As we kick off the summer with Independence Day celebrations and trips to the Jersey Shore, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some important legislative accomplishments and exciting news both from Trenton and around our District.
Delegate to the Democratic National Convention
It is an extreme honor that I have been elected to serve as a delegate representing New Jersey at the Democratic National Convention this upcoming July in Philadelphia. Words cannot express what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to stand on the convention floor and cast my vote shattering that glass ceiling and officially ratifying Secretary Clinton as the first female Presidential nominee in history.
As a delegate representing you, I will be able to lend my voice in setting our national party’s agenda and advocating for the values that we find so important and essential.
Vice Chairwoman of Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee
Speaker Prieto recently appointed me the Vice Chairwoman of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. This is a significant post as it allows me to continue to shape our agenda and focus on important issues such as Port Authority Reform, improving our transit system, and fighting for infrastructure projects such as the extension of the Bergen Hudson Light Rail into Bergen County.
As Vice Chair of the committee, I will be working to prioritize projects that will improve our State’s infrastructure and look forward to updating you on those in the near future.
Human Services Committee Update
The Assembly Human Services Committee has done some essential work this spring tackling some tough issues. I would like to highlight two important pieces of legislation that passed through the committee.
A3616 establishes performance and training standards for Medicaid transportation services. This bill was in response to a survey conducted by the Mental Health Association of New Jersey. The survey highlighted issues regarding effectiveness, reliability and proper training of transportation services for individuals living with persistent and severe mental illnesses. A3616 provides a framework for additional safeguards, transparency, and accountability to make sure that these individuals can get access to the doctors and services that they require.
A3824 establishes the office of an Ombudsman for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It is a real challenge to make sure that individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are getting the services and resources that they are entitled. Our system is convoluted and confusing which makes it a real challenge to navigate. The office of the Ombudsman would serve as a source of information for individuals and their families and would be a resource to educate them on available services.
Ensuring more Transparency and Oversight in Public-Private Partnerships
The contract awarded to a private operator to manage Bergen Regional Medical Center 19 years ago has resulted in a situation where a lack of regulatory oversight and transparency has led to reports of extreme negligence. With that contract coming up for renewal next year, it is critical that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
I have been working with County Executive Jim Tedesco on legislation to create a County Hospital Authority that will give our county government the tools that it needs to have increased oversight and transparency. This legislation will create an 11 member board that would have power over future contract negotiations and will be able to ensure that entity awarded the contract is giving the residents the proper care that they deserve.
Actively Engaged in Our Community
Attending the launch of the YWCA of Bergen County's HealingSPACE app
In recognition of Older Adult's Month, my office held an Adult Care Brief Drive throughout the month of May
Proud to be standing with the League of Women Voters, great advocates for the environment
Dedication of the Jack Drakeford Englewood Firehouse
Congratulations to the Geriatric Services led by Elizabeth Davis for the opening of the new senior housing facility in Teaneck
Receiving the Outstanding Service to Women Award from Displaced Homemakers Network of NJ
Receiving the YWCA Women of Action Award
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, ideas, or concerns. For more information, I invite you to visit my website at www.valeriehuttle.com