In Our Community

Assemblywoman Mosquera on the NJ Catholic Dioceses Creation of Victim Compensation and Counseling Program

(TRENTON) – Responding to reports that the Dioceses of Camden, Trenton, Paterson and Metuchen are committed to creating a Victim Compensation and Counseling Program, Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, chair of the Assembly Women and Children Committee issued the following statement today:

“The abuses suffered by victims can never be undone, but the creation of a victim compensation and counseling program is a potentially positive step if implemented correctly. I was heartened to hear that all victims would be able to participate, even if the statute of limitations on their claims has been exceeded. We should carefully consider this potential program because victims deserve to have their claims validated and they are owed a true measure of justice.”

Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill The “Pet Grooming Licensing Act” Passes The Assembly

Following a renewed spotlight on the unregulated pet grooming industry, New Jersey Legislators pushed to pass the “Pet Grooming Licensing Act” also known as “Bijou’s Law.” The bill’s namesake, Bijou, was a healthy Shih Tzu that passed away during a routine pet grooming. Bijou’s Law is intended to prevent
future tragic deaths through new licensing and
training standards for pet groomers. The bill, A-3044, was passed with overwhelming support by the General Assembly during it’s October Voting Session.

The bill’s recent push was spurred by a detailed
investigation by NJ Advanced Media which found that the lack of oversight in the pet grooming industry leads to little accountability when a dog is injured or dies.
Additionally, they discovered that since 2008 at least 47 families across 14 states have claimed that their dog died during or shortly after a regular grooming trip to Petsmart. However, since the majority of groomers are not required to report such incidents, the number could be higher.

As a dog owner, Assemblyman Moriarty understands that the thousands of New Jersey pet owners want accountability for our pets. He believes that it is time for the state to step up and protect our furry family members.

In this spirit, the bill would establish the New Jersey State Board of Pet Groomers to oversee the standards for pet groomers and grooming businesses. Individual groomers would be required to be at least 18 years old and have passed an examination. Additionally, pet grooming businesses would be required to meet
certain safety and environmental standards. Further, businesses would be expected to maintain a pet
incident file and submit it annually to the board.

In addition, the board would champion a public awareness campaign to educate New Jersyans about Bijou’s Law. The Board will also offer a toll-free hotline for consumers with questions, concerns, or complaints regarding pet groomers.

Now that the bill has passed the General Assembly it will be reviewed by the Senate Commerce Committee before heading to the Senate at large. Upon the Governor’s approval, the advisory board would immediately begin to form while the regulations could take up to 360 days to take effect. If signed into law, New Jersey would become the first state in the nation to require all individual groomers to be licensed.

Throughout Assemblyman Moriarity’s tenure in the General Assembly, he has pursued consumer protections for every member of New Jersey families through better business standards. The Assemblyman is confident that if this bill becomes law, it will bring the whole pet grooming industry to the highest standard and better serve our pets at the same time.

Madden Bill To Provide Workers’ Comp COLA to Police and Firefighters Passes The Senate

The Senate approved on October 29 legislation co-sponsored by Senator Madden that will provide a cost-of-living increase for permanently disabled public safety workers such as police officers and firefighters who receive workers’ compensation and their survivors.

This bill, S-1967, would provide an annual cost of living adjustment in the weekly workers’ compensation benefit rate for public safety workers who become totally and permanently disabled due to a workplace injury, or to their surviving dependents of those who died as a result of a workplace injury.

The adjustment will mirror the COLA already in place for benefits arising from an injury or from death that occurred before 1980. Current law requires annual adjustments to be paid only for cases before January 1, 1980. The COLA would increase the amount of workers’ compensation benefits, so the new amount equals the same percent of the maximum benefit as it did when originally awarded.

The bill would make no change in the current workers’ compensation law which provides for the reduction of certain portions of workers’ compensation benefits by the amount of Social Security disability benefits paid.

The COLA would be funded entirely through the Second Injury Fund, which is financed through an annual assessment levied on all employers who are workers’ compensation and employer’s liability insurance policyholders, or who are self-insured employers under the workers’ compensation law.  The COLA would not be provided to any individual who qualified for benefits under the Federal Old Age, Survivors and Disability Act but does not receive them.

The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 26 – 12 and now heads to the Assembly for consideration.


Assemblyman Moriarty Bill Banning Ghost Guns, 3-D Plastic Firearms Heads to Governor’s Desk

If Enacted, New Jersey Would Have the Strongest Law in the Nation

(TRENTON) – No Ghost Guns. No 3-D Firearms. And no purchasing any component used in making either of these weapons. Legislation banning the manufacturing of any untraceable or covert firearm was approved 68-5-3 by the full Assembly and the Senate 31-0 Monday.

The bill (A-3129)- sponsored by Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty would make it illegal to purchase firearm parts for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing firearms without a serial number and to manufacture or possess covert or undetectable firearms and 3-D printed firearms.

Instead of making it harder for criminals to obtain weapons, new technology and mail-order kits are only making it easier for criminals to manufacture firearms at home. Our only recourse is to arm our court system with additional penalties for those who choose to skirt the law, avoid licensure and manufacture these types of firearms to keep or even to sell. We’re saying no to ghost guns, and no to 3-D firearms. Not in New Jersey.

The bill makes it a 3rd degree crime to: (1) manufacture, cause to be manufactured, transport, ship, sell, or dispose of any covert or undetectable firearm; (2) possess any covert or undetectable firearm; or (3) possess a firearm enclosed in a container or covering that is designed or modified to allow the firearm to be fired while so enclosed and that disguises or obscures the shape of the firearm such that it does not resemble a handgun, rifle, shotgun or machine gun.

A covert firearm is a gun that resembles, but not limited to, a key-chain, pen, cigarette package, cellphone, smart phone, wallet, or cane. An undetectable firearm is constructed entirely of non-metal substances, or one that does not include one major component.

A violation of this bill’s provisions is not to merge with any other criminal conviction. The court is to impose separate sentences for each criminal offense.
A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of incarceration of three years to five years, a fine up to $15,000.

The bill now goes to the Governor for further consideration.

Assemblywoman Mosquera on Children’s Deaths from Adenovirus Outbreak at The Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

My heart is extremely heavy as I think about the children who lost their precious lives due to the adenovirus outbreak at The Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. I have no words to express the pain that I am certain their family and loved ones feel at this time. I can, however, extend my sincerest, heartfelt condolences, and I do.

As chair of the Assembly Women and Children Committee, I also offer my firm support in helping to determine the cause of this outbreak to reduce future occurrences.

Legislation Improving Concussion Management Clears Committee

Raising awareness of the effects concussions can have – especially on student athletes, two measures sponsored by Assembly Democrat Gabriela Mosquera were approved by the Assembly Education Committee on Thursday.

The first bill (A-1837) requires public school students with concussions to be evaluated by licensed health care professionals before returning to school. In addition, school districts would be required to provide restrictions or limitations to students when needed.

Under the bill, a public school student who sustains a concussion must be evaluated and receive written clearance from a licensed health care professional to return to school. As defined in the bill, a “licensed health care professional” is a health care provider whose scope of practice includes the ability to diagnose and treat concussions.

In the event that the licensed health care professional provides notice that the student requires restrictions or limitations, the school district 504 team, as defined in N.J.A.C.6A:8-1.3, (a group of persons that makes program and placement decisions according to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and 34 CFR § 104.35(c)), must immediately implement the restrictions or limitations and notify all teachers and staff who have contact with the student.

The school district’s 504 team would promptly identify the manner in which the restrictions or limitations would be provided during recovery, and the need for the continuation or adjustment of the restrictions or limitations, and to determine the duration of the restrictions or limitations.

“Concussion symptoms can develop days; sometimes even weeks after an injury,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Students spend a good portion of their day in the classroom. It makes sense to include certain school staff in their recovery plan to avoid any complications.”

The second measure (A-2655) would allow other licensed health care providers trained in the evaluation and management of concussions in addition to physicians to provide written clearance for student-athlete return to physical activity.

Current law only allows physicians to provide written clearance for a student to return to play. This bill would expand that right to other licensed health care providers as well.