Author: NJ Assembly Republicans

Dancer looks to ban herbal drug Kratom in NJ [video]

Source: WB Channel 11 (New York) -

Ron Dancer

A New Jersey lawmaker is taking aim at a new drug that he calls the latest craze. It’s an herb that comes from the same family as the coffee tree.

“This drug is addictive as cocaine and gives a high like heroin,” said New Jersey State Assemblyman Ron Dancer. But it’s legal. It’s sold in health stores, at gas stations and head shops. It’s available over the counter in powder, pill or liquid form. It’s called Kratom.

Many are unfamiliar with it, but the Drug Enforcement Administration has it on their watch list.

According to the agency, Kratom taken in low doses can give you a boost, making people feel more alert. But taken in high doses, the DEA warns, it can act like an opioid, making you feel euphoric and addicted.

Ocean County is currently in the throws of a heroin epidemic. The County Prosecutor has made it a priority to fight the supply chain funneling into Jersey shore communities.

Just last month, the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey arrested and charged 21 alleged heroin traffickers accused of distributing heroine and cocaine to Ocean and Monmouth counties.

But not everyone connects Kratom to the cycle of addiction. The owner of a Brick head shop that sells the herb says customers have told him time and time again how it works to decrease pain. He even produced a lab test that he says proves the supplement is safe in small doses. He refuses to sell anything to young people under age 19, and says he limits how much any customer can buy in a given day.

What’s alarming to one Ocean County doctor is how elusive the herb can be on drug tests, unless you are testing specifically for it. Dr. John Infantolino, an addiction specialist in Brick, N.J., says he’s been finding it in the systems of patients struggling with drug dependency.

This doctor’s story is what inspired Republican Assemblyman Ron Dancer to write the bill to ban it. He plans to introduce it on May 7th.

“I believe we need to get ahead of the curve. And we need to ban this as soon as possible. There is no research that this drug has any medicinal benefits,” said Asm. Dancer.

But Kratom may be getting more popular.


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Kean Bill Would Provide Funding for Private School Security Measures

Source: Shorebeat -

Public schools in New Jersey receive $75 per student to go toward security measures to ensure safety during the school day, but private schools receive no such funding – a gap one local lawmaker is trying to close with a bill that would provide funding for student security in private schools.

Sean Kean

In the proposal by Assemblymen Sean T. Kean (R-Ocean, Monmouth), private school students would receive one-third of what their public school counterparts receive. The $25 per pupil funding measure would go towards security services, equipment, and technology to “help ensure a safe and secure school environment for nonpublic school children,” Kean said in a statement.

“With new school security procedures and advances in technology, we can provide increased protection that includes all our children,” Kean said.

Kean himself is a graduate of Red Bank Catholic High School. Brick Township’s largest private school is St. Dominic School on Old Squan Road, which has 528 students enrolled. In neighboring Lakewood, which is included in Kean’s legislative district, 65 private schools serve 17,021 primarily Orthodox Jewish students. Statewide, 1,297 private schools educate 240,555 students, according to Education Bug, a website that tracks school data.

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Dancer Looks To Ban Organic Herb That Produces Heroin-Like High

Ron Dancer

Source: CBSNews Radio - A New Jersey lawmaker wants to ban an organic herb fueling the latest drug craze among teens…As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported, Kratom gives a high similar to heroin…

The plant is related to coffee; it is native to southeast Asia and has long been used as an herbal pain reliever.

But it is also psychoactive and can cause hallucinations and addictions, says New Jersey Assemblyman Ron Dancer, who wants to make the substance illegal.

“According to the FDA, there is a known toxicity in multiple organs that is leading to aggression, hallucinations, delusions, tremors, nausea, vomiting,” Dancer said.

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Dancer Bill To Recover Taxpayer Costs Defending Flag Pledge

Ron Dancer

Press Release – Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced legislation that affirms the right of a school system, council or commission to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Under current law, those in attendance are not required to recite the pledge, however full respect must be shown to the flag while the pledge is being given by merely standing at attention.

The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen School District
last year that sought the removal of “under God” from the pledge recited in the district’s schools. The suit was dismissed in February, leaving the school district with $16,000 in court and attorney’s fees. Dancer’s bill gives a judge the discretion to award attorney fees and costs to the defendant who prevails in an action challenging the recitation of the pledge.

“Circuit courts have consistently ruled recitation of the pledge is permissible as long as students are not forced to participate,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex. “This measure not only reinforces the right of public bodies in New Jersey to recite the pledge as written, but allows the courts to assign the defendant’s court costs to the unsuccessful plaintiff.

“The law has been upheld enough that it is time for plaintiffs to consider whether it is worth the legal challenge and the potential financial consequences if they fail,” continued Dancer. “The money spent by the school district could have been used for other purposes that benefit students. Instead, it was used to defend a frivolous lawsuit.”

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Dance effort aims to prevent new drug craze in NJ

Source: NJ 101.5 -

It has been around for years and can easily be bought in New Jersey tobacco shops, gas stations and on the internet. Kratom – an organic herb which grows naturally in Southeast Asia – is quickly becoming a “go-to’” drug for young people because of its opioid-like effects.

The drug can cause hallucinations, delusions and respiratory problems.

Ron Dancer

In an effort to prevent another drug crisis like the heroin epidemic in Monmouth and Ocean counties, Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Jackson will introduce legislation next month that would make kratom illegal in New Jersey.

“There is no doubt, kratom is a dangerous substance. Like we did with bath salts and spice, we need to crack down on it now before we’re faced with another drug epidemic,” he said.

Kratom has been around for centuries and has been used to alleviate pain, boost energy and reduce anxiety, but it is not approved in the United States for any medical use. Kratom can be bought in leaf form, but is usually purchased as a capsule or chopped up and used for smoking or tea. Studies show it can be addictive and can result in severe withdrawl symptoms. Other side effects include agitation, aggression, tremors, nausea and vomiting. It is illegal in Tennessee and has been banned in Australia, Malaysia and Thailand.

“Just like most emerging drugs, kratom has the effects that kids are looking for. In some cases it makes them mellow, in some cases, they think it’s a safe alternative. The depressant and euphoric effects that they get out of kratom are very much like heroin and other opioids,” said Ezra Helfend, acting director of the Middlesex County chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “It is a drug that many of us in the drug prevention field are watching, just like synthetic marijuana. There is a concern because there seems to be issues with what is being sold in stores and with the number of kids who are getting their hands on it. Children have access to these products and we would prefer that they didn’t.”

In an effort to prevent another drug crisis like the heroin epidemic in Monmouth and Ocean counties, Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Jackson will introduce legislation next month that would make kratom illegal in New Jersey.

“There is no doubt, kratom is a dangerous substance. Like we did with bath salts and spice, we need to crack down on it now before we’re faced with another drug epidemic,” he said.

Dancer’s bill would criminalize the manufacture, possession and sale of products containing kratom. It would amend state law to include kratom as a controlled dangerous substance. Violators would face prison terms ranging from 18 months to 10 years and fines of up to $150,000 depending on the severity of the violation.

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Muñoz on Study Showing No Link Between Vaccines and Autism: Vaccinations are Effective and Necessary

Press Release – Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, issued the following statement in response to a study released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which found no link between autism and childhood vaccines, including those with an older sibling who has autism:

Nancy Munoz

“With autism rates soaring in the U.S. and in New Jersey, and its cause yet undetermined, I understand that parents are concerned. Vaccinations, however, are effective and have a proven history of preventing serious childhood diseases. I come from a generation that saw the consequences of many of these diseases, including measles, rubella and polio. Vaccines have saved countless lives.

“Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of misinformation linking vaccines with autism. Hopefully, this latest study, in conjunction with the other scientific research, will allay any fears. Too many children today are not being vaccinated. As a result, we’re seeing a resurgence of some of these diseases, such as the measles outbreak earlier this year. It’s a very dangerous road to travel.”

Muñoz is a clinical nurse specialist.

The study, which involved more than 95,000 children, found no overall link between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

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Simon Participates in Blowing Bubbles 4 Autism Event

Press Release – Assemblywoman Donna Simon, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex, issued the statement below regarding today’s “NJ Children Blow Bubbles 4 Autism to Raise Awareness” campaign at the statehouse. Hosted by the state Department of Human Services, the event is being held in conjunction with “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”

Donna Simon

“Bubbles symbolize joy, hope and laughter. That’s why today’s event is an excellent opportunity to bring attention to autism, which affects nearly 1 in 45 children in New Jersey. At the same time, it’s a fun activity that gets people of all ages, especially children, involved in this important awareness campaign.

“We are all touched by this developmental disorder, whether it affects our family, friends or neighbors. While our state has one of the best systems in the nation for identifying, diagnosing and caring for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, we need to continue our efforts to provide the support and guidance that affected children and their parents need to be successful.”

Simon, a strong advocate for autism, sponsors legislation to require health insurance coverage for diagnosing and treating autism as well as a resolution designating April 2nd of each year as “World Autism Awareness Day.”

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Gove heads 2-day conference at Stockton University

Source: Asbury Park Press -

DiAnne Gove

Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove, R-9, recently visited Stockton University for a two-day workshop as the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy Legislator-in-Residence.

“The Legislator-in-Residence program is a great opportunity to share information between the State Capitol and our campus,” said Daniel J. Douglas, director of the Hughes Center.

Gove’s district includes Galloway Township, and covers parts of Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties. She sits on the Assembly’s Higher Education and Military and Veterans Affairs committees.

While at Stockton, she met with student veterans and members of the Student Senate, took part in a Civic Engagement class and toured the university’s Coastal Research Center in Port Republic.

The assemblywoman also met with faculty and staff involved in the Hughes Center’s iCivics project, which received a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to train social studies teachers to use web-based tools to increase the civic knowledge of students in grades K-12.

The program is a partnership between the Hughes Center and Stockton’s Southern Regional Institute & Educational Technology Training Center, which includes a consortium encompassing more than 200 schools, 7,500 teachers, and more than 100,000 preK-12 pupils.

Gove also met with students at the Stockton Polling Institute, and participated in classes on public policy and methods for teaching mathematics. She also met with with President Herman Saatkamp and other administrators and faculty.

Gove, a former mayor of Long Beach Township, has served in the Assembly since 2009. She holds two degrees in social service: a B.A from Cabrini College and a master’s from Monmouth University.

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Angelini Calls for Assembly Vote On Prescription Drug Disposal Bill

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Mary Pat Angelini

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, is calling for the General Assembly to vote on bipartisan measure (A-709), which requires pharmacies and physicians to instruct patients on how to safely dispose of unused prescribed controlled dangerous substances.

In a letter to Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Angelini said that taking action to provide the public with information on proper disposal methods of drugs such as Percocet and Oxycotin is a vital component to addressing New Jersey’s heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis.

“This bill is an important part of the 21-bill package to address our state’s opiate crisis,” said Angelini. “It’s critical that we inform the public about safe disposal methods so we can help thwart the danger of accidental overdose by children and the danger improper disposal methods pose to humans, animals, and the environment as a whole.”

Angelini, who works in the substance abuse treatment and prevention field, has sponsored a number of bills aimed at curbing drug abuse, including a measure that would improve the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. In addition, she sponsored legislation that would increase the penalties for distribution of heroin and has hosted drug abuse forums featuring experts from the substance abuse field and the medical community, as well as families who have been affected by drug abuse.

“As a member of the Legislature, I have been advocating for bills that will help address our state’s substance abuse crisis,” explained Angelini. “I am hopeful that the Assembly Speaker and Legislature will agree that addressing the safe disposal of prescription drugs is an important piece of the puzzle in protecting those we can from the danger of opiate abuse.”

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O’Scanlon asks NJEA, ‘Where’s your plan?’ [video]

Source: NJTV News -

Declan O'Scanlon

Assembly Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, on NJTV News’ evening telecast Wednesday, address the pension payment issue and the Amicus filing by the Democrats in support of a judge ordering the state to pay $1.6 billion into the pension fund.

O’Scanlon said, “Essentially this is them saying they are encouraging the courts to force them to take action. I don’t understand, the governor has a plan on the table, if you don’t like that plan where’s your plan?”



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