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Quijano, Holley on Alleged Racial Incident at Wallkill Valley Regional High School Basketball Game

(TRENTON) – Union County Assembly members Annette Quijano and Jamel Holley issued the following statement today on the reported incident in which a Lenape Valley Regional High School basketball player was called the N-word and taunted with monkey noises during a game at Wallkill Valley Regional High School on February 13:

“The act of racial insensitivity reportedly shown during the Lenape/WallKill Valley basketball game is the second incident this year to occur at a New Jersey high school athletic competition. Unfortunately, these incidents are just another example of the tone of intolerance for diversity that has seems to have grown more acceptable in recent years.

“Taunting players through profane language and behavior is unacceptable at a high school game and should have been immediately addressed by administrators and sports officials. There must be further investigation to ensure our student athletes are provided a safe space to compete and achieve excellence in any sport–wherever they play.”

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Downey, Johnson & Holley Resolution Designating Thursday of Third Week in September Each Year as “Food Waste Prevention Day” Clears Final Legislative Hurdle, Heads to Governor

(TRENTON) – Assembly Members Joann Downey, Gordon Johnson and Jamel Holley issued the following statements Thursday on the passage of their joint resolution (AJR-172) out of the Senate 35-0 naming the Thursday of the third week in September as “Food Waste Prevention Day,” in order to increase awareness of the harms of food waste and limit waste in New Jersey:

Downey (D-Monmouth): “Each year in the United States, approximately 160 billion pounds of food end up as food waste, while about 12 percent of households lack consistent access to adequate food. This is unacceptable. By dedicating a day to our country’s food waste epidemic and educating the public on this critical issue, we can reduce the financial, environmental and social impacts of food waste, and make sure that good food ends up with people who need it rather than in the trash As chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, I am proud that we passed this resolution today.”

Johnson (D-Bergen): “Many businesses are wary of donating their excess food due to the threat of liability for food related injuries or death. While we have both federal and state laws absolving those who donate food in good faith to nonprofit organizations from civil and criminal liability, many businesses and individuals are unaware of this. By creating Food Waste Prevention Day, we can expand awareness of laws and programs that help get food in the hands and stomachs of those who need it most.” Our goal is to reduce our food waste by 50 percent by 2030, and this resolution will assist us in achieving this goal.”

Holley (D-Union): “There is no reason why the United States wastes up to 40 percent of the food we produce while there are millions of hungry people all across the country and hundreds of thousands right here in our state alone. We must increase awareness of the sheer amount of good food that ends up in landfills, and I have no doubts that this will cause many of our businesses and residents to reconsider throwing out food unnecessarily. The goal of Food Waste Prevention Day is to bring light to a solvable issue which negatively impacts our environment, finances, and most importantly, our hungry residents.”

The resolution initially cleared the Assembly Human Services Committee on November 29 and the full Assembly by a 79-0-0 vote on December 17. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

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Holley, Vainieri Huttle Consumer Cybersecurity Bill Aiming to Inform New Jerseyans How to Protect their Online Data Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Citing the rise in consumer online data breaches, Assembly Democrats Jamel Holley and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, through their legislation (A-4976), aim to inform consumers on online privacy and ways to protect their personal information. The bill was approved Thursday by the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee.

The sponsors said the bill was inspired by the numerous tours and panel discussions on cybersecurity and consumer information breaches in relation to homeland security concerns.

“Billions of consumer files are compromised daily through hacking incidents,” said Holley (D-Union), who serves as vice-chair of the Assembly Homeland Security Committee. “The harvesting of personal information from 50 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica in 2014 to cyber thieves stealing consumer’s data from Marriott and T-Mobile are just a few of the nation’s largest, most impactful data breaches within the last decade. These incidents are a wake-up call to all consumers on how vulnerable personal information is online. This legislation would help convey the necessary steps consumers must take to protect themselves and their information when conducting online transactions, whether it’s through simple banking or shopping.”

“The violation of online data privacy is a national epidemic, hurting businesses and discouraging consumers,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), chairwoman of the Assembly Homeland Security Committee. “Consumers have to know how to protect their personal information and what to do in the case that their information is compromised. Protecting one’s personal data, on line or not, should always be a high priority.”

American Consumer Credit Counseling says that 64% of U.S. adults “do not trust” major retailers with their payment cards, and 52% of consumers surveyed say they have already been affected by some form of payment card fraud.

“Data protection is a necessity to create trust, confidence and transparency in the digital age for both the consumer and business community alike,” said Dr. David Weiss, Esq., the founder and director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution (IDR) at the New Jersey City University School of Business.

“Protection of a consumer’s personal information and the right to engage in online activities is just as important, because of the digital age we’re living in, as any other of our individual freedoms. This policy would help to inform the public about the precautions they should take to protect themselves online.”

The bill (A-4976) requires the New Jersey Cybersecurity Communications Cell (NJCCIC) to develop informational materials for use by consumers in the state concerning cybersecurity best practices and awareness.

The informational materials are to include, but not limited to:
1) Best practices for consumers concerning the security and privacy of online consumer data;
2) Methods consumers may use to conceal and protect their data;
3) Common ways that consumer and personal data is stolen;
4) Information relevant to any cybersecurity threat specific to consumers in this state; and
5) A comprehensive list of cybersecurity resources for consumers, including information on how a consumer may report a cybersecurity threat to state or federal authorities and any related contact information.

The bill also required the NJCCIC to provide the information to any New Jersey
consumer upon request and is to be made available to the public through the website.

The NJCCIC is the State’s one-stop shop for cyber security information sharing, threat analysis, and incident reporting. A component organization within the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the NJCCIC works to promote statewide awareness of local cyber threats.

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Kennedy, Holley & DeAngelo Bill to Require Defibrillators in Key Areas on College Campuses Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Aiming to better prepare higher education institutions in New Jersey to respond to medical emergencies on campus, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats James Kennedy, Jamel Holley and Wayne DeAngelo to require automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in certain locations on campuses was recently approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

“AEDs are used to deliver an electric shock through the chest to the heart, which can restore a normal heart rhythm following a sudden cardiac arrest,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “Someone who experiences a sudden cardiac arrest must be treated very quickly, because their chance of survival drastically drops by 10 percent with every passing minute until they receive a shock. By placing these potentially life-saving devices in strategic locations on college campuses, we make them more easily accessible for trained responders who can address the emergency.”

The bill (A-1368) would require institutions of higher education to place an AED in an unlocked location in every athletic facility and student center with an appropriate identifying sign. The defibrillator would be located within reasonable proximity of the intuition’s athletic fields and be accessible during normal operating hours of the athletic facility or student center.

“Sudden cardiac arrests can happen with little warning, and can strike seemingly healthy people of all ages, includes college students and athletes,” said Holley (D-Union). “AEDs are the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrests. It makes sense to install these devices on college campuses attended by thousands of people each day.”

“AEDs are usually carried by emergency medical personnel and some police officers, but too often they arrive at the scene too late to use the defibrillator in the short window of time it takes to be effective,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Quick response is critical. Having an AED already on hand may help victims of sudden cardiac arrest receive the medical attention they need faster.”

Under the bill, higher education institutions would be required to ensure that at least two staff members who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of a defibrillator are in the athletic facility or student center during normal operating hours. Additionally, each defibrillator would be tested and maintained according to the manufacturer’s operational guidelines, and notification would be provided to the appropriate first aid, ambulance, rescue squad or other appropriate emergency medical services provider regarding the defibrillator, the type acquired, and its location.

An institution of higher education and its staff would be granted immunity from civil liability in the acquisition and use of a defibrillator.

The measure was approved January 17. It heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.

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Quijano, Vainieri Huttle, Holley & Karabinchak Bill Expanding Nonprofit Security Grant Program Signed into Law

Law Helps Nonprofits Protect Against Terror and Cyber Attacks

(TRENTON) – In response to recent incidents of hate, bigotry and faith-based violence against nonprofit groups in New Jersey and across the country, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Jamel Holley and Robert Karabinchak to help nonprofits protect themselves against terror threats and attacks was signed into law on Tuesday by the Governor.

“The mosque attack in New York last year led to threats for many Islamic worship centers across the country and here in New Jersey. The same has happened for synagogues and Jewish community centers after the tragic shooting last weekend in Pittsburgh,” said Quijano (D-Union), who is chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. “Non-profit organizations that support residents within our communities are at risk of becoming targets of hate and discrimination more and more these days.”

As a result of her concern for Jewish and Muslim groups in her district in light of recent threats, Quijano was inspired to sponsor the law that created the “New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program” in the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness which provides grant funding for security personnel.

“With the potential of threats increasing at events and online, certain organizations would benefit from additional funding to bolster security measures. This measure helps keep organizations, their staff, and the people they serve safe,” added Quijano.

The new law (formerly bill A-3906) amends the three-year “New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program” to permit eligible nonprofit organizations to acquire target hardening equipment in addition to hiring permanent or temporary security personnel, in order to reduce vulnerability to threats, attacks, and other violent acts. Examples of target hardening equipment are cameras, barriers, and cybersecurity programs.

“Acts of hate, bigotry and faith-based attacks are very real today and a daily challenge for houses of worship, community centers, family services agencies and other non-profit institutions,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Helping these institutions protect themselves should remain an ongoing priority of the state.”

The New Jersey Attorney General reported that, in 2016, bias and hates crimes in New Jersey increased from 14 percent to 417 percent. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the greatest increase in religious-based crimes was against Muslims, an increase of 19 percent from 2015 to 2016.

“The abominable acts of terror against Muslim and Jewish communities over the last few years were reprehensible and should never be accepted as the new norm for America,” said Holley (D-Union), who is Vice-Chair of Assembly Homeland Security Committee. “No one should ever live in fear of this happening to their community centers or churches. Supporting the non-profit organizations in this way is important to protecting our residents and communities.”

In addition, the Anti-Defamation League’s “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” highlighted that these incidents rose 32 percent in 2017 in New Jersey and occurred in almost every county. New Jersey had the third highest number of such incidents reported in the nation. Nationally, in 2107, there was a 57 percent increase from 2016 in anti-Semitic incidents and, for the first time, anti-Semitism was reported in all 50 states.

“The rise of hate and bias crimes in this state and nation is a disheartening reality in today’s world,” said Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). “This new statute provides necessary support to New Jersey’s non-profits and vulnerable faith communities who would feel the need to put in place security measures for their staff and the people they serve.”

The law establishes a maximum grant award of $50,000 per target hardening equipment application. Applicants are permitted to apply for either personnel or equipment grants, or both, in each year of the pilot program, but OHSP may only award funds for either personnel or equipment.

The measure was unanimously approved by the Assembly and Senate in December.

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McKnight, Chiaravalloti, Pintor Marin, Holley, Wimberly & Quijano Bill to Teach 6-8 Students Financial Literacy Now Law

In order to teach students about the importance of money management at a young age, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight, Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Eliana Pintor Marin, Jamel Holley, Benjie Wimberly and Annette Quijano that requires school districts in New Jersey to teach financial literacy to elementary and middle school students was signed into law by Acting Governor Sheila Oliver on Thursday.

“One of the most important lessons a person can learn is how to manage their money. Many young people go into adulthood knowing little about finances, and end up making decisions that cost them in the long run,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “Teaching our kids early about the importance of managing their money and making sound financial decisions can prevent them from making costly mistakes and set them on the right financial path.”

The new law (A-1414) would direct the State Board of Education to require school districts to incorporate financial literacy instruction into the curriculum for students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“Many young people don’t understand the importance of being financially responsible until they’ve already taken a few missteps. These poor decisions can hurt their credit when they are branching out on their own and need it the most,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “We don’t expect them to be experts, but they should have a basic understanding of how money works and how it affects their lives.”

“The earlier we instill this message in our children, the better financial decisions they will make as adults,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “It is not uncommon for students to have their first job in high school, and by teaching financial lessons in grades kindergarten through eight, they will be ready for the responsibility of earning their own income as that time comes.”

“The purpose of the instruction will be to provide elementary and middle school students with the basic financial literacy necessary for sound financial decision-making,” said Holley (D-Union). “By instilling these lessons in students’ minds even before high school, they will undoubtedly be more prepared for when they are in college which is, for many, the first time they are financially independent.”

“This is an added benefit that will hopefully go a long way toward teaching young people how to make sound financial decisions as they get older,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The earlier students learn how to handle their money, the better prepared they will be to live independently and responsibly as they get older.”

“The instruction must include information about debt which helps at an appropriate time when so many students are taking out college loans,” said Quijano (D-Union). “By providing students with a plan for how to handle debt, they will be more prepared for when they graduate college and are faced with significant loan payments.”

Under the new law, the instruction must include content on budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investment, and other issues associated with personal financial responsibility as determined by the state board.
The state board must provide curriculum and sample instructional materials that may be used by school districts to support the implementation of the financial literacy instruction requirement.

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Quijano, Vainieri Huttle, Holley & Karabinchak Bill Expanding Law to Help Non-profits Protect Against Terror & Cyber Attacks Clears Legislature, Goes to Governor

Amends “New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program”

The alarming increase in the numbers of reported incidents of hate, bigotry and faith-based violence prompted a bill — sponsored by Assembly members Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Jamel Holley and Robert Karabinchak– aiming to help non-profit organizations protect themselves against acts of terror, threats and attacks.

The measure (A-3906) was recently approved, 76-0, by the full Assembly on Monday December 17, clearing both houses of the legislature.

“The mosque attack in New York last year led to threats for many Islamic worship centers across the country and here in New Jersey. The same has happened for synagogues and Jewish community centers after the tragic shooting last weekend in Pittsburgh,” said Quijano (D-Union), who is chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. “Non-profit organizations that support residents within our communities are at risk of becoming targets of hate and discrimination more and more these days.”

Quijano is the sponsor of the law that created the “New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program” in the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to provide grant funding for security personnel. Her concern for Jewish and Muslim groups in her district in light of the escalation of threats in New Jersey and throughout the country last year was the impetus for the legislation.

“With the potential of threats increasing at events and online, certain organizations would benefit from additional funding to bolster security measures. This measure helps keep organizations, their staff, and the people they serve safe,” added Quijano.

“Acts of hate, bigotry and faith-based attacks are very real today and a daily challenge for houses of worship, community centers, family services agencies and other non-profit institutions,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Helping these institutions protect themselves should remain an ongoing priority of the state.”

The New Jersey Attorney General reported that, in 2016, bias and hates crimes in New Jersey increased from 14 percent to 417 percent. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the greatest increase in religious-based crimes was against Muslims, an increase of 19 percent from 2015 to 2016.

“The abominable acts of terror against Muslim and Jewish communities over the last few years were reprehensible and should never be accepted as the new norm for America,” said Holley (D-Union), who is Vice-Chair of Assembly Homeland Security Committee. “No one should ever live in fear of this happening to their community centers or churches. Supporting the non-profit organizations in this way is important to protecting our residents and communities.”

“The rise of hate and bias crimes in this state and nation is a disheartening reality in today’s world,” said Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). “This legislation provides necessary support to New Jersey’s non-profits and vulnerable faith communities who would feel the need to put in place security measures for their staff and the people they serve.”

In addition, the Anti-Defamation League’s “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” highlighted that these incidents rose 32 percent in 2017 in New Jersey and occurred in almost every county. New Jersey had the third highest number of such incidents reported in the nation. Nationally, in 2107, there was a 57 percent increase from 2016 in anti-Semitic incidents and, for the first time, anti-Semitism was reported in all 50 states.

The bill amends the three-year “New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program” to permit eligible nonprofit organizations to acquire target hardening equipment in addition to hiring permanent or temporary security personnel, in order to reduce vulnerability to threats, attacks, and other violent acts. Examples of target hardening equipment are cameras, barriers, and cybersecurity programs.

The bill would establish a maximum grant award of $50,000 per target hardening equipment application. Applicants are permitted to apply for either personnel or equipment grants, or both, in each year of the pilot program, but OHSP may only award funds for either personnel or equipment.
The Senate passed the measure also on Monday, 40-0.

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Downey, Johnson & Holley Resolution Designating Thursday of Third Week in September Each Year as “Food Waste Prevention Day” Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Assembly Members Joann Downey, Gordon Johnson and Jamel Holley issued the following statements Thursday on the passage of their joint resolution (AJR-172) out of the Assembly naming the Thursday of the third week in September as “Food Waste Prevention Day,” in order to increase awareness of the harms of food waste and limit waste in New Jersey:

Downey (D-Monmouth): “Each year in the United States, approximately 160 billion pounds of food end up as food waste, while about 12 percent of households lack consistent access to adequate food. This is unacceptable. By dedicating a day to our country’s food waste epidemic and educating the public on this critical issue, we can reduce the financial, environmental and social impacts of food waste, and make sure that good food ends up with people who need it rather than in the trash As chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, I am proud that we passed this resolution today.”

Johnson (D-Bergen): “Many businesses are wary of donating their excess food due to the threat of liability for food related injuries or death. While we have both federal and state laws absolving those who donate food in good faith to nonprofit organizations from civil and criminal liability, many businesses and individuals are unaware of this. By creating Food Waste Prevention Day, we can expand awareness of laws and programs that help get food in the hands and stomachs of those who need it most.” Our goal is to reduce our food waste by 50 percent by 2030, and this resolution will assist us in achieving this goal.”

Holley (D-Union): “There is no reason why the United States wastes up to 40 percent of the food we produce while there are millions of hungry people all across the country and hundreds of thousands right here in our state alone. We must increase awareness of the sheer amount of good food that ends up in landfills, and I have no doubts that this will cause many of our businesses and residents to reconsider throwing out food unnecessarily. The goal of Food Waste Prevention Day is to bring light to a solvable issue which negatively impacts our environment, finances, and most importantly, our hungry residents.”

The resolution initially cleared the Assembly Human Services Committee on November 29 and now goes to the Senate for further consideration; it cleared the Assembly by a 79-0-0 vote Monday.

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Lopez, Holley & Kennedy Bill Creating “Anti-Hunger Link” on State Executive Department Websites Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – In an effort to make emergency food programs easily accessible to New Jersey residents, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez, Jamel Holley and James Kennedy that would establish an “Anti-Hunger Link” on the official website of every state executive department was approved Monday by the Assembly by a 79-0 vote.

The bill (A-4703) states that the link would direct website users to a dedicated internet page that lists all of the emergency food programs in the state, including but not limited to: emergency meal providers, food pantries, soup kitchens, child and senior feeding programs, and faith-based anti-hunger initiatives along with several other food programs.

“1 million New Jersey residents go to bed hungry,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “Many of whom do not have the means or are simply unaware of the various programs, food providers and anti-hunger initiatives our state has to offer. By adding an ‘Anti-Hunger Link’ to multiple state websites, we hope to raise awareness and reach those in need of food assistance in an effort to create a completely hunger-free state.”

Under the bill, the Chief Technology Officer of the Office of Information Technology, in consultation with the Commissioner of Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture, a nonprofit organization may maintain and update the “Anti-Hunger Link” and emergency food program website.

“With the way some of our state websites are currently laid out, it could be difficult for users to navigate and register for food insecurity programs,” said Holley (D-Union). “By making this link a prominent, relevant feature on our websites, it will limit the challenges and sometimes even stresses that many hungry residents experience when trying to learn more about and apply for food programs.”

“The goal of this bill is to significantly decrease the time and energy our residents spend in order to access food,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “With just one click on a website, those who are in need will be taken to a list of food programs along with ample information to either gain access to food or apply for various programs.”

This measure is part of a 14-bill package recently approved by the Assembly Human Services Committee and cleared by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on December 10.

The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

 

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“Nosey’s Law,” Sponsored by Mukherji, Zwicker & Holley Providing Protections to Elephants and other Exotic Animals in NJ Signed by Governor; Becomes Law

(TRENTON) – Concerned about the abuse of elephants and other exotic animals in circus acts, legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Raj Mukherji, Andrew Zwicker and Jamel Holley prohibiting the use of these animals in traveling acts such as fairs, carnivals, circuses and flea markets in New Jersey was signed into law Friday by Governor Murphy, making New Jersey the first state to ban traveling circuses.

The law (A-1923) is designated as “Nosey’s Law,” in honor of Nosey the elephant, who is forced to travel the country and give rides at events despite being virtually crippled by arthritis. The arthritis has likely caused unnecessary suffering and permanent disability for Nosey, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has failed to take action to protect Nosey, and Nosey’s owners continue to use her in shows.

“These are wild, endangered animals, and they should be cared for according to the highest ethical standards to ensure the survival of their species,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “We cannot allow ill-equipped handlers of traveling animal acts to mistreat and exploit endangered species.”

A number of other states are considering bans on wild animal circus acts, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New York. A federal bill – the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA /H.R.1759) – has gained bipartisan support in the US House, to end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows nationwide.

“The mistreatment of any animal is inhumane and wrong,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon). “But it is particularly disturbing when wild, endangered animals are captured, misused, and exploited for profitable entertainment.”

“The conditions some of these animals are forced to endure is deplorable, not fit for any animal,” said Holley (D-Union). “Many of the elephants, large cats and others are among our most endangered species, with only a few remaining. We should be protecting and preserving future generations instead of exploiting them.”

Any violations would be subject to the penalties provided in section 10 of “The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act,” which would include administrative penalties, civil penalties and injunctive relief, but not the criminal penalties described in the law.

This legislation does not apply to a non-mobile, permanent institution or facility licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and permitted by the Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Department of Environmental Protection, institutions of higher education exhibiting wild or exotic animals for educational purposes or outreach programs conducted by government entities.

The bill-turned-law cleared the Assembly and Senate on October 29.

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