In Our Community

Moriarty Bill Outlawing Unsolicited Text Message Ads Signed into Law

Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Daniel R. Benson, Benjie Wimberly and Bob Andrzejczak sponsored to prohibit advertisers from sending unwelcome and unsolicited text advertisements to consumers has been signed into law.

“Unwanted text messages not only tax consumers’ patience, but they are a drain on cell minutes and bank accounts,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Just as telephone customers have been able to close their homes to unwanted telemarketing calls, cell customers should be able to be free of unwanted text ads. What we’re trying to do here is assist consumers in avoiding unnecessary charges as a result of receiving messages that are unsolicited and over which the user has no control.”

“For individuals with a limited data plan, receiving a large number of unsolicited text messages may force them to rack up unwanted charges on their cell phone bill,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “The growing number of complaints regarding unwanted text advertisements can no longer be ignored. Cell phone users deserve basic protections against business practices that cause headaches and cost them money.”

“This law prohibits the sending of an unsolicited advertisement by means of a text message to a resident of New Jersey if it may cause the recipient to incur a telecommunications charge or a usage allocation deduction,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The law requires the recipient’s express permission, including the number to which text message advertisements may be sent, before any unsolicited advertisements may be sent.”

“This is all about protecting the consumer,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “Besides being annoyances, these text messages can be costly, at no fault of the consumer. This law is common sense in this day and age.”

The law prohibits sending unsolicited advertising by text messaging, and requires companies offering text messaging services to allow customers to block all incoming and outgoing text messages.

Under the law (A-617), violators will be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each subsequent violation, collectible by the Attorney General.

Find the original press release at the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office website.

Moriarty Bill Outlawing Unsolicited Text Message Ads Gets Final Legislative OK

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Daniel R. Benson, Benjie Wimberly and Bob Andrzejczak sponsored to prohibit advertisers from sending unwelcome and unsolicited text advertisements to consumers was approved 37-0 Thursday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.

“Unwanted text messages not only tax consumers’ patience, but they are a drain on cell minutes and bank accounts,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Just as telephone customers have been able to close their homes to unwanted telemarketing calls, cell customers should be able to be free of unwanted text ads. What we’re trying to do here is assist consumers in avoiding unnecessary charges as a result of receiving messages that are unsolicited and over which the user has no control.”

“For individuals with a limited data plan, receiving a large number of unsolicited text messages may force them to rack up unwanted charges on their cell phone bill,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “The growing number of complaints regarding unwanted text advertisements can no longer be ignored.  Cell phone users deserve basic protections against business practices that cause headaches and cost them money.”

“The bill prohibits the sending of an unsolicited advertisement by means of a text message to a resident of New Jersey if it may cause the recipient to incur a telecommunications charge or a usage allocation deduction,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The bill requires the recipient’s express permission, including the number to which text message advertisements may be sent, before any unsolicited advertisements may be sent.”

“This is all about protecting the consumer,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “Besides being annoyances, these text messages can be costly, at no fault of the consumer. This law is common sense in this day and age.”

The bill prohibits sending unsolicited advertising by text messaging, and requires companies offering text messaging services to allow customers to block all incoming and outgoing text messages.

Under the bill (A-617), violators would be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each subsequent violation, collectible by the Attorney General.

The bill now goes to the governor.

Find the original press release at the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office website.

Moriarty Will Introduce Bill to Grant License Photo Extension to Residents Whose Appearance is Affected by Medical Procedure

Current law requires new license photos be taken every eight years; bill would allow certain residents to extend life of current photo for a year when renewing driver’s license  

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Paul Moriarty today announced he will introduce a bill to allow residents whose appearance is temporarily altered by a medical procedure to use their current driver’s license photo for a year, when a new photo is required as part of the license renewal process.

Moriarty was moved to draft the bill after hearing the story of Neptune City resident Joanne Jodry, who was told she would have to take a new picture when she went to renew her license at the Motor Vehicles Commission office in Freehold. Jodry, who is battling breast cancer and has lost her hair to chemotherapy, asked if they could use her old photo, but according to a media report, her request was denied. Ultimately, Jodry was allowed to wear a scarf over her bald head after speaking with a manager.

Under current state law, driver’s license photos must be refreshed every eight years.

“Joanne is in a fight for her life. There is no reason to make life more difficult for her than it already is. This is not about vanity; this is about giving someone who is undergoing treatment for a serious illness that alters the way they look, the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “By giving residents like Joanne the simple option to use the current photo on their driver’s license when they are up for renewal, we can spare them the humiliation of having a painful time in their lives captured and frozen in time for them to see over and over again.”

Moriarty’s bill would extend the use of a person’s stored driver’s license picture if the person is undergoing medical treatment for an illness resulting in temporary changes to his or her physical characteristics, such as chemotherapy. The bill would require the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to allow a person undergoing medical treatment for an illness that temporarily changes his or her appearance to use a stored picture to renew a license for one year. The person would be required to present documentation by a licensed physician. The fee would be $18. The person would also be exempt from paying the required digitized picture fee at that time.

The bill is modeled after a law currently in use in Massachusetts.

“A photo of a person undergoing treatment for an illness that results in physical changes is unrepresentative of that person and could serve as an ineffective identifier,” said Moriarty. “This bill would provide a reasonable and compassionate provision, to allow a person getting medical treatment for a life-changing illness to use a stored picture on her or his driver’s license for one additional year.”

“This simple tweak can help those who must endure the painful side effects of a medical procedure,” added Moriarty. “I commend Joanne for speaking up and sharing her story. If she hadn’t, we would’ve never known how something that is so routine for some can be so damaging to others.”

Find the original press release at the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office website.

Moriarty Bill to Help Prevent Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Signed Into Law

Measure Prohibits Sale of DXM-Containing Products to Minors

Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Patrick Diegnan, Benjie Wimberly, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Reed Gusciora and Shavonda Sumter sponsored to ban the sale of certain over-the-counter medications to young people in New Jersey is now law.

The new law (A-622/1469) prohibits the sale of dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. Under the measure, any person who sells a product containing DXM as an active ingredient to someone under 18 years of age is subject to a maximum civil penalty of $750. The provisions of the law do not apply to a prescription medication dispensed by a pharmacist pursuant to a valid prescription.

The law also requires the Department of Health to include a comprehensive list of products that contain DXM as an active ingredient on its website.

“DXM abuse is becoming increasingly worrisome for law enforcement, parents and health care providers across the country,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “It’s a scary thought, but adolescents are the primary abusers, mainly because it’s cheap and easy to obtain and many parents simply don’t know about its potential abuse. With a few simple steps like the ones outlined included in this law, we can combat the risk and ensure this medicine is used properly.”

“When used as directed, products that contain DXM are safe and effective, but when they are abused – which, unfortunately, has become a trend – they can cause a great deal of harm or even be fatal,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “This law is not only a major step toward preventing young people from purchasing dangerous over-the-counter drugs but also a declaration to them that these products can be just as hazardous as the alcohol and cigarettes they’re also barred from buying.”

“For many teens who don’t fully grasp the danger of these products, a devastating battle with addiction can begin with a seemingly routine trip to the drugstore for cheap bottle of cough syrup,” said Wimberly (Bergen/Passaic). “Requiring consumers to present proof of age before making a purchase can be a simple deterrent that saves lives.”

“Young people often don’t understand the imminent threat that the recreational misuse of DXM-containing medications presents, and their parents often don’t even realize that ‘robotripping’ is a trend,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “While there’s no practical way to eliminate minors’ access to DXM entirely, this law will limit that access and hopefully prevent young people from harming themselves and other people.”

“The abuse of this ingredient is frightening for many reasons, especially because the drug is so easy to obtain and many teenagers abusing it simply don’t understand the risk,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “We make it difficult for adolescents to obtain other potentially harmful drugs, and this should be no different.”

“This law, fundamentally, is about safeguarding the wellness of young New Jersey residents and thereby safeguarding the future of this state,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We know DXM abuse is a devastating trend among New Jersey’s youth, and it is imperative to take action.”
DXM is an active ingredient found in many cough suppressants and cold medicines in the form of over-the-counter cough syrup and cough and cold tablets or gel caps. Brand names include Vicks 44, Robitussin Maximum Strength and St. Joseph Cough Suppressant.

The new law will take effect on Feb. 1, 2016.

Find the original press release at the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office website.

Gloucester & Camden County residents to receive 2013 Homestead Benefit application packets

The New Jersey Division of Taxation has begun mailing 2013 Homestead Benefit application packets to Gloucester County and Camden County residents, and will email instructions for downloading packets to homeowners who requested electronic applications. With very few exceptions, homeowners must file their applications over the internet or by phone by the Friday, October 30th deadline. The Homestead Benefit Internet filing application on the Division of Taxation website (www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/) and automated telephone filing system (1-877-658-2972) will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the filing period.

Homeowners should read the instructions in the packet carefully, and if they meet the eligibility requirements, complete the worksheet in the packet before filing. Homeowners who have already sold the home that was their principal residence on October 1, 2013, or who plan to sell should pay particular attention to the packet instructions regarding sale of property to ensure they complete the application correctly.

Any resident in need of assistance with completing their application is welcome and encouraged to contact one of the 4th Legislative District Offices in Washington Township or Gloucester Township:

  • Washington Township Office
    129 Johnson Road Suite 1
    Turnersville, NJ 08012
    (856) 232-6700
  • Gloucester Township Office
    1379 Chews Landing Road
    Laurel Springs, NJ 08021
    (856) 401-3073

Homeowners may be eligible for the 2013 Homestead Benefit if they met the following conditions:

  • Domicile (permanent legal residence) was in New Jersey.
  • Owned and occupied a home in New Jersey that was their principal residence on October 1, 2013.
  • Had New Jersey gross income for 2013 that was not more than $150,000 for homeowners who were 65 or older or disabled, and not more than $75,000 for homeowners who were under age 65 and not disabled. The income limits apply to a single individual, a married/civil union couple living in the same residence, and a married/civil union partner maintaining a residence separate from their spouse/civil union partner.
  • The home was subject to local property taxes, and the 2013 property taxes were paid. (The State Budget requires that the benefit amount be calculated using 2006 property taxes.)

As the State Budget limited eligibility for 2013 benefits for senior/disabled homeowners to those with New Jersey gross income of $150,000 or less, and for nonsenior/nondisabled homeowners to those with New Jersey gross income of $75,000 or less, many constituents will not receive applications for 2013.

Most homeowners will receive their 2013 benefit payment as a credit on a future property tax bill. They can expect to receive a property tax bill or advice copy from their tax collector reflecting the amount of the benefit. Homeowners who indicated when filing that they no longer own the property or those whose principal residence was a unit in a co-op or continuing care retirement community will receive their benefit by check (or direct deposit).

Residents should not confuse the Homestead Benefit Program with the Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program. They are separate property tax relief programs with different eligibility requirements, different applications, and different filing schedules. Applicants can receive benefits under both programs if they qualify. The total amount of property tax relief benefits a homeowner receives, however, cannot exceed the amount of property taxes paid on their principal residence for the same year.

For additional information or to file an application, please see the following:

For Homestead Benefit (for homeowners):

For Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement):

For additional questions on the Homestead Benefit, Senior Freeze, as well as any general tax questions, homeowners may contact the Division of Taxation at nj.taxation@treas.state.nj.us. Hearing-Impaired users can contact the Division of Taxation’s Text Telephone Service (TTY/TDD) at 1-800-286-6613 or 609-984-7300.

 

Mosquera Joins Discussion of Federal Efforts to Prevent Domestic Violence & Gun Violence

Find the original release at the AssemblyDems website.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Assemblywoman Gabriela M. Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester) issued a multimedia package Monday of her recent participation in a panel discussion on ways to curb domestic and gun violence at the federal level.

The multimedia package consists of the hour-long panel discussion, in its entirety, and audio of same.

Hosted by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the panel “Domestic Abuse and Gun Violence: Progress in the States and the Need for Congressional Action” discusses recently introduced bipartisan federal legislation to address the connections between domestic abuse and gun violence and the significant progress made in several states to strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence.

The panel consists of: Assemblywoman Mosquera; U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12) and Robert J. Dold (R-IL 10); Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., CEO of the YWCA USA; Ruth Glenn, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; and Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The panel was moderated by Sabrina Siddiqui, a political reporter for The Guardian.

The video can be accessed directly via our website — www.assemblydems.com — or by clicking here.

The audio file is available upon request.