Tag: Mary Pat Angelini

Angelini proposal would make volunteering for Sandy recovery legal

From: Asbury Park PressAge wasn’t a factor in the random acts of kindness across the Jersey Shore after superstorm Sandy.

Thousands of volunteers, from young kids tagging along with their parents to retired adults helping their neighbors, have poured across the Jersey Shore to help the storm’s victims recover.

Countless more might have come this summer, except for one thing: They’d be breaking the law.

A state statute now under review by state officials prohibits anyone under age 18 from coming within 30 feet of construction work. While there is an exception for helping nonprofit organizations with affordable housing, no such exception currently exists for disaster relief.

Mary Pat Angelini

A potential fix for next summer could be forthcoming in a bill introduced last month by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, which would permit volunteers between the ages of 14 to 17 to engage in housing construction activities if the work is supervised by an approved nonprofit organization.

Angelini said thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed during Sandy and that nonprofit organizations want to include youth groups in rehabilitating and rebuilding damaged homes and buildings.

However, bill A4221 hasn’t gone through committee review yet and lawmakers are on summer recess.

Angelini said she hopes the proposed legislation can be enacted “in time for next summer.”

The issue came to light, Angelini said, at a meeting of the Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group, which addresses Sandy-related social services. Angelini said a Federal Emergency Management Agency representative reported that Louisiana officials had discovered similar concerns that resulted from minors participating in the construction of housing after Hurricane Katrina.

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Beck-Angelini-Casagrande to Introduce Legislation on Legal Billing Practices by Local Governments

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release

Following last week’s report by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) on the lack of oversight by local government in its billing services contracts regarding legal services for select towns and school districts, Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande, all R-Monmouth, announced they are introducing legislation that will codify the comptroller’s recommendations.

“This bill ensures that we hold school districts accountable for their billing practices,” said Beck. “As we all work to tighten our belts and rein in spending, transparency throughout is key. The comptroller’s recommendations were all sound ones and will help to curb excessive spending on legal fees while creating a more fluid process for the districts involved.”

Some of the recommendations made by Comptroller Matt Boxer for local government units (LGUs) to follow include: conducting a competitive procurement for legal counsel; drafting and executing formal, written contracts with legal counsel hired; developing policies and procedures regarding the use and management of legal counsel; and how the contracts will be managed.

“It is disappointing to learn of the lax oversight regarding the billing practices by the towns and school districts for legal services included in the comptroller’s report,” said Angelini. Provisions of the contract were not well known, enforced or overlooked. The OSC’s findings uncovered significant shortcomings in the administration of legally binding agreements with law firms, but their billing practices need to be scrutinized just as closely as any other vendor used by a local government unit. Codifying these recommendations will make those responsible for paying bills that taxpayers are getting the services for which they have contracted.”

“The same standard of accountability that is demanded in the private sector applies to public employees,” said Casagrande. “An isolated unintentional mistake is one thing, but a pattern of careless oversight or unfamiliarity with the terms of a legal contract must be known and enforced. The need to monitor legitimate costs and question overbillings is a responsibility of the local government unit. Establishing a best practices approach is a good start at correcting this costly waste of taxpayer funds, but we need to put more teeth into getting across the message that there can be no lapses in supervising the due diligence requirement of contracts where taxpayer dollars foot the bill.”

The full state Comptroller report, with best practices recommendations, can be found here: http://nj.gov/comptroller/news/docs/report_local_government_legal_fees.pdf


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Freehold Regional district needs more spending oversight, legislators say

Source: Asbury Park Press

State legislators are calling on the Freehold Regional High School District to overhaul its billing practices after a state investigative report showed what lawmakers called “a concerning history of legal payments.”

State Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande, all R-Monmouth, want the district, which enrolls roughly 12,000 high-schoolers from six western Monmouth municipalities, to adopt billing practices recommended by state Comptroller Matthew Boxer. The procedures require district legal bills to be more specific and the Board of Education to justify the reasons for using law firms in annual hiring resolutions.

District officials say they have already started making such changes and have been seeking guidance on fiscal matters from Boxer’s office for years.

Boxer’s report, issued last week, maintains that the district spent $493,414 on outside legal costs during the 2010-11 school year, all of which was paid to the law firm of Schwartz, Simon, Edelstein & Celso as board attorney.

Casagrande said the legislators contacted the state comptroller in July 2011 regarding fiscal questions in the district.

However, as copies of the school district minutes show, Freehold Regional Board of Education member Carl Accettola brought the idea of a district audit to the board at its May 23, 2011, meeting.

Accettola offered a motion to call upon the state comptroller’s office for a district audit, a motion seconded by board member Maryanne Tomazic, the Freehold Township representative, and passed by the board.

In the statement provided Wednesday, district officials said that Boxer’s report criticizes practices in 2010-11.

“All areas of concern have been addressed,” reads a statement from the district spokeswoman Nakell Williams emailed to the Asbury Park Press.

The board took corrective action on several other issues beyond that school year after soliciting “guidance” from the comptroller, and those actions are not part of his report, according to the district statement.

Working on specifics

One of the primary concerns in the state report was the board hiring its outside law firm without stating specific reasons why, a violation of public contract law. The district said it worked with the state to create more specific resolutions, and from now on, such annual resolutions will contain the specifics sought by the state.

Further, contracts with the law firm no longer contain a cap, although the district was not specific about when it ended the practice. The state maintained in the report that in 2010-11 the district exceeded its own cap on legal expenses without any authorization to do so.

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Angelini Statement on Assembly Approval of FY 2014 Budget

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release

Deputy Assembly Republican Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, issued the following statement regarding today’s Assembly approval of the Fiscal 2014 Budget:

“This budget addresses the core needs of New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens. Expanding the eligibility for more people to access Medicaid means those near the poverty line will be able to receive critical health services. At the same time, New Jersey’s taxpayers will save hundreds of millions of dollars. This budget also reflects our commitment to providing compassionate care. Increased aid for uninsured children, those with substance abuse problems and people with mental health issues shows that helping those less fortunate remains a high priority.

“Maintaining our fiscal discipline has enabled us to also meet our pension obligation and increase educational aid without raising taxes. State government is operating efficiently and effectively.”

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Angelini Bill Making It Easier To Find Information On Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Advances

Press release — Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini to make it easier to find substance abuse treatment facilities was approved today by the General Assembly.

Mary Pat Angelini

“Struggling with substance abuse is difficult enough without having to search the ends of the earth for a place that offers treatment,” Angelini, R-Monmouth, said. “Treatment providers, county and state officials can do a better job keeping people informed about their options for help.”

The bill, A-3756, requires licensed residential or outpatient substance abuse treatment facilities to provide certain information to county health departments to displayed on county and state web sites. In addition to basic contact information, the center would detail each center’s capacity, number of openings and average waiting time for treatment. Information would be updated annually, or more frequently at the center’s discretion.

“New Jersey’s growing heroin crisis shows we need to do more to help people find they help they need,” Angelini said. “The decision to seek treatment is not made lightly and the last thing I’d want is for someone to think twice because we don’t have an easy-to-find listing of all the programs available to them. This is a small step that could save someone’s life.”


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Angelini/Wolfe Bill Would Improve Prescription Monitoring Program

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release

Measure Encourages Doctors to Participate, Increases Info Sharing Between States

Assembly Republicans Mary Pat Angelini and Dave Wolfe are sponsoring legislation that seeks to curb prescription drug abuse by improving New Jersey’s system of monitoring prescription drugs.

The legislation seeks to increase participation in New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) which collects data on prescriptions dispensed for all controlled dangerous substances in an effort to prevent the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.

“The abuse of prescription drugs kills more people in this country than cocaine and heroin combined,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth. “Ensuring our prescription monitoring program is operating effectively is an important component of our efforts to curb prescription drug abuse.”

The measure, A-4220, 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.

“We have all this information on prescription drug diversion that is not being utilized by doctors and law enforcement,” said Wolfe. “Increasing the use of the prescription monitoring system and improving the way we use the data will dramatically enhance our ability to combat this growing problem.”

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.”

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Angelini: Taking back New Jersey from grip of heroin crisis

From: The Times of TrentonThe following is an excerpt from Assemblywoman Mary Pat Aneglini’s op-ed on heroin. Read the complete version in The Times of Trenton.

Mary Pat Angelini

The word “crisis” tends to be overused, especially in political rhetoric. But when a county prosecutor uses it to describe how a substance has become a poisonous weed throughout our state, it must be taken as a sobering call to action.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato correctly called it a crisis after Ocean County endured 53 fatal overdoses this year through June 3 — mostly due to heroin.

Local law enforcers such as Coronato are doing everything they can to spare lives from heroin. They’re in schools trying to educate young people about the dangers of heroin and prescription painkillers and trying to eradicate it from our classrooms. They’re arguing for stronger laws for those who traffic heroin and more access for treatment for those who are addicted.

I have dedicated my professional career to keeping young people healthy and drug-free. That pursuit often influences the policies I support as a state legislator, which is why, this summer, a top priority for me will be trying to free our communities from heroin’s deathly grip. I have begun working on an array of legislation that will combat this crisis from all angles, and I’m planning public forums with health care professionals, members of the law enforcement community and families who have been affected by heroin or prescription painkiller addiction.

We cannot rest until heroin is out of our state and people are free from its grasp.

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Angelini praises community spirit of Rumson County Day School

From: Asbury Park PressA longstanding and much-anticipated Rumson Country Day School tradition happens on the last day of every school year. Instead of casual dress, RCDS students come to school one last time in formal attire to attend the annual Class Day ceremony. Students are seated by class grade in the school gymnasium with eighth graders being in the first row, seventh graders in the second, all the way to the Beginners (Kindergarten) in the last row. After a formal acknowledgement of their hard work throughout the school year by Headmaster Small, the students each move up a row to signify their promotion to the next grade.

Mary Pat Angelini

This year, the very unique ceremony is made even more special by the visit of Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, who accepted a check in the amount of $3,325 for NJ First Lady Mary Pat Christies Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. The funds were raised in a student directed initiative – a special concert of live music was held on May 17, featuring local teen bands to raise money for the victims of Sandy. The concert took place at The Rumson Country Day School and included the following bands: Gone Under; The Stone Bullets and Ardvark Smile with a special guest appearance by Pat Guadagno.

The local benefit concert was the brainchild of RCDS seventh grader Max Kyrillos who was inspired by the 12-12-12 relief concert in New York City this past December. RCDS History and World Language teacher and community service director for the school remarked, The special initiative is an excellent example of how service can use ones passion as the springboard to creating a meaningful and successful project to benefit others. Max translated his love of music into a dynamic event that raised over $3,000!

After heartfelt thanks to the students, Assemblywoman Angelini praised the parents for instilling such a strong community spirit in their children. The Rumson Country Day School community is dedicated to working on a local and global level to make this a better world. Community service is a core component of the educational philosophy and RCDS teachers encourage students to embrace the opportunities that life presents and turning them into meaningful experiences.

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N.J.’s First All-Female Delegation Discuss Political Leadership At Governor’s Conference For Women

Press release — As part of New Jersey’s only all-female delegation, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini led a panel discussion on women legislative leaders today at the annual New Jersey Governor’s Conference for Women.

Mary Pat Angelini

“New Jersey has many talented women who have become strong leaders in politics and business. This was a great opportunity to highlight our state’s diversity and discuss the challenges that still exist,” Angelini, R-Monmouth, said. “It was an honor to lead this panel, especially when there are so many successful women in the Legislature to choose from.”

Angelini was joined on the panel by Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth, who has focused the past year on improving the opportunities for women in the work force.

Caroline Casagrande

“This panel reinforced the fact that although there’s still room for improvement, our state is a great place for women to lead, whether in the work place or State House,” Casagrande said. “Conferences like this will help make New Jersey state the leading state in the country for women to achieve success.”

Casagrande and Angelini represent the 11th District in Monmouth County with Sen. Jennifer Beck. The Republican trio makes up the first and only all-female delegation in New Jersey history.

“Our delegation is just one example of how far women have come in politics,” Beck, R-Monmouth, said. “Our society has reached the point in which the only thing that matters is a person’s talent, intellect and hard work and there is no state that embodies that more than New Jersey.”

The annual conference was held today at the War Memorial in Trenton. Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno were featured speakers.

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Angelini praised for helping open Asbury Park

From: Asbury Park PressThe following is an excerpt from a letter to the editor written by Anselm Fusco, Vice President of Madison Marquette, of Asbury Park:

With our boardwalk open and people once again flocking to our beaches and businesses, we are incredibly proud to have been part of the effort to ensure Asbury Park was open by Memorial Day weekend and ready for the recent visits by Gov. Christie and President Obama.

Achieving this goal would not have been possible without the efforts of many dedicated people, including various elected officials, city employees, numerous volunteers and our own staff.

Mary Pat Angelini

One person who deserves singular praise is Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini.

When we ran into an obstacle that threatened our ability to open boardwalk amenities in time for Memorial Day, Assemblywoman Angelini took immediate action to help ensure that JCP&L was able to perform the necessary work to allow us to open. Her efforts were directly responsible for the resolution of an issue that would have made it impossible to fully open the boardwalk by this vital tourism weekend.

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