In Our Community

NOW LAW: Assemblywoman Mosquera Measure To Raise Awareness For Child Abuse Hotline In NJ Schools

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Gabriela Mosquera to require school districts to display the State’s child abuse hotline in schools was signed into law Friday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The #MeToo movement has demonstrated how difficult it can be for even adult victims to report abuse. Children who are experiencing abuse may not know 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.

The new law (formerly 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 include directions for accessing the department’s website or social media platforms for more information on reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Under the law, the registry 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 measure was approved by the Assembly in May, 76-0, and by the Senate last June, 40-0.

Assemblywoman Mosquera Unequivocally Calls For The Removal of Judges Silva and Troiano

Chair of the Women and Children Committee Gabriela Mosquera, released the following statement calling for the removal of New Jersey judges Marcia Silva and James Troiano:

“As a long-time advocate of children’s welfare, I was appalled to learn about the reprehensible conduct of Marcia Silva and James Troiano during cases involving the alleged sexual assault of minors.

“The comments these two judges made were utterly inexcusable, ultimately making light of the magnitude of suffering rape victims endure. The lives of these two young girls have been forever changed by their ordeals, yet both judges made it seem as if neither accusation warranted serious treatment.

“I simply cannot understand how Silva could consider the alleged assault of a 12-year-old child to be ‘not especially heinous or cruel,’ or how Troiano could care more about the advantageous upbringing of a boy – who allegedly referred to his own actions as rape – than the victim of those very actions.

“They should have known better.

“These judges may not be from my district, but their actions have an impact on everyone in our state. Silva and Troiano set a terrible precedent for the handling of sexual assault cases that cannot be allowed to go unchecked. I unequivocally call for their removal.”

Assemblywoman Mosquera Bill To Expand Cyber-Harassment Laws To Include Use of Smart Technology Clears Committee

An alarming trend where an abuser uses smart technology as a means to harass another person has inspired me to pass legislation, that would expand New Jersey cyber-harassment law to include the use of such gadgets and devices to harass, intimidate and stalk an individual.

The measure cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The bill (A-4448) would expand the crime of cyber-harassment to include tampering or interfering with smart technology for the purpose of harassing another person. Under the bill, cyber-harassment would be a crime of the fourth degree if, with the purpose to harass another and in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm, a person tampers or interferes with, any software, computer, cell phone or any other electronic device.

Cyber-harassment is also a base offense for domestic violence under current law. This measure would also cover the misuse of Internet connected locks, thermostats, lights, speakers and cameras used to harass another person which we often see in domestic abuse situations.

There are countless ways a domestic violence offender asserts control and torments their victim. Now, with technological advancement, many are using digital tools to psychologically intimidate, harass and stalk. Many women have come forward to tell their stories of abuse. We know now that abuse and intimidation can take on many forms, including this one.

The bill defines, an “electronic device” to include but is not limited to, a smart home device or system, home security system, computer, digital camera, wireless or portable equipment, entertainment systems or any other device that is capable of transmitting, receiving, or recording messages, images, sounds, data, or other information by electronic means.

The measure will now head to the Assembly Speaker for further review.

 

Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill To Eliminate Discrimination Against Cash Paying Consumers Is Now Law

Throughout the country, a growing number of credit card companies and retail businesses have led a charge to go cashless, a move that many say discriminates against the unbanked and those who prefer the privacy of cash. On March 18th, New Jersey Lawmakers stood up for consumers to ban cashless retail. Governor Murphy signed Assemblyman Moriarty’s bill into law to make NJ the second state to ban the practice.

While the majority of retailers still accept cash payments, various companies have pushed the industry toward card only transactions. Visa offered small businesses $10,000 payments to go cashless, and large companies, such as Amazon and Starbucks, have implemented cashless locations in the past.

According to a 2018 FDIC report, about 6.5 percent of US households were unbanked, meaning no one in the household had a bank account. Additionally, another 18.7 percent of households were underbanked, meaning they may have had a bank account, but they still relied on services such as check cashers.

If retail businesses continue toward card-only transactions, they could exclude over 60 million adults across the US without access to credit. Then, the unbanked and underbanked will only have access to the goods and services available at stores that accept cash.

To prevent this, bill A-591 requires that all retail businesses must accept cash as payment for goods and services. Any person in violation of this law will be subject to a civil penalty up to $2,500 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense, and a third or subsequent offense would be an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act.

Assemblyman Moriarty believes that this law will protect low-income and young people who may be unable to get credit cards or bank accounts. Additionally, this law will protect consumers’ privacy by allowing them to buy items without being tracked for every single purchase right down a pack of gum.

The bill allows for certain cashless businesses including parking garages that only accept mobile payments, rental car companies that take cashier’s checks and certain airport vendors.

As a consumer advocate, Assemblyman Moriarty has advocated for privacy and stood up against discrimination throughout his time as a legislator. This law joins the Assemblyman’s past efforts to help consumers such as raising the minimum wage and preventing phone companies from selling users’ location data. Assemblyman Moriarty is confident that this bill will protect the unbanked from discrimination while maintaining a consumer’s right to privacy.

Senator Madden Introduces Bill To Protect Cancer Patients With DPD Deficiency

On March 7, Senator Madden introduced legislation that would require a physician to offer to test his or her patient for dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency prior to chemotherapy treatment with a specific class of drug, called fluoropyrimidines.

Those with DPD deficiency can experience a wide range of severity. A severe deficiency can lead to neurological issues such as epilepsy, intellectual disability, or autistic behaviors, among others. A less severely afflicted individual might be completely asymptomatic.

Certain cancers, such as colorectal, gastrointestinal, breast, cervical, and bladder, can be treated with flouropyrimidines, including Fluorouracil, Capecitabine, and Adrucil. These drugs are not efficiently broken down in patients with DPD deficiency, leading the drug to build up to a toxic level. This can cause many complications or even death. Severe DPD deficiency is rare. However, it is estimated that between 2 and 8% of the population could have some level of the deficiency and be at risk of flouropyrimidine toxicity.

The bill, S3557, would require a physician to offer to test a patient prior to administering treatment with flouropyrimidines. Further, it would require health insurance companies to cover one test per year and any prescription drug treatment of the deficiency.

This bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.

Assemblyman Moriarty Bill To Strengthen Equal Pay Protections For New Jersey Workers Heads to Governor

Aiming to close the significant wage gap between women and men, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty to prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their salary history in the application process received final legislative approval on Thursday, passing the full Senate 26-9.

The bill (A-1094) would prohibit employers from screening a job applicant based on his or her salary history, including prior wages, salaries or benefits. It would also make it unlawful for an employer to require an applicant’s salary history to satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria.

Under the measure, an employer may still consider salary history in determining salary, benefits and other compensation for the applicant, and may verify the applicant’s salary history, if an applicant voluntarily, without coercion, provides the employer with that history. An applicant’s refusal to volunteer compensation information will not be considered in any employment decisions.

“We’ve made great strides to ensure pay equity in New Jersey,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “With the passage of this bill, we are another step closer to securing workers’ rights to equal pay for equal work for generations to come.”

Additionally, an employer who violates the bill’s provisions would be liable for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation. Punitive damages, a standard remedy for violations under the Law Against Discrimination, would not be available for violations falling under this bill.

The measure passed the full Assembly in March by a vote of 53-24-2; it now goes to the Governor’s desk.