In Our Community

New Jersey Residents are Still Required to Have Health Insurance

In New Jersey, there remains a requirement to have health coverage in 2019. Failure to have health coverage or qualify for an exemption will result in a penalty. The enrollment deadline is December 15th. More information can be found at https://nj.gov/governor/getcoverednj/

Assemblywoman Mosquera and Assemblyman Moriarty Bill Focused on Senior Citizen Housing Concerns Clears Committee

Designed to protect senior citizen tenants in New Jersey, bill sponsored by Assembly Democrat Gabriela Mosquera and Paul Moriarty that focus on security as well as tenant-landlord relationship protection were approved by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on Monday.

The bill (A-4397) sponsored by Mosquera and Moriarty would require landlords of senior citizen housing projects to provide, in writing, a rent increase notice and an explanation of why the rent is increasing for their tenants.

“Many senior citizens are living on a fixed-income, which can make it difficult to handle a surprise increase in their rent,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This bill will help to provide ample notice and just reasoning for an increase to rent, which will allow seniors to plan for these changes accordingly.”

“It is no secret that renting a home in New Jersey can be costly,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This alone is already a challenge for so many of our seniors living in retirement communities, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. The goal of this bill is to eliminate the extra stress of sudden rent increases that could make these communities unaffordable for seniors as well as strengthen the relationship between tenants and their landlords.”

Assemblyman Moriarty Introduces Legislation to Protect Consumers from Deceptive Used Car Dealers

(TRENTON) – Prompted by a report from the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) detailing abuses in the wholesale used car industry at facilities known as multi-dealer locations, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty on Monday introduced two bills to protect used car buyers from deceitful sellers.

“New Jersey needs to do better by consumers and the used car industry,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “By strengthening consumer protections and more clearly defining the industry we can create a system that works better for everyone.”

The SCI report, “Gaming the System II: Abuses in the Used Car Industry,” released earlier this month is a follow-up to a 2015 review by the agency, which examined issues plaguing New Jersey’s used car industry. Both reports found wholesale dealerships in the state continue to participate in illicit activities such as tax evasion and insurance fraud at multi-dealer locations.

Additionally, dozens of consumers spent thousands of dollars for vehicles which turned out to be of poor quality, and buyers could not receive refunds because the cars were sold “as is” and were responsible for covering repair costs under New Jersey law, according to the report.

Under current law, warranty protections only cover vehicles purchased from New Jersey-licensed dealers for a minimum of $3,000 that are less than seven years old and have fewer than 100,000 miles.

Both SCI reports recommended that the Legislature consider advancing bills to target abuses in the used car industry and strengthen the rights of consumers.

One of the bills, known as the “Used Car Buyers’ Bill of Rights,” prohibits “as is” sales of used cars, requires dealers to offer contract cancellation option agreements for certain used vehicles, and prohibits dealers from selling cars deemed “certified” or other descriptive terms which imply the vehicle meets certain standards if the dealer knows of repair issues, among other guidelines.

Similar legislation has been adopted in New York and California, which requires dealers to certify that a used vehicle meets certain requirements.

A violation would be punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for any subsequent offense.

Another measure, the “Used Motor Vehicle Licensing Act,” would establish an eight-member State Board of Used Motor Vehicle Dealers in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, which will be responsible for licensing used car dealers who meet eligibility requirements. Prior to licensure applicants would be required to complete a criminal background check. Licensure is currently administered by the Motor Vehicle Commission.

Both bills were originally introduced in the 2016-2017 legislative session following SCI’s initial report.

Assemblywoman Mosquera Bill Requiring Hotels to have AEDs in Populated Locations Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – To protect the lives of New Jersey’s hotel patrons, Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera has sponsored legislation ensuring hotels have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the most populated areas of hotels. The bill cleared the Assembly Gaming, Tourism and the Arts Committee Monday.

The bill (A-4486) would require every hotel in New Jersey to have an AED in each lobby, meeting room, banquet hall and fitness center, as well as on every residential floor within one year of the bill’s effective date.

“By placing AEDs and trained professionals in hotels, we can prevent further tragedy,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “In honor of Mr. Fornicola, we must ensure that this never happens again in our state.”

The bill is to be named “Michael Anthony Fornicola’s law,” in honor of Mr. Fornicola who passed away on May 29, 2012 due to cardiac arrests at Harrah’s Resorts in Atlantic City. The family believes that his life could have been saved if an AED was available on his floor.

The bill defines “hotel” as any hotel, inn, boarding house, motel or other establishment whose proprietor offers and accepts payment for rooms, sleeping accommodations or board and lodging and retains the right of access to, and control of, the premises which are let.

The AEDs would have to be stored and maintained in a central, unlocked location that is known and accessible to employees and marked with a clear, prominent sign.

Hotels would be required to have at least one employee or volunteer with up-to-date certifications from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or other training program recognized by the Department of Health in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of an AED on premises when a public or private event or activity is taking place at the hotel.

The bill ensures that the owners and/or operators, along with the employees and volunteers at the hotel are immune from civil liability in association with the acquisition and use of an AED. They are also immune from civil or criminal liability resulting from the malfunctioning of an AED as long as it has been maintained and tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s operational guidelines.

Assemblyman Moriarty Measure Calling on State Tourism Division to Create “Anthony Bourdain Food Trail” In NJ Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Paul Moriarty has sponsored a resolution (AR-173) that would call on the Division of Travel and Tourism to establish the “Anthony Bourdain Food Trail” in New Jersey. The resolution cleared the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee Monday.

Bourdain was born in Leonia, Bergen County, and spent his professional career in the restaurant industry. He worked his way up from being a dishwasher at a clam shack in Provincetown, Massachusetts to being the head chef in some of the country’s best restaurants, including the Rainbow Room and Les Halles in New York City.

“There’s no question that Anthony’s road to fame was not an easy one,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Even after international fame, he never forgot his Jersey roots. Each episode, Bourdain brought his homegrown wit, charm and sense of humanity to his viewers. He became a New Jersey food icon. It was heartbreaking for his fans and for those who knew him in Leonia to find out of his passing.”

Mr. Bourdain wrote best-selling books describing the high-pressure life of a chef in famous restaurants, including “Kitchen Confidential,” and later in life traveled the world experiencing, explaining, and enjoying local cuisine and culture in the popular television programs “No Reservation” and “Parts Unknown.”

Bourdain celebrated the food and culture of his native state in a 2015 episode of “Parts Unknown” where he visited 10 of his favorite eateries in different parts of the state and recalled his childhood spent on the beaches and restaurants of Long Beach Island.

The Assembly Resolution specifies that the tour would include the 10 eateries Mr. Bourdain visited in 2015 for “Parts Unknown.”

The eateries featured in that episode include: Kubel’s in Barnegat Light; Hiram’s Roadstand in Fort Lee; Knife and Fork in Atlantic City; Dock’s Oyster House in Atlantic City; Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City; Tony and Ruth Steaks in Camden; Donkey’s Place in Camden; Lucille’s Country Cooking in Barnegat; Frank’s Deli in Asbury Park and James’ Salt Water Taffy in Atlantic City.

The Consumer Affairs Committee Approves Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill To Prevent Misleading Ticket Sales

As long as there have been paid events, there have been ticket scalpers buying up tickets to sell at an inflated rate. While this has long been a nuisance for event goers, today’s scalpers are far more deceptive.

By using internet domain names designed to trick the consumer, some third-party ticket sellers have offered cheap ticket prices only to charge exorbitant fees at checkout. To stop this deceptive behavior, Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill, A-4081, would prohibit the use of misleading domain names to sell event tickets. During its’ October meeting, the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee approved this bill with overwhelming support.

Currently, these deceptive third-parties implement domain names similar to the name of the venue, performer, or event title to convince consumers that venues approve of their websites. Often these websites will buy their tickets from a  ticket seller affiliated with the event. Then, they proceed to use the affiliated ticket seller’s resources on their site as their own. Finally, even though they have added no value to the transaction, they charge the customer large service fees without warning at checkout.

Assemblyman Moriarty believes that New Jersyans deserve to know that tickets they are buying come from a reputable source. Furthermore, we should make all efforts to curtail deceptive third-party ticket sellers.
In this spirit, the bill would make it unlawful under the Consumer Fraud Act for a website to sell tickets to New Jersey residents while using a domain name that is substantially similar to the name of the venue, performer, or event title. This restriction would not apply to website operator who has been authorized to act on behalf of a venue.
Violations of this act are punishable by a fee of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and up to $20,000 for any subsequent offense. Additionally, violations can result in punitive damages, treble damages and costs to the consumer.

Now that the bill has advanced out of committee it will be considered for a full vote by the General Assembly. If approved, having already passed the Senate, the bill would then head to the Governor’s desk for his review. If signed by the Governor, the bill would take effect on the first day of the second month following its enactment.

As the Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee, Assemblyman Moriarty has made it his priority to look out for consumers by taking on deceitful companies. This bill joins other efforts, such as legislation to help prevent energy “slamming” practices and unsolicited text messages, in this fight. The Assemblyman is hopeful that this bill will cut back on the amount of New Jerseyans third-party ticket sellers can deceive.