Assembly Panel Advances Vainieri Huttle, Lagana & Eustace Port Authority Reform Bill Creating Stricter Oversight and Financial Controls at Bi-State Agency

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joseph Lagana and Tim Eustace to institute long-awaited reforms at the beleaguered Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

The bill (A-2184), known as the "Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act," will guarantee legislative oversight of the agency as it undertakes a number of high profile construction projects critical to the region's future.

"Trying to get identical legislation agreed upon and passed in both houses of two separate legislatures is no easy feat, especially legislation that remains true to our intent and tackles our main goals. But after a lengthy, multi-year process, I'm confident that we've come to an agreement that does just that," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "This legislation is comprehensive in nature and tackles the key elements that we have been concerned with - incorporating legislative oversight, fiscal safeguards, transparency and accountability. Cumulatively, these provisions will help transform an agency once mired in waste, abuse and scandal into one that operates with the best interests of tri-state commuters in mind."

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Vainieri Huttle and Jimenez Bill to Modify Law on Certain Heinous Crimes Against Minors Clears Panel

'Joan's Law' Honors Girl Scout Who Was Raped, Murdered by Neighbor

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Angelica Jimenez to amend a state law outlining the penalty for murdering a minor while in the act of committing a sex crime against him or her was unanimously approved by an Assembly panel on Monday. 

The bill (A-373) would require life imprisonment without parole for persons convicted of the murder of a minor under the age of 18 during the commission of a sex crime. Current law requires such a penalty only when the victim is under age 14.

"The crimes covered in this legislation are atrocious regardless of the victim's age," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "The pain, suffering and anger would continue to manifest every time there is a new parole hearing. No family member should ever be subjected to the painful reminders of such horrifying events. A minor is a minor in all aspects of the law, and this bill eliminates an irrational discrepancy in New Jersey."

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McKeon, Gusciora & Vainieri Huttle Bill Requiring NJ to Rejoin the RGGI Program Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel on Thursday released legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Reed Gusciora and Valerie Vainieri Huttle that would require the state to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. 

"The governor's removal of the state from the RGGI program has cost the state millions of dollars allocated for clean energy projects and will continue to do so until we go back," said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). "This bill makes clear the intent of the Legislature when it proposed legislation to allow the state to partake in the RGGI, and mandates that New Jersey rejoin the program."

The bill (A-1493) would clarify the intent of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) implementing law, which allowed the state to participate in the program, and specifically requires the state's participation in the program The Christie administration removed the state from the RGGI program in 2011. The goal of the RGGI is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants across several Northeast and mid-Atlantic states from Maine to Maryland by 10 percent by 2020.

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Tucker, Vainieri Huttle, Quijano, Wimberly & Mosquera Bill Criminalizing ‘Upskirting’ Continues To Advance

Measure Cracking Down on Illegally Photographing Under Someone's Clothing also Strengthens New Jersey's Right to Privacy Statute 

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Cleopatra G. Tucker, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Annette Quijano, Benjie Wimberly and Gabriela Mosquera to criminalize the act of secretly photographing or recording under a person's clothing - commonly referred to as "upskirting" - continued advancing on Thursday, receiving approval from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

The bill, which was unanimously approved by the full Assembly on Feb. 18, now awaits final legislative approval from the full Senate.

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Caputo, Diegnan, Spencer, Tucker, Quijano, Vainieri Huttle & Sumter Bill to Install Silent Alarms & Red Emergency Lights In Schools Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Ralph R. Caputo, Patrick J. Diegnan, L. Grace Spencer, Cleopatra Tucker, Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Shavonda Sumter to require the installation of panic alarms and red emergency lights in public elementary and secondary schools for use in security emergencies was released Thursday by an Assembly panel. 

"Our children deserve the chance to learn in peace," said Caputo (D-Essex). "I am not suggesting this will stop all security threats, but coupled with security measures already in place, it can increase the chances of diffusing a bad situation without further harm to students and staff."

"The threat of violence is a sad reality that even our schools are not safe from," said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). "This is one incremental remedy but it can be put in place economically and quickly. There is no excuse for delay. The safety of our kids and our teachers is at stake."

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Assemb. Huttle @ Moriah

Jewish Link

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-Englewood) speaks with The Moriah School’s Head of School Rabbi Daniel Alter about education affordability and security during a Schools in Session visit Wed. (Feb. 24) at Moriah, sponsored by Teach NJS, a coalition of 20 New Jersey Jewish day schools, the Jewish Federations of Northern New Jersey and the Heart of New Jersey and the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center.

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Vainieri Huttle Bill to Create "We Support the Arts" License Plate Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) to create a "We Support the Arts" license plate and designate a fund for the proceeds to support New Jersey art initiatives was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.

"This is a great way for residents to celebrate and support the arts in New Jersey," said Vainieri Huttle. "Creating a revenue stream solely dedicated to funding art initiatives would help strengthen the arts community as well as downtown business districts and making art and cultural events more accessible to New Jersey families."

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Vainieri Huttle & Conaway Bill to Raise Tobacco & E-Cig Purchasing Age from 19 to 21 Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D. to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarette devices from 19 to 21 in New Jersey gained Assembly panel approval on Monday.

"Many people start smoking in their teens because of peer pressure or the desire to fit in," Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "Most teens feel invincible at that age and can't fully comprehend the potential for addiction as well as the devastating long-term effects smoking can have on their health. Raising the purchasing age would give them the chance to mature more before making this potentially life-altering decision." 

Specifically, the bill (A-2320) raises the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21, and raises the minimum age from 19 to 21 years of a person to whom a vendor may sell, offer for sale, distribute, give or furnish such products in New Jersey.

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Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle & Mosquera Bill to Add Cyber-Harassment to Domestic Violence Statutes Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Pamela Lampitt, Troy Singleton, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Gabriela Mosquera to bolster protections against cyber-harassment for domestic violence victims in New Jersey cleared the Assembly on Thursday, 74-0.

The bill (A-1946), sponsored by Coughlin, Lampitt, Singleton, Benson, Vainieri Huttle and Mosquera, would add cyber-harassment to the list of crimes considered domestic violence under the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991."  

In doing so, the bill would allow temporary and permanent restraining orders on the grounds that the person seeking the order is a victim of cyber-harassment. 

"The internet is being used as another way for domestic violence predators to stalk and harass their victims," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "It's time to put cyber-stalking and harassment on the books to continue to protect domestic violence victims under the law."

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Assembly Approves Johnson, Caride, Schaer & Vainieri Huttle Bill Granting New Jersey Jurisdiction to Prosecute Child Endangerment Cases that take Place Out-of-State

Bill Was Inspired by Sexual Misconduct on Bergen County School Trip to Germany

The full Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Marlene Caride, Gary Schaer and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to expand the state's jurisdiction to prosecute crimes involving endangering the welfare of a child from New Jersey that take place outside the state.

The bill was prompted by the state Supreme Court case of State v. Sumulikoski, which determined that New Jersey courts do not have jurisdiction to prosecute school officials from Bergen County who were chaperones on a school trip to Germany where they allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with students.

"As a state, we have a responsibility to ensure that adults who assume the responsibility of caring for a child from New Jersey are held accountable," said Johnson (D-Bergen). "This bill would make sure they are subject to prosecution if unlawful sexual conduct occurs, regardless of where this conduct took place."

The bill (A-1418) would expand the state's jurisdiction to prosecute crimes concerning endangering the welfare of a child in situations where a person having a legal duty or the assumed responsibility for the care of a child in New Jersey engages in sexual conduct with that child in a jurisdiction other than New Jersey.

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