Tag: Mary Pat Angelini

Assemblywoman calls on sheriff’s office to assist with Asbury Park violence

Source: Star Ledger -

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth) is calling on the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office to assist local law enforcement in Asbury Park with combating violence in the city.

In a letter to Sheriff Shaun Golden dated Sept. 19, Angelini called the violence “unacceptable” and asked the Sheriff to use his resources to help the city while pledging her assistance.

Mary Pat Angelini

“The gun violence plaguing the area has an impact not only on the neighborhoods where the shootings occurred, but on the entire region,” Angelini said in the letter. “As a legislator representing Asbury Park and Neptune, as well as several surrounding towns, I am very concerned about the effects of these shootings on these communities and beyond.”

In an email Thursday, Golden said his agency, as well as other departments, are actively addressing criminal activity in the city.

“As a result of our warrant/fugitive caseload, we routinely have officers assigned to Asbury Park who serve warrants, monitor activity through radio frequency and assist in the apprehension of individuals,” Golden said.

Additionally, Golden said that his office added patrols in the city at the request of the Asbury Park Police Department and Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Golden said he also works closely with Prevention First, Angelini’s organization.

“We must continue the dialogue with legislators, community leaders and law enforcement agencies, and, work together in combatting criminal activity in the Asbury Park area,” Golden said.

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Space /McHose bill on home invasions passes Assembly

Source: New Jersey Herald -

The General Assembly passed a bill on Monday that makes the crime of home invasion, when a person is present, a first-degree offense under certain circumstances.

The legislation was sponsored by Assembly Republicans Alison McHose and Parker Space, both R-24, which includes Sussex, Morris and Warren counties.

The bill also upgrades burglary of a residence to a second-degree crime under certain circumstances.

The bill was a response to a break-in, robbery and vicious assault that occurred in a Millburn residence in June. A baby monitor recorded video of the crime in which an intruder beat a mother in front of her child, according to Louis Crescitelli, chief of staff for McHose and Space.

“The ordeal of a home burglary is a traumatic experience, and the psychological impact of being present when this occurs causes emotional scars that last a lifetime,” McHose said.

The charge for unlawful, non-violent break-in of a home is currently a third-degree offense and requires no prison time.

The new Home Invasion Bill states that the entering of a home with intent of a robbery, a first- or second-degree crime, or certain kidnapping and sexual crimes when a person is present will be classified as a first-degree offense, which requires a prison term of 10 to 30 years.

Home invasions will be labeled as a first-degree crime if the actor in the crime uses force or inflicts bodily injury on a person in the residence; threatens or purposely puts the person in the residence in fear of bodily injury; commits, attempts, or threatens to commit a first or second-degree crime or certain kidnapping and sexual crimes and offenses; or is armed or threatens the use of a deadly weapon or explosive.

Further, such offenses would be subject to the No Early Release Act, which states the convicted must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence.

“A criminal who acts with such callousness and threatens someone’s physical and mental well-being violates a basic premise that we hold sacred,” Space said. “Those who exhibit such detestable behavior and total lack of respect belong in one place –– jail.”

With the current bill “there’s no presumption of incarceration,” Crescitelli said. A criminal could “plea bargain down, and this (bill) would ensure that will not happen.”

Other Assembly Republican sponsors of the bill include Jon Bramnick, R-21, Mary Pat Angelini, R-11, Dave Rible, R-30, Scott Rumana, R-40,. and BettyLou DeCroce, R-26.

An identical Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho, R-24.

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Angelini-Rible-Rumana-DeCroce Sponsored Home Invasion Bill Passes Assembly

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Mary Pat Angelini, Dave Rible, Scott Rumana and BettyLou DeCroce that makes the crime of home invasion when a person is present a first degree offense was approved by the General Assembly today. The bill (A-4329/S-2932) is in response to the break-in, robbery and vicious assault in a Millburn residence in June.

“The video showing the break-in and assault that took place in Millburn was horrifying,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth. “The intrusion and callous disregard for the homeowner was shocking and disgusting. A criminal who acts with such indifference should face a severe penalty, without leniency.”

The Home Invasion Bill stipulates that entering a home with the intent to commit a robbery, a first or second degree crime, or certain kidnapping and sexual crimes when a person is present is a first degree crime, which imposes a 10-30 year prison term.

“The contempt demonstrated by the assailant shows the cruel indifference criminals have for the public,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, who is a retired police officer. “Words cannot aptly describe the fear a person and their loved ones feel when a burglary occurs when they are home. A person who acts with utter disdain and disrespect for other human beings and their property must pay the appropriate penalty.”

A home invasion offense would be subject to the No Early Release Act which stipulates that the convicted must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

Scott Rumana

“Home invasion is an egregious violation of a person’s right to live peacefully in their home,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “The trauma of burglary is bad enough, but when a person is in their home and fearing for their life, the mental and physical anguish never goes away. A criminal who acts so viciously deserves to face the stiffest sentence under the law.”

“The assault in Millburn is an example of how callously indifferent criminals are,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, who sponsored legislation signed into law last year (Alex DeCroce’s Law) advocating for the rights of crime victims. “The brutality of this attack is a vivid example of the horror people endure. Many victims of crime bear the emotional trauma forever, especially when it involves an intrusion into their home. The criminal who is responsible deserves to pay a steep penalty for the harm they cause.”

Currently, the charge for the unlawful, non-violent break-in of a home is a third degree offense and does not require a prison sentence.

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N.J. Assemblywoman slams shift in federal marijuana policy

Source: Star Ledger -

As the tide nationally and statewide slowly turns in favor of less stringent laws regulating the sale and use of marijuana, one New Jersey assemblywoman is taking a stand in opposition.

Last week, after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the federal government will not challenge ballot measures which legalize recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, Assembylwoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean) released statements in dissent.

“The announcement that the Department of Justice will not seek to overturn laws which blatantly contradict the federal ban on marijuana is incredibly disappointing,” Angelini said. “The actions by a handful of states to ‘legalize’ marijuana do not change the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and should be enforced accordingly. I call on Attorney General Holder to rethink this irresponsible decision that has the potential to cause irreparable harm.”

Angelini argued that the federal decision might lead to perceptions that marijuana use is safe, an assertion she disputes.

“This decision furthers the misconception perpetuated by the pro-legalization forces that marijuana is somehow safe for use when it is actually an addictive drug that can harm the developing brain,” Angelini said.

Angelini is currently the executive director of Prevention First, an organization which, among other things, works to combat the effects of drug abuse in communities. In the past, she was a program development specialist with Monmouth County’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse services.

Angelini said her experience has informed her opinion.

“As someone who works to help educate young people on the dangers of drugs, I am extremely concerned about the message this action sends to our children,” Angelini said. “Instead of speaking with one voice on the dangers of drug abuse, we are once again sending a mixed message to our young people on one of the most important issues they will confront.”

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Casagrande-Angelini Announce NJ Council on the Arts Grants

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release

Assembly Republicans Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini, both R-Monmouth, are pleased to confirm funding grants for arts and theater organizations in their legislative district. Over $525,000 has been awarded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to five programs which will provide assistance for the day-to-day operation and general programming needs of each group.

Caroline Casagrande

“The arts are not only important because of their cultural value, but also because of their economic contributions to our state,” said Casagrande. “The assistance provided by the arts council helps both start-up programs as well as stalwart organizations that have enriched our communities for many years.”

Created in 1966, the Arts Council is the largest single contributor to the arts in the state. The council works closely with groups involved in arts education, cultural planning and tourism.

The Count Basie Theatre is one of the grant recipients. The theatre, which opened in 1926 as the Carlton Theatre, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1984, it was renamed after Red Bank native and legendary jazz pianist, composer and band leader William “Count” Basie, who passed away that year.

Mary Pat Angelini

“The council’s funding supports the development of skills for those whose talents might otherwise go unnoticed,” said Angelini. “The grants provide valuable assistance to artists who are established in their field and those who aspire to exhibit their work or perform. This funding helps sustain an important cultural and economic component of our state.”
The following are recipients of grants in Casagrande and Angelini’s 11th legislative district:

Count Basie Theatre – Red Bank: $178,815
Monmouth County Arts Council – Red Bank: $173,207
Monmouth University – West Long Branch: $42,681
New Jersey Repertory Company – Long Branch: $23,894
Two River Theater Company – Red Bank: $118,812

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Is There a Way to Stop Younger NJ Residents From Using Heroin?

Source: NJ 101.5

As overdose deaths from heroin and prescription drugs continue to rise, a New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation to toughen the state’s existing prescription drug monitoring program.

Mary Pat Angelini

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini says this is important because “it allows doctors to log in to find out if the patient sitting before them has already gone to four or five other doctors looking for the same type of drug.”

She says part of the reason why heroin use is up is because “Oxycodone is actually more expensive than heroin is in our area, so kids will get hooked on opioids and then the next logical step is heroin, so we’re looking at ways to make it easier for physicians to give good data and to be able to access the data.”

Angelini points out some patients will go to multiple emergency rooms, or they’ll go to multiple doctors trying to get a prescription, claiming that they have a backache, or something that’s not really easy to define, so there needs to be a way to track this.

She is also sponsoring legislation to improve communication between states – to track patient prescriptions- and another measure would make it mandatory “that pharmacies give information as to how you can get rid of your unused or unwanted prescription meds.”

Angelini stresses that in addition to passing new laws, kids need to be taught that there are consequences for negative actions.

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Summer Activities Are Key To Preventing Underage Drinking

Source: NJTODAY.NET

Opinion editorial by Mary Pat Angelini

Did you know that more young people try alcohol for the first time during the summer months than at any other time of the year? Keeping teens occupied and supervised helps to ensure they have a safe summer. By involving teens in a variety of alcohol-free activities-such as sports, summer camps, and outdoor recreational activities-you can help prevent underage drinking.

Here are a few other tips for busy families to consider for the summer months and beyond:
•Establish and maintain good communication with your child. Get into the habit of talking with your child every day. Building a close relationship with your child when they are young will make it easier for them to come to you when they have a problem. With a closer relationship to you, they will be less likely to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs.
•Get involved in your child’s life – it really does make a difference! Young people are much less likely to have substance use problems when they have positive activities to do and when caring adults are involved in their lives. Your involvement and encouragement tell your child that they and their activities are worthwhile. Additionally, you will be better able to see changes in your child that may indicate a problem.
•Make clear, sensible rules for your child and enforce them with consistent and appropriate consequences. By doing this, you help your child develop daily habits of self-discipline. Following these rules can help protect your child’s physical safety and mental well-being, which can lower their risk for substance abuse problems. Some rules, such as “Respect Your Elders,” apply to all ages, but many will vary depending on your child’s age and level of development.
•Set a good example for your child through your own behavior. Think about what you say and how you act in front of them. Your child learns social skills and how to deal with stress by listening to and watching you. Do not take part in illegal, unhealthy, or dangerous practices related to alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs or they may believe that, no matter what you say, these practices are OK.
•Support your child’s social development by teaching your child how to form positive relationships. Research shows that the pressure to use tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs comes most often from wanting to be accepted, wanting to belong, and wanting to be noticed. Help your child learn what qualities to look for in a friend, and advise them about what to say if offered harmful substances.
•Find out what your child is listening to and how they are spending time with their friends. Talking with your child about their interests opens up an opportunity for you to share your values. And research says that monitoring your child’s activities is an important way to lower their chances of getting involved in situations you don’t approve of, especially those that can be harmful. Unsupervised children simply have more opportunities to experiment with risky behaviors, including the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, and they may start substance abuse at earlier ages.

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Beck, Casagrande and Angelini Announce Funding for Road Safety and Construction Projects in Freehold Township, Freehold Borough and Loch Arbour

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release

Monmouth County Legislators Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini welcomed the news from the Christie Administration that Safe Corridor Grants will be given to Freehold Borough and Freehold Township to make driving Route 9 safer. These grants can be used to purchase enforcement equipment including police vehicles, radar equipment and computer hardware and software. Loch Arbour will also receive a Local Aid Infrastructure Fund grant towards their Ocean Avenue Reconstruction Project.

“These monies will help alleviate the fiscal burden on our towns who are working hard to keep spending under control,” said Beck. “The costs offset by these grants will help towns rein in taxes while improving safety on some of our most travel roadways.”

“At a time when municipal budgets are stretched to the limit, these funds will enable Freehold Borough and Freehold Township to do what is needed to make driving safer along the busy Route 9 corridor” says Casagrande. “Likewise for Loch Arbor which is getting funding for their project on Ocean Avenue. These roadways are key thoroughfares for the businesses and residents of these municipalities in our District.”

“Maintaining and improving our roadways is essential for both safety reasons and for our quality of life,” said Angelini. “This funding will help these important transportation projects to move forward while reducing the cost to local property taxpayers.”

Freehold Township will receive $130,131.44 and Freehold Borough 4853.39 from the Safe Corridor grant program, which targets resources to sections of highways with a history of high crash rates. The Village of Loch Arbour will receive $97,750.00 for roadway reconstruction on Ocean Avenue from the Local Aid Infrastructure Fund grant program.

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Doctor’s Painkiller Scam Shows Need for Stricter Standards, Report Says

Source: NJ Spotlight

New Jersey doctors have been bilking Medicaid by wrongfully handing out drugs for prescription painkillers and in some cases serving as a front for the Russian mob — showing the need for stricter oversight, according to a report by the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) released yesterday.

The authors of the report, “Scenes from an Epidemic,”recommended that the state adopt explicit standards based on national models for how doctors should prescribe powerful pain treatments.

The New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners hasn’t picked up on key elements of the national model, including explicit definitions of terms like “acute pain” and “substance abuse,” which will help in setting formal standards of practice for doctors, a step that the report recommended.

The often-gripping report described a series of schemes pursued by doctors across the state, including cases in which associates of Russian crime figures used Passaic doctor Joseph W. Dituro as a front to receive Medicaid payments and prescription narcotics.

The scheme initially had homeless Medicaid and Medicare patients from the Newark streets transported to the mob-owned clinic, where Dituro would prescribe unnecessary pain medications and diagnoses, and then bill the government, according to the SCI. Dituro, who was well-compensated, would later turn over the payments to the clinic’s mob owners, said the report. The scheme escalated over several years, and the clinic got a well-earned reputation as a place where drug addicts could get bogus prescriptions.

“Would-patients in search of scripts often arrived drunk or high, and drug paraphernalia, including crack-cocaine vials and hypodermic needles, regularly turned up in the center’s restrooms,” according to a section of the report. The mob owners eventually had to hire a bouncer to bring order to the clinic, according to the report — which reads like a magazine article or best-seller.

The report also indicates that the use of prescription narcotics is contributing to a growing problem with heroin addiction among young people.

In addition to suggesting stricter prescription standards, the commission recommended a series of other steps.

These include tougher financial and criminal penalties for doctors who improperly prescribe drugs, which would run from $10,000 for a first offense to $20,000 for subsequent offenses. The report also said many regulators and law enforcement officials contend that the Board of Medical Examiners’ improper prescription enforcement has been “weak and infrequent.”

In addition, the commission recommended creating a statewide opioid strike force solely devoted to identifying, investigating, and prosecuting illegal sources and distribution of prescription pills, as well as giving state officials the authority to gather information about doctors’ business relationships when they apply to renew their licenses.

Other recommendations include: making it easier for law-enforcement to access a prescription-monitoring program that collects and analyzes statewide data on dangerous controlled substances and human growth hormones; embedding security markers on prescription forms; lowering the legal threshold for charging people with criminal heroin possession with intent to distribute; and criminalizing the use of secret “traps,” compartments in vehicles used to store illegal drugs.

The report also recommended establishing stronger regulations for prepaid cell phones, including requiring that service providers gather subscriber information, such as name, address, date of birth, and assigned serial numbers and phone listings.

Legislators from both parties released statements that called for further action in the wake of the report.

Assembly members Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth) and David W. Wolfe (R-Ocean) reiterated their support for a bill they introduced in June, A-4220, that includes a provision designed to encourage more doctors to participate in the state prescription-monitoring program.

“The instances of prescriptive drug abuse are increasing at an alarming rate, especially when they are diverted from the intended recipient and sold to those who are vulnerable,” Angelini said. “When combined with the price of acquiring heroin at roughly the same cost of cigarettes, we need to make better use of the PMP to assess and curtail the illegal pipeline which is a lucrative source of revenue for those who prey on the addiction potential of these controlled substances.”

The SCI is an independent agency established in 1968 whose mission is to expose organized crime, public corruption, and waste and to recommend reforms.

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Angelini/Wolfe: Bill on Prescription Monitoring Program would assist SCI Report Recommendations on Prescription and Heroin Abuse

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release

Measure Encourages Doctors to Participate, Increases Info Sharing Between States

Following today’s report by the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) on its findings about prescription drugs and heroin abuse in New Jersey, Assembly Republicans Mary Pat Angelini and Dave Wolfe reiterated their call for consideration of a bill they introduced on June 10 that seeks to curb such abuses by revising provisions of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

The legislation, A-4220, seeks to increase participation in New Jersey’s electronic PMP which collects data on prescriptions dispensed for all controlled and dangerous substances in an effort to prevent the diversion, abuse and illegal sale of prescription drugs. SCI’s report maintains that medicines manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and intended for those needing pain relief have been funneled into criminal enterprises whose intent is to foster drug abuse and addiction.

“The drug abuse that results from those illegally dispensing prescriptions for financial gain or for what they believe is harmless recreational use is a social issue that needs to be addressed by our state-of-the art technology along with the cooperation of those who oversee and supervise their distribution,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth, who is a member of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. “The instances of prescriptive drug abuse are increasing at an alarming rate, especially when they are diverted from the intended recipient and sold to those who are vulnerable. When combined with the price of acquiring heroin at roughly the same cost of cigarettes, we need to make better use of the PMP to assess and curtail the illegal pipeline which is a lucrative source of revenue for those who prey on the addiction potential of these controlled substances.”

The measure seeks to increase participation in the PMP by allowing doctors to designate an employee from their practice to access the database. It also requires 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.

“Improved oversight of those who authorize and dispense narcotics will deter and bring to justice those who put the potential for financial gain of pain medication above a patient’s welfare,” said Wolfe, R-Ocean. “The incidents of the out-in-the-open sale and purchase of drugs described in the report indicates that pushers have no fear. Utilizing the monitoring and reporting requirements and capabilities of the PMP sends the message to these predators that they will be caught and punished.

“The additional fallout besides addiction and overdose is that there is an increase in violence and robberies,” continued Wolfe. “There is no such thing as an innocent ‘mistake’ in over-filling prescriptions or monitoring how frequently they are dispensed to the same person, who may sell them on the open market. People will be more attentive if they know someone is watching how they handle the filling of these prescriptions. The drug abuse pipeline is a long one that needs enhanced oversight and stronger penalties for those who believe they can get rich quick without being detected.”

Angelini also noted that the legislation authorizes New Jersey’s PMP to share and receive information from other states’ prescription monitoring programs.

“Currently, an addict can avoid detection by filling their prescriptions in a different state-something that is not difficult in most parts of New Jersey,” she said. “This measure seeks to close that loophole by allowing our PMP to share data with other states.”

The bill has been referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

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