Friday, December 8, 2017

Expungement Reform Bill Package Clears Legislature




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December 8, 2017

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Green, Muoio, Holley, Mukherji, Chiaravalloti & Wimberly Expungement Reform Bill Package Clears Legislature

(TRENTON) – Expungement reform legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green, Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Jamel Holley, Raj Mukherji, Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Benjie Wimberly to help people reclaim their lives and start anew gained final approval Thursday in the General Assembly.
The bills would prohibit employment discrimination based upon an expunged criminal record, accelerate expungements, increase the number of convictions that can be expunged and reduce the waiting period to expunge an entire juvenile record.
“Expungement offers an incentive against recidivism and lets people reclaim their lives,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset), who has advanced several expungement reform bills. “It gives people who currently have little chance of finding legal employment the opportunity to leave mistakes behind them, find a job and be productive. The fact is the system is working against those individuals who have served their time and want to change and do better. These bills, combined with the reform laws we’ve already passed, will go a long way toward giving people a hand-up as they seek to rebuild their lives and benefit their families and communities.”
“A criminal record can affect a person’s ability to secure housing, employment and even obtain loans for school,” said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).  “Individuals who have learned from their mistakes should not be defined by their criminal records for the rest of their lives. It is a greater benefit to society when these individuals are able to put their past behind them and lead better, more productive lives. These can be life-saving reforms.”
“Too many families and communities in New Jersey are being broken apart because of the barriers those with criminal records face after they’ve already served their sentences,” said Holley (D-Union). “Making it easier for them to build a good future for themselves ultimately will benefit our entire state.”
“The sooner someone’s criminal record is expunged, the sooner he or she can get a fresh start and make positive contributions to society,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “Expungement reform is a good and necessary change for New Jersey.”  
 “There’s no benefit to continually punishing people who have served their time and now endeavor to redeem themselves,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Expunging their criminal records can help them continue on the path to recovery, which is a good thing for everyone – the person, their family, their friends, our business community, the taxpayers and the state as a whole. It’s reasonable to say that these bills will not just changes lives. They will save lives.”
“These are proactive measures that will help to reduce our recidivism and unemployment rates,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “This is about providing second chances for residents who need one. When we give a person the opportunity to change their lives, we give them hope.”
The bills include:
·         A-5036 (Green, Muoio, Holley, Wimberly): Prohibits employment discrimination based upon expunged criminal record;
·         A-5037 (Muoio, Mukherji, Green, Chiaravalloti, Holley, Wimberly): Decreases the waiting period to expunge an entire juvenile record from five to three years;
·         A-5038 (Muoio, Mukherji, Green, Wimberly, Chiaravalloti): Revises the procedures for expunging criminal and other records and information, including shortening of waiting periods for expungement eligibility and increasing the number of convictions that may be expunged.

A-5036 was approved 42-17. A-5037 was approved 62-0. A-5038 was approved 61-1. The bills will now go to the Governor for further consideration. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Assemblyman Green Announces New Housing for Youth Aging out of Foster Care


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Speaker Pro Tempore Green
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Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green
Housing & Community Development Committee Chair
p: 609-465-0700
July 6, 2017

Assemblyman Green Announces New Housing for
Youth Aging out of Foster Care

Plainfield YMCA will Undergo Major Rehabilitation to Include 31 New Units

(PLAINFIELD, NJ) - Assemblyman Jerry Green announced Thursday that a portion of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Plainfield will be rehabilitated into affordable housing for youth, ages18-24, who are aging out of foster care.

The developer, Eastern Pacific Development, LLC, anticipates construction to begin in December 2017 with an anticipated completion date of May 2019.

The $9.5 million project includes bridge financing recently committed from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Agency (HMFA) during their June 27, 2017 board meeting. The financing includes a $4.86 million permanent bridge loan from revenue bond financing and approximately $3 million in permanent financing from the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund (SSNHF). Additional sources of income include $6 million in construction financing from New Jersey Community Capital and $500,000 in capital funds from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The borrower is also applying for 4 percent tax credits.

“I would like to thank the State of New Jersey and congratulate YMCA President Ravenell Williams and YMCA Board President Kieran Anderson, for working with my office on these efforts. This is a unique housing project in Plainfield that many state residents will benefit from.  We will be home to only the second facility in the state to provide housing for youth aging out of foster care. I couldn’t be happier than to know that our Queen City is leading the way in providing these life-changing services,” said Assemblyman Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union).

The existing vacant and dilapidated units located on the second and third floors of the YMCA property will be demolished and substantially rehabilitated to include the new construction of 31 units, at an average of 413 square feet per unit. The building will be also expanded by approximately 5,000 square feet. Thirty of the efficiency units will be designated for youth aging out of foster care and one rent-free unit set aside for the superintendent. The first and fourth floors will remain YMCA facilities.

All units will have private kitchens and bathrooms and Energy Star appliances.  Elevator service, a secured entrance, common laundry facilities, office space for property management and support service functions, on-site parking, and access to all YMCA facilities will also be offered. Additional items in the scope of work include the installation of an elevator, replacement of roof, renovation of downstairs lobby entrance, and new security camera system.

Case management services will be available to the residents, including skills development, housing, education/vocational training, physical/mental health and employment.

The project, located in a Smart Growth Area and a Metro Planning Area, is within walking distance to a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, Union County College, social services, buses, and a train station.

Vanguard Realty will provide property management services, with the Plainfield YMCA providing onsite management and maintenance personnel. Security will be staffed 24/7 with the existing security staff that presently services the building.

The proposed net rents, set at Union County Fair Market Rents, are $1,007 per month. The project will provide Section 8 Rental Assistance Vouchers through the Housing Authority of Plainfield.

The developer, Eastern Pacific Development, located in Vineland, specializes in high quality housing, assisting municipalities in meeting their obligation to provide affordable housing, often with the added benefit of renovating older, deteriorating buildings into modern housing complexes. Brookfield Construction will serve as the General Contractor. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Green, Sumter & Oliver Bill to Help Families Avoid Foreclosure Clears Assembly Panel



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Green, Sumter & Oliver Bill to Help Families Avoid Foreclosure Clears Assembly Panel

            (TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green, Shavonda Sumter and Sheila Oliver to help families at risk of losing their homes avoid foreclosure and keep their homes was approved Monday by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.

            The bill (A-2036) would establish a Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Stabilization Trust Fund in the Department of Community Affairs. Money allocated to the fund would be utilized for foreclosure prevention activities, such as legal services to low and moderate income homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure, mediation services, and training for non-governmental groups who assist homeowners in addressing the foreclosure process.

“New Jersey continues to have one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union), who chairs the committee. “Foreclosures undermine the health and economic vitality of neighborhoods, particularly in urban neighborhoods where a disproportionate share of foreclosures take place. This fund can help residents keep their homes and prevent the adverse effects of foreclosure on families and neighborhoods.”

“Foreclosures lead to billions of dollars in lost property value and result in millions of dollars of additional expenses to state and local governments,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). “It is in the best economic interest of the state to give homeowners who are facing foreclosure the resources needed to keep their homes and avoid the harmful effects of foreclosures on our communities.”

“Foreclosures, particularly in urban neighborhoods, often result in abandonment and deterioration of the property, creating additional financial pressures on local governments and severely destabilizing the neighborhoods where the properties are located,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “By providing resources to both public and not-for-profit entities to assist individuals at risk of foreclosure, we can help prevent this financial burden on neighborhoods and municipalities.”

The fund would be financed through a temporary $800 surcharge placed on each foreclosure complaint filed in the state. The surcharge would expire five years after the bill’s effective date, or when the annual number of foreclosure complaints filed is less than 20,000, whichever occurs first.

The Department of Community Affairs would provide up to $500,000 from the fund to train qualified vendors to provide training to local governments and non-profit entities undertaking neighborhood stabilization efforts. The department may utilize $500,000 in the first year of the fund, and $300,000 each year thereafter, for the purpose of collecting and disseminating foreclosure data.  Following these disbursements from the fund, the next $10 million collected during the fiscal year would be allocated to qualified non-profit entities for the purpose of maintaining or expanding their foreclosure prevention programs. Entities receiving these funds would issue quarterly reports detailing the success of their foreclosure prevention programs.

Any funds disbursed in excess of $10 million must be provided to local governments, public authorities, or non-profit community development or housing organizations to mitigate the negative secondary effects of foreclosures in residential neighborhoods. These funds may be used to purchase, repair, or demolish vacant properties on which a notice of foreclosure has been served.

This legislation would require a municipality that utilizes money from the fund for code enforcement or nuisance abatement purposes to make a diligent effort to recover the expended funds from the property owner or the creditor seeking to foreclose on the property.

Under the bill, creditors would have to report to the department on a quarterly basis to provide information, segregated by county and municipality, pertaining to the status and disposition of each foreclosure action, specifying whether such action was disposed of through sheriff’s sale, short sale, or loan modification, and the terms of the modification, refinancing, or any other outcome.  Under the bill, the report must be provided no later than 30 days following the end of each quarter, and a copy of the quarterly report also shall be submitted to the Department of Community Affairs in the same manner and time as prescribed for submission to the Department of Banking and Insurance.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

HELPING NEEDY NEW JERSEY FAMILIES FIND HOMES

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Helping needy N.J. families find homes

After more than 15 years of gridlock in Trenton, help is finally coming to central New Jersey residents who have been struggling with finding and keeping affordable homes.
Families throughout the state are beginning to see the positive effects of living in affordable homes in inclusive neighborhoods in New Jersey.

Pummeled by the effects of the recession and an ongoing wave of foreclosures, working families, seniors and those with disabilities are having a difficult time maintaining a home amid New Jersey’s sky-high property values. Many homes and apartments are too expensive to live in when located in suburban communities. This pricing crisis limits families from accessing good schools and employment opportunities located in these communities.

The fight to address the needs of New Jersey families received amajor boost in January when the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision upholding the state’s fair housing laws. These laws, known as the Mount Laurel doctrine, require that towns do their fair share to preserve and build new homes that are affordable for working families.

The court’s ruling is a great triumph for families with modest incomes and a major blow to generations of exclusionary policies that have caused the prices of housing to explode in New Jersey. These exclusionary policies are the cause of making our state one of the most segregated in the country.
It also gives a big boost to nonprofit housing developers, such as HomeFirst, which have spent years working with local communities and intimately understand local housing needs.

Thanks to strong leadership from the courts and legislative leaders, more than 100 municipalities across the state have reached agreements to satisfy obligations to build or restore more than 32,000 homes. These towns range from large suburbs such as Toms River and Edison to small boroughs like Ho-Ho-Kus and Chatham. Construction has already begun to implement these settlements and get some of New Jersey neediest families into permanent homes, including in Cherry Hill and Woodbridge.
Seven towns in Union County are adopting housing plans totaling more than 2,000 homes. These towns are Berkeley Heights, Clark, Fanwood, New Providence, Roselle Park, Springfield and Summit. The plans focus on revitalizing the county’s historic downtown areas, increasing transit access and promoting the redevelopment of vacant office parks, strip malls and industrial centers into vibrant new communities.
Other municipalities are currently in settlement talks with advocates to get housing plans approved. Princeton, for instance, recently announced that it achieved a settlement in principle with housing advocates that will expand opportunities for New Jersey residents.

We have also received strong support from Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union), who chairs the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee and has championed legislation to strengthen the Mount Laurel doctrine while also beating back numerous attempts by Gov. Chris Christie to weaken our fair-housing framework.

As a local builder of quality affordable homes, we have seen firsthand how this recent progress will translate into real help for New Jersey families.

HomeFirst manages several properties and apartment units that serve as temporary housing for families in transition and permanent supportive housing for families with physical or mental disabilities. We also provide all the support services required to help families become self-sufficient. The final step is to help these families find permanent housing that is affordable and offers the same access to good schools and thriving neighborhoods.

We need to continue building on these successes by supporting the legal process currently underway in courtrooms across New Jersey to assign housing obligations to municipalities and to set out clear plans for getting additional homes built.
That is the only way we will be able to make our Constitution’s goal of fair housing a reality. And the only way we will finally tackle the housing affordability crisis.

Debbie-Ann Anderson is executive director of HomeFirst Interfaith Housing and Family Services Inc., a nonprofit provider and developer of affordable housing based in Plainfield. She wrote this article for The Star-Ledger.

Exclusionary policies are the cause of making our state one of the most segregated in the country.

Friday, March 10, 2017

If Gov. Christie is Sincere about Expungement, he would Work with the Assembly


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Speaker Pro Tempore Green
For Release:
Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green
Housing & Community Development Committee Chair
p: 609-465-0700
March 10, 2017

Green: If Gov. Christie is Sincere about Expungement, he would Work with the Assembly
Law to reform NJ’s expungement laws was spearheaded by Assembly Democrats

            (TRENTON) – Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union) issued the following statement on Friday chastising the governor for excluding the Assembly as he works on expungement legislation, when it was the Assembly that spearheaded the issue and initiated the law to reform the state’s expungement laws. Sponsored by the Green, the law (A-206-471-1663-2879-3060-3108) reduced the statutory waiting period for an expungement of a criminal conviction.

“It took years to finally get the governor to support this issue.
“We worked on the bill, sent it to him, adhered to the recommendations in his conditional veto for the sake of those who we were trying to help, and got the bill signed into law.
“For the governor to now ignore the Assembly as he focuses on expungement is a slap in the face.
“He had the opportunity to add to the bill back then, but he didn’t.
“Instead, he’s reached out to the Senate to help craft legislation, even though we already have something in the books. I would be happy to work with him if he wanted to strengthen the law. I would’ve been happy to do it last year, when we sent the measure to his desk for final approval.

“But to ignore the Assembly leadership, as if we have not been working on this before he thought it was a good idea, is disrespectful, and makes me question his sincerity about who he’s really trying to help.”

GREEN ON SCHOOL FUNDING


News from
Speaker Pro Tempore Green
For Release:
Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green
Housing & Community Development Committee Chair
p: 609-465-0700
March 10, 2017

Green on School Funding: “I Will Not Accept Getting Less than What Our Students Deserve”
Lawmaker raises concerns about impact of flat school funding in governor’s proposed budget on public school districts that are already struggling financially

            (TRENTON) – Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union) issued a statement Friday in support of Plainfield students who protested against budget cuts proposed by the school district, and reiterated that he would not support any budget proposals by Gov. Christie that would make the financial burden even greater for Plainfield and other public school districts.

            “I commend those students who made their voiced heard, respectfully and peacefully, about the impact these cuts would have on their education. The Plainfield School District is proposing cuts to plug an $8 million budget hole, that if approved, would have a detrimental impact on the quality of educational services these students receive. If this wasn’t worrisome enough, school aid remains flat in the governor’s proposed budget, meaning there might be greater financial challenges ahead for Plainfield and similar districts.
            “The governor has challenged us to work with him on a new school funding plan. I don’t know how long this spirit of collaboration will last, but I will do my due diligence to ensure that our students are not deprived of the resources needed to succeed. I will not accept getting less than what these students deserve.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ASSEMBLYMAN GREEN JOINS WITH HOUSING ADVOCATES TO ANNOUNCE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES COMING TO UNION COUNTY

fshc logo


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                    FEBRUARY 15, 2017
               ASSEMBLYMAN GREEN JOINS WITH HOUSING ADVOCATES TO 
ANNOUNCE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES COMING TO UNION COUNTY

Contact:
Assemblyman Green's office: Maria C. Del Cid - (908) 561-5757
Fair Share Housing Center: Anthony Campisi - (732) 266-8221, AnthonyCampisi@Fairsharehousingcenter.org

Plainfield - Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union), the Chairman of the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee, together with the Fair Share Housing Center, the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP, and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, is proud to highlight initiatives taken by seven Union County municipalities to expand access to homes affordable to working and moderate-income families. 

For more than a decade, the Legislature, with the leadership of Assemblyman Green, has stood firm against proposals meant to undermine New Jersey's commitment to fair housing. Following the failure of the Council on Affordable Housing to comply with those laws, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued decisions requiring municipalities to meet their fair housing obligations under the Mount Laurel doctrine under the supervision of the state's trial courts.

Aided by a series of strong laws that have remained on the books, Fair Share has worked with seven Union County municipalities to implement fair share plans that establish fair housing obligations of more than 2,000 homes. These plans focus on revitalizing the county's historic downtown areas, increasing transit access and promoting the redevelopment of vacant office parks, strip malls, and industrial centers into vibrant new communities.

"Homes in New Jersey cost too much, and I am proud that so many Union County municipalities have stepped up to the plate to provide opportunities for lower-income New Jerseyans," Assemblyman Green said. "Encouraging redevelopment is good for towns and good for working folks and people with disabilities.  

Taxpayers overwhelmingly support New Jersey's fair housing laws and don't want their money wasted on fighting those laws.  I am proud to have stood strong against attacks of the landmark Mount Laurel doctrine. Our support of New Jersey families is now paying off with agreements that will lead to the development of tens of thousands of new homes throughout the state. I am particularly pleased that towns in Union County have led the way in reaching fair settlements that put plans in place to expand opportunities in Central Jersey."

Seven towns in Union County currently have agreements in place resolving their housing obligations: Berkeley Heights, Clark, Fanwood, New Providence, Roselle Park, Springfield, and Summit. Several additional municipalities are in active negotiations with housing advocates and are expected to soon announce settlements.

Together, the seven municipalities are working with for-profit developers on projects to fight blight through redevelopment. They are also partnering with non-profits to provide homes for people with disabilities.

"Many municipalities in New Jersey support our state's fair housing laws," said Kevin D. Walsh, Executive Director of the Fair Share Housing Center. "A growing consensus is now solidifying among municipalities that they can and should meet their fair housing obligations. Assemblyman Green and the Legislature have shown strong leadership in standing by working families, seniors, and people with disabilities so that good homes are provided throughout our state in all communities."

"Non-profits around the state are working with local municipal officials and residents to make sure that their communities meet their responsibilities and create homes that people can afford," said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.  

"In Summit, for example, non-profit developers won a commitment to include 50 homes around the community; this is a model that can be used in other towns that integrate new homes in neighborhoods.  We are proud to work with Assemblyman Green and others in the Legislature to ensure that all residents can afford to call New Jersey home."

Assemblyman Green also believes that January's unanimous ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court affirming municipalities' fair housing obligations will lead to additional settlements throughout the state and create more much-needed homes.

"The recent Supreme Court victory is a pivotal moment in the fight for access to opportunity for everyone in our state," said Richard T. Smith, President of the New Jersey NAACP. "Despite being one of the most diverse states in the country, restrictive zoning laws have long excluded African American and Latino families from moving into certain communities. As a longtime champion of minority and working families, we look forward to continuing to advance an opportunity agenda in partnership with Assemblyman Green."

In addition to leading the fight to protect the Mount Laurel doctrine, Assemblyman Green also sponsored landmark legislation in 2008 that prevented a small group of wealthy towns from avoiding meeting their fair housing obligations by paying for minimal improvements to existing homes in urban areas through the use of Regional Contribution Agreements.

"Our work prohibiting additional RCAs laid the groundwork for the successes we are seeing in the ongoing fair housing process," Assemblyman Green explained. "RCAs were the wrong approach to fair housing and I will not support calls to bring them back. We can now be confident that these fair housing plans will lead quickly to the construction of new homes for families, seniors and people with disabilities. As the current housing process moves into the next phase, I look forward to working with advocates to increase state resources dedicated to revitalizing our communities and expanding opportunities for New Jersey families."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bill to Protect Sandy Victims Still Rebuilding from Costly Bureaucratic Setbacks Signed into Law



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Feb. 10, 2017

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Singleton, Quijano, Caputo, Taliaferro, Green, Caride & Houghtaling Bill to Protect Sandy Victims Still Rebuilding from Costly Bureaucratic Setbacks Signed into Law



(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Annette Quijano, Ralph Caputo and Adam Taliaferro, Jerry Green, Marlene Caride, and Eric Houghtaling to ensure the fairness of project deadlines, enhance transparency, and create foreclosure protections for Superstorm Sandy victims was signed into law on Friday.

“Thousands of homeowners due to receive funding from grant programs set up to help them have complained of extraordinary delays,” said Singleton (D-Burlington).  “It is shameful that almost four years after the storm, resident are still dealing with these types of setbacks. This helps ensure that residents who are still rebuilding are not hurt by bureaucratic stumbling blocks.”

“It is incredibly unfair that residents who have been through so much already have to delay their recovery process even further because of circumstances beyond their control,” said Quijano (D-Union). “We need to put provisions in place that will help protect residents affected by Sandy who are still trying to rebuild, but keep getting tangled up in governmental red-tape.”

Under the new law (A-333), the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will have to extend the completion deadline for projects funded through the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) or Low to Moderate Income Homeowners Rebuilding (LMI) grant, for applicants who can demonstrate the delay was the fault of their builder or due to delays by the DCA in approving the builder doing the project. If an application for aid under the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA), LMI, or RREM program is denied, the DCA would have to provide the applicant with an explanation for the denial, and an explanation for ways to remedy the application.

The law also offers temporary protections against foreclosure to certain Sandy victims. Under the law, homeowners who have either been approved for assistance through the RREM or LMI program, or have received rental assistance from FEMA as a result of damage to their primary residence could apply to the DCA for a certificate of eligibility for mortgage forbearance.

The forbearance period would conclude when whichever of these scenarios happens first: a year after a certificate of occupancy for recovery and rebuilding program work has been issued; July 1, 2019; or regarding a property in foreclosure proceedings, 10 days after a sheriff’s sale.

“It is inexcusable that the same governmental snags that have kept Sandy victims from rebuilding now threaten their homes,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “These provisions can help these residents stay afloat while they wait for the powers that be to get it right once and for all.”

“The idea of Sandy victims facing foreclosure because of problems they did not create is asinine,” said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This law will help address the economic crisis that many families continue to experience as a result of Superstorm Sandy.”

“It is maddening that almost four years after Sandy, there are people who still have not been made whole,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “This is the least we can do for homeowners who trusted those in charge to make things right, and were severely disappointed.”

“This is bureaucracy at its worse. These families deserve better than the delays and inconsistencies that have plagued the recovery process,” said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This will help prevent any more impediments so these families can finally get back to normal.”

“As if having your life disrupted by Mother Nature was not enough, these homeowners were failed by the very entities tasked with their recovery,” Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “These provisions can help cut the red-tape they’ve been dealing with and finally get them back on track.”

Under the law, DCA would have to publicly report the reason for each application denial, wait-list placement, and withdrawal from the RREM, TBRA, and LMI programs since the start of the recovery effort, and to report the reasons for new denials, wait-list placements, and withdrawals on a quarterly basis through 2018. Concerning withdrawn applications, the public reporting requirements would apply only after DCA has conducted a reasonable effort to contact the withdrawn applicant.

The law also requires DCA to publicly report where all funding associated with application denials, wait-list placements, and withdrawals has instead been allocated. The law applies this requirement to all application denials, wait-list placements, and withdrawals since the start of the recovery effort, and would require ongoing reporting on a quarterly basis through 2018.

 The law also requires DCA to maintain a RREM appeals process for at least six months. The appeals process would have to be open to any applicant to the RREM program who submitted an initial application by the deadline of August 1, 2013, regardless of the reason the applicant had been denied or removed from the application process.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bill to Establish Penalties for Pyramid Scheme Participation Continues Advancing



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Feb. 6, 2017

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Green, Benson, Moriarty, Mukherji & Pintor Marin Bill to Establish Penalties for Pyramid Scheme Participation Continues Advancing

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green, Daniel R. Benson, Paul Moriarty, Raj Mukherji and Eliana Pintor Marin to establish criminal penalties for promoting or participating in a pyramid scheme continued advancing Monday, receiving approval from a Senate panel.
          “Pyramid schemes make victims out of vulnerable people who often are just looking for a way to make ends meet,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “Individuals who understand that an enterprise is a pyramid scheme and still choose to participate ought to face serious consequences.”
The bill (A-2004), which was approved by the full Assembly in May, would make it a crime of the second degree, generally punishable by five to ten years’ imprisonment, for a person to conspire with another person as an organizer, supervisor, financier or manager of a pyramid promotional scheme. The bill also would permit the court to impose a fine of up to $250,000. 
Recruiting for a pyramid promotional scheme, or soliciting or inducing another person to participate in a scheme, would be a crime of the fourth degree, generally punishable by up to 18 months’ imprisonment.
Under the bill, a pyramid promotional scheme is defined as “any scheme or course of conduct by which a person gives consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation that is derived primarily from a person’s introduction of another person to participate in the scheme or course of conduct rather than from the sale of a product by a person introduced into the scheme or course of conduct.” 
“New Jersey is the only state in the nation without a statute that clearly categorizes a pyramid scheme as the crime that it is,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This legislation is a declaration that this kind of deception will not be tolerated as a business model.”
“Outlining a clear definition of, and penalty for, a pyramid scheme in our state will make it easier for prosecutors to identify and file charges against individuals who participate in these scams with malicious intent,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Pyramid schemes ruin lives. New Jersey must ensure that those who engage in them face the appropriate punishment.”
“Unfortunately, unsuspecting individuals who get involved in pyramid schemes often suffer economic consequences they cannot afford,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Making it easier to penalize the perpetrators of these schemes will help address the root of the problem.”
“Pyramid schemes hurt everyone, but it’s particularly devastating when they’re used to exploit more vulnerable populations, like seniors and low-income individuals,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “Legislation addressing pyramid schemes will facilitate prosecution and protect New Jersey residents.”

          The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bill to Establish Rules for Handling of Hazardous Drugs, Protect Health Care Personnel that administer them Continues Advancing


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Feb. 1, 2017

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Jimenez, Green, Mukherji & Sumter Bill to Establish Rules for Handling of Hazardous Drugs, Protect Health Care Personnel that administer them Continues Advancing

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson), Jerry Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union), Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) and Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic) to adopt regulations concerning the handling of hazardous drugs that could be harmful to health care personnel was advanced by a Senate panel earlier this week.  
“These hazardous drugs pose a real risk to health care personnel who may be exposed to them in the air, and through contact with work surfaces, clothing, medical equipment and patients,” said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson). “This bill would help ensure that all necessary precautions are taken so that health care professionals who must work with these drugs are well protected.”
The bill (A-837) would establish the “Hazardous Drug Safe Handling Act,” which would require the Commissioner of Health and the director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, in consultation with a defined group of stakeholders in the areas of health care and workplace safety, to adopt standards and regulations concerning the handling of hazardous drugs by health care personnel.
Hazardous drugs, including antineoplastic drugs used in chemotherapy, have been associated with a number of adverse acute, short-term, and chronic effects, including skin rashes, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, various cancers, and damage to the liver, kidneys, bone marrow, heart, and lungs.
“The risks associated with these drugs could very likely keep people from pursuing this work,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “This would help reduce the potential for harmful exposure and ensure patients get the care they need from well-trained health care professionals.”
“The effects of these drugs on an individual range from birth defects to heart damage,” Said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Given the severity of the health risks, it is imperative that guidelines be set up to ensure the proper handling of these drugs and reduce the risk of exposure.”
 “These health care professionals are providing an important service to patients battling cancer,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “It is critical not just for these professionals, but the patients they care for, that we make their working environment as safe and risk-free as possible.”
Under the bill, the Commissioner, the Director, and the stakeholder group would be required to adopt consensus-driven standards and regulations concerning the handling of hazardous drugs by health care personnel in a health care facility, pharmacy practice site, or an animal or veterinary facility.  The standards and regulations would describe the hazardous drugs for which handling would be regulated, the methods and procedures for handling such drugs, an implementation plan, and such other requirements as would be necessary to protect the health and safety of health care personnel.  
The standards and regulations could include, but are not limited to: (1) written, site-specific hazardous drug control programs to avoid occupational exposure through transporting, compounding, administering, disposing, or other handling of hazardous drugs; (2) hazard assessments to determine precautions necessary to protect health care personnel from exposure; (3) engineering controls to eliminate or minimize exposure; (4) personal protective equipment and the circumstances under which personal protective equipment must be used by health care personnel; (5) safe handling practices, including handling, receiving, storage, preparing, administering, waste handling, cleaning, housekeeping, labeling and signage, and maintenance practices; (6) spill control and response procedures; (7) training standards and practices; (8) requirements for recordkeeping, including records related to training sessions, qualifications, incident reports, and other pertinent information; and (9) appropriate medical surveillance for health care personnel who directly handle hazardous drugs.
Under the bill, the standards and regulations must also include requirements for inspections by the appropriate licensing or inspection authority, provide a schedule of penalties for violations of the bill and must be based on the most recent recommendations set forth by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Employers of health care personnel would have to provide hazardous drugs training to all employees who have or are likely to be exposed to hazardous drugs. The training would take place at the time of the employee’s initial job assignment, and on an annual basis thereafter.
The bill would take effect immediately.

The bill was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Jan. 30. The Assembly approved the bill, 70-0-1, on May 26.