Tag: Mary Pat Angelini

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Assembly Republicans Holly Schepisi and Mary Pat Angelini voiced their disappointment that Condoleezza Rice has withdrawn from delivering this year’s commencement address at Rutgers University: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

Source: My9NJ.com (video) -

New Brunswick, New Jersey (My9NJ) – Faculty at Rutgers University are calling for the school to cancel the invitation to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be their 2014 commencement speaker.

Rutgers Professor Rudy Bell is at the forefront of the petition that was signed by over 350 professors and he explained why he feels the change is necessary.

Mary Pat Angelini


“I’m disappointed in the faculty, I’m very pleased that the president has stated that he’s not going to resend the invitation, ya know this goes way beyond politics. She is an African American woman who has really risen through the ranks of world leaders,” Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini explained.


“We believe that Condoleezza Rice was so heavily co-involved in the use and authorization of water board techniques and other violations of human rights that she does not meet that high moral standards of high moral quality that are supposed to be required of a recipient of an honorary degree,” he said.

However, Rutgers President Barchi has responded with a memo sent out to the entire campus reaffirming the selection of Rice.

He calls her one of the “most influential, intellectual political figures of the last 50 years”, and reminds the campus of the importance of open discourse.

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini has also been very outspoken on the subject. She said that it is appalling to hear the attitude coming out of Rutgers.

“I’m disappointed in the faculty, I’m very pleased that the president has stated that he’s not going to resend the invitation, ya know this goes way beyond politics. She is an African American woman who has really risen through the ranks of world leaders,” she explained.

The assemblywoman went on to say that Rice should be a role model to all women as the first female Secretary of State.
My9 New Jersey

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Rutgers faculty protest of Condoleezza Rice as graduation speaker ‘appalling,’ lawmaker says

Source: Hunterdon County Democrat -

Republican state Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini blasted a Rutgers University faculty group today for its opposition to Condoleezza Rice’s selection as this year’s commencement speaker.

Angelini (R-Monmouth) issued a statement calling the faculty vote protesting Rice’s selection “appalling and an embarrassment to our state.”

Mary Pat Angelini

“This is nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular. Dr. Rice and the people of New Jersey deserve better,” Angelini said.

Last week, Rutgers’ New Brunswick Faculty Council passed a resolution calling on the university’s board of governors to rescind its invitation to Rice. The former U.S. Secretary of State is scheduled to receive $35,000 and an honorary doctorate for her speech.

The faculty resolution said Rutgers should not honor Rice because of her role in the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s adoption of waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques.

“Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in the administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction,” the resolution said.

In her statement, Angelini praised Rice.

“Condoleezza Rice is a trailblazer and a woman of extraordinary intelligence and diverse talents who has spent most of her career in academia,” Angelini said. “She was the first woman and first African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University and has served as a Stanford professor for more than three decades. That alone makes her beyond qualified to deliver the commencement speech at Rutgers or at any university.”

Rice is scheduled to speak at the May 18 university-wide commencement ceremony in the Rutgers football stadium in Piscataway. The Rutgers Board of Governors unanimously approved Rice’s nomination for the honorary degree last month.

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Angelini Statement on Gov. Christie’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal

Mary Pat Angelini

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini, R – Monmouth, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Christie’s Budget Address, delivered this afternoon to a Joint Session of the Legislature:

“I applaud Gov. Christie’s diligence for crafting his fifth consecutive State budget without increasing taxes. This is a herculean accomplishment, considering the skyrocketing burden on the taxpayers from pensions and health benefits for public employees, and the debt.

“The FY 2015 plan provides for an increase of more than $500 million in property tax relief, and injects more than $2 billion in job-creating tax relief for businesses, significantly addressing two of the most pressing concerns of our New Jersey families.

“This budget once again raises the bar on education funding, with the highest level of school funding ever for New Jersey, at almost $13 billion. State support for our schools in 2015 reflects an increase of 36 percent over 2010, Corzine’s final year in office. Not one school district will see its aid reduced, and we will increase funding to some important areas, including aid for school choice programs and preschool education.

“The Governor’s proposed budget once again demonstrates that his priority is the sensible, responsible treatment of taxpayer dollars.”

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Angelini-Fiocchi Move to Rescue Volunteer Fire Departments from Obamacare Tax

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

Mary Pat Angelini

A resolution has been introduced by Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi to calling on Congress to codify regulation proposed by the Internal Revenue Service exempting volunteer firefighters from Obamacare.

The resolution, AR-62, memorializes the United States Congress to enact the “Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act” and to codify the exclusion of volunteer firefighters from being designated as employees.

“Quick action is needed by Congress to prevent our volunteer fire departments and emergency squads from becoming collateral damage from Obamacare,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth. “The majority of communities in our state depend on dedicated volunteers who respond at all hours of the day, but that has been placed in jeopardy by Federal healthcare rules.”

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the opinion that volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel should not be counted as employees, and AR-62 calls on Congress to codify that opinion.

“Clarifying that volunteers are not full-time employees salvages the outstanding emergency services our neighborhoods have come to expect from the dedicated men and women who risk their own lives for our health, safety, and property,” said Fiocchi, R – Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. “The IRS made the right decision, and Congress should see that it is enforced.”

“Our volunteer fire departments operate with minimal resources and simply cannot absorb the cost of providing health insurance to their members,” Fiocchi said. “Failure to exempt volunteer firefighters from Obamacare could result in the closing of volunteer firehouses throughout the state.”

“If Congress does not act on this legislation, many volunteer fire departments will disappear and towns will be forced to turn to paid firefighters to provide the same service, at a significant cost to the local taxpayers,” said Angelini.

Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible is also a sponsor on the resolution.

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Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini / Fighting heroin’s scourge

Source: Asbury Park Press Op-Ed (Mary Pat Angelini) -

Mary Pat Angelini

Once relegated mainly to the mean streets and back alleys, drug overdose deaths and heroin addiction have moved out of the darkness into the bright lights of New Jersey’s suburbs. Today, an overdose death is as likely to occur in a single-family home as it is in a boarded-up tenement.

Throughout our cities, small towns and suburbs, we are faced with a legitimate statewide public health crisis. In Ocean County alone, more than 100 people lost their lives to drugs last year, a 100 percent increase over 2012.

Equally alarming increases are being reported in counties all over the state. Last year, 368 New Jersey lives were lost to heroin, according to the state’s assistant medical examiner, and the sad fact is that number is trending upward.

Overshadowed only by the extent of the heroin epidemic is the escalation of prescription opioid abuse and the similarly heart-wrenching tragedies that often result.

Those of us fortunate to serve in the Legislature have a responsibility to do everything in our power to protect all New Jersey residents and families from the grips of powerful drugs that permeate our neighborhoods, often with devastating effect.

As someone who has dedicated my professional career to keeping young people healthy and drug-free, I am saddened by the lack of action by the legislative leadership while this issue worsens exponentially and the death toll continues to rise.

In June of last year, the heroin epidemic in New Jersey had already been well documented, and the loss of life had reached disturbing levels. At that time, I hosted a meeting of substance abuse experts to devise methods to combat this growing problem.

In October, I called on the Assembly speaker to make confronting this unprecedented drug crisis a top priority. Six months after my forum, the death toll has almost doubled and yet the Legislature has failed to move several key measures to help contain the problem and save lives.

As we begin a new legislative session, I am hopeful the leadership in the Assembly will move swiftly on bills such as A-4151, which increases the penalties for distributing drugs such as heroin by basing charges on units instead of weight.

Another important measure is my legislation, A-4220, that expands access to the electronic Prescription Monitoring Program system to identify possible fraud, misuse or abuse by a person obtaining the same, or similar drugs, from multiple pharmacies or practitioners.

Many individuals caught in the grasp of heroin addiction got their start in the medicine cabinet at home. Some teens may fall victim to the temptation of forgotten or misappropriated prescription medications like Percocet or Oxycodone.

Once they are ensnared by the effects of the opioid, they start searching for it “on the streets,” where a single pill could cost $30 to $50. Heroin, selling for less than a pack of cigarettes for a hit, becomes an enticing option.

It is a frightening conversion from curiosity to addiction, often with irreversible consequences. In fact, the abuse of prescription drugs kills more people in the United States than cocaine and heroin combined.

To prevent this type of scenario, I introduced legislation requiring pharmacies and prescribers to notify patients about safe disposal of unused prescription drugs.

Educating young people and families about the dangers of prescription painkillers may be our most effective strategy in preventing addictions and loss of life.

This plague of drug abuse is certainly not restricted to the Garden State, but the crisis is out of control in New Jersey, where drugs are prevalent and drug dealers peddle some of the most potent heroin in the country.

By passing these bills that strengthen and modernize our laws to keep pace with the prevalence of drugs in our communities, we can begin to free our communities from the clutches of heroin and other drugs.

However, confronting this dangerous public health crisis requires the attention and support of the Legislature, which must make this issue a priority for the new session. Failure to act assures the loss of more young people, the devastation of more families and the degradation of more New Jersey communities.

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, is executive director of Prevention First.

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