Friday, July 25, 2014

Salvation Army Christmas in July

I wanted to congratulate all those involved that made this event a success. It was a great pleasure seeing all the smiles on the faces of all the kids as they received their new bicycles. It is events like this that unifies our community.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Union County Dems Chairman Green remembers mentor Sheriff Ralph Froehlich

Growing up in Roselle, when he played ball summers in Warinanco Park, Union County Democratic Chairman Jerry Green remembers seeing Officer Ralph Froehlich and his partner Officer Arnie Highsmith on patrol.
Mr. Froehlich was a mentor then, but today Green feels like he lost a brother.
“Ralph used to talk to young guys like me, and used to tell me that there’s a life other than crime,” said the chairman and veteran 22nd District assemblyman. “He always treated you with the utmost respect.
“There are people in this world who do care about people, no matter where they come from or what their background is, and 40 years ago, Ralph believed in treating people equal. He had the foresight, and bridged the gap to make sure every individual felt that way. My feeling for him runs real deep. From day one, he was very encouraging and very supportive, and he never let me down.
“At that time, you got the feeling some would look at you and just see another number ready to go to jail, but Ralph gave me a chance to look at law enforcement with different eyes,” Green added.
The longest-serving sheriff in the history of New Jersey, Union County Sheriff Froehlich died last night, aged 83, after a long illness.
“Unfortunately, these last couple of months have been rough on Ralph and his family, but he’s in a better place now,” Green said. “I am very proud of the sheriff’s department, one of the best run in the state, and I want to congratulate staff for sticking together and making Ralph proud. They are Ralph now.”
Green’s son, Jerry II, serves in the sheriff’s office as an undersheriff; and his grandson, Jerry III, just took the oath of office.
“He touched three generations of Greens,” said the chairman, who still remembers calling Mr. Froehlich when he decided to get into politics to ask the sheriff for his advice.
“He said ‘go for it,’” said the assemblyman.
Years later, “He loved calling me his chairman,” Green added. “That coming from him meant more to me than from anyone else.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cryan Continues Call for Rutgers Tuition Freeze as Board of Governors Prepares to Vote on Price Tag for Next Year

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Joseph Cryan on Wednesday renewed his call for a tuition freeze at Rutgers University, urging the Board of Governors to keep costs stable when it convenes this afternoon to vote on tuition and fees for the upcoming school year at the State University of New Jersey. 
 Cryan joined with students in April in calling for a tuition freeze shortly after he and Assemblywoman Celeste Riley unveiled a comprehensive 20-bill package to help make college more affordable and attainable amidst ever-escalating costs.
“While notice of today’s meeting might make it seem like a dialogue to discuss tuition and fee rates on campus, it should more accurately be described as a meeting to determine how hefty of an increase next year’s class will have to endure. Unfortunately, Rutgers, like almost every other college in America, continues to raise their tuition, not lower it.
“Evidence shows that when state aid goes up, tuition does not necessarily go down, sending students teetering precariously closer to the edge of complete unaffordability.   For this reason, lowering costs & increasing college completion rates, while maintaining or raising the amount of state aid, must remain a priority,” said Cryan (D-Union).
Cryan noted that last year the Rutgers board approved a 3.3 percent hike in tuition in mid-July, raising the average in-state, undergraduate cost for tuition and fees to $13,499. Once room and board were added, Rutgers students living on campus this year paid an average total of $25,077, or nearly $600 more than the previous year.
Equally important, Cryan noted, was that students enrolled for the fall semester then had less than two months to figure out how they were going to accommodate that increase.
“Over the last 10 years, we have seen graduation rates move from a four-year model to a six year model. College is expensive enough.  When one adds an additional two years, it often becomes unattainable.
“Last year, Rutgers raised tuition and fees 3.3 percent, which equates to a 20 percent increase when factored in over six years. Meanwhile students are still taking the same number of classes and earning the same degree; it just costs 20 percent more,” added Cryan.
Chief among Cryan’s reform proposals is a bill (A2087) that would freeze tuition and fees at the same rate for nine semesters following a student's initial enrollment at a four-year public or independent institution, potentially saving some students upwards of $10,000 over the course of a six-year degree completion program.
“Under the tuition freeze proposal, the same price you pay at the start of college would be the same price you pay after four and a half years, no exceptions. Colleges can raise tuition and fees for each subsequent class, but individual students will have the security of knowing they can graduate at the same price that they started at and plan accordingly,” concluded Cryan.

Freeholder Board to Vote on Additional EMS Serving Western Union County

Union County, NJ – At its regular meeting this coming Thursday July 19, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is expected to vote on a proposal to develop an additional shared services EMS (Emergency Medical Service) for the western parts of Union County.  The proposal has been developed in collaboration with JFK Medical Center along with other surrounding medical facilities.
“This new addition to our existing Countywide EMS shared service, with the participation of JFK Medical Center, will help ensure that County residents facing medical emergencies receive a timely response,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak.
The proposal would make an additional ambulance available through the existing Countywide EMS shared service program. The ambulance would be staffed around the clock by two emergency medical technicians.
The ambulance would be stationed at the Plainfield Rescue Squad building, where it would be available for emergency response in western parts of Union County.
“Many municipalities have been straining to keep up with increased EMS demands,” said Freeholder Linda Carter. “This will be an important step forward for Union County.”
“This is an exemplary collaboration between Union County, the City of Plainfield, and JFK Medical Center. It will provide much needed relief to the western parts of the County,” said New Jersey State Assemblyman Jerry Green, who represents the 22nd District, which includes western parts of Union County.
The additional ambulance will dispatched through the Union County Regional Dispatch Center, which currently handles EMS, fire, and/or police calls for several municipalities, and for two paramedic units operated by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway.
JFK Medical Center of Edison currently operate a Mobile Intensive Care Unit in Plainfield. As part of the overall plan for improving timely access to emergency medical care and transportation in western Union County, JFK will increase its presence to supplement its Satellite Emergency Department and outpatient services at the former Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. JFK EMS received the “Outstanding Private EMS Agency” award from the NJ Department of Health in 2013.
“JFK is pleased to respond to the request for EMS services in partnership with Union County, to improve the availability of pre-hospital healthcare in Plainfield and the surrounding communities,” said Ray Fredericks, President and Chief Executive Officer of JFK Health. “Together, JFK and Union County will ensure that great emergency medical care starts from the moment 911 is called.”
The Freeholder Board began Countywide EMS as a pilot program in 2011, to help municipalities throughout the county to improve their emergency services and keep up with growing demands on first responders while facing budget constraints.
The pilot program consisted of one additional ambulance, available for dispatch on a Countywide basis during peak demand periods. Based on the success of the pilot, Countywide EMS was made a permanent County service in 2012.
Countywide EMS has grown progressively through the years. When it started, calls averaged 80 per month. In June 2014, the last month for which statistics are available, there were 294 calls.
In 2013 Countywide EMS responded to just over 1,900 calls. So far this year there have been 1,384 calls.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA)

After reading Plaintalker II yesterday, I am hoping now that the campaign is over, we can now start moving in a positive direction. The voters in the City of Plainfield have spoken. It is blogs like this that place a negative impact on the City, more than anything else. If these bloggers would print these kinds of blogs in Somerset County, the public there would be in an uproar. We need to hold our community in high regard and not lower it to gutter-style politics. We need to put value in our representations for this great City. So it is time to move on, including the bloggers. If you cannot say anything positive about any elected officials, such as the Mayor, Council members and myself personally, please place that negativity somewhere else, but not in Plainfield. We do not need that here.

I am personally asking today to stop this nonsense and to see this for what it is....nonsense. Plainfield does not need divisiveness, but unity. We need to see all our differences as ‘diversity’. Plainfield is full of diversity and we need to use this to our advantage. We are all going to have different opinions on a variety of issues. This means we need to come together in a constructive manner and realize that we can agree to disagree and take it from there.

I need to make it clear on the issue with the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA). The comment I am referring to in the Plaintalker II was the following: “Or is the current chairman, Assemblyman Jerry Green, dissing the city as part of his campaign against Mayor Adrian O Mapp? If so, the rest of the population just becomes collateral damage in the political wars”. This comment looks like it belongs in a tabloid, not in one of our Plainfield blogs that professes progressiveness. I was trying to be fair to the County as well as the City. It has taken ten years to get to the point that we are at now with this issue. As time goes on, I will continue to work with the County and the City of Plainfield in the right direction on this matter. I would never punish the city, as these bloggers try to hint at. It is time for the City of Plainfield to stand up and stop participating in this fight, because there is no reason to fight. As representatives of this City, we need to hold ourselves to the standards of the professionals that we are. The voters have given us the opportunity to represent them. We cannot represent them if we are in a constant battle. We see what is going on in the national level with President Obama. We are a Democratic City and County, the torch is on our hands. So now is the time to unite our party and put all our differences to the side. Otherwise, please ask these bloggers, what is their true underlying issue?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Green, Singleton, Jasey, Wisniewski, Quijano & Wimberly Bill to Transform Foreclosed Homes into Affordable Housing Advanced by Assembly Panel (TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green, Troy Singleton, Mila Jasey, John Wisniewski, Annette Quijano and Benjie Wimberly that would transform foreclosed properties into affordable housing was approved 47-31-1 by the full Assembly this week. “Abandoned properties are a nuisance. They often invite criminal activity and drag down the value of other properties in the neighborhood,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union), who chairs the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, which released the bill. “Then there is the issue of affordability in New Jersey, which is one of the most expensive states in the country to live in. This bill helps tackle both problems by taking vacant properties that are contributing nothing but headaches to neighborhoods and municipalities and repurposing them as affordable housing.” The bill (A-470), the “New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act,” would create the “New Jersey Foreclosure Relief Corporation” as a temporary entity within the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) for the purpose of purchasing foreclosed residential properties from institutional lenders and dedicating them for occupancy as affordable housing. “Abandoned properties are a burden to municipalities, especially ones already struggling financially. They strain municipal resources, cut into property tax revenue, attract crime and undermine the quality of life of remaining residents,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “This bill would not only help rid municipalities of these troublesome properties, but replace them with affordable housing.” “Many abandoned properties have sat vacant and unmaintained for years. Not only are they costly eyesores for municipalities, they can be health and safety hazards,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “In a time when we are all being asked to do more with less, turning these properties into affordable housing helps towns increase revenue while providing an important resource for needy residents.” “Abandoned properties do nothing to help reinvigorate neighborhoods facing economic decline. The longer a house sits idle and deteriorated, the harder it is to reclaim them,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “This bill helps reduce the strain that these properties put on municipalities and on neighborhoods while creating much needed affordable housing options for low-income residents.” “The impact of the housing crisis is still felt in many neighborhoods. Vacant properties drain municipal resources and destabilize neighborhoods,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Communities need healthy neighborhoods to be economically strong and people need housing they can afford. This bill helps us fulfill both needs by taking stagnant properties and putting them back to work.” “Vacant properties blight neighborhoods and depress property values, which is unfair to those remaining residents who have kept up their homes but are still affected by the repercussions through no fault of their own,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “By giving municipalities the power to reclaim ailing properties, we can rebuild neighborhoods that have been hit hard by foreclosures.” Under the bill, the corporation would have the authority to purchase foreclosed residential property and mortgage assets from institutional lenders to produce affordable housing and dedicate it as such for 30 years. The bill directs the corporation to enter into contracts or loans, or both, with no more than two experienced, financially sophisticated, community development financial institutions to enhance the ability of the corporation to fulfill its purpose of producing affordable housing. The municipality where the property is located would have the right of first refusal to purchase the property and dedicate it as affordable housing. Under the bill, the municipality could purchase the property for use as affordable housing, decline to buy it, or authorize the corporation or its contractors to use monies from the municipality's affordable housing trust fund to purchase the property. If a municipality does not exercise its right of first refusal to buy a property, the corporation may buy it and convey it for occupancy as affordable housing subject to a 30-year deed restriction to another public agency, a community development corporation, a developer, or a qualifying household. If the corporation, its contractors or a municipality purchases an eligible property from monies deposited in a municipality's affordable housing trust fund, the municipality would receive bonus credits toward any constitutionally-imposed obligation to provide affordable housing. The bill also establishes a mechanism through which a “foreclosure-impacted municipality” – a municipality that has 10 or more foreclosed homes listed on a multiple listing service for at least 60 days – can insulate its affordable housing trust funds from the laws that will require the transfer of its trust fund monies to the “New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund.” Such a municipality would have to adopt a resolution committing the expenditure of its municipal affordable housing trust fund monies for the production of affordable housing, and authorizing the transfer of at least $150,000 of its municipal affordable housing trust fund monies to the corporation to produce affordable housing. The bill requires the corporation to use funds transferred from a foreclosure-impacted municipality to produce affordable housing within that municipality. If the corporation is unable to use the funds within two years of the date of transfer, it would have to return the remaining funds to the municipality and the municipality would have at least six months from the date the funds are returned to commit the funds in accordance with other provisions of law. During this time, all municipal trust fund monies designated for the purchase of foreclosed properties would be protected from transfer to the state. A municipality would receive bonus credits, as otherwise provided by the bill, for affordable housing produced by the corporation or by one of its contractors pursuant to this mechanism. The bill would also create the “Foreclosure to Affordable Housing Transformation Fund,” a nonlapsing, revolving fund where funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the corporation to fulfill its purposes would be stored. The HMFA would administer the fund and would be authorized to transfer into the fund any amounts it has that could be used to produce affordable housing. The bill would also authorize HMFA to issue bonds to fund the activities of the corporation. The bill calls for prioritization of the allocation of tax-exempt private activity bonds in order to allow the corporation to fulfill the purposes of the bill. Also, in any year in which the proceeds from the Realty Transfer Fee additional fee exceed $75 million, the first $10 million above the $75 million collected would be transferred into the “Foreclosure to Affordable Housing Transformation Fund” for the production of affordable housing. The bill would authorize the Commissioner of Community Affairs to transfer into the fund certain amounts held for the production of affordable housing, including but not limited to monies deposited in the “New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund.” Lastly, under the bill, the corporation would cease its operations on December 31, 2017. On that date, any assets, properties, or funds held by the corporation would transfer to the HMFA The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. On The Net:


Assembly Grants Final Legislative Ok to Caputo, Mazzeo & Burzichelli Bill Repealing Ban on Sports Betting in New Jersey On the Heels of SCOTUS Declining to Hear Case, Legislature Sends Bill to Gov’s Desk (TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Ralph Caputo, Vince Mazzeo and John Burzichelli paving the way for sports wagering at New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks received final legislative approval 63-6-2 by the General Assembly on Thursday. “As I have been saying for quite some time, we are in desperate need of innovative ideas to combat the continued downturn in New Jersey’s gaming industry in both Atlantic City and at our racetracks,” said Caputo (D-Essex), Chair of the Assembly Tourism and Gaming Committee. “This is an opportunity to kick-start this industry in a way that is unprecedented along the East Coast and generate substantial revenue for our state as a whole.” Specifically, the bill (A-3476) repeals all prohibitions against wagering on the results of any professional, college, or amateur sport or athletic event at casinos or gambling houses in Atlantic City or at current running and harness horse racetracks in the state. “Sports betting has the potential to be an economic game-changer for both Atlantic City and our state as a whole,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) who represents Atlantic City. “Based on the interpretation of the highest court to hear this matter, essentially New Jersey is standing in its own way when it comes to legalizing sports betting. Today we’re getting out of the way. In a year’s time, New Jersey stands to reap the benefits of tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue from this industry.” Today’s vote comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court declining on Monday to take up New Jersey’s appeal to overturn a 22-year old federal ban on sports betting in most states throughout the country. “With increasing gaming competition from neighboring states and an economy still struggling to rebound, sports betting would be a tremendous boon for our state,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Now that U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear our case, we are acting within the guidelines of the previous ruling to make sports betting a reality for New Jersey.” The bill is inspired by the September 2013 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in the case of the NCAA vs the State of New Jersey wherein the court interpreted the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 to “not read PASPA to prohibit New Jersey from repealing its ban on sports wagering.” The court further stated that “it is left up to each state to decide how much of a law enforcement priority it wants to make of sports gambling, or what the exact contours of the prohibition will be.” Moreover, the United States in its brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in opposition to the above-referenced case wrote that “PASPA does not even obligate New Jersey to leave in place the state-law prohibitions against sports gambling that it had chosen to adopt prior to PASPA’s enactment. To the contrary, New Jersey is free to repeal those prohibitions in whole or in part.” Accordingly, under this bill, New Jersey would decide that its “exact contours of the prohibition” against sports wagering should be to repeal New Jersey’s prohibitions against sports wagering at casinos or gambling houses in Atlantic City or at current running and harness horse racetracks in the state. The bill cleared the Senate earlier today and now heads to the Governor’s desk. On The Net:


Watson Coleman, Green, Spencer, Wimberly & Sumter’s ‘Opportunity to Compete Act’ Gets Final Legislative Approval (TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jerry Green, L. Grace Spencer, Benjie Wimberly and Shavonda Sumter to give all New Jerseyans the opportunity to compete for work was approved 49-24 Thursday by the Assembly, giving it final legislative approval. The Opportunity to Compete Act (A-1999) prohibits employers, during the initial employment application process, from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal record and from requiring a job applicant to complete an application that makes such inquiries. “We know that eliminating barriers to employment is a key component of a sensible policy to promote growth and economic development,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “As a result of this bill, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents will have access to the American Dream— a chance to rise or fall on your own merit.” “I am constantly contacted by people who simply want an opportunity to compete,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “Many of these applicants get eliminated from consideration simply by marking off a box, many of them productive, creative and capable workers.” “This is a way to ensure that employers have access to a pool that they might have otherwise ignored,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “I think it’s an issue of fairness and second chances. People who have rebuilt their lives should not be forever punished. Second chances are what America is all about.” “All anyone is asking for is the opportunity to compete,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The ability to find a job is akin to a civil right, and many people are being denied that right from the get-go because of a mistake in their past, and that’s not right.” “It serves not just the individual, but the state to allow people with criminal histories to become productive members of society,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). “Unless we want them to resort to the sort of behavior that got them in trouble in the first place, why deny them the opportunity?” On The Net:


Vainieri Huttle & Jimenez Bill Banning Smoking at Parks & Beaches throughout New Jersey Gets Final Legislative Ok (TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Angelica Jimenez sponsored to protect public health by prohibiting smoking in public parks and a majority of every beach throughout the state received final legislative approval 63-8-5 by the General Assembly. The measure expands New Jersey’s role as a leader in the public health movement. The state first banned smoking in indoor public places and workplaces in 2006. “Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the state and the nation, and tobacco smoke constitutes a substantial health hazard to the nonsmoking majority of the public,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “The prohibition of smoking at public parks and beaches would better preserve the natural assets of this state by reducing litter and increasing fire safety in those areas, while lessening exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke among the public. This is the right thing to do.” “It’s clearly in the public interest to expand the law prohibiting smoking in all enclosed indoor places of public access and workplaces to all public parks and beaches,” said Jimenez (D-Hudson/Bergen). “This is common sense approach to maintain the beauty and pristine quality of our parks and beaches while also protecting public health. We’ll all be better off if we get this done.” Provisions of the bill (A-1080) include the following: · A complete prohibition on smoking at all state parks and forests and county and municipal parks. · A prohibition on smoking throughout a vast majority of every beach. However, under a Senate amendment, up to 15 percent of a municipal or county beach’s total area may be designated as a smoking area. · The smoking ban would not apply to parking lots that are adjacent to but outside the public park or beach. The bill defines “state park or forest” to mean any state owned or leased land, water or facility administered by the Department of Environmental Protection, including, but not limited to, a park, forest, recreational area, marina, historic site, burial site or natural area, but not including a wildlife management area or reservoir land. The penalties that currently apply to a person who smokes in an indoor public place or workplace, or a person having control of the place who fails to comply with an order to enforce the smoking prohibition, in violation of the “New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act,” would apply to a comparable violation of this bill. These include a fine of not less than $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. The Department of Environmental Protection is directed to provide information and assistance to counties and municipalities, as determined appropriate by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and within the limits of resources available to the department for this purpose, to support smoke-free public parks and beaches. The bill would go into effect on the 180th day after enactment. It now heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration. On The Net:


Assembly Advances Singleton & Diegnan Bill Placing Greater Emphasis on High School Computer Science Training in AP Courses (TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Troy Singleton and Patrick Diegnan placing a greater emphasis on the importance of computer science in high school education was given the go ahead with a vote of 76-0 by the full Assembly on Thursday. “The value of advanced computer science training at an early age cannot be underestimated,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “It’s a pathway to success in life that should be nurtured as an area of critical importance within our curriculum.” Under the bill (A-2597), school districts throughout New Jersey would be required to permit an Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course to satisfy a part of either the mathematics or science credit requirements for high school graduation beginning with the 2014-2015 grade nine class. “Without question, computer science is an integral part of the education curriculum these days,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex), Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “A vast majority of higher paying jobs these days are in computer-related fields, underscoring the need for us to prioritize computer training in high school.” In order for the student to use the course to satisfy a part of the mathematics credit requirement, however, the student must be concurrently enrolled in or have successfully completed algebra I and geometry or the content equivalent. For an AP computer science course to satisfy a part of the science credit requirement, the student must be concurrently enrolled in or have successfully completed five credits in laboratory biology or life science or the content equivalent and an additional laboratory or inquiry-based science course, which shall include chemistry, environmental science, or physics. The measure was approved by the Assembly Education Committee in May. On The Net:


Democratic Measure to Expand Funding for Women’s Health Care Gets Final Legislative Approval Johnson, Greenwald, Watson Coleman, Spencer, Pintor Marin and Vainieri Huttle Bill Would Expand Medicare Coverage (TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Gordon M. Johnson, Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald, Bonnie Watson Coleman, L. Grace Spencer, Eliana Pintor Marin and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to expand Medicaid coverage for women’s health care received final legislative approval from the Senate on Thursday The bill (A-2795) would apply to non-pregnant persons with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The legislation comes after Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly left funding for women’s health care out of the state budget and vetoed Democratic efforts to restore the money. In the past, the funding has helped support life-saving services for women, including mammograms, Pap tests and STI treatment and prevention. “The well-being of New Jersey’s residents depends upon their ability to make the best possible choices about their health,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “This bill gives low-income New Jerseyans the means to take control of their wellness.” “When it comes to promoting a healthier New Jersey, access to women’s health care is indispensable,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “That is why we are taking this critical step to expand Medicaid coverage.” “Women’s health care goes beyond contraception,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “We’re also talking about funding for routine gynecological exams that can save women’s lives in New Jersey.” “We know that this bill represents an investment that will save our state money in the long run,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “When we empower women – especially those struggling to make ends meet – to take charge of their health, we make good on our promise to stand up for the people of this state.” “This legislation represents the fundamental idea that all residents of New Jersey have a right to health and the freedom to make personal choices about their well-being – regardless of gender or income level,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “This is an important step forward for women’s health, and as we know, all progress on women’s health is a great stride for the wellness of our state as a whole,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This supplemental funding is critically important to the women and families who depend on it, and we should be taking advantage of every available federal resource at our disposal.” The measure stems from an option available to states under the federal Affordable Care Act, which permits the expansion of Medicaid eligibility for women’s health services. The legislation now heads to the governor’s desk. On The Net:


Wisniewski, Green, Jasey & Sumter Bill to Require Residential Fire Sprinklers in New Homes Approved by Assembly (TRENTON) – The General Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Wisniewski, Jerry Green, Mila Jasey and Shavonda E. Sumter requiring the installation of a fire suppression system in newly-constructed single- and two-family homes. Under the bill (A-1698), to be known as the “New Home Fire Safety Act,” a certificate of occupancy would not be issued for a new home until a state or local code enforcement agency determines that the home is equipped with a fire suppression system that meets state standards. “Requiring fire suppression systems in new home construction is a simple, commonsense step that will save lives, limit property damage and reduce insurance costs,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “They should be as commonplace in home construction as windows and doors.” “Installing fire safety equipment in newly constructed homes is an important step toward improving public safety,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “A change like this can go a long way toward saving the lives of both residents and firefighters.” “Protecting people should always be our first priority,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “Making these fire suppression systems routine will provide peace of mind for families while minimizing the risks for firefighters who put their own lives on the line to protect us.” “Just earlier this year, a Paterson house fire – unfortunately one of multiple fires in the city in recent months – put the residents, their neighbors and dozens of firefighters in grave danger,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The severity of that tragic incident and others like it serves as a poignant reminder of why having residential fire sprinklers in new homes is so crucial.” The legislation provides an exemption for manufactured homes and single- and two-family homes that are not connected to public water systems. The bill permits municipalities and the Commissioner of Community Affairs to each establish a fee that covers the cost of inspection and the cost of a certificate of occupancy. The bill passed 46-31-1 in the Assembly. On The Net: