Tuesday, January 31, 2012


(TRENTON)- Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty and Herb Conaway, M.D. sponsored to combat identity theft by requiring the hard drives of all digital copy machines to be wiped clean to protect sensitive, personal information was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

The information is stored on each machine, in some cases in perpetuity, unbeknownst to millions of consumers.

The bill (A-1238) was advanced by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

“Most digital copy machines use internal hard drives, which store every document that has been scanned, printed, faxed, or emailed by the machines, many times numbering in the tens of thousands by the time a copier is resold or returned at the end of a lease agreement,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden), who chairs the committee. “According to news reports, most businesses do not erase the hard drive on a copier before getting rid of it, putting the highly sensitive information of millions of consumers at serious risk of theft.”

“Besides the serious threat of identity theft, consumers are also vulnerable to repercussions posed by sensitive medical records or police documents,” said Conaway (D-Burlington), “There’s a simple way to eliminate these risks and we need to make sure it’s instituted.”

According to a 2008 survey commissioned by electronics manufacturer Sharp, 60 percent of consumers are not aware that copiers store images on a hard drive.

The bill required that person destroy , or arrange for the destruction of, all records stored on a digital copy machine, which is no longer to be retained by that person, by erasing or otherwise modifying those records to make the records unreadable, undecipherable or nonreconstructable  through generally available means.

A person that willfully or knowingly violates the provisions of the bill is liable to a penalty of not more than $10,000 for the first offense and not more that $20,000 for the second and each subsequent offense.

The provisions of this bill shall be enforced by the Attorney General.

A person damaged in business or property as a result of a violation of this bill may sue the actor in the Superior Court and may recover compensatory and punitive damages and the cost of the suit including a reasonable attorney’s fee, costs of investigation and litigation.


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Egan   to help laid-off New Jersey workers take advantage of extended federal unemployment benefits was approved by the full Senate by a vote of 38-0 and is poised to receive final legislative approval from the Assembly shortly.

“With New Jersey’s unemployment rate still hovering around 9 percent and 15,000 more individuals applying for benefits two weeks ago, this extension will help beleaguered New Jersey residents desperately trying to find work,” said Egan (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “This is an important step toward ensuring working class New Jerseyans get sustained help when they need it most.”

The legislation (S-3186/A-4437), sponsored in the Senate by Senators Madden and Sarlo, would implement the option provided under the recent federal law signed by President Obama, which will extend federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits until Feb. 29, 2012, two months after they were set to expire.

Essentially, the bill makes the necessary adjustments to New Jersey’s Extended Benefits Law in order to ensure that those who are unemployed will continue to receive fully-funded extended unemployment benefits for as long as the federal government continues to subsidize them.

The legislature unanimously passed similar legislation (S-2680/A-3795) earlier this year after the federal government extended UI benefits until January 3, 2012. The legislation was signed by Governor Christie in April.

The new bill approved this month also included a trigger that will automatically extend the benefits at the state level should the federal government extend them again at any future date.

The continuation of UI benefits under this bill will pose no cost to New Jersey’s UI fund or employers in the state, because the benefits are contingent upon 100 percent federal funding.

“During the current recession, the average length of a person’s stint on unemployment has reached over 40 weeks. Because basic unemployment benefits last only 26 weeks, the average person that becomes unemployed will draw on at least some extended benefits, making this legislation all the more necessary,” said Egan.

Egan noted that the unemployment rate in New Jersey at the close of 2011 remained at 9.1 percent, according to the latest available statistics. There are currently over 412,700 unemployed workers in New Jersey.

Sen. Durbin urges Support for President Obama


Tomorrow, Republicans in Florida will determine President Obama’s opponent. Pick your poison.

Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney- either would expand the gap between rich and poor to catastrophic levels. Their economic prescription: Slash taxes on billionaires and corporations. Then ship all the good jobs overseas.

I have a better plan: Keep President Obama in the White House, and blue seats in the Senate. The DSCC’s deadline tomorrow is the first for which we will have a clear opponent. It’s the most critical FEC deadline yet, and they still have $245,000 left to raise.

If they make this goal, we can re-elect President Obama, and the middle class will be revitalized. If they fall short, republicans will seize control of the white House and Senate, and the middle class will be history.

It’s your choice. It’s your move. Can I count on you to stand with the middle class?

Democrats are proud to stand with working families. We always have, and we always will. It’s who we are.

But we’re facing gale-force headwinds in November. The abhorrent Citizens United decision gives unprecedented power to corporations and special interests to skew our elections. And believe me, the middle class is not their concern.

My fellow Democrats are already getting attacked by Karl Rove and Company, and it’s only going to get worse. If the DSCC can raise $245,000 by Jan. 31, Democrats can hold our own. President Obama can win re-election. And families will have a fighting chance to succeed.

But fall short, and its dystopia for Democrats. We’ll lose the Senate. Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney will pull the strings of a radical Republican Congress. And the middle class- the people who built this country- will slowly disappear.

I won’t accept this bleak future without a fight, and that’s why I support the DSCC. Will you join me right now?

The middle class is demanding to be heard, and it’s out of self-preservation. Let’s stand with them, re-elect President Obama, and keep this country moving forward. Thanks for your support.

Sen. Dick Durbin

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A note from John Kerry sent on behalf of the DSCC

Newt Gingrich’s economic plan: Make inner city kids go to work, and, as he boasted Monday night, make sure that Mitt Romney pays no taxes. The middle class can fight over the crumbs.

Contrast that with President Obama’s vision: Invest in American jobs. Strengthen our middle class. Pursue policies that work for everyone, not just the very top.

We know all too well what’s coming. Republicans will attack, assail and lie to destroy President Obama and usher in one-party rule. If the thought of President Gingrich leading a GOP Congress scares you beyond belief, then I’m asking for your urgent help.

The DSCC needs $405,000 in grassroots donations by its crucial Jan. 31 FEC deadline. Fall short, and the GOP can make President Obama a one-term president, and the GOP controls the entire Congress.

Don’t wait! Please give $5, $10 or more to the DSCC. We can’t win in November without first hitting this goal on Jan. 31!

Republicans have plenty of cash to do it. Karl Rove is working overtime, collecting checks from every powerful interest in the book to fund his shady attack ads and smear campaigns.

If we come close to matching their money, we will win. If we don’t, we can’t. It’s that simple.

More than 90% of donations to the DSCC come from grassroots supporters – and they have millions of them. Maybe you think your contribution of $5 or $10 isn’t enough to make a difference. You’re wrong. Your donation could be the last little bit needed to push back against attacks on Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, or get out a few more votes for Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Every dollar matters. Every day matters. We’ve got 5 days to raise $405,000, and I need your help to do it.

Click here to give $5, $10 or more to the DSCC. Winning in November requires hitting this goal on Jan. 31!

We have a choice. We can fight for a nation where fundamental fairness guides us, or we can let Republicans continue Robin Hood in reverse – taking from the many to give to the very few.

I know whose side I’m on, and that’s why I’m supporting the DSCC. Please join me. Let’s win one for fairness.

John Kerry

My thoughts on moving the school board election to November

After reading the blogs over the last couple of days, I was hoping that the school district would take it upon itself to move the school board election to the November elections allowing an opportunity for more people to get involved. Not only will more people get in involved this move will save the district money. In case you aren’t aware, I was one of the key sponsors of this bill. I have been pushing this for the last couple of years and I finally gained enough support in both houses to get it done.

Based upon this last election when each candidate received less than 1,000 votes, it became obvious that we have to get more people involved in the process. It is evident that moving the election to November will make that happen. The local school board is not moving on this issue. Therefore, I have spoken to some of the council members here in the city of Plainfield because they have the ability to move on the issue. I am asking that the council take the appropriate steps to move the election to November.

I don’t always agree with Dan Damon and Maria Pellum but I must say that lately their blogs have been 150% right. We can no longer close our eyes to a failing school district. Upon review of Dan Damon and Maria Pellum’s research, I believe that some of the things that they are talking about are true. One day we are all going to wake up here in the city of Plainfield and realize that the Plainfield district is going to be in total chaos.

For the record, I stay away from the Board of Education issues, so I am not blamed. However, I am speaking out because I know that when the public realizes the total chaos going on with the Board of Education the blame is not going to roll this way.

It is interesting that some of the current board members were very involved in bringing former Superintendent Steve Gallon to Plainfield. When these members saw the red flag go up in that situation they walked away like they knew nothing.

You can take it to the bank that this is going to happen again when the public realizes that our school district has been mismanaged, there will be members that are going to walk away and point the finger at someone else. This can be avoided because the council has the opportunity to do the right thing. I hope they put our children first.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Connie Wagner, Craig J. Coughlin and Elease Evans allowing police officers who have been fired due to economic reasons to avoid retaking the police training course if they are rehired within a certain timeframe is now law.

“This law makes the job hunting process easier for these police officers,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “Given the current economic times, our police officers should not have to worry about taking a course they have already gone through, in addition to finding a job.”

The new law (formerly A-3876) would exempt police officers who were laid-off for economic or efficiency reasons from retaking the basic training course, if they are rehired by their former agency or find a job with a new agency within five years from the date their employment was terminated.

Previously under the Police training Commission policy, a police officer who has a break in service of more than three years was required to retake the basic training course.

“We all know how tough it can bee to secure a job in the current economic climate,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). ‘This will help police officers focus on the job search, without a timeline hanging over their heads.”

“Many of our police officers have lost their jobs as towns struggle to cut down costs,” said Evans (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This measure will allow our officers to get back to the important job of public safety, without worry of having to retake a course they already took.”

Sen. Menendez's Position on Payroll Tax Cut


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assembly members John S. Wisniewski, Ralph R. Caputo, Connie Wagner, Charles Mainor, John F. McKeon, Vincent Prieto, Elease Evans and Angel Fuentes that would aid in the search for missing children by making it a crime to not report a missing child within 24 hours, was signed into law.

The law is called “Caylee’s Law” in honor of Caylee Anthony, the two-year girl from Orlando, Florida who was missing for 31 days before her grandmother reported her missing. She was found dead months later. Her mother, Casey Anthony, was found not guilty of her murder.

The law (A-4297/S-3010) criminalizes the failure to report the disappearance of a child within 24 hours, and upgrades the failure to report a death in New Jersey to a fourth degree crime.

Under current law, failing to report a death is a disorderly person offense, and there is no set time frame for reporting a child missing. A disorderly person’s offense is punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

“The entire country has mourned the loss of Caylee Anthony, whose little body laid in the woods for months before police were notified she was missing. Had they been notified sooner, they could have determined the cause of her death and justice may have been served for this little girl, “said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “We know the first hours are crucial in finding a missing child. Prompt notification would help police with their search, and in the awful case that tragedy strikes help them determine the cause of death, get a guilty conviction and bring justice to the victim.”

“Any law enforcement authority will tell you that the first few hours after a child goes missing are the most critical in determining whether that child is found and unharmed,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “Sometimes parents, whether god or ill intentioned, might wait longer than that to contact authorities, increasing the chances of a tragic ending.”

“The sooner police are notified about a child who is missing, the greater the chance the child will be found safe,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “There have been too many cases of children who have disappeared never to be seen again. Sadly, it is too late for little Caylee, but if her tragic death can help save the lives of other children who have gone missing, at least it will not be in vain.”

“It’s hard to imagine why an parent would wait so long to report their child missing, when the immediate hours after abduction are the most crucial in finding a child,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “This time frame gives our law enforcement officials the time needed to do their jobs effectively, and children who have been abducted the hope that they will be found safe.”

“Making it a crime to not report a child missing within 24 hours gives that child a better chance at being found, or at the very least, the chance to get justice,” said McKeon (D-Essex). “We’ll never know whether this time frame would have made a difference in Caylee’s death, but it could have helped authorities locate her body sooner and determine what or who killed her.”

“We might never know how little Caylee died, but we do know that, had her disappearance been reported sooner, police would have had a better chance of finding what killed her,” said Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson). “If conscience is not enough to push someone to report a death or a child missing, then maybe the possibility of harsher punishment will make them do the right thing.”

“It’s hard to conceive how an entire month could go by before a two-year old would be reported missing to police,” said Evans (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Whether her death was intentional or accidental, there is no justification for not reporting it to police. Justice may have eluded Caylee, but at least she can help bring justice to other children who disappeared never to be seen alive again.”

“Sadly, Caylee’s story is just one of many. Thousands of children are reported missing every year. The first few hours are crucial in not only finding a child who is missing, but finding them safe.” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This measure will not bring Caylee back, but it can help give new meaning to her short life by aiding the search for missing children.”

The law will make it a fourth degree crime for a responsible parent, guardian or other person with legal custody of a child to fail to report the disappearance of a child to police within 24 hours, after becoming aware of such a disappearance.

Under the statutes governing the State Police Missing Persons Unit, a missing child is defined as “a person 13 years of age or younger whose whereabouts are not currently known.”

The law also amends current law (N.J.S.A. 52:17B-89) by making it a fourth degree crime to fail to report a death by criminal violence, accident, suicide or any suspicious manner to the county medical examiner, the State Medical Examiner, or the municipal police department where the death occurred; or willfully touch, remove or disturb a body or the clothing on the body.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


(VOORHEES)-Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden) released the following statement Wednesday on the governor’s visit to Voorhees:

It’s a bit early for the Governor to essentially be donning a flight suit and declaring ‘Mission Accomplished.’ The battle to survive goes on for New Jersey’s middle class.

“Unfortunately, the Governor’s appearance today is just more sound bites, slogans and massive tax breaks for millionaires- all while New Jersey suffers from an unemployment rate higher than the national average and the highest property taxes in the nation.

“Under the Christie plan, middle-class families don’t save enough even for a week’s worth of groceries, while millionaires will save enough to go on an exotic vacation. It’s clear that he continues to miss the fact that it’s our middle-class families who are struggling, not millionaires and billionaires.

“The Governor’s idea of shared sacrifice seems to be that the wealthiest few should share in even greater riches, while the rest of us make all the sacrifices.

“But the truth is, middle-class families are struggling. They worry when New Jersey’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average and our neighboring states, while the Governor vetoes job creation bills. They worry when they see the Governor slash aid to their school districts. And they worry when their tax bills rise while the Governor cuts their property tax relief.

“The Governor must come clean and explain how he plans to fund these massive tax cuts for millionaires. Does he plan to slash more money from schools or middle-class property tax relief? We need to see a real plan, not just speeches.

“Democrats will focus on creating jobs and middle-class property tax relief. I hope the Governor will join us in this effort.”


(TRENTON)- Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, one of the legislature’s leading advocates for marriage equality, released the following statement regarding the announcement by democratic leaders that marriage equality in New Jersey would be a major priority for the new legislative session:
“In recent months, Governor Christie has been to four out of the six states that recognize same-sex marriage: Iowa, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts. Moreover, when he visits Washington, DC he is in a city that also recognizes such relationships. And in none of these places has he seen any diminishment of the institution of marriage other than perhaps when he is in the presence of Newt Gingrich.

“The fact remains, marriage in this country is a secular right that is afforded persons who abide by state laws when they take a blood test to get married and then venture to city hall to acquire a marriage license. Government involvement in the institution of marriage dates back to when Governor William Bradford performed the first civil wedding at Plymouth Colony. The point being, when government is involved in the marriage business, it should be done on an equitable basis. New Jersey should not discriminate as long as it governs marriage laws in this state. That’s why bill A-1, which I intend to introduce in the new legislative session, is so important to correct this inequity in the law.

“I also want to commend Speaker Oliver and Senate President Sweeney for making this equitable right such a priority and allowing me to be here. They recognize that when a committed gay couple, who can be duly married in another state, and then comes here to live, becomes “Civil Unionized.” Or that committed gay couples who are already in this state, and that are here to work or raise families of their own, can never cross the threshold of marriage. This is a discriminatory practice that should be corrected by A-1.

“We also must recognize that society is changing for the better, making A-1 timely. Opinion polls show that the majority of Americans, and the majority of New Jerseyans, favor marriage equality for same sex couples.

“I teach at the College of New Jersey. I see students in my American Government class who don’t ask why, but say ‘Why, not?’ It is the young persons and next generation of persons who see no problem in recognizing that marriage is an institution that should be afforded all persons who remain committed to a partnership, whether they are gay or straight. In this however, there is a challenge. I do realize we have to work with the people (and legislators) who are of my generation and above, and maybe don’t understand the value of marriage equality for all persons. I remain committed to working on this bill in a positive way- that through this legislative process there be a respectful dialogue and that we allay anyone’s fears that we are somehow devaluing the institution of marriage.

“I also believe that the gay community needs to recognize that if we want this to become law, we need to all work together and even reach across the political aisle. I hope in the coming weeks, we can work in the legislative process and ensure that all legislators ‘do the right thing’ to end the inherent inequities in our marriage laws.

“I also do not count the Governor out. He has already stated that gay couples should be afforded the same dignity and equal respect under the laws. He just needs to ask, as my students do, ‘why, not’ and live up to the promise that we are all endowed with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“And while the sky hasn’t fallen in Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington DC, I am here to declare that New Jersey and ME- with ME standing for Marriage Equality- is Perfect Together,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer).

Monday, January 23, 2012


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo, Cleopatra Tucker and Gilbert “ Whip” Wilson providing funding to help municipalities demolish and dispose of unsafe buildings in urban and rural centers has been signed into law.

“This voter-approved funding will help eliminate eyesores and public safety hazards in distressed areas throughout our state,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “Towns will now be able to reclaim abandoned and idle properties and put them into productive use once again, boosting their revenue in the process.”

The bill (A-4340) appropriates $7,403,340 under the third round of funding provided through the $20 million “Urban and Rural Centers Unsafe Buildings Demolition Bond Act” approved by voters in 1997.

“This funding is much needed for many cash-strapped towns struggling to rebuild their ratable base,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “Not only will it help clean up ailing neighborhoods, but it will also help revive a town’s tax base.”

Under the terms of the bond act, the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs established criteria for the approval of projects eligible for the loans. A priority list was prepared based on needs set forth in the requests received from the affected municipalities, agencies, and authorities.

The commissioner gave priority to those projects that involve the demolition and disposal of an unsafe building as a prerequisite to the approved erection of a new building or that pose an imminent and extreme hazard to the health and safety of the community.

“During these tough fiscal times, this should be welcome news for many municipalities,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “For those properties that have sat dormant for years, draining a city’s moral and revenue base, this funding will certainly be a boost.”

Under the new law, the following municipalities will receive the corresponding funding allotments:
  • Township of Belleville: $600,000
  • City of Camden: $2,000,000
  • City of Clifton: $210,000
  • City of Hackensack:$20,000
  • Township of Irvington: $923,240
  • City of Millville: $60,000
  • City of Orange: $325,000
  • City of Pleasantville: $174,000
  • City of Rahway: $218,000
  • City of Trenton: $2,773,100
  • City of Vineland: $100,000

Friday, January 20, 2012


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Dan Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Celeste Riley establishing a statewide ovarian cancer public awareness campaign to help increase survival rates among women has been signed into law.

“Because early detection and treatment often mean the difference between life and death, it’s important to increase awareness of the factors that put certain women at a higher risk for the disease,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague and nonspecific, and women and their physicians often attribute them to more common conditions so that by the time the cancer is diagnosed the tumor has often spread. Simple awareness can make all the difference.”

The new law (S-1711/A-3837), approved 70 to 0 by the Assembly last month, requires the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to establish the public awareness campaign to inform the general public about the clinical significance of ovarian cancer and its public health implications. The campaign must include risk factors, symptoms, the need for early detection and methods of treatment.

“If found and treated in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 95 percent, “ said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Unfortunately, most women who suffer from ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the later stages when the disease has spread and the five-year survival rate decreases to roughly30 percent. Bringing this issue to the forefront of women’s minds is paramount to the survival of many.”

The symptoms of ovarian cancer include: general abdominal discomfort or pain, such as gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating or cramps, nausea, diarrhea, constipation or frequent urination; loss of appetite; feeling of fullness after a light meal; weight gain or loss with no known reason; and abnormal bleeding from the vagina.

“Although development of a screening test to detect ovarian cancer remains a very active are of research, currently there is no definitive prevention strategy,” said Riley (D-Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester). “The best way to decrease the overall risk of dying from ovarian cancer is to have regular pelvic examinations, something this measure will hopefully make more women aware of.”

The sponsors underscored the importance of the public awareness campaign, noting that ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system and ranks fourth as a cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. Additionally, more than half of the deaths from ovarian cancer occur in women between the ages of 55 and 74 years of age and approximately one quarter of ovarian cancer deaths occur in women between 35 and 54 years of age.

In order to carry out the public awareness campaign, the legislation requires DHSS to, at a minimum:
  • Develop printed educational materials and public service announcements in English and Spanish; and
  • Distribute the information to the public, through a variety of means, including, but not limited to local health agencies and clinics, physicians, health care facilities, county offices on aging, pharmacies, libraries, senior citizen centers, other community-based outreach programs and organizations, and the department’s official website.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


(TRENTON)- Assembly Democrats issued a multimedia package Tuesday on the new Democratic leadership team for the 215th Legislature.

The team includes Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic), Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden), Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D- Union/Somerset/Middlesex), Majority Conference Leader Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen), Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D- Middlesex) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Vincent Prieto (D- Hudson/ Bergen).

The multimedia package consists of a video of the members of leadership each offering a brief explanation of what their position entails as well as what they hope to bring to the table in their new roles, and audio and transcript of the same.

The video can be accessed directly via our website- http://www.assemblydems.com-/ or by pasting the following link into a Web browser: http://vimeo.com/35058833

The audio file is available upon request.

A transcript of comments from the democratic leadership team is appended below:

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic):
“Being speaker is sort of like, to use a very common analogy, it’s like being the traffic cop of the Assembly. It is my job to develop a legislative agenda for the majority caucus; to identify bills that will be heard in committee; to assign and reference bills to various committees. The speaker possesses the authority and power to determine which bills get posted for a full vote of the Legislature.

“My leadership slate going into the 215th session will have Assemblyman Lou Greenwald as the Majority Leader.”

Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden):
“Majority Leader is the second-rank position in the General Assembly. It leads the Democratic caucus behind the Speaker.

“I’ve chaired the Budget Committee and I’ve been now honored with the new role and title of Majority Leader. I don’t think that my style is going to change. I’m a consensus builder; I love working with people; I love working with people across the political aisles. My goal is to bring consensus; my goal is to find solutions to the problems that plague our state.”

“Gordon Johnson, who hails from Bergen County, will be joining the legislative leadership team. Gordon will serve as our Conference Leader.”

Assembly Majority conference Leader Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen):
“The Conference Chair sets the tenor, sets the tone for the caucus, the Democratic caucus.

“I will be the leader… I will be keeping the caucus organized, keeping the conversations flowing, keeping the debate flowing, ensure that it is a debate so that we hear all sides of the issue of a bill or a situation and to ensure that all voices are heard and all ideas are brought out.”

“We also have expanded the role of Deputy Speaker, which will be filled by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, another veteran of the Legislature.”

Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex):
“The Speaker runs the meetings and there are often times where there are other obligations, whether there is a question on a bill that takes the speaker momentarily away from the podium. So, one of the chief responsibilities of a Deputy Speaker is to serve on the podium in pace of the Speaker.

“But there are countless meetings; there are negotiations; there are so many issues that go into crafting legislation and successfully moving it forward and my role will be to help in each and every one of those.”

“Vincent Prieto will assume the leadership of the Budget Committee.”

Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen), Assembly Budget Committee Chair:
“The Budget Chairman sets the schedule on budget hearings and how the budget is run and works to deliver a balanced budget to the governor’s desk to be signed.

“I’m very excited about this new Leadership position.”

“Rounding out the team will be speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green, who is a 24-year veteran of the Legislature.”

Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D- Union/ Middlesex/Somerset):
“I’m somewhat lost with words because of the fact that, overnight, I’m the senior member up here. This is going to be my 11th term. Nut I’m going to get right to the point: I’m so proud of Sheila. I’m proud of the fact that… what she’s gone through in the last two years.

“I think the speaker has put together, with the senate President, a team that cares about the people here in the state of New Jersey. We’re going to get the job done.”

“I believe that this legislative team represents a broad cross-section geographically, ideologically, and philosophically of the Democratic Assembly.”


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty to help both New Jersey businesses and workers avoid layoffs was signed into law Monday.

The new law (formerly A-3138) is designed to encourage employers who must reduce their employees’ work hours because of economic conditions to avoid layoffs by sharing the remaining work.

That would be achieved by permitting, under certain circumstances, a full-time employee to receive unemployment benefits when the employee’s weekly work time is reduced by 10 percent or more. The new law also permits the employee to attend an approved training program while receiving those benefits.

“This [is] a creative and unique approach to helping New Jerseyans stay on the job,” said Moriarty (D- Gloucester/Camden). “Anything we can do to avoid layoffs is a good thing, and this is a way for both workers and businesses to benefit while keeping people off full-time unemployment. This is the sensible and decent thing to do for hard-working New Jerseyans and the businesses that employ them.”

The law provides that an employer of at least 10 full-time, non-seasonal employees may provide a shared work program if approved by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The program may be approved for one year with annual renewals upon request.

“Job creation and economic development needs to be our priority,” Moriarty said. “We can approach that goal in many ways, and this is a new way to keep people employed and give them the financial security while providing stability to businesses working their way through this difficult economy.”

The employer is required to sustain existing fringe benefits levels, not to hire additional part-time or full-time employees or make unreasonable revisions of workloads; to provide information needed to monitor compliance and to certify that if a labor union represents the employees, it has agreed to the terms of the program.

Under an approved program, an employee is eligible for “short-time” unemployment benefits if:
  • The employee’s weekly work hours are reduced at least 10 percent from normal full-time hours;
  • The employee would be eligible for regular unemployment benefits during the week if the employee was entirely unemployed; and
  • The employee is available to work normal full-time hours.
Short-time weekly benefits paid to an eligible individual would be equal to the individual’s weekly benefit rate multiplied by the percentage of reduction of his wages for the week.

The benefits are limited to 26 weeks during a benefit year, but the weeks may be nonconsecutive. No person may receive both short-time benefits and regular unemployment benefits during the same week. The combined total of regular and short-time unemployment benefits for an employee during a benefit year is limited to the maximum amount of regular unemployment benefits allowed.

All short-time benefits are charged to the account of the employer that provides the shared work program.

The new law requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, three years after the effective date of this bill, to submit a report to the Legislature assessing the implementation of the bill’s provisions and their impact on the State Unemployment Compensation Fund, evaluating the effectiveness of shared work programs approved by the division, and making any recommendations for appropriate legislative or administrative action necessary to further the purposes of this bill.

The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Pamela R. Lampitt to create jobs and economic development by giving gross income taxpayers the same incentives available to corporation business taxpayer was advanced by the Assembly Budget Committee.

The bill (A-4342) would provide gross income taxpayers with the same incentives available to corporation business taxpayers for investment and hiring. This would particularly help sole proprietors, partnerships, and limited liability companies that are key to New Jersey’s economy.

  “If we’re to steer New Jersey back toward economic growth, then we must ensure everyone can take advantage of the various job creation options we’ve made available,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “Programs that help retain and bring new jobs to New Jersey should be available to all the various types of businesses formed in New Jersey. It’s the fair and smart thing to do as we look to create more jobs and make our state more affordable for middle-class families.”

The bill creates gross income tax credit authority for the following corporation business tax credit programs:
  • The Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program;
  • The Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act;
  • The Qualified Municipality Open for Business Incentive Program;
  • The Neighborhood Revitalization State Tax Credit Act;
  • The Enterprise Zone Tax credit Program;
  • The Manufacturing Equipment and Employment Investment Tax Credit Act;
  • The tax credit for purchase of certain effluent treatment equipment credit for CBT taxpayers;
  • The tax credit for qualified digital media content production expenses;
  • The research expense tax credit;
  • The New Jobs Investment Tax credit Act; and
  • The New Jersey Urban Development Corporation Act.
“These are valuable programs that should be available to businesses of all types,” Lampitt said. “We need a complete economic recovery that benefits everyone, and this bill is a step in the right direction.”

Friday, January 13, 2012


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson and Angel Fuentes (both D-Camden/ Gloucester) that would help bring supermarkets to underserved communities throughout the state was released by an Assembly committee.
     The bill (A-4309) dedicates 5 percent of the sales tax generated in Urban Enterprise Zones to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for a period of five years that would be used for loans and grants to attract supermarket operators to underserved areas.
     Under the bill, the NJEDA is required to use that revenue to fund the New Jersey Food Access Initiative, which currently exists, and is designed to meet the financing needs of supermarket operators that want to locate within an area where infrastructure costs and credit needs are often high and unmet by conventional financing institutions. The initiative provides below market rate loans and is modeled on the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative.
     “Many of our cities suffer from a lack of healthy food options because there are no supermarkets in their neighborhoods,” said Wilson. “This bill will help provide loan and grant funding to qualified supermarket operators to invest in these communities. Residents will not only benefit from fresh and healthier food choices, but job opportunities created by these new businesses opening up.”
     “Many of our residents have to rely on convenience store which rarely carry nutritious food and tend to be pricier because there are no nearby supermarkets,” said Fuentes. “Providing funding to entice supermarket operators to open in these neighborhoods will give these residents healthier food options, and with such high unemployment rates, create employment opportunities for residents in their own communities.”
     The bill would direct the NJEDA to establish both a loan fund and a grant fund within the initiative. Under the bill, 80 percent of the revenue directed to the initiative would support the loan fund. In order to be eligible for loan funding, a business would have to be located in the state and lack access to traditional sources of financing at the rates offered by the initiative.
     The remaining 20 percent of the revenue would support the grant fund. The grant fund would provide loan recipients with direct funds or interest rate subsidies in order to increase the effectiveness of the program. Proceeds from loan repayments would be reinvested in the loan and grant funds, with 80 percent of the proceeds being directed to the loan fund and 20 percent being directed to the grant fund.
    The bill would require the NJEDA to use the following factors in awarding loan and grant funding under the program:
  • The need of the area where the business will be located for access to fres food;
  • The number of jobs to be created by the project;
  • The potential for repayment of the loan; and
  • Whether or not the applicant represent a sustainable business that will not require program assistance in the future.
The bill would require the NJEDA to submit a report evaluating the program’s effectiveness no less than six months prior to the end of the five year funding period.

The bill was released by a vote of 7-4-1 by the Assembly Budget Committee.


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Joan M. Quigley to ensure gender equality at the workplace was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

       “Women have made great strides in the workplace, but the glass ceiling has not been shattered quite yet,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “These revisions will give employers best practices to ensure gender parity in the workforce, and give more women the same professional advancement opportunities that their male counterparts currently benefit from.”

        “Progress has been made, but there’s still more work to do when men continue to earn more than women in most metropolitan areas of the country,” said Quigley (D-Bergen/ Hudson). “We must educate employers and the public in general about the disparities and the best approaches to remedy these discrepancies, so that we get closer to complete gender equity in the workplace.”

       The bill (A-2563) revises the duties of the Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education (which is part of the State Employment and Training Commission) to include:
  • Conducting studies and promoting research to develop means to correct gender inequitable practices, including practices leading to pay disparities between men and women;
  • Disseminating this information to employers, labor organizations, professional associations, educational institutions, the media and the general public;
  • Developing and making available information on best practices for workplace gender equity to enable employers to evaluate job categories based on objective criteria; and, establishing a statewide recognition of exceptional practices to promote gender equity in the workplace.
Established in 1999, the New Jersey Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education consists of representatives from business, education, and government. It performs research and distributes information addressing barriers to full and gender-equitable participation in the workforce and in education. The SETC partners with the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University to provide operational support to carry out program initiatives and day-to-day operations of the Council.

The bill was released by the Assembly Labor Committee by a vote of 8-0.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


(TRENTON)- Legislation Assembly Democrats Albert Coutinho and Herb Conaway M.D. sponsored to create jobs and economic development to combat New Jersey’s continued high unemployment rate was signed into law Friday.
         The new law (formerly A-4306) builds upon ongoing Democratic job creation efforts and establishes the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program tax credit incentive for New Jersey-based companies that retain and create new jobs.
         “Nothing is more important right now than doing whatever we can to help New Jerseyans and the businesses that employ them survive this difficult economy, “ said Coutinho (D-Essex), chairman of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee. “ Creating jobs and economic growth is a must, and with this law, we’re positioning New Jersey businesses to succeed in the 21st century. That can only be a good thing for our residents.”
         “Incentive programs designed to grow New Jersey companies who retain and create new jobs is a smart approach,” said Conway (D-Burlington/ Camden). “It ensures subsidies are aligned with real job creation that benefits our working families. Targeted incentives like this will strengthen New Jersey’s economy and build a stronger middle class.”
         The new law establishes a $200 million tax credit incentive program that emphasizes growth of New Jersey-based companies through capital investment, creation of new jobs and retention of existing jobs.
         To be eligible for program tax credits, the law requires a business to make capital investments of at least $20,000,000 at a qualified business facility at which it will employ at least 100 full-time employees in retained full-time jobs, or create at least 100 new full-time jobs in an industry deemed desirable by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
         Eligibility for program tax credits are based upon a determination by the EDA that the capital investment will yield a net positive benefit to the state and that the award of tax credits is a material factor in the business decision to create or retain the minimum number of full-time jobs.
         The program’s cost falls under the $1.5 billion cap established under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program. The law allows the initial $200 million program allocation to be increased by the board of the EDA if the board determines the credits to be reasonable, justifiable, and appropriate.
         The new law requires that all applications for eligibility under the program shall be made to the EDA by July 1, 2014.


(TRENTON)-Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Upendra Chivukula and John Burzichelli to cut through the bureaucracy strangling New Jersey small businesses was approved 73-0 Monday by the Assembly, giving it final legislative approval.
            The bill (A-2129) would revise the New Jersey Regulatory Flexibility Act to force the state, when implementing a new regulation, to minimize the rule’s impact on small businesses so long as the public health, safety, or general welfare is nor endangered.
            The measure is part of the ongoing Assembly Democratic job creation and economic development effort.
            “Untangling red tape for all businesses is a priority, and I’m exhausted that we’ve been moving forward on that goal because small businesses are particular are hit hard by bureaucracy that can strangle their ability to create jobs,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex). “This is a key step toward helping small businesses avoid getting roped into a morass of red tape.”
            Current law sets forth various approaches a government agency must utilize to accomplish statutory objectives, keeping in mind the limited resources available to small businesses.
            The legislation requires an agency to, when developing rules, minimize the impact on small businesses so long as the public health, safety, or general welfare is not endangered.
            “We need to do a  lot more to make it clear to agencies that the impact on small businesses get special attention, “ said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem), who as chairman of the Assembly Regulatory and Oversight Committee has been pushing regulatory reform bills. “Small businesses are the ones that create jobs and drive our economy.”
            Under the bill, a small business is defined as one that employs fewer than 100 full-time employees or having gross annual sales of less than $6 million.
            The bill establishes a process by which a small business that is adversely affected economically or aggrieved by final rule-making action may file a petition objecting to all or a part of a rule subject to regulatory flexibility analysis.
            For cases in which the agency rejects the petition, this process addresses concerns about frivolous appeals without creating unprecedented procedures with respect to the courts.
            Specifically, the bill:
  • Establishes a petition process as a prerequisite for a court appeal;
  • Requires the appeal petition to be filed within 90 days after final rule-making action;
  • Creates an optional summary disposition process based on affidavits;
  • Sets sanctions for frivolous appeals; and
  • Places a restriction on appeals based on the compliance with the regulatory flexibility

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


(TRENTON)-A bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig J. Coughlin, Connie Wagner and Vincent Prieto to help local governments clean contaminated properties was approved Monday by the Assembly and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
     The bill (A-3167) would authorize the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide a no-interest loan to a municipality, county or redevelopment entity for up to 25 percent of the cost of a remedial action in a Brownfield development area.
     “In the current economic environment, with towns everywhere hurting for revenue and credit all but frozen, this is not just a much-needed environmental measure, it’s an economic stimulus measure,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex) whose 19th Legislative District includes four sites totaling nearly 1,000 acres that would qualify for funding under this bill.
     The loans would come from the state’s Hazardous discharge Site Remediation Fund and be repayable over no more than 10 years.
     The state has 31 sites designated as Brownfields redevelopment areas which would qualify for funding under this bill. Altogether, the sites total 3,290 acres.
     “This is not only a quality of life issue, but an economic issue. If private developers can’t get access to credit and local governments can’t afford to offer tax abatements, hazardous properties will continue to remain a blight on the community. Redeveloped properties will put people back to work and provide a desperately needed boost to local tax bases,” said Wagner (D-Bergen).
     New Jersey has had a great deal of success in remediating Brownfields properties over the last several decades. But that success has largely been dependent on state and federal assistance, something this bill is mindful of,” said Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen).
    The bill was approved 74-0 by the Assembly and 38-1 by the Senate.


(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assembly members L. Grace Spencer, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Albert Coutinho and Annette Quijano to protect sexually exploited minors was approved Monday by the Assembly and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The bill (A-3700-3934) would provide an affirmative defense to any person under 18 who engages in prostitution. An affirmative defense is an explanation for a defendant’s actions that excuses or justifies his behavior. The bill intends to address situations where minors are charged criminally as a result of being a victim of sexual abuse. Currently, a person is afforded an affirmative defense to a charge of prostitution only if the person is a victim of human trafficking.

“This bill strengthens our current laws so that children who have been exploited are not only protected, but will receive the care they need,” said Spencer (D-Essex/Union). “These children fell prey to horrendous circumstances and unscrupulous individuals. We must ensure children who have been sexually exploited are treated as victims and are provided with appropriate services, including shelter, care, counseling and crisis intervention services.”

The bill would also require that care services be provided for sexually exploited juveniles charged with prostitution or juvenile victims of human trafficking. The bill would amend various sections of the current juvenile code to ensure these services are rendered.

“Making a criminal out of an exploited child who was forced into prostitution under tragic circumstances is a complete moral failure,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Prostitution is not a choice for these children. This bill ensures that these young victims are helped, not hurt even more by being treated as criminals.”

“We rightfully protect children who have been victims of human trafficking and forced into prostitution. Why are we not extending the same level protection to our children here in this country?” asked Coutinho (D-Essex/Union). “These children have been exploited over and over again by adults who failed them; they should not be victimized again by the legal system.”

“Most of these children escaped an abusive environment only to find themselves in another one even worse. Turning them into criminals for unspeakable acts being done to them doesn’t serve justice,” said Quijano (D-Union). “These children were failed by those entrusted with their safety. It is our responsibility to rectify the injustices committed against them.”

The bill was voted 69-1 by the Assembly and 38-0 by the Senate on Monday.


(TRENTON)- Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) released the following statement on the State Supreme Court decision that barred 4th District Assemblywoman-elect Gabriela Mosquera from taking the oath of office during a Tuesday ceremony:

“The people of the 4th District elected Gabriela Mosquera because of her devotion to public service, her plans to help working families, and her heart and dedication. Yet today, at the last minute, they were denied Assemblywoman-elect Mosquera’s representation because of this disappointing ruling.
“The right of voters to decide who will represent them should be protected. The voters made their say clear more than two months ago.
“Assemblywoman-elect Mosquera meets the requirements of office under a federal court ruling [made] more than a decade ago. Her background and experience will be valuable additions to the New Jersey General Assembly. Let’s get past the legal squabbles and respect the will of the voters.”

Friday, January 6, 2012


(TRENTON)- Assembly Democratic legislation sponsored by John Burzichelli, John Wisniewski, and Celeste Riley to permit direct shipping by New Jersey wineries was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-4436) revises the statutes governing the sale and distribution of products by New Jersey wineries and creates a new out-of-state winery license governing New Jersey sales by wineries licensed elsewhere.

“This bill balances the modern needs of our winery industry with the need of liquor stores and distributors, and positions both for even more economic, job-creating success,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “This bill is pro-consumer and pro-business, and it ensures our blossoming wine industry will be competitive and modern. It’s a common sense approach.”

“This bill is good news for consumers and businesses alike,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “It’s a carefully crafted plan that ensures  our wine industry can become a key economic engine for our state while protecting the local liquor stores and the many jobs they provide our state. It’s a long overdue plan to modernize our laws to meet the reality of how consumers now shop.”

“Consumers can purchase just about anything these days through shipping,” said Riley (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Wine, as long as it’s as carefully regulated as this bill would do, should be no different. Our current laws are holding our wine industry back and ensuring they remain less competitive with wineries in other states, and that must change for the better.”

Under the bill, plenary wineries that produce a maximum of 250,000 gallons per year and farm wineries would be permitted to directly sell their products to licensed retailers once they pay a permit fee. The maximum production of 250,000 gallons per year is based on the Internal Revenue Code’s definition of a small producer of wine.

Plenary wineries would pay a graduated fee ranging from $100 to $1,000 based on the winery’s annual production. Farm wineries would pay a fee of $100.

All plenary and farm wineries would continue to be able to sell their products to licensed wholesalers.

The bill permits plenary wineries that produce a maximum of 250,000 gallons per year and farm wineries to sell products at retail at 18 sales rooms but eliminates the provision in current law that permits them to open joint sales rooms with other plenary wineries or farm wineries.

Additionally, the bill permits plenary wineries that produce a maximum of 250,000 gallons per year and farm wineries to directly ship up to 12 cases of wine to any person over age 21 in New Jersey or any other state for personal consumption and not for resale. A case of wine may not exceed nine liters. The winery is required to retain the original invoices for any wine shipped for at least three years on the winery premises for inspection by the state.

The bill also creates an Out-of-State winery license which may be issued to wineries licensed in other states that produce a maximum of 250,000 gallons of wine per year. The licensee would be permitted to sell his or her products to wholesalers and retailers and at retail in 19 salesrooms apart from the winery premises, for consumption on or off the premises, at a fee of $250 for each salesroom.

The license holder also is permitted to ship up to 12 cases of wine per year to any person in this state over age 21 for personal consumption and not for resale. A case of wine may not exceed nine liters.

The bill sets the annual fee for the out-of-state winery license at $938, which is the same fee paid by plenary and farm wineries. The bill provides for the collection of all applicable taxes for sales made by the holders of out-of-state winery licenses.

The bill was released 7-0-4 by the Assembly Budget Committee.


(TRENTON)-Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Annette Quijano, Peter Barnes and L. Grace Spencer that would help gain justice for sexual abuse victims by eliminating the statute of limitations in civil sexual abuse claims was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-3622) would remove the statute of limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse, expand the category of person who are potentially liable in these actions, and provide that public entities would be liable in these actions.

“Many young victims of sexual abuse don’t report their abusers out of fear or shame; others repress the memories as a way to cope with the abuse,” said Quijano (D-Union). “The impact of sexual abuse on children can be devastating and long-lasting. These victims should have the right to compensation for the suffering endured without a timeline looming over their heads.”

“For some victims, the sexual abuse is revealed later in life. But the time that may have transpired does not change the fact that the abuse happened, nor the consequences it had on the victim,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “I can only imagine how difficult it must be to come to grips with the abuse and come forward. These victims deserve justice, regardless of the time lapsed.”

“We have heard too many stories of children falling prey to sexual predators. Many hide the abuse and suffer the consequences silently,” said Spencer (D-Essex/Union). “This bill not only allows victims to bring their abusers to justice when they are ready, but holds accountable not just the abuser, but any responsible person who knew of the abuse, but did nothing to stop it.”

Under current law, personal injury suits must be filed within two years of accrual of the cause of action, except for certain medical malpractice actions on behalf of minors. Under the bill, this two-year statute of limitations would be removed for the following actions:
  • Alleged sexual abuse of a minor;
  • Alleged willful, wanton or grossly negligent act of commission or omission, including sexual assault or other crime of a sexual nature, brought against a trustee, director, officer, employee, agent, servant, or volunteer of a nonprofit corporation, society, or association organized exclusively for religious, charitable, or educational purposes;
  • Alleged sexual offense committed against a minor due to alleged willful, wanton, grossly negligent or negligent act of commission or omission of a sexual nature brought against any nonprofit corporation, society or association organized exclusively for religious, charitable, or educational purposes.

The bill would also make public entities liable in actions for damages alleging sexual abuse, and expand the category of persons who are potentially liable in a civil action alleging the sexual abuse of a minor.

Under current law, in addition to the person who committed the sexual abuse, a parent, resource family parent such as a foster parent, guardian, or other person standing in loco parentis within the household who knowingly permitted or acquiesced in the sexual abuse is also civilly liable for the abuse. However, it is an affirmative defense if that person was subjected to, or placed in, reasonable fear of physical or sexual abuse by the abuser so as to undermine the person’s ability to protect the child. The bill would provide that any person who knowingly permitted or acquiesced in the sexual abuse is civilly liable as well. This person would also be entitled to the same affirmative defense.

The bill would apply to any action filed on or after the effective date, including but not limited to matters where the statute of limitations has expired and matters filed with a court that have not yet been dismissed or finally adjudicated as of the effective date.

The bill would also revive any action that was previously dismissed on grounds that the applicable statute of limitations had expired, but could not revive any action previously dismissed on any other grounds or revive any action that has been finally adjudicated.

The bill was released 4-1-1 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.