Houghtaling & Downey Bill Expanding Patient Access to Medical Cannabis Heads to Governor’s Desk

TRENTON - The State Assembly and Senate last week approved legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Joann Downey which would dramatically expand patient access to medical cannabis, removing existing limits on the quantity of medical cannabis that patients can qualify for and expanding access to edible forms of cannabis, including oils.

“Although medical marijuana proved to be an effective treatment for Jake, his parents experienced difficulties with the cost, quantity limits, and issues related to producing their own cannabis oil to administer to Jake,” said Downey, D-Freehold.

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Houghtaling & Downey Bill Expanding Veteran Property Tax Relief Sails Through Legislature

TRENTON - Last week, the State Legislature unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey that would expand the veterans’ property tax exemption program to include veterans living in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).

The resolution (S-1331) would extend the annual $250 deduction on property taxes to any qualified veterans who resides in a CCRC.

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Downey Equal Pay Bill Passes Legislature, Now Awaits Governor's Signature

TRENTON - The State Senate has passed Assemblywoman Joann Downey’s equal-pay legislation that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants questions about their salary history, sending the bill to the Governor’s desk for approval.

The bill (A-1094) prohibits employers from screening a job applicant based on his or her salary history, including prior wages, salaries or benefits. Passed by the Assembly in March, the bill also makes it unlawful for an employer to require an applicant’s salary history to satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria.

“A person’s salary should be based on their worth, not their job history,” said Downey (D-Freehold).

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Houghtaling & Downey Introduce Bill to Empower Students in Fight Against Climate Change

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Following a report that at least 9 New Jersey cities are likely to be underwater within the century due to rising sea levels caused by climate change, State Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey joined Senator Vin Gopal to introduce legislation last week that would require schools to teach students about climate change as part of the science curriculum in middle and high school.

“When my own nine-year-old daughter looked up the word ‘extinct’ and found reports on how humans may go extinct if climate change isn't addressed, I wanted more than anything to tell her not to worry,” said Downey (D-Freehold).

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Assembly Committee Advances Resolution Urging Congress to Expand Resources for Mental Health & Addiction Treatment

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey released the following statement in response to the Assembly Human Services Committee approving their resolution calling on Congress to pass the federal “Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act,” which would expand the number of states able to participate in a Medicaid demonstration program that aims to improve access to community mental health and addiction treatment services.

“In recent years, we’ve pushed hard to lift the stigma on mental illness and addiction, but we need to match that with funding and resources that will help people get treatment,” said Downey (D-Freehold), chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee.

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Houghtaling & Downey Introduce Bill Cracking Down on Soaring Prescription Drug Costs

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assemblywoman Joann Downey joined Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling this month to introduce new legislation aiming to crack down on soaring costs of prescription drugs by stopping abusive practices by out-of-state Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs).

“Skyrocketing medication costs have put treatment out of reach for far too many people,” said Downey (D-Freehold), Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, which reviewed the bill last Monday. “A big part of that can be traced back to bad-faith efforts by PBMs to pad their own pockets by driving up costs.”

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