In Our Community

Moriarty Bill to Bar Lenders from Remotely Disabling Vehicles Passed by Committee

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(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty and Angel Fuentes sponsored to bar motor vehicle dealers or lenders from remotely disabling motor vehicles was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-4033) makes it an unlawful for a motor vehicle dealer or a loan lender to install a payment assurance device on vehicle in connection with its sale or lease.

The bill defines a “payment assurance device” as a device installed on a motor vehicle with global positioning system capability or starter interrupt capability allowing for the remote enabling or disabling of the motor vehicle.

It’s estimated about 2 million vehicles are equipped with the devices, but safety concerns have arisen as borrowers have reportedly had their vehicles disabled while idling or even while driving on the highway.

“No one should have their car disabled because they missed a payment by a day or two,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “These devices are akin to having a predatory debt collector riding in the car with the borrower, ready to strike at the slightest mistake. It’s incredibly unsafe and unnecessary. We need this bill to protect the safety and privacy of consumers.”
“As the subprime auto lending market has expanded greatly in recent years, these devices are increasingly installed on motor vehicles as a condition of securing a loan,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Use of the devices is generally unregulated and allows predatory lenders to track and store data without any safeguards for privacy, causing potential consumer and public safety issues and other serious consequences.”

The bill was released by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee chaired by Moriarty.

Assembly Panel OKs Mosquera Legislation to Create Program to Train Students for Manufacturing Jobs

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An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Bob Adrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Carmelo G. Garcia and Gabriela Mosquera to help prepare today’s generation to lead a manufacturing renaissance in New Jersey.

“The manufacturing industry has always been the embodiment of the American ideal that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can provide for your family today and for their brighter future tomorrow,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Workers in manufacturing jobs earn 22 percent more in annual pay and benefits than the average worker in other industries, which translates into $40,000 more than other non-farm employees in New Jersey. We need to refocus our attention on the enormous potential of this industry and how we can prepare our residents to lead it.”

The lawmakers noted that every new manufacturing job created would add another 1.6 jobs to the local service economy, and for every dollar in manufacturing sales, another $1.34 is added to the economy. Additionally, 42 percent of jobs in manufacturing will require some post-secondary education or degree by 2018, according to findings from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

“We’ve seen unparalleled ingenuity born out of our country’s manufacturing legacy,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “New Jersey can be at the forefront of a manufacturing renaissance if we invest now in giving the next generation the tools needed to reignite this industry and create good-paying jobs once again.”

The bill (A-3020) would require the state Secretary of Higher Education, to design a manufacturing career pathway to be offered through the county colleges and county vocational school districts to provide students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing with the instruction and skills necessary to gain employment in the industry.

The secretary would work in consultation with the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Council of County Vocational Schools and representatives from the business community.

“I think Democrats and Republicans alike will agree on the enormous power and potential the manufacturing industry has long demonstrated in this country,” said Andrzejczak (Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “It’s time to reinvest in this potential and arm today’s generation with the skills to help kick start a manufacturing renaissance in New Jersey.”

“With New Jersey’s economy still lagging behind neighboring states and the rest of the country, we have to be more aggressive in our approach towards driving jobs and economic opportunity in our state,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “The one sector that has enormous potential to create new jobs and accelerate our recovery is the manufacturing industry so we need to invest in creating a skilled work force to tackle these jobs.”

Under the bill, the manufacturing career pathway will include traditional and advanced manufacturing processes and methods of production including, but not limited to, the machinery, technology, tools, and equipment used in a wide range of manufacturing industries.

“Investments in manufacturing have a stronger impact than investments in any other economic sector when it comes to growing our economy, but we need a workforce that’s prepared to fill these positions,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “Creating jobs in this area will help us narrow the growing income inequality gap that has gripped our nation over the last thirty years.”

“Investments in manufacturing have a much broader impact on local economies than investments in any other industry,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We need to focus on policies that will allow our state to tap into the enormous potential of this industry in order to create stable, good-paying jobs for future generations.”

The measure was approved by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

11th Annual Gloucester County State Breakfast

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I want to thank Governor Ed Rendell for taking time out of his busy schedule to be the keynote speaker at the 11th Annual Gloucester County State Breakfast on Thursday, January 8th. It was an honor to have the opportunity to listen to his words of wisdom.

Moriarty Bill to Extend Permit Expiration Dates to Keep Projects Afloat While Economy Recovers Signed Into Law

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Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green, John Burzichelli, Troy Singleton, Gordon Johnson, Patrick Diegnan and Paul Moriarty to extend expiration dates for certain state and local permits has been signed into law.

“As a result of the recent recession, once-approved permits are in danger of expiring or lapsing because gaining permit extensions is difficult and costly, and developers do not have the resources to obtain extensions,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “By extending permits with this law, we can prevent a waste of public and private resources.”

The new law (A-3815) will extend for one year the expiration dates of certain permits pursuant to the “Permit Extension Act of 2008.” The law originally suspended the running of certain government approvals until July 1, 2010. A 2012 law extended the end date to Dec. 31, 2014. This bill would further extend the date to Dec. 31, 2015.

“When permit approvals lapse, lenders have to re-appraise, and that substantially lowers real estate valuations established in conjunction with approved projects, which then leads to the reclassification of numerous loans,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This permit extension is necessary to avoid a vicious cycle of default.”

“This law will ensure that there are sufficient funds available for future lending and that there are fewer restrictions on credit,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “The wellness of state, regional, county and municipal agencies is dependent upon this measure.”

“The economic downturn had a negative effect on the state’s banking, real estate and construction sectors, and the extreme tightening of lending standards for home buyers and other real estate borrowers has reduced access to the capital markets,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “The process of obtaining planning board and zoning board of adjustment approvals for subdivisions, site plans and variances can be difficult, time consuming and expensive, both for private applicants and government bodies. This extension is intended to make things easier as we continue to recover.”

“This law does nothing more than extend permits that were properly vetted and obtained. Unfortunately, many landowners and developers are seeing their life’s work destroyed by the lack of credit and dearth of buyers and tenants due to the crisis in real estate financing and the building industry, uncertainty over the state of the economy and increasing levels of unemployment in the construction industry,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “This measure will give needed protection to those who have followed the rules and want to invest in our state.”

“As a result of the continued downturn of the economy, and the continued expiration of approvals which were granted by state and local governments, it is possible that thousands of government actions will be undone by the passage of time,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Obtaining an extension of an approval pursuant to existing statutory or regulatory provisions can be both costly in terms of time and financial resources, and insufficient to cope with the extent of the present financial situation. This law will avoid unnecessary costs being imposed on both the public and private sectors.”

Mosquera Bill Would Toughen Domestic Violence Statutes

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By William Sokolic, Courier-Post

Charged with domestic violence against his fiancée, football star Ray Rice avoided jail time when he was accepted for pretrial intervention as a first-time offender.

That would become more difficult if legislation co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, D-Camden, becomes law.

The measure would amend current statutes to make assault against a victim of domestic violence a crime of the third degree, with no presumption of non-imprisonment — meaning jail would be a strong option.

The proposed bill also would allow a prosecutor and the court to give additional weight to the victim’s position on pre-trial intervention, or PTI. And the accused would have to enter a guilty plea before being considered for such treatment.

“Witnessing my mother have to survive abuse taught me at a very early age that domestic violence has a lasting impact on families and entire communities,” Mosquera noted.

“This is all about protecting the victim,” she added. “We have to let the abuser know he can’t depend on PTI as a fallback, that such violence will not be tolerated.”

The legislation, referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, also spells out that domestic violence with a child under 16 present is also an aggravating factor. State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, co-sponsored the Senate version, introduced Dec. 1.

Nancy Hutchinson, program supervisor of the Camden County Women’s Center, said this legislation is a move in the right direction.

“While it may be appropriate in some cases for a domestic violence offender to enter pretrial intervention under certain circumstances, it requires a great deal of thought and diligence in determining who is appropriate to receive this option rather than possible jail time,” she explained.

“I believe that an important component of this bill is that there would be no presumption of non-imprisonment for a crime of assault against a victim of domestic violence.”

Hutchinson also noted domestic violence is not just a male on female situation.

“We know that women can also be abusive. That being said, there are times that women are arrested for becoming aggressive as a way to protect themselves while in a violent episode.

“It takes trained professionals to correctly identify who is the primary aggressor in these situations,” she added.