Category: Press Release

Muñoz Bill to Protect Stalking Victims Signed into Law

Nancy Munoz

Press Release – To protect stalking victims, repeat offenders will face increased jail time under legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors. The bill, A-3841/S-2540, was signed today by Gov. Christie.

“Restraining orders often aren’t enough of a deterrent for stalkers. Regardless of their motivation, the goal is the same – to instill constant fear in their victims,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “They are also at an increased risk of being attacked or killed. In addition to the threat of physical harm, the psychological trauma is devastating. Repeat offenders continue to harass their victim with terrifying consequences. These criminals will no longer receive a slap on the wrist. Instead they’re going to face several years in prison.”

The measure increases prison time and fines for persons convicted of subsequent stalking offenses. Under the revised law, such offenses are upgraded from a fourth degree crime to a third degree which carries a 3 to 5-year prison term and a fine up to $15,000.

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Muñoz Bill to Protect Sexual Assault Victims Now Law

Press Release – Legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors that provides sexual assault victims with protection against their offenders was signed into law today.

Nancy Munoz

The “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015” (A-4078/S-2686), allows victims to obtain protection without filing criminal charges.

“Sexual assault is physically and psychologically devastating; and victims too often are embarrassed or feel they are in some way to blame for the attack,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “As a result, prior to this new law, only a very small percentage of victims filed criminal charges. Unless they reported the crime, they could not obtain a restraining order. This left their attacker free to harass or assault them again.”

The new law allows the court to issue a temporary protective order regardless of whether the alleged victim has filed criminal charges. It prohibits the alleged offender from having any contact or communication, including personal, written, telephone or via electronic device, with victims and their family members, employers, and employees. It also prohibits stalking, following or harassing, including cyber-harassing, the alleged victim.

Under previous law, restraining orders were predominately used for victims of domestic violence.

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Ciattarelli “Swatting” Bill Signed into Law

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jack Ciattarelli

Legislation Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli co-sponsored with Assembly Democrats increases the penalties for making a false public alarm was signed into law by the governor today. Numerous false alarms have been called into law enforcement this year, resulting in the deployment of emergency responders, including the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT). “Swatting” is the common term used to describe the crime of calling in such false alarms.

“Emergency responders must and do respond to every potential threat to public safety,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “They arrive at the scene prepared for any situation. Swatting calls are occurring far too often and are a threat to public safety.

“Schools, malls and private residences are the targets of misguided people who think this is a harmless prank. Unnecessarily deploying emergency responders diverts critically important resources from responding to a real emergency,” he continued. “Time spent verifying a false alarm and the diversion of manpower is a real danger. Upgrading the penalties sends a message of the seriousness of the offense and that such hoaxes have serious consequences. Working in partnership with Assembly Democrats who served as fellow prime-sponsors of this bill, I am very pleased to see A-4375 signed into law. “

The new law (A-4375) upgrades swatting from a third degree to second degree crime; which carries a 5-10 year prison term, a fine of up to $150,000, or both. Convicted individuals may also be assessed a civil penalty of $2,000 or the actual costs incurred by law enforcement and emergency services that respond to the false alarm.

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Dancer Bill Banning Sales of Powdered Alcohol Signed into Law

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A measure (A-3580/S-2846) Assemblyman Ron Dancer sponsors that bans the sale of powdered alcohol in New Jersey was signed into law by Gov. Christie today. Powdered alcohol, commonly known as Palcohol, was approved for sale by the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in March.

Ron Dancer

“This is not like mixing Kool Aid or iced tea,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex. “Mixing multiple packs can lead to an overdose or be fatal. The health risks from abuse at sporting events or in public far outweigh the convenience of carrying small packets that only need to be mixed with six ounces of water.

“The opportunity to illegally obtain this product is a major concern, especially for our youth. It poses another challenge in our colleges and schools,” explained Dancer. “The sale of this product is inviting another form of addiction.”

In addition to New Jersey, Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Vermont have already banned powdered alcohol or have legislation pending that would do so.

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Christie Signs Rumana Bill on Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Scott Rumana

Legislation (ACR-34) that encourages all homeowners and building owners to install carbon monoxide detectors was signed into law today by Gov. Christie. Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris, is a primary sponsor of the resolution.

In April 2013, two visitors to a hotel in North Carolina died from carbon monoxide poisoning. In June, an 11-year-old boy passed away at the same hotel while his mother suffered serious injuries. Authorities eventually discovered carbon monoxide seeping up from the hotel swimming pool water heater into the hotel room. In October 2012, two sisters, tragically died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Newark apartment due to a gas-powered generator, used to light an apartment that had lost power during Hurricane Sandy.

“The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning are widespread and often go undetected until a tragedy occurs,” said Rumana. “Everyone who owns a home, place of business, commercial enterprise or public building should be aware of this potential danger and seriously consider installing detectors for the protection of visitors, customers and their families. They are an investment in preventing misfortune and will save lives.”

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Rumana Bill Allowing NJ Alcohol Licensees to Add Amusement Game License Now Law

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Scott Rumana

Legislation (A-4143/S-2514) sponsored by Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana which grants amusement game licenses to establishments authorized to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption was signed into law today. The concept is a recommendation of the Red Tape Review Commission.

“This model has been very successful in other states, including Pennsylvania and New York. Those states are capitalizing on the recipe of combining amusements, food and drink under one roof,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “It makes sense for New Jersey to allow this popular entertainment format. Opening the door for these specialty venues will create new business, new jobs, and renewed excitement in New Jersey’s restaurants and nightlife traffic.”

In order to obtain the amusement games permit, the licensee must occupy 20,000 sq. ft. of space and offer at least 100 amusement games. The current ban is part of a 1959 law that regulates games of skill or chance, including skee-ball, cranes, rotaries, pushers, sports games and other familiar redemption machines that offer rewards. Rewards can be a prize won at a machine or tickets dispensed that can be exchanged for merchandise at a redemption counter.

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Muñoz Bill Eliminating Penalty for Medicaid Applicants Who Make Small Gifts Wins Assembly Panel Approval

Press Release – Residents applying for long-term care benefits under Medicaid who gift small amounts of their money to others in the five years before eligibility is determined will not be penalized for the transfers under legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors.

The bill, A-3760, today won Assembly Appropriations Committee approval. It allows residents to transfer up to $500 per month during the five-year “look-back” period for determining Medicaid eligibility for long-term care services.

Nancy Munoz

“Many people legitimately and routinely give financial gifts to family, friends, religious organizations and charities,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “No one can predict the future. You can’t possibly know what your financial or medical needs will be five years down the road. People should not be penalized for their generosity if the time comes that they require Medicaid to pay for long-term care.

“Current state law is unclear about gifting money to others,” she continued. “This measure will ensure residents are protected when applying for Medicaid assistance should the need arise.”

The measure clarifies current state Medicaid law. Since many people try to “hide” their assets by transferring them to another individual so they qualify for Medicaid long-term care benefits, federal and state Medicaid law requires a five-year look-back period from the date of a person’s application to determine whether an authorized transfer took place.

Federal law allows states to exclude certain transfers, such as “de minimis” or minor gifts, on the assumption that the person is not giving away the money in an attempt to qualify for future Medicaid benefits. An individual may be denied coverage for unauthorized asset transfers. New Jersey, however, does not have a clear standard regarding such transfers. Those decisions are currently made by county welfare agencies.

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Handlin Bill Allowing Crowdfunding to Fuel Economic Growth and Job Creation Signed Into Law

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Amy Handlin’s legislation to provide small business with a new, cost-effective source of funding has been signed by Gov. Christie. The new law paves permits private businesses in the state to solicit and acquire investment money through “crowdfunding” sites online.

Amy Handlin

“It can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for business to secure funding through conventional means in this economy. Under this law, New Jersey companies can connect with intra-state investors willing to fund a business venture without the onerous regulations pertaining to traditional equity investments,” said Handlin, R – Monmouth.

Crowdfunding was introduced to the market by web sites like Kickstarter and Peerbackers, but those donation-based sites are inadequate for raising funds for an ambitious business project. State-sponsored equity crowdfunding has been proven successful in other states, including Georgia and Kansas.

“The funding option opened by this bill will help businesses thrive, expand, and create jobs for New Jersey,” Handlin said. “Without sufficient capital, even the most innovative company will struggle to compete in the changing marketplace.”

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Rible & Bucco Bill to Improve Safety of Private Security Guards Clears Assembly Panel

‘Detective Melvin Santiago’s Law’ requires registration, training, and safety holsters for armed guards

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Dave Rible and Anthony M. Bucco requiring private security guards to meet strict registration and training requirements was released today by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

The bill, A-4105 is named the “Detective Melvin Santiago’s Law,” in honor of the Jersey City patrolman who was fatally shot by a robbery suspect who grabbed a gun from a Walgreen’s security guard.

Under the bill, in-house private security guards are required to register as security officers and complete a registration and training program. Armed security guards must wear industry-standard uniforms and carry their handguns in a certified secure holster to prevent the guard from being disarmed.

Dave Rible

“Security guards are deployed to protect customers, employees and property,” said Rible, R – Monmouth and Ocean. “It is critical that guards are appropriately trained and equipped to do their job safely and efficiently. Firearm safety is essential, and a high-safety retention holster can prevent tragedies.”

Rible and Bucco’s bill extends the “Security Officer Registration Act” to include security guards employed by private companies. A person cannot register as a security officer if they have been convicted of certain crimes or offenses. The bill requires holsters that are rated more secure than those used by trained police officers on duty.

Anthony M. Bucco

“The loss of Officer Santiago was a heart-breaking, unnecessary tragedy that could have been prevented with a more secure holster,” said Bucco, R – Morris and Somerset. “Well-trained security guards are a deterrent to criminals, but a poorly prepared watchman with a weapon is a danger to himself and others. This bill ensures that all private security guards will be qualified for the job.”

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Ciattarelli-DeCroce Bill Supporting Voluntary Food Labeling Released by Committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Assembly Republicans Jack Ciattarelli and BettyLou DeCroce urging Congress to pass a bill allowing food manufacturers to voluntarily label their products as GMO-free was released by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee today. A product is genetically modified if its contents include more than one percent of materials that are produced or enhanced by genetic engineering or bioengineering.

Ciattarelli and DeCroce’s bill, AR-239, supports passage of the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” (H.R. 1599). Under the federal bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of products containing GMO ingredients. It also stipulates that states would not be allowed to require mandatory labeling on products which include GMOs.

Jack Ciattarelli

“A state-by-state patchwork of labeling requirements is not in the best interest of consumers and more costly to food producers,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “The FDA should be responsible for developing consistent criteria. Without a uniform standard, added cost will be passed on to the consumer due to manufacturers having to comply with different state regulations. Centralizing GMO labeling is better for the consumer and less complicated for manufacturers.”

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599 in July by a vote of 275-150. The bill awaits action in the U.S. Senate.

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

“The science in food product development is constantly evolving,”’ said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Consumer safety is best achieved when consistent and transparent guidelines are established and apply uniformly in all states. The FDA is the optimal place that oversees and ensures compliance with food safety standards. Allowing a hodge-podge approach by each state complicates this issue and may result in consumers misunderstanding what they read.”

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