Valerie's Voice - November 2014

Dear Friends,

It has been a busy past few months and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what I am doing on behalf of our district and New Jersey. I am pleased to update you on recent legislative victories and some of the issues I am currently working on.

We are another step closer to landmark comprehensive Port Authority reform legislation. The  New Jersey Assembly joined the New York Legislature and the New Jersey Senate in unanimously passing A3350 and A3417, which would hold the Port Authority accountable to the public and change the way it does business. We are now awaiting both Governors to sign this legislation so that we can ensure that another “Bridgegate” will never happen again.

Another important issue being worked on is addiction to heroin and opioids.  As we know addiction does not discriminate. Opioids, such as heroin and prescription drugs, have claimed the lives of too many teenagers and young adults in Bergen County. Recently, the Assembly Human Services Committee held a meeting at Farleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack where we heard from family advocates and anti-drug experts. The Committee passed several bills that are part of a 21 bill package to improve prevention and treatment of drug addiction in the community. In addition, we also installed the 100th Project Medicine Drop box in that State at the Teaneck Police Department.

Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness Month were recognized in the month of October. I have spoken with survivors of both domestic violence and breast cancer and I have been inspired by their courage and perseverance. While we have come so far battling both of these issues, there is still a long way to go.

It is important that we continue to stand in solidarity with the victims of domestic violence and fight to ensure their rights are protected. It is for this reason that my colleagues and I  rallied in front of MetLife Stadium calling on the resignation of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the way he mishandled domestic violence policies in the National Football League.

In addition to this, the Center for Hope and Safety, formerly known as Shelter our Sisters, recently hosted a discussion amongst survivors, advocates, service providers and lawmakers. This exchange of ideas was informative and is critical in helping develop and fine tune public policy.

The Assembly recently passed a package of domestic violence bills including a bill I sponsored that would establish a New Jersey Task Force on Domestic Violence and Abuse. This task force would review our current laws and point out how we can do better. It is important that as legislators we continue the dialogue with survivors and advocates and renew our commitment to fighting domestic violence in our state until is just a horror of the past.

Thank you again for taking the time to read about my work in Trenton and at home. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!