In Our Community

Assemblywoman Mosquera Bill to Prevent Gun Violence among Individuals with Mental Disorders Clears Assembly

I sponsored A-1181 to prevent individuals with an elevated risk of engaging in violence due to mental illness from harming themselves and others.

The vast majority of people who have a mental illness will never commit an act of violence, but multiple mass shootings, domestic violence homicides and
suicides in this country could have been prevented if people known to have serious mental health concerns did not have access to a firearm.

Bill A-1181 would expand the “duty to warn and protect” by requiring practitioners of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, clinical social work or marriage and family therapy who determine a patient to be a threat to report the patient to law enforcement. If law enforcement determines that the patient has access to a firearm and has the means of carrying out a communicated threat of serious physical violence. The courts can order the patient to surrender any firearms.

If these conditions are met, the following actions can occur:

  • arrange for the patient to be admitted voluntarily to a psychiatric unit of a general hospital, a short-term care facility, a special psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric facility.
  • initiate procedures for involuntary commitment to treatment of the patient to an outpatient treatment provider, a short-term care facility, a special psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric facility.
  • advise a local law enforcement authority of the patient’s threat and the identity of the intended victim;
  • warn the intended victim or, if the intend victim is a minor, his or her parent or guardian if the patient is a minor and threatens to commit suicide or bodily injury upon himself, warn his or her parent or guardian.

 

Assemblyman Moriarty Named Assembly Deputy Speaker

Assemblyman Moriarty has been elevated to the position of Deputy Speaker in the General Assembly for the 2018-2019 legislative session. The Assemblyman, who is chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee, has been a member of the General Assembly since 2006 and served as the Mayor of Washington Township.
Throughout over a decade in public service, Assemblyman Moriarty has championed consumer protections, the fair treatment of employees, and residents’ safety. The Assemblyman’s leadership and experience have made him a valuable asset to other legislators.
As Assembly Deputy Speaker, Assemblyman Moriarty plays a key role in shaping the Assembly Democrats’ long-term legislative agenda. He may also preside over Assembly voting sessions when business takes the Speaker away from the floor.
Assemblyman Moriarty has already made an impact in his new role. To stand up for working-class families, he has helped pass legislation through the Assembly to guarantee equal pay for women(A-1) and paid sick leave for New Jersey workers(A-1827). The bill concerning paid sick leave will be considered in the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee soon. Meanwhile, the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act has passed both houses and is heading to the Governor’s desk for approval.
Additionally, the Assemblyman sponsored a package of common sense gun reform bills. This package includes provisions to reduce ammunition magazine capacity, keep guns away from dangerous persons, and require background checks for private gun sales. All of these initiatives have passed the Assembly and will be considered in the Senate before they head to the governor’s desk for approval.
Assemblyman Moriarty will use his experience from decades as a consumer affairs reporter and time as a public servant to continue to fight for working- and middle-class residents as Assembly Deputy Speaker.

Senator Madden Bill To Help Surviving Spouses Of Public Safety Workers Killed In The “Line-Of-Duty” Clears the Senate

 

On March 26, Senator Madden’s Bill, S376, which eliminates the eligibility time limit on tuition benefits for spouses of certain public safety workers killed in performance of their duties passed out of the Senate with a vote of 36 – 0.

Children and surviving spouses of certain public
safety workers, e.g., members of a police or fire
department, who are killed in the line-of-duty may be eligible for a higher education tuition benefit. Currently, however, this benefit is limited to eight years for a surviving spouse and eight years following high school graduation for a child. This bill would eliminate the time limit on spouses.

For such eligible surviving spouses and children, the State would pay tuition to a public university or at least partial tuition to a private institution. By
removing the eligibility time limit on spouses, this bill would open up educational opportunities and job prospects for many residents who were previously ineligible.

Senator Madden has seen first-hand how a death in the line-of-duty of a loved one can affect a family. Coping with the death of a spouse is never easy, but he hopes that by removing this time limit, at least some financial burden can be alleviated for those whose spouses paid the ultimate price in service to their community.

S376 now heads to the Assembly.

 

Mosquera Heat-and-Eat Bill Advanced by Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera to ensure that struggling families have access to food and energy assistance was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.

Many of us are lucky enough to not have to worry about how we are going to feed our children or keep them warm during the winter months, but this is a daily reality for many low-income families in our state. This will help ensure that struggling families will have access to the bare essentials – food on the table and safe, warm homes.

Under the bill (A-3010), every household in the state eligible to receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would receive a minimum annual energy assistance payment of $21 to qualify for a heating and cooling standard utility allowance – which in turn qualifies them for more nutritional assistance.

The bill could help about 160,000 families get increased assistance.

Before July 2014, the state made annual energy assistance payments of $1 to SNAP recipient households to qualify them for the heating and cooling standard utility allowance.

But under the federal Agricultural Act of 2014, households must receive more than $20 in annual energy assistance payments to maintain the household’s eligibility. The bill therefore ensures that eligible households that are not currently enrolled can receive the heating and cooling standards utility allowance, allowing them to receive more nutrition assistance.

Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed several efforts by Democrats to boost the energy assistance payment in recent years. Because of the vetoes, New Jersey families lost $90 per month of their nutrition assistance.

It’s been estimated that maintaining heat-and-eat benefits would yield up to $170 million in federal SNAP funds in New Jersey. Also, the state could likely use federal funds from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to pay for the increase in energy assistance.

New Jersey Policy Perspective has estimated that keeping up to $170 million in federal SNAP dollars in New Jersey could result in an economic boost of up to $300 million. The bill was released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Moriarty Pro-Consumer Bill to Inform Used Car Buyers of Auto Recalls Passes Assembly

Pro-consumer legislation Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty sponsored that would require auto dealers to provide information to a potential buyer regarding a used motor vehicle with an outstanding recall was voted out of the Assembly on Monday.

Buyers should be informed of motor vehicle recalls before a purchase is made. Recalled vehicles sold unwittingly to consumers pose a safety risk. Whether the vehicle has been recalled is critical information for families to know before buying.

Under the bill (A-579), it would be an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act for an auto dealer to sell a used vehicle without first contacting, or accessing information provided by, the vehicle manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine if there are any recalls specific to a particular vehicle, not just the vehicle’s make and model, which have not been corrected or addressed. In the event that a recall is discovered, the dealer would provide the recall information to the prospective purchaser prior to finalizing the sale of the vehicle.

The sponsors noted that the legislation would allow consumers to make informed decisions. Having information regarding recalls would enable a potential buyer to request repairs prior to making a purchase, negotiate for a better sale price on the vehicle or decide against purchasing the vehicle altogether, they said.

The bill applies only to retail sales, excluding wholesale sales, sales between dealers and sales to owners or operators of motor vehicle junk businesses or motor vehicle junk yards, or any other persons or entities engaged in the business of dismantling, destroying or recycling motor vehicles.

The measure was advanced out of the Assembly on Monday 75-0-0.

Moriarty Bill to Reduce Ammunition Magazine Capacity Approved by Assembly

Legislation Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty sponsored to limit gun magazine capacity to 10 rounds was Ok’d 48-25-3 Monday by the Assembly.
The bill (A-2761) bans firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Magazines capable of holding up to 15 rounds of ammunition currently are legal in New Jersey. California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia all have 10-round limits on ammunition magazines for use with any firearm.
This is quite simple – it can and will save lives. If we can do something reasonable that can save lives, then we should do it.
Specifically, the bill revises the definition of a “large capacity ammunition magazine” to include any box, drum, tube, or other container capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The bill also designates a semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds as a prohibited assault firearm.
Under the bill, a person who legally owns a firearm with a fixed magazine capacity holding up to 15 rounds that is incapable of being modified to accommodate less rounds and was purchased on or before the bill’s effective date would be allowed to retain possession of that firearm – provided it is registered with a law enforcement agency.
To register the firearm, a person would be required to complete a registration statement, pay a $50 fee, and produce a valid firearms purchaser identification card, permit to carry a handgun, or permit to purchase a handgun.
The information provided in the registration statement is to include: the name and address of the registrant; the number or numbers on the registrant’s firearms purchaser identification card, permit to carry a handgun, or permit to purchase a handgun; and the make, model, and serial number of the firearm being registered.
An heir or estate of an owner of a registered firearm would have 90 days after the owner’s death to dispose of the firearm.
The bill also permits retired police officers authorized to possess and carry a handgun in this state to continue to possess and carry a magazine capable of holding up to 15 rounds.
In addition, the measure exempts from the 10 round limitation those semi-automatic rifles that have an attached tubular magazine and are capable of operating only with .22 caliber rim fire ammunition. This exemption would permit the sale and possession of a popular beginner gun, the Marlin Model 60, often referred to as the Boy Scout gun. These firearms are low caliber and the tubular magazine cannot be quickly reloaded.
The bill also exempts large capacity ammunition magazines under the control of a federal firearms license holder and reconfigured to fire blank ammunition for motion pictures, television, or video productions.
The bill would be effective immediately, but allows for a 180-day grace period to transfer or voluntarily surrender a semi-automatic rifle or magazine that will be unlawful under the bill.
A person also would have the option to render a semi-automatic rifle or magazine inoperable or permanently modify a magazine to accept 10 rounds or less.
Under the Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.13:54-1.2), a person may permanently alter a magazine so that it is excluded from the current legal definition of a “large capacity ammunition magazine.” An ammunition magazine, which has been temporarily blocked or modified, as by a piece of wood or a pin, is still considered to be a “large capacity ammunition magazine.”