JUNE NEWSLETTER: Our first 100 days in office

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From the State House: Legislative UpdatesAssemClr300.png

A-20: Preserving Public Safety for NJ Transit Riders
Assemblyman Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Downey have introduced a bill to the General Assembly that would prohibit individuals with DUI convictions that resulted in a loss or suspension of a driver's license from operating an NJ Transit train. Those who cannot be trusted to operate a vehicle can certainly not be trusted to operate a train, and with so many commuters depending on NJ Transit, it is imperative to act in the interest of public safety.

A-1413: Responsible, Bipartisan Gun Control Legislation
Houghtaling and Downey have both signed on as sponsors of a bill that would require notification and involvement of local law enforcement when an individual wishing to purchase a firearm seeks to expunge certain mental health records. This bill passed both houses of the Legislature last year, with overwhelming support, but was vetoed by Governor Christie. Police officers, deeply involved in their communities, can help determine whether an individual would be a danger to themselves or others if allowed to purchase a firearm.

More legislation sponsored by Houghtaling & Downey:

  • A-3581: Requires baby monitors with Internet connection to include security features and warnings.
  • A-1952: Allows installment payments for senior and disabled property taxpayers to repay overpayments of homestead credits and homestead property tax reimbursements.
  • A-2921: Increases flexibility, clarity, and available tools of optional municipal consolidation process.
  • A-3056: Requires Dept. of Agriculture to develop voluntary guidelines to encourage school districts and institutions of higher education to donate excess food; extends "Food Bank Good Samaritan Act" protection to school districts.
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Sweeney, Ruiz, Downey & Houghtaling Unveil Initiative To Fully Fund NJ Schools

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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.

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Democrats Announce Plan to Make School Funding Equitable

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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.

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NJ Considers Measure to Help Babies, Parents Rest Easy

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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.

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Panel Ok'd Legislation Strengthening Raising Awareness of Unsecured Baby Monitors

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 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.

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Houghtaling and Downey Introduce Assembly Bill to Bar Those With DUI Convictions From Operating NJ Transit Trains

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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.

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Houghtaling, Downey Bill to Allow Installment Payments for Overpaid Homestead Credits Clears Assembly

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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.

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Assembly Panel Approves Eustace & Houghtaling Bill to Encourage Municipal Consolidation, Rein in Property Taxes

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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.

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Houghtaling, Downey Sponsor Responsible Gun Control Legislation With Bipartisan Support

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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.

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Houghtaling and Downey Bill to Preserve NJ STARS Scholarship For Students in Need Clears General Assembly

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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.

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Houghtaling and Downey Tour Underfunded Schools in Red Bank Borough

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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.

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Houghtaling and Downey Sponsor Legislation to Prevent Raids of Taxpayer Money Meant for Open Space Preservation

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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.

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MAY NEWSLETTER: Community Updates From Your Legislator

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From the State House: Legislative Updates
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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:
  • A-2949: Provides diamondback terrapins protection as nongame indigenous species.
  • A-3053: Directs the Div. of Travel and Tourism to publish on its website information of farm-to-table restaurants.
  • A-3411: Requires DOH regulations regarding elevated blood levels in children, and appropriate responses thereto, to be consistent with latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
  • A-3492: Makes FY 2016 supplemental appropriations to DOH for $7,453,000 for family planning services.




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