Downey Applauds Appointment of Ficker Terrill as Monitor of Bellwether Behavioral Health

In response to the appointment of Cathy Ficker Terrill by the Department of Human Services to monitor Bellwether Behavioral Health, Assemblywoman Joann Downey issued the following statement:

“The reports of abuse and neglect of patients at Bellwether Behavioral Health’s facilities are deeply disturbing,” said Assemblywoman Downey, Chair of the Human Services Committee. “I am pleased to see Governor Murphy and the Department of Human Services have taken this step to respond to the lack of standards at Bellwether’s facilities. I am confident that under Ms. Ficker Terrill’s watch, these extreme acts of negligence will be an unfortunate thing of the past.”

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Houghtaling, Downey, Pintor Marin, and Gopal Celebrate Portuguese Culture

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and Senator Vin Gopal, introduced legislation designating March 15 of each year as “Peter Francisco Day” in New Jersey.

The proposed holiday recognizes Peter Francisco’s many acts of bravery and contributions during the Revolutionary War.

“We are proud to represent such a large community of Portuguese-Americans and feel fortunate to be involved in establishing this holiday celebrating a significant aspect of not only their culture but American history as well. We look forward to this bill being signed into law and celebrating the first annual Peter Francisco Day, ” said Assemblyman Houghtaling.

“It is imperative that we celebrate the diverse cultures and communities that make up our great State. Peter Francisco Day would be an ideal way to celebrate our Portuguese-American residents while learning more the contributions that individuals of Portuguese descent have made to our great nation,” said Assemblywoman Downey.

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Downey Responds to Reports of Viral Outbreak At Care Facility

In response to horrific reports of a viral outbreak at a long-term care facility that has claimed the lives of 10 children and infected 27, Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Chair of the Human Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“As a parent and as a legislator, I am absolutely horrified by the details that have emerged surrounding the viral outbreak at the Wanaque Center,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey.

“Allegations about rusted equipment and filthy conditions indicate a  blatant disregard for patient safety and are absolutely appalling. Having two young daughters myself, I cannot imagine what the parents of these innocent children must be going through. I demand a full investigation on how this establishment was able to operate under these obscene conditions for so long, and how these children were left susceptible to this deadly virus. Those responsible for this inscrutable lack of basic health standards must be held accountable, and the State should be confident that an outbreak like this is prevented from ever occurring again.


“The Department of Health has been on-site monitoring the outbreak and I am encouraged to learn that these teams have also been sent to work with facilities across the State who care for children and youth with disabilities and complex medical conditions.”


Houghtaling and Downey Support New Jerseyans with Type 1 Diabetes

A joint resolution introduced by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to designate the Monday before Thanksgiving as "A Day in the Life - Type 1 Diabetes Day" was approved Monday, October 29.

The joint resolution (AJR152) asks the Governor to annually issue a proclamation recognizing the Monday before Thanksgiving Day as "A Day in the Life - Type 1 Diabetes Day," and calling upon public officials and the citizens of New Jersey to observe the month with appropriate activities and programs.

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Houghtaling Bill to Publicize Information of Farm-to-Table Restaurants Advanced Through Senate, Now Heads to Governor

Seeking to bring awareness of the benefits of fresh, clean food, Assemblymen Eric Houghtaling has sponsored legislation to publically promote farm-to-table restaurants on the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism website. The bill advanced through the Senate during the chamber’s voting session on Monday by a 40-0 vote.

“In the age of mass production and processed food, it is important to promote establishments that are providing New Jerseyans with the freshest, cleanest food,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This will also encourage our citizens to shop and eat locally grown and produced food, which is good for our economy.”

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District 11 Communities Ban Balloon Releases

In an effort to protect the environment and local wildlife from dangerous plastic pollution, Asbury Park and Tinton Falls have formally banned balloon releases in their communities.

Asbury Park and Tinton Falls are among 15 Jersey Shore communities to pass resolutions banning balloon releases, which pose a serious threat to the environment. Not only do they cause unsightly pollution and take years to break down in the environment, but they are also a choking hazard for countless coastal animals that mistake the plastic for food.

According to Clean Ocean Action’s 2017 Beach Sweep Report, the total balloons collected were the highest in 7 years and nearly a record at 4,139. The cumulative total of balloons collected during Beach Sweeps is 69,688.

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