In Our Community

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 me to pass legislation, 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 Appropriations Committee.

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. 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.

 

Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill To Eliminate Discrimination Against Cash Paying Consumers Is Now Law

Throughout the country, a growing number of credit card companies and retail businesses have led a charge to go cashless, a move that many say discriminates against the unbanked and those who prefer the privacy of cash. On March 18th, New Jersey Lawmakers stood up for consumers to ban cashless retail. Governor Murphy signed Assemblyman Moriarty’s bill into law to make NJ the second state to ban the practice.

While the majority of retailers still accept cash payments, various companies have pushed the industry toward card only transactions. Visa offered small businesses $10,000 payments to go cashless, and large companies, such as Amazon and Starbucks, have implemented cashless locations in the past.

According to a 2018 FDIC report, about 6.5 percent of US households were unbanked, meaning no one in the household had a bank account. Additionally, another 18.7 percent of households were underbanked, meaning they may have had a bank account, but they still relied on services such as check cashers.

If retail businesses continue toward card-only transactions, they could exclude over 60 million adults across the US without access to credit. Then, the unbanked and underbanked will only have access to the goods and services available at stores that accept cash.

To prevent this, bill A-591 requires that all retail businesses must accept cash as payment for goods and services. Any person in violation of this law will be subject to a civil penalty up to $2,500 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense, and a third or subsequent offense would be an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act.

Assemblyman Moriarty believes that this law will protect low-income and young people who may be unable to get credit cards or bank accounts. Additionally, this law will protect consumers’ privacy by allowing them to buy items without being tracked for every single purchase right down a pack of gum.

The bill allows for certain cashless businesses including parking garages that only accept mobile payments, rental car companies that take cashier’s checks and certain airport vendors.

As a consumer advocate, Assemblyman Moriarty has advocated for privacy and stood up against discrimination throughout his time as a legislator. This law joins the Assemblyman’s past efforts to help consumers such as raising the minimum wage and preventing phone companies from selling users’ location data. Assemblyman Moriarty is confident that this bill will protect the unbanked from discrimination while maintaining a consumer’s right to privacy.

Senator Madden Introduces Bill To Protect Cancer Patients With DPD Deficiency

On March 7, Senator Madden introduced legislation that would require a physician to offer to test his or her patient for dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency prior to chemotherapy treatment with a specific class of drug, called fluoropyrimidines.

Those with DPD deficiency can experience a wide range of severity. A severe deficiency can lead to neurological issues such as epilepsy, intellectual disability, or autistic behaviors, among others. A less severely afflicted individual might be completely asymptomatic.

Certain cancers, such as colorectal, gastrointestinal, breast, cervical, and bladder, can be treated with flouropyrimidines, including Fluorouracil, Capecitabine, and Adrucil. These drugs are not efficiently broken down in patients with DPD deficiency, leading the drug to build up to a toxic level. This can cause many complications or even death. Severe DPD deficiency is rare. However, it is estimated that between 2 and 8% of the population could have some level of the deficiency and be at risk of flouropyrimidine toxicity.

The bill, S3557, would require a physician to offer to test a patient prior to administering treatment with flouropyrimidines. Further, it would require health insurance companies to cover one test per year and any prescription drug treatment of the deficiency.

This bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.

Assemblyman Moriarty Bill To Strengthen Equal Pay Protections For New Jersey Workers Heads to Governor

Aiming to close the significant wage gap between women and men, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty to prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their salary history in the application process received final legislative approval on Thursday, passing the full Senate 26-9.

The bill (A-1094) would prohibit employers from screening a job applicant based on his or her salary history, including prior wages, salaries or benefits. It would also make it unlawful for an employer to require an applicant’s salary history to satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria.

Under the measure, an employer may still consider salary history in determining salary, benefits and other compensation for the applicant, and may verify the applicant’s salary history, if an applicant voluntarily, without coercion, provides the employer with that history. An applicant’s refusal to volunteer compensation information will not be considered in any employment decisions.

“We’ve made great strides to ensure pay equity in New Jersey,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “With the passage of this bill, we are another step closer to securing workers’ rights to equal pay for equal work for generations to come.”

Additionally, an employer who violates the bill’s provisions would be liable for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation. Punitive damages, a standard remedy for violations under the Law Against Discrimination, would not be available for violations falling under this bill.

The measure passed the full Assembly in March by a vote of 53-24-2; it now goes to the Governor’s desk.

Assemblyman Moriarty’s Sponsored “Anthony Bourdain Food Trail” to be Launched June 13th

Anthony Bourdain Food Trail

Media Tour June 13-14, 2019

You are invited to discover the New Jersey culinary roots of the late Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, best-selling author, and globe-trotting food and travel documentarian, on a newly designated food trail. The Anthony Bourdain Food Trail pays tribute to Bourdain’s childhood growing up in Leonia, New Jersey, and summers spent at the Jersey Shore. The trail spotlights 10 New Jersey restaurants featured on CNN’s Emmy Award-winning Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Please join me during this media tour launch at any or all of the stops for a first-hand look.

Media Tour Itinerary

JUNE 13, 2019

10:30 am: Hiram’s Roadstand, 1345 Palisade Avenue, Fort Lee, NJ 07024

2 pm: Frank’s Deli, 1406 Main Street, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

4 pm: Kubel’s, 8200 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008

A representative from Lucille’s Country Cooking will also be available at this stop.

JUNE 14, 2019

10:30 am: James Original Saltwater Taffy, 1519 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 09401

Representatives from Dock’s Oyster House, Knife & Fork Inn and Tony’s Baltimore Grill will also be available for a group photo opportunity on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

2 pm: Donkey’s Place, 1223 Haddon Ave, Camden, NJ 08103

A representative from Tony & Ruth’s Steaks will also be available at this stop.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN MOSQUERA BILL TO PROVIDE LACTATION ROOMS IN CERTAIN PUBLIC FACILITIES APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY

To ensure nursing mothers have a safe place to breastfeed when they’re in public, a measure sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera to provide lactation rooms in certain public facilities passed the full Assembly on Thursday, 76-0.

The bill (A-1663) would require certain public facilities to make at least one lactation room available upon request to any mother utilizing on-site services, including any:

  • health care facility;
  • federally qualified health center;
  • county or municipal welfare office or agency;
  • Medical Assistance Customer Center (MACC);
  • One-Stop Career Center operated by or under the authority of, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development;
  • adoption agency or center operated by or under the authority of, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families;
  • foster care agency contracted by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency; or
  • local office of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency

The presence of any such lactation room would not abrogate or otherwise limit the mother’s right to breast feed her baby in public, as provided by existing law.

“The benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers are well documented. While some women are comfortable nursing in public, others are not,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This would provide a quiet place for mothers to nurse their babies while they take care of business.”

The bill would require the Department of Health (DOH) to create signage that contains information about breastfeeding, affirms a mother’s right to nurse in public and indicates that lactation rooms are available for the privacy and comfort of nursing mothers.

The signage must be distributed directly to the facilities identified in the bill, and posted in a printable format on the department’s website. A facility required to provide a lactation room must to display the signage in a clear and conspicuous manner in its public waiting room and any lactation room.

The DOH would be required to establish and post on its website a list of all facilities that have lactation rooms. The list would be regularly updated to provide the most current availability.

Additionally, the measure would require the Department of Education (DOE) to annually report to the Governor and Legislature on the lactation-related policies that have been implemented at schools, colleges, and universities in the state.  Each annual report would summarize the applicable policies in this area, indicate the number and percentage of policies that authorize access to a designated lactation room; and address how were communicated to students, parents, and guardians during the preceding school year.  Each report would be posted at a publicly-accessible location on the DOE’s website.

The bill was now heads to the Senate for further consideration.