Quijano, Mukherji, Vainieri Huttle, Eustace, Jones & McKeon Measure to Secure At-Risk Nonprofits Clears Legislature

Pilot Program Would Allow Vulnerable Entities to Receive Security Funding 

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Raj Mukherji, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Tim Eustace, Patricia Egan Jones and John McKeon sponsored to increase security at New Jersey nonprofit organizations determined to be at an elevated risk for attacks was approved 37-0 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.

The bill (A-4253), which would establish the “Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program,” would provide $1 million annually for three years to help secure eligible nonprofit organizations deemed high-risk targets. Approved organizations may receive up to $10,000 each per year.

The sponsors developed the legislation through meetings with various nonprofit organizations, including synagogues and mosques, that are concerned for the security of their members.

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Quijano, Vainieri Huttle, Mukherji & Giblin ‘Airbnb’ Bill to Ensure Level Playing Field among Lodging Businesses Goes to Governor

Bill would bring tax fairness to short-term rentals made popular by sites like Airbnb

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Raj Mukherji and Tom Giblin sponsored to ensure fairness among all hospitality providers in New Jersey and provide a much-needed revenue boost to the state was approved 25-13 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.

The bill (A-4587) would impose upon “transient accommodations,” or residences used as temporary lodging, the same taxes and fees that hotels and motels currently must pay to the state.

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Sumter, Eustace, Benson & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Require Companies that Offshore Jobs Out of State to Return State Aid Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen), Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), Dan Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) to require employers that offshore call center jobs overseas to return any state aid or business incentives they have received was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

American companies have embraced the practice of exporting call center jobs as a way of reducing labor costs. Over the past decade, the U.S. has lost more than 200,000 call center jobs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. These jobs are often sent to the Philippines, India, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras and other developing nations.

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Jasey, McKeon & Vainieri Huttle Bill Encouraging Mental Health Physicians to Work in Underserved Areas OK’d by Assembly

Measure Establishes Tuition Reimbursement Program for Psychiatrists, Addressing Shortage of Mental Health Care Access in Certain Parts of the State 

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey, John McKeon and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to reimburse tuition for psychiatrists who work in underserved areas of the state continued approved 75-0 Thursday by the Assembly.

“The reimbursement program will only be available to physicians who engage in the full-time practice of psychiatry in an area of need designated by the Commissioner of Health,” said Jasey (D- Essex/Morris). “The intent of this legislation is to increase access to much-needed care in underserved communities.”

Under the bill (A-3962), the Commissioner of Health will designate, on the basis of health status and economic indicators, geographic areas of the state that have a shortage of physicians in the specialty of psychiatry. The program will provide reimbursement of a portion of medical school tuition expenses to psychiatrists who agree to provide mental health care services in one of these state underserved areas for a period of one to four years.

“The decrease in mental health centers in the state has left a void in care for New Jersey residents who rely on these services,” said McKeon (D- Essex/Morris). “Mostly low-income urban and rural communities are without access to these services. This bill is about creating opportunity and access for residents.”

“There are many steps we must take as a state to improve and strengthen mental healthcare services,” said Vainieri Huttle (D- Bergen). “This legislation is one of those steps toward expanding access to care for residents who need it.” 

Program participants must be state residents, be state-licensed physicians who have completed all educational and residency training requirements for the practice of psychiatry and apply for the program within one year of completing an accredited residency program in psychiatry.

The bill now be referred to the Senate for final legislative consideration.

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Singleton, Vainieri Huttle & Holley Bill to Provide Counseling for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Bipartisan legislation Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Jamel Holley sponsored to help children cope with exposure to domestic violence was unanimously approved by the full Assembly on Thursday.

The legislation was born out of a recommendation in the June 2016 Report of the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Domestic Violence.

“The collateral damage inflicted on children of domestic violence can be devastating and long-lasting. Boosting therapeutic services for them can help mitigate this damage,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “This legislation is part of an effort to increase support services statewide.”

The bill (A-4045) would require the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to establish and maintain a statewide, evidenced-based program to provide grants for developing and implementing therapeutic treatment, counseling and supportive services to children and their family members who have been exposed to domestic violence.

“Our goal is to reduce emotional scarring on children so that these innocent young people do not carry these wounds with them into adulthood,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).  “This legislation is part of our continued, concerted effort to combat this insidious behavior while lending our support to victims and their children.”

“Children who observe domestic violence in the home often experience high levels of stress and may come to believe that the violence they see is normal behavior,” said Holley (D-Union). “Supportive intervention can help diminish some of the destructive, anxiety-inducing effects of domestic violence among New Jersey’s kids and help break the cycle of abuse.”

The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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Sumter, Vainieri Huttle & Lampitt Bill to Establish Career Training Program for Low-Income Women Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Pamela Lampitt to help make women more competitive in the workforce and encourage financial stability among women was approved 72-3 Thursday by the Assembly.

The bill (A-3717) would establish the Women’s Vocational Training Pilot Program in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) to promote the economic self-sufficiency of low-income women through increased participation in high-wage, high-demand occupations.

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Muoio, Vainieri Huttle, Mukherji, Oliver & Gusciora Bill to Enhance Benefits under Work First New Jersey Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Raj Mukherji, Sheila Oliver and Reed Gusciora to ensure that some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents receive the assistance they need under the Work First New Jersey program was approved 51-20-3 Thursday by the Assembly.

The bill (A-33) would repeal the section of the Work First New Jersey Act that currently prohibits a household from gaining additional cash assistance benefits as a result of the birth of a child.  Such policies that prevent an increase in welfare benefits as a result of the birth of a child are commonly known as family caps.

Identical legislation was vetoed last year by Gov. Christie, but Assembly Democrats remain committed to it.

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Vainieri Huttle, Mosquera, Tucker, McKnight, Mukherji & Wimberly Bill to Protect Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities Heads to Governor

‘Stephen Komninos’ Law’ Would Put Measures in Place to Better Address Reports of Abuse and Neglect in State-Licensed Facilities 

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Gabriela Mosquera, Cleopatra Tucker, Angela McKnight, Raj Mukherji and Benjie Wimberly to better protect children and adults with development disabilities from potential abuse and neglect by caregivers is headed to the Governor’s desk after receiving final legislative approval unanimously from the full Assembly.

The bill (A-2503), known as “Stephen Komninos’ Law,” honors the memory of Stephen, an individual with developmental disabilities who died at the age of 22 while under the care of a private state-licensed facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Stephen was a non-verbal young man who suffered through many substantiated incidents of abuse and neglect by caregivers.  Tragically, the last incident resulted in his death. 

“After suffering the tragic loss of Stephen Komninos, our goal is to prevent future tragedies,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This bill will institute a major overhaul to our system to put protections in place to help uncover any incidents of abuse or neglect before they end in tragedy and ensure that these incidents are addressed as swiftly as possible and those responsible are held accountable.  Ultimately, our goal is to create an environment that does not tolerate abuse, neglect, or exploitation of individuals with developmental disabilities.”

The bill would help protect and ensure accountability and transparency for adults and children with developmental disabilities through site visits, allowing a guardian or family member to attend or observe any investigation by the Department of Human Services in cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation and by increasing the penalty for certain crimes.

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Sumter, Vainieri Huttle & Lampitt Bill to Establish Career Training Program for Low-Income Women Continues Advancing

 (TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Pamela Lampitt to help make women more competitive in the workforce and encourage financial stability among women was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-3717) would establish the Women’s Vocational Training Pilot Program in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) to promote the economic self-sufficiency of low-income women through increased participation in high-wage, high-demand occupations.

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Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Benson & Wimberly Bill to Uphold Right of Service Dog Access for People with Disabilities Heads to Governor’s Desk

‘Charlie’s Law’ Stems from N.J. Teen’s Petition to Criminalize Denying Dogs Access in Public Places 

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to uphold the right of people with disabilities to have equal access to public facilities is headed to the Governor’s desk after receiving final legislative approval from the full Senate on Monday.

The legislation, which was unanimously approved by the full Assembly in January, was first proposed by the sponsors after 16-year-old Cherry Hill resident Ben Shore raised concerns about a policy in his school district outlining preconditions to be met in order for a student to be accompanied by a service animal, like his service dog Charlie.

The bill (A-4081), known as “Charlie’s Law,” would establish civil penalties for those who deny individuals with disabilities accompanied by service or guide dogs access to any public facility.  

The measure underscores provisions of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires state and local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the general public to admit service animals.

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