“Summertime is always the best of what might be."
- Charles Bowden
I hope that you are enjoying all that our beautiful state has to offer this summer.
I would like to share with you some legislative updates and accomplishments that I am proud to have worked on during these past few months.
Governor Murphy Takes Action on Legislation
Taking a Stand: Gun Control Bill Package Now Law
It matters now, more than ever. Over the weekend two mass shootings killed 31 people. Thoughts and prayers are not enough, actions must speak louder than words. Elected officials around the nation must act to prevent these atrocities. Thank you, Governor Murphy for recognizing the weight of this issue and signing a bill package to protect New Jerseyans from gun violence, including legislation of which I am a sponsor (A1016), which establishes a commission to approve personalized handguns and requires firearm retailers to sell personalized handguns.
In March 2018 I joined thousands of activists at the March for our Lives with my Young Women's Leadership Program.
The passion, commitment and voices of this generation speak volumes. I believe that they give us the strength and stamina to continue fighting for change.
Using Alyssa's Law as a National Model for School Safety
Earlier this year, Governor Murphy signed Alyssa's Law, in memory of Alyssa Alhadeff, a former Bergen County resident who was killed during the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Alyssa's Law mandates silent alarms, also called panic alarms, be installed in all New Jersey public schools. Following its enactment in New Jersey, Alyssa's Law is headed towards passage at the federal level. New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer recently introduced the ALYSSA Act: Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in Schools Safety Act, which seeks to codify this law at the federal level.
Designating October 6th as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” in New Jersey
We need to do more to improve community awareness of opioid abuse and its link to heroin addiction. My legislation to permanently designate October 6th as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” was recently signed into law by Governor Murphy.
Joining Buckley’s Pharmacy in Englewood for Free Narcan (Naloxone) Day.
Naloxone saves lives!
Reducing Maternal Mortality Rates in New Jersey
Governor Murphy recently signed A4936 into law, establishing a maternal health care pilot program. The goal of the pilot program is to evaluate and improve both patient and healthcare provider knowledge regarding maternity care. This program will help to open the lines of communication, improving outcomes for New Jersey’s women and children. Thank you, First Lady Tammy Murphy and the Nurture NJ Campaign, for reinforcing New Jersey's commitment to maternal and infant health.
Restricting Solitary Confinement in State Prisons
Solitary confinement is an inhumane practice and can have severe, long-term impacts on inmates and their mental health. I am a proud sponsor of the “Isolated Confinement Restriction Act” which would prohibit the use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities unless there is a reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary for safety reasons. This legislation is now law.
Improving Rideshare Safety
The murder of Samantha Josephson has led to the enactment of Sami's Law. This legislation would mandate regulations for rideshare services. Under this law, rideshare drivers must prominently display a two-dimensional barcode that is unique to the driver and their vehicle. This barcode will allow riders to identify their driver when utilizing rideshare platforms such as Uber or Lyft. Rideshare services must be safe for both the rider and the driver; this legislation gives consumers the information that they need to stay safe. Surrounded by her family and friends, Governor Murphy recently approved Sami’s Law in memory of Samantha Josephson.
Samantha’s family and friends have channeled their grief into action, starting the #WhatsMyName campaign to raise awareness about rideshare safety.
Combating Climate Change
In 2007, I was proud to sponsor New Jersey’s “Global Warming Response Act”. At the time of its passage, the Global Warming Response Act was touted as one of the strongest climate change laws in the nation. Twelve years later, I believe that our state laws must continue to grow and adapt with science. I am proud that Governor Murphy recently signed my legislation (A4821) into law which updates the Global Warming Response Act of 2007, bringing it in line with our current understanding of climate change.
Standing in solidarity with the Empower NJ Coalition – clean air, clean energy, NOW.
Gateway Development Commission Becomes Law
New Jersey’s commuters depend on our rail lines in and out of New York. Together with New York, we must address the deterioration of our infrastructure. A5570, of which I am a sponsor, works concurrent to its companion legislation in New York and establishes an independent, bi-state Gateway Development Commission (GDC). The GDC will be tasked with facilitating the completion of all Gateway Program projects such as the construction of two new rail tracks under the Hudson River. The commission will hold the power to manage inter-agency coordination efforts, and to obtain and apportion funds as necessary. Equal participation from New York and New Jersey will ensure that commuters come first.
Ending the Rape Kit Backlog
Survivors of sexual violence deserve a system that treats them with empathy and respect. Around the country, lack of resources and strict budgets – both for law enforcement and forensic labs – have caused rape kits to go untested. Survivors deserve more. Thank you, Governor Murphy for signing my legislation A2370 into law – requiring the Attorney General to conduct a survey of untested sexual assault examination kits. When we prioritize victims and survivors, we prioritize justice.
Honors & Awards
Thank you to the American Kennel Club for honoring me as legislator of the year!
Standing with my fellow honorees and former Governor McGreevey at the New Jersey Re-Entry Corporation Community Breakfast.
Attending a press conference at Holy Name Medical Center raising awareness about health disparities for Asian Americans.
Painting the town purple for Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.
The REED Foundation for Autism continues to grow! Their mobile food lab will encourage healthy habits and teach students important life skills.
Reaching across the aisle with the Assembly Bipartisan Women’s Beach Caucus.
Happy summer to all!
Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Assemblywoman, District 37