From the State House: Legislative Updates
Commission Will Develop Five-Year Reform Plan To Close Gap That Now Leaves 80 Percent of Districts Underfunded
Citing the state's continued underfunding of 80 percent of New Jersey's school districts, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling today unveiled legislation to create a special commission to develop a school funding reform plan to bring all districts to full funding within five years. Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, is a cosponsor of the bill.Read more
When the school funding formula was established in 2008, the idea was for the money to follow the child. But what’s developed instead is a system that’s allowed nearly half of the state’s 600 school districts to become chronically underfunded.
“We have some school districts that are receiving three times the amount of aid than they should be and some towns receiving one-third of the aid that they should be. This means some towns are paying 50 percent more in property taxes than they should be and some are paying 50 percent less,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney.Read more
After a study found that some baby monitors sending live audio and video feeds over the internet don't have adequate security protections, New Jersey lawmakers are considering a remedy.
Assemblywoman Joann Downey said hackers can access baby monitors that aren't on a secure network.Read more
An Assembly panel on Monday released two measures sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Gabriela Mosquera and L. Grace Spencer to establish protections for families who use baby monitors with an internet connection. Both measures will not return to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.Read more
Houghtaling and Downey Introduce Assembly Bill to Bar Those With DUI Convictions From Operating NJ Transit Trains
Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have introduced legislation to the New Jersey General Assembly that would prohibit individuals with DUI convictions that resulted in loss or suspension of a driver’s license from operating a NJ Transit train. The legislation is the Assembly companion to legislation that has already passed the state Senate with unanimous support.Read more
Houghtaling, Downey Bill to Allow Installment Payments for Overpaid Homestead Credits Clears Assembly
A bill sponsored by Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey that would allow installment payments for seniors and disabled property taxpayers who are indebted to the state due to the overpayment of homestead credits cleared the New Jersey General Assembly Thursday. The measure received bipartisan support and was approved with a vote of 72-0.Read more
Assembly Panel Approves Eustace & Houghtaling Bill to Encourage Municipal Consolidation, Rein in Property Taxes
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace and Eric Houghtaling to give towns better tools to pursue municipal consolidation and ultimately rein in property taxes gained Assembly panel approval on Thursday.Read more
Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have signed on as sponsors of a bill that would require the notification and involvement of local law enforcement prior to the expungement of certain mental health records for those wishing to purchase firearms. A similar bill passed both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support during the last legislative session, before being conditionally vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. An attempt to override the veto did succeed in the Senate, but ultimately failed in the General Assembly.Read more
Houghtaling and Downey Bill to Preserve NJ STARS Scholarship For Students in Need Clears General Assembly
Assembly legislation sponsored by Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to maintain NJ STARS scholarship eligibility for students who suffer a medical condition or death of a loved one has cleared the General Assembly. The bill received unanimous approval, and would preserve scholarship eligibility for NJ STARS and NJ STARS II recipients in the event of tragic circumstances that prevent enrollment as a full-time student.Read more
Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey toured schools in the underfunded Red Bank Borough School District Friday, renewing calls for fair funding in the face of enrollment spikes and flat funding. Houghtaling and Downey joined Red Bank Superintendent Dr. Jared Rumage for tours of Red Bank Primary School and Red Bank Middle School, followed by a meeting with Superintendent Rumage to discuss what can be done to further the fight for equitable school funding.Read more
Houghtaling and Downey Sponsor Legislation to Prevent Raids of Taxpayer Money Meant for Open Space Preservation
Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have signed-on as sponsors of legislation aimed at preserving constitutionally-dedicated funding meant to protect open space from development from being siphoned-off to pay state salaries.Read more
From the State House: Legislative Updates
The Preserve New Jersey Act: Preventing Raids of Taxpayer Money
Houghtaling and Downey are proud sponsors of legislation that
has passed both houses of the Legislature and now awaits Governor Christie's signature. The Preserve New Jersey Act would ensure that the voter-approved 2014 constitutional amendment, which dedicated a portion of the state's corporate business tax revenues to open space preservation, is protected. The fund has been siphoned-off to pay state salaries, but this bill would safeguard $146 million worth of funding over the next two years for preservation of open space, farmland, and historic structures.
A-2565: Helping NJ STARS Scholarship Recipients in Times of Need
A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Downey and Assemblyman Houghtaling that will allow NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarship recipients who suffer a medical condition or death of a parent or spouse to retain their program eligibility gained unanimous support from the Assembly and now awaits further consideration from the Senate. "NJ STARS scholarship recipients have worked hard to get where they are and deserve every opportunity to succeed in college," said Downey, "With this bill, students will be supported and reassured during their time of need that their scholarship and place at the school will still be there when they return."
More legislation sponsored by Houghtaling & Downey: