Tag: Mary Pat Angelini

Angelini: Budget Provides and Incentive for Largest Taxpayers and Job Creators to Take the Next Exit Out of New Jersey

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Mary Pat Angelini

Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini, R – Monmouth, issued the following statement after the General Assembly voted on the Democrats’ budget increasing taxes in New Jersey by $1.4 billion:

“The Democrats’ tax hikes make New Jersey less competitive with nearby states. This policy will cost New Jersey dearly by providing an incentive for our job creators to flee the state for more affordable locations.

“As our state recovers from the long recession, we should be supporting the taxpayers and businesses that contribute to the economy. Instead, we are once again adding to the burden of people already paying the highest taxes in the country.”

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Angelini: Democrats’ Plan Jeopardizes Middle-Class Jobs

Mary Pat Angelini

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini,R – Monmouth,issued the following statement after Senate Democrat leaders announced a $1.6 billion income and business tax increase to balance the FY15 budget:

“The middle class needs jobs created and lower taxes, not the Democrats’ plan. Their massive tax increase piled on the backs of already over-burdened job-creators will lead to sending jobs to other states.”

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Angelini discusses why heroin is still killing at the Shore

Source: Asbury Park Press -

Sixteen-thousand bags of heroin taken off the street.

Twenty-five funerals averted.

Two guilty pleas of manslaughter.

After notching a record 112 drug overdose deaths in 2013 and becoming the epicenter of New Jersey’s heroin and opiate crisis, Ocean County is moving closer toward reducing deaths, curbing abuse and beating back relentless dealers. Yet 28 people so far this year have died of drug overdoses, 21 of them linked to heroin, according to the county prosecutor. At the same point last year, 50 people were dead from drugs.

While the number of lives saved and the lower death rate is a point of pride for county officials, the region and the state is still figuring out how to effectively deal with a heroin abuse crisis years in the making.

Nearly six months into 2014, New Jersey is at a critical point as it faces what legislators have been calling the No. 1 public health crisis since last fall. But those same lawmakers have also said that a comprehensive strategy to address it will be slow, as government goes, leaving places like Ocean County to take the epidemic into its own hands.

All but one of this year’s overdose deaths have been linked to heroin or prescription drugs.

While Ocean County has rolled out an array of new programs to combat the abuse, including a state pilot equipping police with the opiate antidote Narcan, progress has been mixed across the state.

State funding for new programs and treatment is limited to the $4.5 million expansion of drug court. Legislation designed to curb abuse and crack down on dealers has been slow to move through the Statehouse.

Joseph D. Coronato stepped into a blooming crisis last March when he took over as Ocean County prosecutor. By the first week of June, a little more than two months into his term as the county’s top law enforcement official, 53 people were dead of an overdose — the same number as all of 2012, according to his office. All but one of those deaths was linked to heroin or prescription drugs.

 

Users are still dying at a worrisome pace in Ocean County despite the Narcan program. The 28 overdoses through May equal an overdose death every five days; last year it was one every three days.

In Monmouth County, which saw a spike in heroin-related deaths in 2011 and 2012, it appears the overdose trend is holding. There were 61 heroin-related deaths in 2013; through February there were 13, according to the Prosecutor’s Office (the office said there is a backlog of toxicology tests causing the delay). If that rate holds, Monmouth County could see 78 heroin deaths this year, the most in at least five years.

Statewide, heroin deaths have been on the rise: 449 in 2011; 591 in 2012; and through the first half of 2013, the latest accurate data available, 267 people were dead from heroin, according to the Attorney General’s office.

The state Department of Human Services is also working on a statewide Narcan training program for family members and close relatives of opiate addicts, one of the measures included in the Overdose Prevention Act signed into law last year by Gov. Chris Christie. The effort, called the “bystander program,” is roughly based off a long-running program in Massachusetts to lower overdose deaths. Rolled out in 2006, the program has in some areas helped lower the overdose death rate by nearly 50 percent, and there is now on average one rescue a day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

New Jersey, whose abundance of pharmaceutical companies has earned it the well-known nickname “the medicine chest of the world,” still does not require doctors to register and participate in the prescription monitoring program, an electronic system that tracks what prescriptions are being written, who they are written for and who is writing them. Prescription painkiller abuse often leads people to heroin, a cheaper but more potent alternative.

Most states have a prescription monitoring program, but New Jersey requires just pharmacies to register and use the database, according to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, a federally funded nonprofit that works with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to draft model drug and alcohol laws and regulations in states.

Mary Pat Angelini

Legislation last year to strengthen prescription monitoring died in lame-duck session and has been reintroduced. Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Ocean and co-signer of an Assembly bill, said it has been “very frustrating” getting legislation passed. She has written former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to take “swift action” on last year’s bills – senate and assembly versions – as well as current Speaker Vincent Prieto to make addressing the abuse epidemic a priority this legislative session.

“Sadly, the end result is I haven’t gotten a response,” she said.

Prieto could not be reached for comment, but issued a statement to the Asbury Park Press.

In it, he said lawmakers are “trying to resolve all the many concerns that have been brought up in the committee debates on these bills, and are willing to work with everyone involved to devise a workable and effective bill.

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Governor Signs Angelini’s ‘Jessica Lunsford Act’

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Bipartisan legislation known as the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” which imposes a stringent prison sentence and parole ineligibility terms for convicted pedophiles who assault minors, was signed into law today by Gov. Christie. Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini sponsors the bill which is named for Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old Florida resident who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender.

Mary Pat Angelini

“The Jessica Lunsford Act is one of the most significant public safety bills to come before the Legislature,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth. “New Jersey’s children will now receive the protections they deserve from individuals who commit one of society’s most heinous crimes – sexual assault. Pedophiles have just been served notice that they are going away for a very long time.”

The legislation was initially sponsored by the late Assemblyman Eric Muñoz in 2005. Muñoz’ wife, Assemblywoman Nancy Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, is the bill’s prime sponsor.

The measure, A-892, imposes a mandatory prison term of 25 years to life without possibility of parole for at least 25 years for persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13. Parole ineligibility may be extended beyond the minimum 25 years if the convicted sex offender has been convicted of other crimes. In addition, if a victim is unable to testify, a prosecutor would be permitted to negotiate a plea agreement for a prison term of at least 15 years without parole.

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Angelini comments on Rice stepping aside as Rutgers commencement speaker

Source: Asbury Park Press -

Two days after former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opted not to deliver the commencement address amid a string of protests, Rutgers University President Robert Barchi named former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean as the keynote speaker at the school’s May 18 graduation ceremony.

For Rutgers officials, it marks a step forward in the contoversy even as different factions on both sides of the issue continued the debate with dueling statements.

Rice announced her decision on her Facebook page, culminating a week in which students twice conducted nonviolent protests on campus and after several faculty groups voiced their protest in the form of opposing resolutions aimed at the Board of Governors’ Feb. 4 decision to tab Rice as commencement speaker.

Mary Pat Angelini

“I think it’s a huge missed opportunity and I’m really saddened for the students, the graduates and their families, who would’ve had an opportunity to listen to Secretary Condoleezza Rice,” Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Dist. 11, said. “I just don’t understand the controversy. I understand what they’re saying it is. She’s such a wonderful woman who has been such a wonderful role model to so many young woman across the country of color and of all aspects of life. I’m angry, but I’m also sad.’’

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Schepisi-Angelini: Condi Rice Withdrawing from Rutgers Commencement an Embarrassment

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republicans Holly Schepisi and Mary Pat Angelini voiced their disappointment that Condoleezza Rice has withdrawn from delivering this year’s commencement address at Rutgers University:

Holly Schepisi

“I am profoundly saddened that Dr. Rice will not be delivering her words of inspiration to this year’s graduating class at Rutgers,” said Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic. “Dr. Rice has achieved world acclaim for her intellect and statesmanship. Opportunities like this don’t come along too frequently. It is unfortunate that certain members of the faculty at the Rutgers New Brunswick campus have no problem with voicing their opposition and displeasure in some instances, but are the first to encourage the free exchange of ideas and thoughts – as long as they agree with you. I feel terrible for those who were duped into opposing Dr. Rice delivering the commencement speech. They would have learned something.”

Earlier this year, Schepisi and Angelini introduced their own resolution expressing opposition to the Rutgers University New Brunswick Faculty Council’s resolution calling on the university’s board of governors to rescind its invitation to Dr. Rice to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony.

Mary Pat Angelini

“Condoleezza Rice is a trailblazer and a woman of extraordinary intelligence and diverse talents who has spent much of her career in academia,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth. “Her accomplishments in higher education and as Secretary of State make her more than qualified to deliver a commencement address at Rutgers and any other university. The fact that politics played a role in this issue is appalling and a lesson the graduates and faculty at the state university should learn. Those who opposed Dr. Rice speaking and receiving an honorary degree should be embarrassed.”

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Angelini talks about Northwestern study on marijuana use

Source: NJ 101.5 -

There is new ammunition for those opposed to legalizing even small amounts of marijuana in New Jersey. A new study published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at Northwestern University, in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, links significant brain abnormalities to the casual use of pot by young adults.

Mary Pat Angelini

“This just really solidifies what we have known in the prevention field for many years; marijuana is a damaging drug,” said Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth). “This is science. This is evidence that’s showing that legalizing marijuana is not a good idea.”

The study matched only a small sample of 20 marijuana smokers and 20 control subjects ranging in age from 18 to 25. Using magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers found significant abnormalities in the areas of the brain responsible for making decisions, processing emotions and motivation, even among those who smoked marijuana just once or twice a week.

“Northwestern University is the real deal, and this study tells us there are changes in our brain functions with only casual use of marijuana,” Angelini said.

Legislation in the works in New Jersey would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, that could be purchased at a facility licensed by the state. Supporters of that bill are quick to point out that there are other studies which conclude marijuana use is no more dangerous — and could be less dangerous — than alcohol and tobacco.

“We know that alcohol and tobacco cause damage, and we know for a fact that we don’t need another drug thrown into the mix as well,” Angelini said.

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Angelini op-ed: Don’t ignore fact marijuana is addictive, destructive drug

Mary Pat Angelini

Source: Daily Record - (Op-ed by Mary Pat Angelini)

Imagine for a minute a world in which marijuana is available in a vending machine or corner grocery store near you — like any other snack machine — pot-infused lollipops, gummy candies, baked goods and beverages available at the push of a button.

As futuristic as this farfetched tale sounds, this is Colorado’s reality, a state with the dubious distinction of becoming the first to legalize marijuana, which has helped spawn legalization efforts across the U.S., including in New Jersey.

And while Colorado’s experiment has sparked heated debate over drug legalization, a critical and unbiased look at the data clearly shows that marijuana legalization has serious and far-reaching consequences that far outweigh any of its alleged benefits.

Strong emotions on both sides of this issue should not obscure the facts. Marijuana is an addictive substance that is harmful to users, especially to its younger users.

As a teen’s brain development is disturbed by chronic marijuana use, the risk for physical and psychological dependency grows exponentially.

In addition to permanently affecting brain functioning, marijuana use can lead to a wide array of negative consequences, ranging from lower grades and isolation from family to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms, depression and suicide.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, legalization will cause a substantial increase in economic and social costs.

The expansion of drug use will increase crime committed under the influence of drugs, as well as family violence, vehicular crashes, work-related injuries and a variety of health-related problems. These new costs will far outweigh any income from taxes on drugs.

Few would argue that a drug that can cause such destruction is something that we should counsel people to avoid. However, legalization efforts do just the opposite.

In fact, experience has shown that when drugs are legalized, drug use increases because the perception of harm is reduced.

Moreover, the Drug Enforcement Agency has estimated that legalization could double or even triple the amount of marijuana users.

While it is hard to fathom the societal impact of an additional 17 million to 34 million marijuana users, it is safe to assume that those who profit from legalization have calculated the impact on their bottom line.

Those in favor of legalization often fail to tell you that levels of drug use have gone down substantially since the 1970s when the “war” on drugs began. This is not to say that our drug laws, including those governing marijuana, are not in need of reform.

For instance, the effort to place more drug users into treatment instead of prison is a positive development, both for those struggling with addiction and for taxpayers.

However, reforming and improving our drug laws does not mean we should abandon our fight against the use of illegal drugs like marijuana.

On the contrary, the more we learn about effective methods of combating drug use, the more we learn that legalization is not the answer, and is, in fact, very much part of the problem.

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With autism rates soaring, Angelini calls for action

Source: Star Ledger -

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4th) said when he was elected to Congress in 1980, the autism prevalence rate in United States was 3 out of 10,000.

On the heels of new data released last week by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention that showed the prevalence rate has increased to 1 in every 68 American children and 1 in every 45 New Jersey children, federal and state lawmakers, autism advocates and parents of children with autism came together on Tuesday to call for more to be done to address the autism problem home and abroad.

“It’s a global pandemic,” said Smith. “Minimally, we’re talking about 67 million people around the world. We missed the boat here. … And in many places around the world, (autism) is almost never recognized.”

These comments came during a Tuesday press conference at The SEARCH Day Program School in Ocean Township – the state’s first autism specialty school – where advocates marked World Autism Day and National Autism Month by calling for more to be done to explain, and care for, the skyrocketing autistic population.

Smith was joined at the press conference by state Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth), prominent autism advocates from around the state and several parents of autistic children.

Mary Pat Angelini

“This is an issue that is nonpartisan and this is an issue that sees no boundaries as it relates to economic and social boundaries. This affects all aspects of our community,” Angelini said. “We know about the science, we know we need to look to evidence-based practices … and the CDC is looking at this, but we need to keep on them.”

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Lawmakers must act on prescription drug/heroin abuse – Angelini/Wolfe bill would have moved in that direction

Source: Asbury Park Press Editorial -

How many more New Jerseyans have to die from opiates before the state Legislature moves on bills currently stuck in committee that seek to address at least some aspects of the epidemic?

The time for hand-wringing is over. On Tuesday, the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Task Force issued its long-awaited report on heroin and other opiate use and abuse by young adults, along with recommendations on what to do about what it calls “the number one health care crisis confronting New Jersey.”

The 18 recommendations included in the 88-page report are thoughtful, responsible and should be acted upon as soon as possible, especially those requiring action by the Legislature. These include expanding the state’s prescription monitoring program to link with other states and mandating that prescribers and pharmacies register and use the monitoring program.

Mary Pat Angelini

Last year, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, and Assemblyman David Wolfe, R-Ocean, sponsored legislation that sought to move the state in that direction. It would have allowed doctors to designate an employee from their practice to access the database, and required the Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the program, to notify prescribers and dispensers, as well as law enforcement, when they have identified potential misuse of prescription drugs. The bill went nowhere.

Dave Wolfe

Hopefully, this report, the result of two years of study by a 16-member panel, will prompt the Legislature to act.

It offers a blueprint for moving forward and requires action on many fronts, including by the state Senate and Assembly. There is no panacea that will bring an end overnight to prescription drug abuse and opiate overdoses. And the Legislature can’t solve the problem alone.

Fortunately, three of the report’s recommendations are under way: establishing a phone line that offers information on how to find inpatient and outpatient treatment and also helps residents navigate the human-services system; updating school curricula with substance-abuse information; and undertaking a public awareness campaign that is scheduled for a full-blown launch in May.

Solving the opiate epidemic is a problem with many moving parts. Legislators in Monmouth and Ocean counties are on the front lines of this battle, which has been particularly deadly at the Jersey Shore.

Monmouth County has seen 350 heroin and opiate-related deaths the last five years. In 2013, Ocean County doubled its drug overdose deaths from the year before, and nearly all were linked to heroin and opiates.

The scope of this epidemic and its cost in ruined and lost lives is clear. The Legislature must make addressing it a top priority.

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