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Wimberly, Barclay, Tucker, Sumter and Holley Co-Sponsor Resolution Urging Congress and President to Enact The Land-Grant Opportunity Act

2015 Congressional Bill would Increase Federal Funds for HBCUs

(TRENTON) – A resolution sponsored by Assembly Democrats Benjie Wimberly, Arthur Barclay, Cleopatra Tucker, Shavonda Sumter and Jamel Holley urging Congress and the President to enact The Land-Grant Opportunity Act was advanced through the Assembly Higher Education Committee on Monday. The resolution (AR-43) calls upon both houses of the United State Congress as well as the commander-in-chief to federally institute The Land-Grant Opportunity Act, which was sponsored by Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida and introduced in the US House of Representatives on October 26, 2015 as H.R.3828.
“It’s time HBCUs, which have long helped African-Americans achieve their dreams and goals, including myself, get the federal funding they deserve,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic), who attended Virginia State University, an 1890 land-grant institution.
This bill addresses inequities in funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by increasing expenditures for these institutions. The Land-Grant Opportunity Act distinguishes between the Morrill Act of 1862, which required all states to have at least one land-grant institution, and the Morrill Act of 1890, which barred states from making race a factor in the admission criteria at these institutions since the schools founded under the pretext of the 1862 law remained predominantly white.
“We are not asking for too much,” said Barclay (D-Camden/Gloucester). “All we seek is fairness and justice, and the best way to do that is to invest equally in our educational institutions.” “As an attendee of an HBCU, I know the impact they not only on black families, but on all American families,” said Tucker (D-Essex), who attended Tennessee State University. “We only want to give them the funding that they deserve.” “It is the responsibility of leaders of the present to continue to fight for funding equity for higher education institutions,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Equal access to higher education is how all of our young people can achieve greatness.” “We call on the federal government to enact this bill; something that is long overdue,” said Holley (D-Union). “The time is now.”
Historically, HBCUs, or 1890 land-grant institutions, have received significantly less federal funding–sometimes receiving half that of other institutions–than their 1862 counterparts, and the co-sponsors of the Assembly resolution claim that this bill can help right this past inequity which has unfairly affected HBCUs.

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Kennedy & Holley Bill to Better Regulate Claw & Crane Games to Prevent Rigging Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen James Kennedy and Jamel Holley to better regulate claw and crane games to prevent rigging that unfairly lowers the odds of winning for players was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The outcome of these games is determined by chance, and is based on the mechanical and programming specifications set for the machines. According to media reports, operators can easily adjust the machines to make it almost impossible to win a prize unless you play multiple times.

“These games are meant to be hard. But there’s a difference between hard and impossible,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “Better oversight can help ensure that people are not just feeding money into machines that have been rigged to work against them.”

“There’s risk with all games of chance. But if operators are rigging these machines to work in their favor, that’s just cheating,” said Holley (D-Union). “Enhanced oversight can help ensure these machines are being operated fairly so people who play these games are not taken advantage of.”

Claw and crane games are currently overseen by the state’s Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission within the Division of Consumer Affairs, and are inspected three times a year.

The bill (A-1366) would require the commission to establish standards related to mechanical and programming specifications to ensure that a player has reasonable odds of obtaining a prize.

The standards would be required to include, but may not be limited to, the mechanical and programming specifications required for each crane or claw machine to ensure that a player has reasonable odds of obtaining a prize. The commission would determine what constitutes reasonable odds with respect to each kind of crane or claw machine based on a review of similar regulations in other states or jurisdictions, industry standards, public comment, input from amusement game operators in this state, and information from any other appropriate entities or constituencies.

The bill would also require the commission to only issue a certification of permissibility to an amusement games licensee or operator of a crane or claw machine game, if the commission determines that the machine is in compliance with the promulgated standards.

However, the bill would require the commission to establish a reasonable timeframe for existing licensees to comply with the new crane or claw machine standards.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee.

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Common Sense Gun Safety – N.J. Assembly Judiciary Committee Advances 6-Bill Gun Safety Package

(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee on Wednesday advanced 6 gun safety bills.
The bills aim to keep guns away from those who pose threats, reduce ammunition magazine capacity, enhance background checks, ban armor-piercing ammunition and counter efforts to weaken gun safety regulations.
A look at each measure:
· A-1181 (Jones/Mosquera/Sumter/Downey/Barclay) – Requires firearms seizure when certain health care professional determines patient poses threat of harm to self or others.
“For someone who may be struggling with disturbing thoughts, having access to a firearm significantly increases the likelihood of suicide,” said Egan Jones (D-Camden/Gloucester). “By reducing their access to a lethal weapon, New Jersey can help prevent fatalities among those with serious mental health concerns.”
“The vast majority of people who have a mental illness will never commit an act of violence, but multiple mass shootings, domestic violence homicides and suicides in this country could have been prevented if people known to have serious mental health concerns did not have access to a firearm,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester).
“State law regarding the qualifications for permits and purchaser ID cards makes it clear that the duty to protect public health, safety and welfare is paramount,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Individuals who express an explicit intent to harm themselves or someone else demonstrate that it is unsafe for them to handle firearms.”
“Mental health professionals know the signs to look out for and are in the best position to determine whether someone poses an imminent threat to him- or herself or someone else,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “This is an intelligent approach that will protect our communities.”
“It is in everyone’s best interest to cut off access to guns until a medical doctor or a psychiatrist determines it can be reinstated,” said Barclay (D-Camden). “We’ve seen too many tragedies where people say, ‘What if?’ This can help answer that question.”
· A-1217 (McKeon) – Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018.
“We’ve seen too many ‘what ifs’ when it comes to these mass shootings, often centered around the question of why didn’t somebody do something to take guns away from someone who is mentally unstable,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). “This bill makes it easier to accomplish that goal and, ultimately, protect our communities and our children. The status quo doesn’t work. We need to take new approaches that allow authorities a real chance to keep guns away from mentally unstable individuals who pose a threat to us all.”
· A-2761 (Greenwald) – Reduces maximum capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds; exempts firearms with .22 caliber tubular magazines from 10 round limitation.
“Meeting the families of Sandy Hook was one of the most moving experiences of my 22 years of public service,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “For these families, the single most important piece of legislation we could fight for is lowering magazine capacity. I refuse to let these families down, to look them in the eyes and tell them we are powerless – that their loved ones were a tragic but necessary, loss. No loss to gun violence is ever necessary.”
· A-2757 (Greenwald/Holley) – Requires background check for private gun sales.
“Requiring a licensee to complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check on the recipient of the handgun, rifle or shotgun is just plain common sense,” Greenwald said. “It’s shocking that we don’t do this already, but with this bill we fix this gaping loophole.”
“This is an idea everyone should support,” said Holley (D-Union). “We can fix this and both protect the public and the rights of law-abiding citizens who have nothing to fear from a background check.”
· A-2758 (Greenwald) – Codifies regulations defining justifiable need to carry handgun.
“New Jersey’s gun safety laws are among the strongest in the nation and we must keep them that way,’ Greenwald said. “Overturning these unsafe regulations has been a top priority of mine. While I commend Gov. Murphy for doing the right thing to keep our streets safe and ensure laws are enforced as intended, we need to make sure that no future governor can attempt to carelessly weaken our gun safety rules.”
· A-2759 (Greenwald/Murphy) – Prohibits possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor.
“As technology advances, so does the threat to our police officers who must brave criminals armed with powerful weapons,” Greenwald said. “Criminalizing the use of this type of ammunition is common sense. Our officers risk their lives daily. Let’s protect them.”
“Police officers today are dealing with criminals who, disturbingly, are just as equipped with advanced weapons that make police work that much more dangerous,” said Murphy (D-Burlington). “The risk for our officers is already great. Let’s help minimize the danger by criminalizing this type of ammunition.”

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Common Sense Gun Safety – Greenwald & Holley Bill to Require Background Checks for Private Gun Sales Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and Assemblyman Jamel Holley sponsored to improve gun safety by requiring background check for private gun sales was advanced Wednesday by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

“Requiring a licensee to complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check on the recipient of the handgun, rifle or shotgun is just plain common sense,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “It’s shocking that we don’t do this already, but with this bill we fix this gaping loophole and improve gun safety.”

“This is an idea everyone should support,” said Holley (D-Union). “We can fix this and both protect the public and the rights of law-abiding citizens who have nothing to fear from a background check. This will make for a safer New Jersey.”

The bill (A-2757) requires all sales or other transfers of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun to be conducted through a retail dealer licensed under state law or a federal firearms licensee.

The licensee would be required to complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check on the recipient of the handgun, rifle or shotgun.

Exceptions under the bill include transactions between members of an immediate family, between law enforcement officers, between licensed collectors of firearms or ammunition as curios or relics, and temporary transfers to participate in certain training courses.

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Assembly Dem Bill Package to Strengthen Domestic Violence Protections, Enhance Criminal Justice Response Advances

Bills would enhance domestic violence training for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers; and amend domestic violence definition to ensure offenders not spared penalties

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Monday approved a four-bill legislative package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Nancy Pinkin, John McKeon, Shavonda Sumter, Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Benjie Wimberly, Joann Downey, Gabriela Mosquera, Dan Benson, Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Jamel Holley to better protect victims of domestic violence.

A 2015 report from the state courts showed 32,691 domestic violence complaints filed in family court for the entire state – a 950 case-increase from the previous year, according to a media report. In 2016, there were about 52 domestic violence related deaths in the state.

The first three bills were recommended by the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Domestic Violence. The committee, made up of judges, lawyers and victim advocates, was formed in 2015 to examine domestic violence laws, policies and procedures and make recommendations.

The first bill (A-317), sponsored by Pinkin, McKeon, Sumter, Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle and Wimberly, bill would direct the Administrative Director of the Courts to develop and approve a training course and a curriculum for all municipal court judges, Superior Court judges responsible for the adjudication of domestic violence matters, and judicial personnel involved with the intake and processing of domestic violence complaints.

Current law requires all judges and judicial personnel attend initial domestic violence training within 90 days of appointment or transfer and to attend annual in-service training. This bill would expand on this training.

Under the bill, all such judges and judicial personnel would participate in core training regarding issues such as the dynamics of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on children, trauma-informed danger assessments, batterer intervention and anger management programs, and domestic violence risk factors and lethality.

“One in three women and one in four men have experienced physical violence by a domestic partner,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “These numbers are staggering and demonstrate how pervasive this is, and how important it is that the professionals tasked with responding and handling these cases are adequately trained so victims are protected and perpetrators are punished.”

“There is no one-size fits all approach to domestic violence cases,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). “Supplementing the training that judges already receive can help ensure that they are equipped to preside over these cases with the best interest of the victim and justice in mind.”

“Trust in the system is paramount. Without it, victims suffer,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). “These judges bear a great responsibility. Enhancing their training can help build greater trust in the system so that victims feel confident in coming forward and bringing their abusers to justice.”

“These judges are presiding over cases with life-and-death implications,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “This additional information can help them better navigate these often complicated cases so that they are making the best decisions for victims and their families.”

The second bill (A-860), sponsored by Vainieri Huttle, Downey, Mosquera, Lampitt and Benson, would direct the Attorney General, in consultation with the county and municipal prosecutors, to develop or identify curricula for domestic violence training for all municipal prosecutors. Participation in the training program would be mandatory under the bill.

“Most domestic violence cases begin at the municipal level, but current law but does not require domestic violence training for municipal prosecutors,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Being able to understand the complexities of domestic violence can help ensure justice is served.”

“Domestic violence cases are rarely simple. Victims might make decisions that seem to go against their own interests, when in reality they are means of survival,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Prosecutors need to understand this so they can properly represent and advocate for these clients.”

“On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before she leaves for good,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “These cases require a nuanced understanding of domestic violence and how it impacts victims. Detailed training can help provide that.”

“Domestic violence goes largely unreported despite its frequency. It’s not easy coming forward or to follow through with the process,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Those who do should know that the person representing them understands domestic abuse and its consequences.”

The third bill (A-874), sponsored by Mosquera, Downey, Chiaravalloti and Wimberly, would require in-person, instructor-led training in the handling and investigation of domestic violence reports for law enforcement officers. The bill would also require training for assistant county prosecutors involved in the handling of domestic violence cases. Currently, law enforcement officers are required to attend an initial training within 90 days or appointment or transfer, as well as an annual in-service training. Many officers meet this annual in-service training requirement solely through on-line training methods. This bill would require in-person training over online training.

“Gender bias, whether conscious or unconscious, may influence how a police officer responds to a domestic violence case,” Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “Having an instructor who can clarify dubious assumptions about these cases can help ensure a thoughtful and helpful response.”

“For many domestic violence victims, their first interaction with the criminal justice system is through the police officer responding to their call,” Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “We have to ensure that our officers are prepared to respond with the sensitivity that these cases require.”

The fourth bill (A-1742), sponsored by Quijano and Holley, would amend the domestic violence definition to include the attempt or conspiracy to commit an enumerated act.

Current law defines domestic violence as the occurrence of one or more enumerated acts inflicted upon a person under certain circumstances. However, the definition does not specifically include an attempt or conspiracy to commit an enumerated act. This bill changes that.

The bill is in response to an Appellate Division decision vacating a domestic violence surcharge assessed against a defendant who had been convicted of attempted murder. In State v. Lee, 411 N.J. Super. 349 (App. Div. 2010), the court held that the defendant was not subject to the surcharge because attempted murder is not included in the enumerated crimes and offenses.

“Individuals who engage in this type of deplorable behavior should not be able to avoid penalties over a technicality,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Updating this definition ensures that perpetrators of domestic violence are held fully responsible for their actions.”

“The fact that a domestic violence abuser can avoid a penalty because they tried to commit a crime, but did not succeed is an insult to victims,” said Holley (D-Union). “This update to the current definition will help ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their reprehensible actions.”

All four bills were released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Quijano.

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Danielsen, Holley, Gusciora & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Protect Historic Sites Clears First Legislative Hurdle

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Gusciora, Eustace & Holley Bill to Encourage Redevelopment of Long-Dormant, Historic Taverns Advanced by Assembly Panel

Bill Aims to Preserve & Revive Historic Watering Holes like Eagle Tavern in Trenton

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Tim Eustace and Jamel Holley allowing municipalities to issue retail liquor licenses to qualified buyers looking to redevelop historic taverns into 21st century drinking and eating establishments was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

Gusciora introduced the bill in hopes of facilitating redevelopment of the abandoned Eagle Tavern on South Broad Street in Trenton, which has sat vacant for decades after several failed attempts to operate the building as a restaurant. Built as a private home in 1765, it was enlarged for use as a tavern in the early nineteenth century and was frequented by patrons of the nearby Eagle raceway. It served as the political center for the city’s South Ward, and was a meeting place of the Masons.

“One of Trenton’s biggest strengths is its history,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “The Eagle Tavern is one of the city’s oldest buildings and served as a popular place for residents to socialize and for politicians to meet. Unfortunately, no developer is willing to undertake the costs associated with the property’s redevelopment because of liquor license limitations in the city. This could help bring back a building that is historically important to our city and our state, provide the city with much needed revenue and further the momentum slowly brewing on South Broad Street.”

The bill (A-1318) would allow a municipality to issue a retail liquor license to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption to the highest qualified bidder of an abandoned historic tavern.

“These buildings functioned as taverns at some point. It would be great to see them come alive as social gathering places again,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Instead of letting them languish in blight, this bill can help renew interest in these properties from developers, which could provide revenue for municipalities and provide residents with an outing option uniquely steeped in history.”

The bill defines a historic tavern as a building built before 1920 that is included in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places, and where the sale and service of alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption was the primary business prior to 1920. The provisions of the bill would apply to taverns that were in operation prior to the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which commenced the country’s Prohibition era.

“When it comes to redeveloping these old, historic properties, sometimes it’s easier said than done. In some cases the cost of a liquor license may be far too prohibitive and, in other cases, there simply may not be any more available licenses,” said Holley (D-Union). “This bill would cut through all that while helping to preserve history, boost local tax bases and revitalize neighborhoods.”

The bill prohibits the holder of the retail license from transferring the license for use in connection with another premises. A license issued under this bill is not subject to the population limitations that restrict a municipality from issuing more than one plenary retail consumption license for each 3,000 people residing in that municipality.

The bill was advanced by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee.

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Mosquera, Jones, Holley, McKnight & Downey Bill to Require School Districts to Display Child Abuse Hotline Information in Schools Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gabriela Mosquera. Patricia Egan Jones, Jamel Holley, Angela McKnight and Joann Downey to require school districts to display the state’s child abuse hotline in schools was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

“The #MeToo movement has demonstrated how difficult it can be for even adult victims to report abuse,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Children who are experiencing abuse may not how to ask, or where to turn for help. Having this information prominently displayed in schools can help empower these children to report the abuse and bring their perpetrators to justice.”

“Children who are being abused will often stay quiet out of fear and shame,” said Jones (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This is a simple and discreet way to get them the information they need so they can report the abuse and start the healing process.”

“The scars of unreported abuse can run long and deep. No one should have to carry such a burden, especially a child,” said Holley (D-Union). “Seeing the hotline every day when they are in school will hopefully help them find the fortitude to tell their stories and report their abusers.”

“Many children fail to report abuse out of shame or fear that they won’t be believed,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “Having this information in schools can help send a clear message that they are not alone, they do not deserve what is happening to them and that there is a way out.”

“Reporting abuse is not easy, especially when it is being inflicted by someone they thought they could trust,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Children need to know that this is wrong, and that there are entire resources dedicated to helping them. Posting this information in schools can help drive that message home.”

The bill (A-425) would require a board of education to prominently display information about the Department of Children and Families’ State Central Registry – a toll free hotline for reporting child abuse – in all district schools. The information must give instructions to call 911 for emergencies and must include directions for accessing the department’s website or social media platforms for more information on reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Under the bill, the information is required to be in a format and language that is clear, simple, and understandable. The information must be on a poster and displayed at each school in at least one high-traffic, highly and clearly visible public area that is readily accessible to and widely used by students.

The bill was released by the Assembly Education Committee.


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Conaway, Wimberly, Holley & McKnight Bill Creating Sickle Cell Trait Registry Gains Assembly Panel OK

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, M.D., Benjie Wimberly, Jamel Holley and Angela McKnight sponsored to establish a confidential central registry of newborns diagnosed with sickle cell trait was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

The term sickle cell disease (SCD) describes a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. People with SCD have abnormal hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. People who have SCD inherit two abnormal hemoglobin genes, one from each parent. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, people with SCD may experience acute or chronic pain, have severe anemia, be more susceptible to infections and experience a host of other serious health problems.

“Individuals with sickle cell trait can make the best choices about their health only if they know that they have the trait,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “This bill will help empower those who carry sickle cell trait to make informed decisions.”

The bill (A-2184) would require the Department of Health to create the registry, which would serve to make individuals aware of their sickle cell trait status. The legislation would also promote counseling, intervention and educational services for patients and their parents.

An estimated three million people in the United States carry sickle cell trait, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the disease is more prevalent in the African American community where approximately one in 13 babies is born with sickle cell trait and approximately one in every 365 children is born with sickle cell disease. Newborn screening programs in all 50 states require the identification of individuals with sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease shortly after birth, but many with sickle cell trait live unaware of their status.

“A simple blood test is all it takes for an individual to know whether he or she carries the sickle cell trait, but the majority of Americans are unaware of their status,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “By increasing the number of people who know whether they are carriers of this trait, we can potentially decrease the prevalence of sickle cell disease, an illness that can lead to very serious chronic health complications.”

As is the case for several conditions, all New Jersey newborns are screened for sickle cell anemia, and the Department of Health requires that their parents be informed of the results. The bill would require screening laboratories to also notify a newborn’s physician and document the diagnosis in the central registry if, upon screening, a patient tests positive for sickle cell trait. The Department of Health would coordinate notification of the patient.

“As we say so often, knowledge is power. In this case, knowledge can also be life-saving,” said Holley (D-Union). “Thanks to so many advances in medicine it’s now possible to prevent sickle cell disease if both parents are aware that they are carriers. This can help eliminate a lifetime of pain and health issues.”

The bill would also require physicians to provide the patient’s parents with information on the benefits of consultation with a licensed genetic counselor. Such counseling would include, at minimum, notifying the parents that at least one of them carries sickle cell trait and that any other child born to them may also carry sickle cell trait or be born with sickle cell anemia.

“Sickle cell disease is typically only passed on to a child if both parents carry an abnormal hemoglobin gene,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “Since the disease can present debilitating, life-long side effects, it’s important that parents understand the risk of potentially passing this onto their child. Creating a sickle cell registry will help parents make informed decisions when starting a family.”

The bill was released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee chaired by Conaway.

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Downey, Houghtaling, Holley & Benson Bill to Connect More Who Served to Programs, Benefits for Veterans Now Law

13-Member Commission on Veterans’ Benefits Will Help Support Veterans & Their Families

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling, Jamel Holley and Daniel Benson sponsored to more effectively deliver services to veterans in New Jersey was recently signed into law.

The new law (formerly bill A-4171) establishes the New Jersey Commission on Veterans’ Benefits in the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The 13-member commission will develop, maintain and annually update a five-year statewide veterans’ benefits strategic plan that includes goals and measurable outcomes to ensure that all state departments and agencies are effectively delivering comprehensive services and support for veterans and their families.

“Many veterans are aware of how they can benefit from resources the federal government offers, but they’re sometimes uncertain about what they and their families may qualify for at the state level,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “A commission dedicated to ensuring veterans access to the programs and benefits they’re eligible for and deserve will help New Jersey honor its obligation to those who have served this nation.”

In developing and updating the strategic plan, the commission will identify and evaluate the various programs and benefits the state offers to veterans. Analysis shall be based on factors such as: the ability to improve veterans’ educational, job skills, employment, and business opportunities; physical and behavioral health and long-term health care options; criminal justice issues; and housing opportunities and homelessness.

Recommendations generated from the analysis will be submitted to the governor and the legislature to address any deficiencies in the provision of benefits and services to veterans.

“New Jersey always should be looking for ways to improve outreach to veterans and make sure they can take advantage of resources that are reserved specifically for them,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “With a combination of government officials and veterans working together on behalf of those who served, our state can maximize its ability to take care of veterans and their families.”

“Veterans living in New Jersey are some of the most upstanding individuals in the United States of America,” said Holley (D-Union). “A commission dedicated to improving the state’s ability to deliver resources to veterans will allow us to ensure these honorable men and women get what they have earned.”
“New Jersey has a duty to make sure that the resources available to veterans and their families are accessible and of the highest quality,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This commission will be part of the on-going effort to provide veterans with the very best.”

The commission will consist of the following 13 members: the adjutant general of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; the secretary of state; the attorney general; the commissioners of the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Community Affairs, Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development; and five public members who are veterans, all of whom must be New Jersey residents and two of whom must be women. Of the five public members, who will serve for three-year terms, one will be appointed by the governor and one each will be appointed by the Senate president, the Senate minority leader, the Assembly speaker and the Assembly minority leader. Members of the commission will serve without compensation.

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