bill (A-1946), sponsored by Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle and Mosquera, would add cyber-harassment to the list of crimes considered domestic violence under the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991." 

In doing so, the bill would allow temporary and permanent restraining orders on the grounds that the person seeking the order is a victim of cyber-harassment.

Benson & DeAngelo Bill to Help Students Facing a Medical Condition of Family Death to Maintain NJ STARS Scholarships Advances

Legislation Assemblymen Daniel R. Benson and Wayne P. DeAngelo sponsored to let NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarship recipients who suffer a medical condition or death of a parent or spouse to retain their program eligibility was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

Assembly Panel Clears Wisniewski, Coughlin, Danielsen & Benson Wind Energy Development Bill

An Assembly panel on Thursday advanced legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John S. Wisniewski, Craig Coughlin, Joseph Danielsen and Daniel Benson to provide incentives for companies exploring wind energy development.

"Rising electricity costs and environmental concerns urge us to seek new ways to create, conserve and protect our energy resources," said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). "Wind farms and the production of clean, renewable energy will be keys to creating the sustainable future New Jersey greatly deserves."

"Encouraging the development and expansion of wind energy initiatives is good business for the state," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "Attracting wind energy facilities, in the long run, will create jobs, increase our sustainability, and position our state as one of the few pioneers developing this new energy frontier."

Schaer, DeAngelo, Quijano, & Benson Bill to Establish "Neighborhood Solar Energy Investment Program" Clears Panel

An Assembly panel released Thursday legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Wayne DeAngelo, Annette Quijano, and Daniel Benson to allow consumers to participate in solar energy programs and provide a credit to those who do participate in these programs.

"The Neighborhood Solar Energy Investment Program will provide an opportunity for more families to reduce their monthly utility bill and carbon impact through participating in offered solar energy programs," said Schaer (D-Bergen, Passaic). "Making the change to solar energy is an investment in the future. With this legislation, many more residents will see firsthand the benefits of utilizing solar energy in their home."

Benson Bill to Require Motorists to Turn on Interior Lights When Stopped by Law Enforcement Gains Committee OK

Legislation Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson sponsored to require drivers who have been pulled over by a law enforcement officer at night or during periods of inclement weather to activate the vehicle's interior light was advanced by an Assembly panel on Thursday.