Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Benson, Mosquera, Spencer & Wimberly Bill to Create Alert System for Missing Disabled Persons Continues Advancing

Bill Would Create MVP Emergency Alert System

(TRENTON) - Assembly approved legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson, Gabriela Mosquera, L. Grace Spencer and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to create an alert system for missing persons with mental, intellectual or developmental disabilities continues advancing.
The bill (A-2709) would require the Attorney General to establish the MVP Emergency Alert System, which would provide practices and protocols for the rapid dissemination of information regarding a person who is believed to be a missing vulnerable person. 
A "missing vulnerable person" or "MVP" is defined to mean a person who is believed to have a mental, intellectual or developmental disability who goes missing under circumstances that indicate that the person may be in danger of death or serious bodily injury. 
The program would be a voluntary, cooperative effort between state and local law enforcement agencies and the media.
The bill was approved by the Assembly in December and released Monday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
"This legislation reflects our collective duty to protect some of the most vulnerable New Jersey residents," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "We must do all we can to ensure missing individuals can return home safe and sound, especially when we have all the necessary resources already in place."
"When it comes to recovering a person who's gone missing, we know that time is of the essence and knowledge is power," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "By creating widespread awareness as soon as possible, we can maximize the likelihood that a missing person will be found alive and unharmed."
"We already have systems in place to alert the public when other vulnerable populations go missing," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This is another way to aid in the search of individuals who may be at a higher risk of going missing and may have a harder time seeking help because of their disabilities."
"Timing is everything in a missing persons case. Even more so when the person who has gone missing has developmental disabilities that might make finding them that much more challenging," said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). "Quickly alerting the public about a missing person increases the chances of the person being found safely."

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Schaer, Johnson, Vainieri Huttle & Eustace Bill to Protect Holocaust Reparations Clears Assembly

The General Assembly on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Tim Eustace to protect monetary reparations received by Holocaust survivors from being seized.

"The physical and moral atrocities committed during World War II were compounded by monetary grievances that stretched on for decades," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Given the extraordinary lengths many Holocaust victims or surviving relatives have gone through to receive restitution, protecting these reparations is the least we can do."

Specifically, the bill (A-1041) stipulates that, except for child support payment orders, monetary reparations designated for or received by a Holocaust survivor of Nazi persecution from any governmental source or victim assistance source shall be exempt from all claims of creditors and from levy, execution, attachment or other legal processes.

"Monetary reparations are a relatively small pittance for the enormous crimes committed against humanity by the Nazis," said Johnson (D-Bergen). "But for many surviving families, this is all they have and it should be protected at all costs."

"As the dust has settled on this sorrowful chapter in history, certain things must be treated as sacred, and this is one of them," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "This is the right thing to do for the many families who only have monetary reparations to serve as justice in the end."

"Those most directly affected by the Holocaust suffered in indescribable ways, and while reparations can never undo that suffering, they do serve as a small measure of redress," said Eustace (D- Bergen/Passaic). "This legislation is about preserving justice in honor of the men, women and children who experienced countless acts of violence and cruelty during this dreadful period."

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Democratic Bill to Prevent Prescription Drug & Opioid Abuse Gains Assembly Approval

Measure Would Penalize Sale of DXM-Containing Products to Minors

Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Patrick Diegnan, Benjie Wimberly, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Reed Gusciora and Shavonda Sumter sponsored to help address the prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic plaguing New Jersey cleared the General Assembly on Monday.

The bill (A-622/1469) would prohibit the sale of dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. Under the measure, any person who sells a product containing DXM as an active ingredient to someone under 18 years of age would be subject to a maximum civil penalty of $750. The provisions of the bill would not apply to a prescription medication dispensed by a pharmacist pursuant to a valid prescription.

The bill would also require the Department of Health to include a comprehensive list of products that contain DXM as an active ingredient on its website. 

"DXM abuse is becoming increasingly worrisome for law enforcement, parents and health care officials across the country," said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). "It's a scary thought, but adolescents are the primary abusers, mainly because it's cheap and easy to obtain and many parents simply don't know about its potential abuse. With a few simple steps like the ones outlined in this bill, we can combat the risk and ensure this medicine is used properly." 

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Eustace, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Lagana & Caride Legislation to Encourage Safe Disposal of Prescription Drugs Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Timothy Eustace, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joseph Lagana and Marlene Caride to provide a safe way for New Jersey residents to dispose of prescription drugs was approved, 69-3, Monday by the Assembly. The measure has passed both houses and will now go to the Governor's desk for further consideration.

"Disposing of unused prescription drugs properly is equally as important as taking them as prescribed," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Prescription drug abuse is prevalent in many communities, and much of that abuse begins at home where the drugs are easily accessible." 

The bill (A-2859) requires the Division of Consumer Affairs to supply and install a secure prescription medicine drop-off receptacle where the public many dispose of unused prescription medications in every state police barracks and county sheriff's department and every county police department and full-time municipal police department which agrees to participate. The receptacles are to be available to the public seven days a week. Police departments that choose not to have receptacles on site would be required to post notification advising the public of where the closest receptacle is located.

In June of 2011, following a public hearing outlining the changing dynamics of the criminal drug trade, the State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation (SCI) found that a growing number of young people are abusing prescription drugs, and noted that the practice has led to increases not only in the number of young people addicted to painkillers, but also in the number of young people using heroin. The report issued by the SCI in July 2013, "Scenes from an Epidemic," confirms this finding and notes that addiction often begins with leftover prescription medicines in the home.

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Diegnan, Mosquera, O'Donnell & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Use Student-Athlete Screening Procedures to Recognize & Prevent Cardiac Illnesses in all Children Heads to Governor's Desk

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr., Gabriela Mosquera, Jason O'Donnell and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to help recognize and prevent cardiac illnesses in children received final legislative approval Monday and now heads to the governor's desk.

"We've seen far too many tragic cardiac incidents among students in recent years," said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). "In most of these cases, the student was completely unaware of any pre-existing cardiac condition. This bill will help increase detection and prevent future tragedies."

Diegnan has consistently advocated for better policies to help prevent sudden tragic cardiac incidents among students, including sponsoring legislation to develop an information campaign about a specific type of heart disease - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - as well as legislation requiring automatic external defibrillators in schools.

The bill (A-1473) approved today would require that an annual medical examination of any person 19 years of age and under include questions contained in the "Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation" form developed to screen students seeking to participate in school-sponsored athletics.

"Some people miss the signs of a cardiac condition because they are so accustomed to them, unaware of the danger to their health," said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). "This can help identify at-risk children early so they can receive the proper treatment before a serious incident occurs."

The bill also requires the Commissioner of Health, in consultation with various experts, to develop a cardiac screening professional development module, which advanced practice nurses, physicians, and physician assistants performing medical examinations would be required to periodically complete. These individuals would be required to attest to their completion of the module upon renewal of certification, registration, or licensure, as applicable.

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Vainieri Huttle, Mosquera, McKeon, Benson & Sumter Bill to Protect Sexual Assault Victims Clears Full Assembly

Legislation Would Permit Victims without Ties to Offenders to Seek Protective Orders

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Gabriela Mosquera, John McKeon, Daniel Benson and Shavonda Sumter to allow more victims of sexual assault to seek protective orders against their perpetrators was unanimously approved by the full Assembly on Monday.

"Simply seeing an abuser - whether he or she is a new acquaintance or an old friend - forces many sexual assault survivors to relive the trauma of having been violated, and current law says they have no option but to suffer in silence," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "Every person in this state has a right to feel safe while going about his or her daily life. With this bill, we reaffirm our commitment to the notion that all residents of New Jersey should be able to seek the protection they need to live in peace." 

Under current law, in order to pursue a protective order, a victim must have had a previous or existing domestic relationship with the offender, such as a spousal or dating relationship, or must file a criminal complaint against the offender. The bill (A-4078), which is to be known as the "Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015," would eliminate these preconditions. 

Specifically, the bill would authorize protective orders for victims of non-consensual sexual contact, sexual penetration or lewdness or attempts at such conduct during cases in which the victim does not have a domestic relationship with the offender and does not wish to file a criminal complaint against him or her.

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Gusciora, Vainieri Huttle & Quijano Bill to Better Inform Public about Available Substance Abuse Treatment Services Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Annette Quijano to make information about the availability of substance abuse treatment services in the state more accessible to residents.

"Admitting that you need help is the first step towards recovery. We should make it easier for individuals who are battling with substance abuse and are ready to make a change to find the services they need," said Gusciora (D- Mercer/Hunterdon). "This bill would help facilitate that by having one central location where an individual can go to find the most suitable treatment facility for them."

The bill (A-226) would require each licensed residential or outpatient substance abuse treatment facility in the state to provide the health department in the county where it is located with certain information about the availability of services at the facility, on an estimated average basis.

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Vainieri Huttle Bill to Require Parking Garages Have On-site Emergency Transport Vehicles Released by Assembly Panel

Bill Stems from Tragic Short Hills Mall Murder in December 2013

(TRENTON) - Legislation Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to require parking garages with clearance levels that prevent access by ambulances to have on-site an appropriately equipped emergency transport vehicle was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill is in response to the tragic murder of Dustin Friedland in a parking garage at the Short Hills Mall in December 2013.
An ambulance arrived just 18 minutes after Mr. Friedland was shot by perpetrators, but the parking garage clearance was too low for the ambulance to enter.
"Emergency responders lost precious time when they were forced to abandon the ambulance and run on foot with a stretcher to reach Mr. Friedland," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "Under this bill, an emergency transport vehicle would be available to reach a person in need of emergency services and transport that person to a waiting ambulance. We can hopefully avoid tragedies by allowing emergency medical workers quicker access to victims. This is common sense and very much the right thing to do for public safety."

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Eustace, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Lagana, Caride & Sumter Bill Package to Encourage Safe Disposal of Prescription Drugs, Prevent Abuse Moves Forward

The full Senate recently granted approval to a two-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Timothy Eustace, Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joseph Lagana, Marlene Caride and Shavonda Sumter to provide a safe way for New Jersey residents to dispose of prescription drugs and to create greater awareness of these pathways.

"Disposing of unused prescription drugs properly is equally as important as taking them as prescribed," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Prescription drug abuse is prevalent in many communities, and much of that abuse begins at home where the drugs are easily accessible." 

The bill package is designed to encourage residents to throw away unused prescriptions in a safe manner and help prevent youth access and potential abuse. 

The first bill (A-2859), sponsored by Eustace, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Lagana and Caride, formally establishes the "Project Medicine Drop" program, which shall be administered by the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. 

The director shall continue to maintain at each participating law enforcement agency that meets program participation requirements a secure prescription medicine drop-off receptacle wherein unused or expired prescription drugs and other common household medications may be anonymously surrendered by members of the public seven days a week, 365 days a year. 

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Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Benson, Mosquera, Spencer & Wimberly Bill to Create Gold Alert System Advances in Senate

Bill Would Create Alert System for Missing Persons with Developmental Disabilities Similar to Amber Alert

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson, Gabriela Mosquera, L. Grace Spencer and Benjie Wimberly to facilitate the immediate circulation of information about missing persons with developmental disabilities was approved by a Senate panel on Monday.

The bill (A-2709) would establish the "Gold Alert System," a cooperative effort between law enforcement agencies and media outlets to broadcast emergency alerts about missing persons with developmental disabilities. The alerts would include physical descriptions and other pertinent details. Under the bill, consent must be obtained prior to disseminating information about the person who is believed to be missing. 

"This legislation reflects our collective duty to protect some of the most vulnerable New Jersey residents," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "We must do all we can to ensure missing individuals can return home safe and sound, especially when we have all the necessary resources already in place."

"When it comes to recovering a person who's gone missing, we know that time is of the essence and knowledge is power," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "By creating widespread awareness as soon as possible, we can maximize the likelihood that a missing person will be found alive and unharmed."

"We already have systems in place to alert the public when other vulnerable populations go missing," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This is another way to aid in the search of individuals who may be at a higher risk of going missing and may have a harder time seeking help because of their disabilities."

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