Top Story - 6/18/2013
Senate Democrats Act On Women’s Health Care
TRENTON – Acting to expand access to critical health care services for women, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved two bills that would restore cuts to family planning clinics and extend Medicaid coverage for women by leveraging federal matching funds. The bills, S-2824, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, and S-2825, sponsored by Senator Weinberg and Senator Linda R. Greenstein, would restore funding vetoed by Governor Christie for health clinics that provide a wide range of services for women and would have the state take advantage of federal funding that would provide a nine-to-one match in Medicaid support for women’s health care.
“This is long overdue,” said Senator Weinberg. “Women’s health care has been shortchanged and neglected by the governor for more than three years. A modest amount of state funding would restore crucial health care for women and would generate significant federal funds that would go a long way in helping lower-income women in need of medical care. Women are entitled to reproductive health care.”
Pou Legislation To Protect Seniors And Disabled Residents By Expanding Licensure Requirements For Health Care Service Firms Advances
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou that would require health care service firms that provide in-home companion services for senior citizens or disabled residents to obtain licensure and accreditation was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee.
“Residents place an enormous amount of trust in health care providers, and all senior citizens and individuals with disabilities deserve the confidence of knowing that their in-home aides are properly licensed to administer care,” said Senator Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen. “By extending accreditation and audit requirements to providers of companion services, this bill will increase oversight of the health care industry and protect the safety of all New Jersey residents.”
Responding To NYPD Surveillance Of Muslims In NJ, Cunningham-Stack Bill Would Protect Public Privacy
TRENTON – In response to the recent discovery of the New York City Police Department (NYPD)’s surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey as a part of secret counter-terrorism efforts, Senators Sandra Bolden Cunningham and Brian Stack sponsored legislation that would protect the privacy of the public by setting forth guidelines related to out-of-state law enforcement conducting counter-terrorism activities in New Jersey. The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee yesterday unanimously approved the legislation.
“The NYPD’s secret counter-terrorism efforts conducted on New Jersey soil demonstrate a blatant disregard for individual rights and government transparency,” said Senator Cunningham, D-Hudson. “Surveillance efforts that target specific ethnic or racial groups are particularly dangerous, as they lead to widespread discrimination and deny suspects the presumption of innocence. In order to prevent future cases of racial profiling and protect the privacy of all New Jersey residents, this legislation is the right thing to do.”
Whelan Statement On Revised Flood Maps
TRENTON – Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, issued the following statement today regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) release of new flood maps for Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean Counties:
“Compared to the advisory maps released in December, these maps greatly reduce the number of homes in the velocity zone (V zone) – a distinction that may require a homeowner to spend tens of thousands of dollars to elevate their homes on pilings to protect against wave action during a storm. In Atlantic County, for example, we are seeing an 80 percent reduction in V zone coverage from the advisory maps. While the increase in storms and severe weather patterns seen of late does warrant revisions to the 30 year old maps, placing bayside homes into V zones would have caused extreme financial hardships for many New Jersey families who did not sustain heavy damage during Hurricane Sandy.
Turner Bills To Save Taxpayer Money Passes Committee
Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee today to prevent wasting millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money on special elections to fill vacancies that occur in the U.S. Senate. The bills will be voted on by the Senate on Thursday.
Her bill S2858 would change the date of the 2013 General election from November 5 to October 16, the date scheduled for a special Election to fill the vacancy left after Senator Lautenberg passed away on June 3. The second bill S2857 would eliminate the special election option to fill future vacancies in the U.S. Senate and would require the appointee to be a member of the same political party as the person vacating the office at the beginning of that term. The bills were released from Committee with a 3 to 1 party line vote.
Senator Turner called on both Democrats and Republicans in the State House to support the legislation to cut the $24 million costs of holding two additional elections in half. Speaking at the Committee meeting, Senator Turner lauded her bill as one that conservatives and progressives can appreciate.
“On one hand, the bills will save the taxpayers over $24 million, and on the other hand, it embodies democracy with a small “d” by making it more convenient to vote on all the offices that affect our daily lives,” said Senator Turner. “If we are genuinely interested in saving taxpayers’ money and creating an environment that encourages public participation and fosters good government, these bills should receive bipartisan support.”
Greenstein Bill To Expand Reimbursement Options For Cable TV Subscribers Released By Senate Panel
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein to give consumers greater choice when asking their cable television provider to reimburse them after a lengthy service outage was released today by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
“While many cable customers may prefer a monetary reimbursement when they experience an extended outage of their services, providing consumers with multiple choices of how they wish to receive their reimbursement is a positive not only for the cable companies but also for customers,” said Senator Greenstein, D-Middlesex and Mercer. “If a consumer is already planning to order a premium channel or purchase a pay-per-view event, it just makes sense to allow them to apply their credit towards these options.”