As we begin to close out the first month of this new year, we’re glad for the opportunity to give you an update on some of our work in the State House and at home in Monmouth County.
We’re proud to report that 19 of our bills became law during 2019. That includes our Salary History Bill, which promotes pay equity by restricting employers from asking potential hires about their previous salaries. We also passed the Jake Honig Compassionate Care Act, dramatically expanding access to medical cannabis for patients suffering from severe or chronic pain. Finally, we were overjoyed to see New Jersey’s voters resoundingly approve our referendum extending the Veteran’s Property Tax Deduction to veterans living in continuing care communities.
Our constituent services staff also are hard at work to build on our efforts during a busy 2019, when we helped residents to access affordable housing, property tax relief, utility assistance, and more. We’re proud to share that our staff helped nearly 1,000 Monmouth County residents in the past twelve months alone, and we encourage anyone who needs help with state programs or services to contact our office at (732) 695-3371 for assistance.
We also would like to briefly share an enormous thank-you to everyone who donated to our toy drive, our Thanksgiving food drive, and our school supplies drive last year. We truly appreciate your selflessness and generosity.
Looking ahead in 2020, we plan to focus on several legislative priorities, including topics in environmental protection, healthcare, and education.
Too many of our waterways and open spaces are polluted with plastic debris - an enormous hazard to wildlife, marine animals, and ecosystems across New Jersey. These plastics - including plastic balloons - can even be ingested by people who eat fish that swim in polluted waters. It’s our hope that discouraging people from releasing them into the air intentionally will help make New Jersey’s beaches, woodlands, and backyards healthier and cleaner for our residents.
We’re also continuing to work with the JDRF to improve the lives of children with Type 1 Diabetes and their families. Parents of children with this disease have firsthand knowledge of their child’s needs - but existing regulations don’t allow doctors and school nurses to take that knowledge into account. That’s why we’re working to allow parents to propose changes to their child’s insulin dosage schedule, giving parents a voice in this critical process.
Finally, we’re also looking to make sure that Monmouth County students have the best opportunities to learn how their government works. We plan to expand our annual “Kids Congress” event to several new locations across our district, giving more families a chance to enjoy a fun and educational morning learning about civics.
We also plan to introduce new legislation designating “Civics Awareness Month” in our classrooms. As we visit classrooms throughout the school year, we hope that this will be an opportunity to discuss how students can make their voices heard and the importance of community service.
Finally, as is ever-present on everyone’s minds, the specter of property taxes continues to be a pressing issue for us and our residents. We look forward to continuing to work with our constituents and local community leaders to find new solutions, and to continue our efforts to promote shared services, school regionalization, and consolidation as means of bringing down costs for taxpayers.
We would like to thank all of our readers for the opportunity to serve as your voice in Trenton and at home. We always welcome your suggestions and ideas and look forward to hearing from you soon.