In Our Community

Assemblywoman Mosquera & Assemblyman Moriarty Bill to Allow Online Voter Registration Moves Forward in the Assembly

Aiming to make it safe and more convenient for eligible New Jersey residents to register to vote, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gabriela Mosquera and Paul Moriarty would allow New Jersey residents to opt for online registration was approved Monday by an Assembly Committee.

The bill (A-422) allows New Jersey voters to register to vote securely online and authorizes the use of a voter’s digitized signature from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission database to approve the online registration form.

“Whether it’s shopping or maintaining our bank accounts online, the Internet has become integral in our daily routines. Allowing people to register to vote online provides a similar ease for residents who wish to participate in general elections,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Online registration opens up opportunity for more residents and, particularly, new generations to register to vote more quickly and easily.”

Under the bill, the Secretary of State to create an online voter registration form on the Department of State website that would allow a person qualified to vote in New Jersey to complete the form online and submit it to the appropriate county commissioner of registration for approval. It would allow the use of the digitized signatures of drivers who authorize the use of that signature for voter registration purposes.

“By making voter registration just a click away, we will better fit the needs of the next generation of voters,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “When we make it easier for residents to register to vote, we help ensure every eligible resident their right to be heard at the polls.”

The Assembly Speaker will further review the bill.

Assemblywoman Mosquera Bill Requiring Academic Credit For Applicable Military Service Heads to Governor

Making the path to higher education easier for former military members in New Jersey, a bill sponsored by Assembly Gabriela Mosquera would help veterans earn college credit for the skills and information acquired through their service. The legislation unanimously passed both the full Assembly and Senate on Monday.

The bill (A-791) would require independent and public institutions of higher education to adopt policies that award academic credit to honorably discharged veterans for the lessons they learned through their military service.

“Military members are able to gain a lot of valuable information and abilities through the training they receive as a new recruit and through the positions they hold throughout their service,” said Mosquera (D-Camden and Gloucester). “It just makes sense to ensure that their hard-earned experience carries over to the academic environment.”

The bill stipulates that educational institutions must consider the recommendation of the American Council on Education before determining what credits should be awarded for relevant military training and experience that align with appropriate courses in the veteran’s chosen degree program.

Credits awarded to admitted veterans for their applicable military experience could be used for either undergraduate or graduate programs.

The legislation will now go to the Governor.

Senator Madden Bill Re-Establishing Fire and EMS Crisis Hotline Heads to Governor’s Desk

Senator Madden’s legislation, S2898, that would establish a 24 hour crisis hotline for fire and EMS professionals and their families heads to the Governor’s desk after clearing its last major legislative hurdle in December when the Assembly passed the bill with a vote of 76-0. The bill previously passed the full Senate with a vote of 39-0 in January of 2019.

Our fire and emergency services personnel are currently underserved when it comes to coping with the stresses of their duties. Since the discontinuation of the hotline in 2009, there has been a void in the treatment of those professionals who need help most. Presently, fire and emergency service personnel may contact the similar Cop2Cop hotline; however, as the names suggests, this hotline has been tailored to serve the law enforcement community, and the operators of this hotline are not equipped to handle the specific stresses that firefighters and emergency services personnel face day to day.

The Hotline would operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and would service fire and EMS professionals and their families experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, or any other psychological or emotional disorder or condition. Specially trained operators would be available to help callers with the varying stresses that come from their duties. The conversations would be confidential. However, the Division of Fire Safety in consultation with Rutgers University would be permitted to establish guidelines for the monitoring of any fire or emergency services caller who exhibits signs of an extreme psychological or emotional condition that could result in harm to themselves or others.

The bill is now awaiting consideration by the Governor.

The Minimum Wage is Now $11 an hour Thanks to Assemblyman Moriarty’s Legislation

Thousands of people across the state started their new year with a dollar raise thanks to the rise in the minimum wage to $11. The increase is a result of the legislation signed into law last February to put NJ on the path to a $15 minimum wage by 2024 for most workers.

According to Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty, a prime sponsor of the legislation, “Putting New Jersey on the path to $15 was the right thing to do to help level the playing field for our hard-working residents.” The minimum wage will continue to increase by one dollar every January 1st until it reaches $15 in 2024.

Someone working 40 hours per week will now make $ 4,472 a year more at $11 an hour than they did a year ago at $8.85. “With almost $90 more each week, minimum wage workers today have a much better chance to thrive than they did a year ago.”

However, not all workers received the same raise. Due to concerns for some industries, the minimum wage for employees of small businesses, farms, and seasonal businesses rose from $8.85 to $10.30 an hour. All Seasonal and small business employees will reach $15 an hour by 2026, and farmworkers could reach $15 by 2027 with legislative approval.

“By raising the minimum wage in a controlled way, we will ensure our workers are treated fairly while our businesses continue to thrive.” Assemblyman Moriarty added, “This is just one way we are fighting for New Jersey Workers. Looking toward 2020, we plan to take on the misclassification of employees and bring transparency to forced arbitration in employment contracts.”

Legislation to Guarantee Fertility Services for Patients Undergoing Certain Medical Treatments Passes Full Assembly

In an effort to help preserve the ability of individuals to have children in the future when forced to undergo medically necessary treatment that may cause infertility, Assembly Democrat Gabriela Mosquera sponsor legislation that would require health insurance providers to cover fertility preservation services. The bill unanimously passed the full Assembly Monday.

Under current law, health insurance companies are not required to cover fertility services for patients who require medical treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery that could directly or indirectly damage their reproductive system. The legislation (A-3150) would guarantee insurance coverage for standard services such as gonadal shielding and embryo cryopreservation for patients receiving necessary treatments that might cause infertility.

By taking steps to protect reproductive organs or preserve genetic material, these services would give men and women the chance to have a biological child in the future when they would otherwise run the risk of losing their ability to have a baby.

To ensure coverage for all impacted patients, the bill specifies that these services cannot be denied due to the insured person’s expected length of life, current or predicted disability, perceived quality of life or other health conditions and personal characteristics.

“As a mother, there is nothing in the world I value more than my children. Raising a child is such a rewarding experience,” said Assemblywoman Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “This legislation will ensure that no one who dreams of being a parent will be denied that opportunity if there is any way for them to do so, regardless of their current health problems.”

Having previously passed in the Senate, the bill will now head to the Governor.

Assemblyman Moriarty Bill to Stop the Selling of Consumers’ GPS Location to a Third Party Clears Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty to protect consumers from having their GPS tracking locations disclosed to third parties by their mobile service providers passed the full Assembly 76-0 on Monday.

Although personally identifiable information is often stripped from the data prior to sale along with other data such as geo-tracking, a purchaser could determine personal information including names, home addresses, work addresses, and daily routines by examining this information.

“I find it particularly nefarious that mobile service providers can take your location data and sell it to third party companies who then sell it to whoever wants to buy it,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “This is private information about your whereabouts, your habits, where you live and when your home.”

The bill (A-5259) would prohibit phone companies from disclosing an individual’s personal global position system and location data to a third party without the customers consent.  The provisions of the bill do not apply to a commercial mobile service provider required to disclose a customer’s GPS data to comply with applicable federal or State law, regulation, law enforcement investigation, legal process, or court order.

The bill would provide that a violation of the bill’s requirements is a violation of the State’s consumer fraud act, which may result in a penalty of not more than $10,000 for the first offense and not more than $20,000 for the second and each subsequent offense.

The legislation will now go to the Senate for review.