In Our Community

ASSEMBLYWOMAN MOSQUERA BILL REQUIRING NEWBORN INFANTS TO BE SCREENED FOR SPINAL MUSCULAR ATROPHY CLEARS ASSEMBLY PANEL

Recognizing that early diagnosis can serve as the best treatment defense, a bill that would require newborn infants to be screened for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee Thursday.

The measure is sponsored by Assembly Democrat Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester).

The legislation (A-3040) calls for infants to be tested for the genetic markers associated with SMA–a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is caused by abnormally functioning motor neurons that control voluntary movement, such as walking, talking, and swallowing, and leads to progressive muscle weakness and atrophy.

Individuals with the most common form of SMA typically have a lifespan of less than two years. Approximately one in 50 Americans is a carrier of the disease.  Approximately 165,889 people in New Jersey are SMA carriers and 304 are currently living with the disease. An estimated nine babies are born with SMA each year.

“This bill can help lead to successful treatment and a healthier child,” said Mosquera, who will be giving birth to her second baby in days. “If it can make the difference between a shorter life span and a longer one, it definitely is a measure that needs our support.”

The bill is now poised for a vote by the full Assembly.

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 legislation, sponsored by Assembly member Gabriela Mosquera, 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 Law and Public Safety Committee Monday.

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,” said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “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.

CHIARAVALLOTI, SPEARMAN & MOSQUERA STATEMENT ON NEW LAW TO INCLUDE ANTI-HUNGER PROGRAMS ON NJONEAPP

Continuing efforts to combat hunger in New Jersey, Assembly Democrats Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson), William Spearman (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester) released the following joint statement on their measure (formerly AJR-175) signed into law Thursday to urge the Chief Innovation Officer of the Office of Information Technology to enhance the NJOneApp to include all state anti-hunger programs:

“There are many resources available to New Jersey residents who are food insecure and suffering from severe hunger, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Need Families (TANF) and General Assistance through Work First New Jersey; but it remains a challenge to connect people to those vital services. That’s why improving the NJOneApp, which already offers a simple, convenient way for residents to see if they qualify for food assistance programs, is a crucial step towards ending hunger in New Jersey.

“Under this new law, the NJOneApp will be redesigned to include all state anti-hunger programs. Users will be able to easily browse all the resources available to them and choose which will work best for their family. No longer will residents be unsure of where to turn, who to ask, or what help exists in New Jersey; the answers would be found at the touch of a button on their cell phone.

“We are pleased the Governor and our colleagues in the Legislature have joined the fight against hunger by supporting this measure and we thank Speaker Coughlin for including it in his sweeping anti-hunger bill package. We look forward to taking the next step in helping families in need.”

Assemblywoman Mosquera Bill Establishing Perinatal Episode of Care Pilot Program In Medicaid Becomes Law

Effort Part of State’s Ongoing Strategy to Improve Perinatal Health Outcomes

(TRENTON) – As part of New Jersey’s solution driven strategy to improve maternal health outcomes, a bill to establish a perinatal episode of care pilot program in Medicaid was signed into law today by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The law (A-4932) is sponsored by Assembly Democrat Gabriela Mosquera. It mandates the three-year perinatal episode of care pilot program in Medicaid to be developed by a steering committee established by the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services in the Department of Human Services.  The legislators issued the following joint statement following the signing:

“Modeled after similar programs, such as the successful one in Tennessee, this pilot will foster collaboration between Medicaid managed organizations, federally qualified health centers and maternity healthcare providers for the common goal of improving perinatal health outcomes and decreasing costs.
“There will be, however, a greater level of accountability for the cost of care that they deliver to their patients. While these healthcare providers will have the same administrative and financial relationship with payers, they will receive higher payments if they meet or exceed certain benchmarks for quality.

“This pilot is an innovative approach using value-based payments, one of the first in New Jersey. It incentivizes Medicaid providers to raise the bar for providing better care–a real win for Medicaid patients.” 

As part of the law, the steering committee must convene no later than July 1, 2019, and the pilot must begin by January 1, 2021 unless the committee recommends a later date.

Assemblyman Moriarty Bill to Strengthen Foreclosure Protections for Homeowners Becomes Law

Aiming to give homeowners a fair chance to get back on track with their mortgage payments, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty to require lenders to send a notice of intent to foreclose no more than 180 days before action was signed into law Monday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The new law (formerly A-5003) revises the Fair Foreclosure Act to require that a notice of intention to foreclose not be sent more than 180 days in advance. This includes a notice of the right to cure the default, which currently must be sent at least 30 days, but not more than 180 days, in advance of a residential mortgage lender beginning foreclosure or other legal action to take possession of a residential property.

Under the law, if more than 180 days had elapsed since the date of the notice of intent was sent, and any foreclosure or legal action had not begun, a new notice will be sent at least 30 days, but not more than 180, in advance.

“Unfortunately, New Jersey leads the nation in foreclosures, with 70,000 properties going through the process in 2017,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “We must do all we can to get that number down and keep families in their homes. This law will give homeowners the time and notice they need to take action.”

The new law provides that if a plaintiff’s action to foreclose a residential mortgage has been dismissed without prejudice pursuant to the Rules Governing the Courts of New Jersey of the State of New Jersey, reinstatement of the plaintiff’s action could be permitted only on motion for good cause shown and reinstatements will be limited to three for any action.

Additionally, the law now provides that the amounts paid by plaintiffs for reinstating a mortgage would be aggregated and divided equally on an annual basis, with one-half dedicated to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency for funding for counseling provided by the agency for the New Jersey Judiciary’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, and one-half dedicated to the Administrative Office of the Courts for the general operations provided by the office for the New Jersey Judiciary’s Foreclosure Mediation Program.

Assemblywoman Mosquera on Child Abuse Prevention Month

“During April and Beyond, We Must Promote Awareness, Take Steps to Protect Children, Hold Predators Accountable”

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), chair, Assembly Women and Children Committee, issued the following rallying call Monday to mark the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention Month:

“I think all of us either know someone or even suffered our own personal experience with the emotional, physical and psychological trauma of child abuse. For many people, this trauma has left scars that the victims will deal with for the rest of their lives.

“Thankfully, there is indeed hope for child abuse victims. Hope from supportive family members, friends and other loved ones. Hope found in professional counseling and treatment. For some child abuse victims, hope is found in confronting the abuser and taking legal action. All of these remedies are part of the healing process and may not look the same for each victim.

“During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, beginning today April 1, our nation has set aside time to draw special attention to this issue that has forever changed the lives of millions of women and men around the country. For far too long, silence surrounded this issue, and as a result, children suffered in fear and in shame.

“But no more.

“National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a designated time to bring awareness to this issue, take steps to protect our children and hold predators accountable. One such step is a new law that I co-sponsored requiring school districts to notify the State Board of Examiners when a teaching staff member fails to report child abuse as the cause for revocation or suspension of their certificate.

“I also am working on a bill (A-1707) that would expand the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect from 29 to 30 members to include a representative from the Child Placement Advisory Council. This addition will help the task force develop recommendations to help children receiving child protective services from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency within the Department of Children and Families.

“Children deserve to have every conceivable step taken to ensure that they do not fall victim to child abuse. In April and beyond, our children must be kept safe and not robbed of their innocence and childhood.”