Category: Press Release

Angelini Bill Improving Mental Health & Drug Treatment in Prisons Earns Approval of the General Assembly

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Mary Pat Angelini

Assembly Republican Mary Pat Angelini sponsors legislation, approved today by the General Assembly, to improve the quality of mental health and substance abuse treatment for inmates. The bill (A-3722) requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to share the authority over prison-based treatment centers.

“Inmates suffering from addiction or mental health issues will eventually serve their time and return to society,” said Angelini, the Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader. “Mental health issues and drugs are huge contributors to violence and crime in our neighborhoods. Better treatment can help prepare inmates for a crime-free life and make our streets safer.”

The measure, by establishing interagency oversight in the prisons, ensures that treatment standards and protocols are consistent so when prisoners get out, their treatment can continue on the same path, noted Angelini, R – Monmouth.

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Rible Permit Extension Bill Wins Assembly Approval

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible that helps create jobs and continue to support economic development was approved by the General Assembly today. The measure, A-3815, extends the “Permit Extension Act” for one year (Dec. 31, 2015). Under current law, the extension granted in 2012 expires at the end of 2014.

Dave Rible

“Extending permits for another year helps our economy by creating jobs,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean. “The process of obtaining permits is time-consuming and costly which deters economic growth. Job creation did not expand as much as we hoped over the last year, though the 16 percent increase in small business loans during this time indicates optimism by New Jersey companies.

“The bipartisan measure helps businesses by enabling new or delayed development projects to move forward and create good-paying jobs,” continued Rible. “Combined with the pro-business Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, New Jersey is positioned to affirm the confidence expressed by businesses that our state will experience a construction boom over the next several years.”

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General Assembly Approves Muñoz & O’Scanlon Bill Expanding Use of Life-Saving Overdose Antidote

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republicans Nancy F. Muñoz and Declan O’Scanlon sponsor legislation, approved today by the General Assembly, to allow more first responders and other healthcare professionals to administer drug overdose antidotes and protects them from liability.

Nancy Munoz

“Every second counts when reacting to an overdose situation,” said Muñoz, a registered nurse and the Deputy Republican Leader in the Assembly. “Allowing more first responders and other professionals to administer this critical first aid will help prevent more unnecessary heroin-related tragedies,” continued Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset.

Currently, under the “Overdose Prevention Act,” healthcare practitioners and pharmacists are protected from liability when prescribing, dispensing, or administering an opioid overdose antidote. This bill, A-3720, expands the list of people authorized to administer a potentially life-saving antidote and provides them immunity from liability.

Under Muñoz and O’Scanlon’s bill, opioid antidotes may be administered by sterile syringe access program employees, law enforcement officials, emergency medical technicians, and other emergency responders. In addition to heroin, opioids include drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine.

Declan O'Scanlon

“We need to provide our first responders with all the necessary tools to save lives when time is of the essence,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “When someone’s life is in the balance, emergency workers need to be able to react appropriately, without the fear of liability. This bill permits them to provide life-sustaining treatment without second guessing themselves.”

A recent national trend of rising heroin overdose deaths across demographic groups has been reflected in New Jersey. Last year, more than 500 residents died from heroin overdoses – nearly double the number reported in 2010.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have implemented laws making it easier for responders to give life saving antidotes to reverse overdoses.

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Assembly Approves Casagrande Measure on Life-Saving Allergy Treatment in Schools

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Caroline Casagrande’s legislation to increase access to life-saving medicine for children with severe allergies in school earned approval today in the General Assembly. The bill, A-304, authorizes school nurses and trained personnel to administer epinephrine to any student having an anaphylactic reaction.

Caroline Casagrande

“As many as two children in every classroom have at least one food allergy,” said Casagrande, R – Monmouth. “Schools should be able to respond quickly and appropriately to help children with a serious allergic reaction.”

Recent studies suggest that one in 13 children are affected by food allergies. More than 15 percent of school aged children with food allergies have had a reaction at school.

“While many parents of children with serious food allergies supply a prescription to the school nurse or teacher, not all kids have an epinephrine auto-injector prescribed specifically for them. This helps those children,” said Casagrande.

Current law requires that parents provide written authorization for the school to administer an injection. However, Casagrande said “a student with an undiagnosed allergy can have a reaction for the first time in the school.”

The bill also requires that schools maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors, and amends the law to provide immunity to school employees and agents for good faith acts or omissions concerning the emergency administration of epinephrine to specifically include a physician providing a prescription under a standing protocol for school epinephrine. In response to the rise in child food allergies, a number of states have enacted laws allowing schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine that can be used for any student in an anaphylactic emergency.

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Assembly Approves Russo-Rumana Bill Allowing Good Faith Emergency Epinephrine Injections

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation (A-304) sponsored by Assembly Republicans Dave Russo and Scott Rumana permitting a school nurse or trained designee to administer an epinephrine injection to a student in an emergency was approved by the General Assembly today.

Dave Russo

“Allergic reactions are not uncommon and often occur unexpectedly,” said Russo, R-Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic. “The amount of time it takes to respond to such an attack can save a life. Trained school administrators and staff need to act decisively and quickly in these situations.”

Current law requires a student’s parent or guardian to provide written authorization to the school to administer the injection.

Scott Rumana

“This bill will save lives because it allows qualified people to exercise common sense and utilize their training,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “There are unforeseen circumstances when school officials and staff need to react instantly. The days when allergic reactions to bee stings, peanut butter or milk can be taken lightly are over. They can be life-threatening reactions which need immediate attention.”

The bill also requires schools maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors in a secure but unlocked and easily accessible location for access by an authorized designee.

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O’Scanlon Measure Protecting Drivers’ Privacy and Vehicle Black Box Data Gets Approval of General Assembly

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Declan O'Scanlon

Legislation Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon sponsors protecting the privacy of drivers with a “black box” device in their automobile was approved today by the General Assembly. The bill (A-3597) creates protections by limiting access to data recorded by a vehicle’s on-board electronics.

“The public is extremely sensitive about privacy and personal information,” said O’Scanlon, R – Monmouth. “Government monitoring encroachment of our daily lives is a concern. We must balance safety concerns with privacy concerns – and err on the side of privacy where practical. Additionally, high-profile breaches of company databases and email has triggered distrust of new technology and concerns about the security of personal data.”

O’Scanlon noted that electronic data recorders, or “black boxes” are installed in more than 95 percent of the new cars sold in the country. There are more than 150 million cars with these devices on U.S. roads. Black boxes monitor the vehicles’ safety systems – seat belts, airbags and sensors – and other variables.

“This data can provide valuable information in the aftermath of an accident, but we need to prevent it form being abused,” said O’Scanlon. “Drivers and their passengers should be confident that they are not being spied on by little black box under the dashboard. This bill makes those assurances.”

O’Scanlon’s measure unanimously cleared the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee in October. The identical Senate bill, S-2433, is referred to the Law and Public Safety Committee.

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Bramnick Bill Prohibiting Unsolicited Text Message Advertising Approved by Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation prohibiting telecommunications companies from sending unsolicited advertising by text messaging and charging a fee, unless expressly permitted by the consumer, was approved by the Assembly today. The bill, A-617, is sponsored by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset.

Jon Bramnick

“This pro-consumer bill safeguards the cell phone owner from receiving unsolicited marketing without their consent. Unwanted texts can be costly and frustrating to the consumer who has no idea how this personal information was obtained. Receiving unauthorized text messages is a distraction consumers do not want or appreciate.”

The bill also requires any telecommunications company that sells text messaging services to offer an option allowing customers to block all incoming and outgoing text messages.

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Bucco Pleased Extension on Appraisal Process for Highlands Properties Approved by Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco said he is pleased the Assembly approved legislation that extends the special appraisal process time frame by five years (to 2019) for homeowners in the Highlands Region. Bucco’s bill, A-3058, allows property owners to have their land appraised at both current value and the value prior to the enactment of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act in 2004.

The higher appraisal will be applied for homeowners considering selling their property to either the Green Acres program or their development rights to the Farmland Preservation program.

Anthony M. Bucco

“This bill gives people who owned property prior to enactment of the Highlands Act the chance to receive a fair value for their land which was impacted by the Act,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “The development restrictions imposed under this act have cost some landowners hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their options for selling their property are limited, but assessing the value prior to 2004 will help them recoup the value of the land if they elect to participate in either the Green Acres or Farmland Preservation programs.”

The Senate unanimously passed the identical bill (S-1050) on Dec. 1.

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Assembly Approves Rible & Bucco Bill Increasing Options for Eye Care Patients

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

A bill sponsored by Assembly Republicans Dave Rible and Anthony M. Bucco was approved today by the General Assembly that provides vision patients more freedom to choose the in-network eye doctor of their choice. The bill, A-1035, prohibits health insurance carriers from requiring optometrists to accept a vision care plan contract before becoming part of their network.

Dave Rible

“It is unnecessary and unfair to restrict insured patients from access to doctors because they don’t sell designer eyeglasses,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean. “We’re making it easier for eye patients to be diagnosed and treated by a practitioner of their own choosing, and making that treatment more affordable,” continued Rible, who first introduced the bill in March 2013.

Currently, health insurance carriers may require optometrists to accept a contract with a Vision Care Plan as a condition for participation in the carrier’s provider networks for the provision of medically necessary physician services.

Anthony M. Bucco

“There is an indefensible double-standard in the way insurance agencies treat eye care physicians. This bill brings that to an end,” said Bucco, R – Morris and Somerset. “Consumers will benefit with increased convenience and flexibility, and lower costs.”

Optometrists may choose not to join a Vision Plan, or may not be eligible to participate in the Vision Plan because of certain plan rules. Optometrists and Ophthalmologists are both licensed to provide medical eye care, but not all Optometrists prescribe and dispense glasses and contact lenses.

Ophthalmologists are not required to accept the Vision Plan from an insurer.

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General Assembly Approves Webber’s ‘NJTEAM Act’ Making College More Affordable to Returning Veterans

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jay Webber

Assembly Republican Jay Webber sponsors legislation, approved today by the General Assembly, that helps make college affordable for military veterans and their families. Entitled the “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act,” the bill (A-3967) allows all veterans and their children to pay in-state tuition to attend a public college or university in New Jersey.

“After honorably serving in the military, many veterans find themselves returning to college in a search for rewarding careers,” said Webber, R – Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Offering in-state rates at our high-quality state schools to these patriots can help make their future goals more affordable, and gives us a chance to honor them for their service.”

Currently, Rowan University in Glassboro and Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township extend in-state tuition rates to all veterans.

“We want these brave men and women to make New Jersey home. They have contributed greatly to defending our country, and making college more accessible will help them reach their potential in civilian life,” said Webber.

The NJTEAM Act was prompted by Webber’s comments during the Assembly debate on a bill (A-4225) that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates to attend public colleges in New Jersey. In the Budget Committee and on the floor of the Assembly in December 2013, Webber pointed out that A-4225 would provide better treatment for the children of undocumented immigrants than American military veterans and their children who, as citizens of other states, do not qualify for in-state rates at Rutgers and other public institutions.

Only a month after Webber’s public comments, the Senate version of the NJTEAM Act was introduced.

“As a primary sponsor of the NJTEAM Act and its predecessor (A-2622) since the day it was introduced on February 20 of this year, I am proud and pleased to see it take another step toward becoming law,” said Webber.

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