Garden State Equality: LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum Pilot Program Begins Today in New Jersey Schools

Twelve public schools now piloting LGBTQ-curriculum developed by Garden State Equality

Today, Garden State Equality launched its LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum pilot program in twelve New Jersey public schools, utilizing lesson plans developed and written by Garden State Equality in partnership with Make It Better for Youth. The pilot program will continue until the end of the current school year; New Jersey’s law will go into effect statewide this fall for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Our youth deserve to see themselves reflected in the classroom, and we know the work we’re doing is going to change the lives of LGBTQ students for the better by reducing bullying,” said Ashley Chiappano, Safe Schools & Community Education Manager for Garden State Equality. “The robust curriculum Garden State Equality has developed will ensure that the LGBTQ community’s contributions throughout history are not erased and serve to inspire the next generation.”

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Vainieri Huttle, Lopez & Timberlake Bill to Tackle Sexual Misconduct in Prisons, Require In-Service Training Clears Committee

Addressing systemic sexual abuse in New Jersey prisons, legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Yvonne Lopez and Britnee N. Timberlake to set guidelines for in-service training of correctional police officers was advanced in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.

The bill (A-4086/S-2532) is one of five pieces of legislation drafted in response to an ongoing criminal probe at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. Over the last few years, eight prison employees have been charged with sexually abusing inmates. In November 2018, a former senior officer at the prison was convicted of counts including sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and official misconduct.

“The allegations of sexual abuse against female inmates were repugnant. These women did not forfeit their humanity or civil rights when they were imprisoned,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “It is evident that reform is still needed to protect inmates, and prevent the abuse of power and culture of lawlessness that seems to have permeated the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.”

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Assembly Panel Approves Two Bills Strengthening Access to Apprenticeship Programs in the State

Assembly Democratic legislation (A-4655) creating a tuition fee waiver for apprenticeship programs and (A-4657) establishing a youth apprenticeship program in Department of Education was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.

The first measure is sponsored by Assembly members John Armato (D-Atlantic), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). The sponsors issued the following joint statement on the bill:

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Vainieri Huttle Statement on Recent Anti-Semitic Attack in New York: “Together We Can Fight Against Intolerance and Hatred”

Vainieri Huttle Statement on Recent Anti-Semitic Attack in New York:

“Together We Can Fight Against Intolerance and Hatred”

(TRENTON) – In response to Saturday’s attack on Jewish people celebrating Chanukah together in a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) released the following statement:

“Last night, members of the Jewish community celebrated their final night of Chanukah. Chanukah is a testament to the endurance and fortitude of the Jewish faith. It seems that recent events in New Jersey and across the country have tested that fortitude in ways we should never again have to imagine. I would like to express my most sincere condolences to those impacted by these violent events; it should never be dangerous to express one’s faith. From Jersey City to Monsey to Poway, anti-Semitism continues to spread across our nation.

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Quijano, Mukherji, Schaer, Johnson, Vainieri Huttle & Danielsen Bill to Create two Categories of Driver’s Licenses Heads to the Governor’s Desk

Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano (D-Union), Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), Gary Schaer (D-Bergen, Passaic), Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Joe Danielsen (D-Middlesex, Somerset) issued the following joint statement after final legislative passage of their bill (A-4743) to expand access to driver’s licenses for New Jersey residents:

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Vainieri Huttle, Lopez & Quijano Measure Creating ‘Commission to Protect Inmates from Sexual Assault And Sexual Misconduct’ Passes Assembly

Legislation Spurred by Edna Mahan Correctional Facility Abuses

Following several cases of sexual misconduct and abuse by Edna Mahan Correctional Facility officers and staff, a joint resolution (AJR-134) to create a 17-member commission to investigate the sexual victimization of inmates in New Jersey correctional facilities and make policy recommendations was approved 77-0 in the full Assembly on Monday. The resolution now heads to the Senate for further review.

Sponsors of the measure released the following statements:

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Greenwald, Downey & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Establish Regional Health Hubs Throughout State Passes Full Assembly

Assembly Democrats Louis Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington), Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) have sponsored a bill (A-5977) aimed at improving New Jersey’s healthcare through the creation of a Regional Health Hub Program.

Greenwald authored legislation that created the original Medicaid Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Demonstration Project in 2011, and this new bill represents a continuation of those efforts.

In 2015, three organizations were designated ACOs in New Jersey – the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Trenton Health Team, and Health Greater Newark ACO, which is a sister organization to the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition. These three organizations, and the Health Coalition of Passaic County located in Paterson, would be re-designated as New Jersey’s first Regional Health Hub.

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McKeon, Vainieri Huttle & Pinkin Bill to Establish Protections from Financial Exploitation for Vulnerable Adults Passes Assembly

With the goal of preventing the financial exploitation of elderly New Jersey residents, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Nancy Pinkin to increase protections for adults at risk of falling victim to financial crimes was approved Monday by the full Assembly, 77-0.

“Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for senior citizens to be taken advantage of by people seeking to take their money, property, assets or identities,” said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “These crimes often go unreported and untracked. The good news is financial exploitation can be prevented with the right protections in place.”

The bill (A-5091) would provide that when a qualified individual believes the financial exploitation of an eligible adult has occurred or been attempted, they must notify the Bureau of Securities in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety and the applicable county adult protective services provider. A “qualified individual” is defined under the bill as any agent, investment adviser representative or other person who serves in a supervisory, compliance, or legal capacity for a broker-dealer or investment adviser.

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Legislation to Help Prevent Unsafe Access to Prescription Medications Passes Full Assembly

In an effort to protect the environment and reduce unsafe access to prescription drugs, Assembly Democrats Raj Mukherji, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, John Armato and Robert Karabinchak have sponsored legislation to require pharmacies to educate customers and offer methods for them to properly dispose of their medicine. The bill unanimously passed the full Assembly Monday.

The bill (A-5667) would require pharmaceutical sites that dispense prescription medicines to provide patients with information about the potential risks of improperly discarding unused pills and syringes. One of those risks includes making it easier for someone to steal the medication from the trash for their own personal use or resale.

The legislation is named “Charlie’s Law” in Charlie Van Tassel’s memory – a young athlete who struggled with addiction for many years before tragically succumbing at the age of 33.

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Legislation Revising Requirements for Notifying Public of Freezing Weather Passes Assembly Committee

In an effort to protect vulnerable New Jersey residents during the winter, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling, Joann Downey and Valerie Vainieri Huttle would require counties to alert the public whenever the National Weather Service predicts temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The Assembly Appropriations Committee advanced the legislation on Thursday.

The bill (A-6056) would require each county to issue Code Blue Alerts within 24 to 48 hours of the predicted freezing temperatures, regardless of whether precipitation is also anticipated. Each county’s Office of Emergency Management must distribute this notification of the impending weather to municipalities, social service agencies and non-profit organizations offering relevant services.

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