Houghtaling and Downey Support NJMEP

Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have introduced a bill to support New Jersey’s vital manufacturing industry.

The bill, (A4315) makes a General Fund supplemental appropriation of $250,000 to the Department of State for the purpose of funding the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc.  These monies are required to be used, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting, to coordinate and maximize the efficiency of Statewide worker training, as well as to employ underserved and underemployed veterans and other State residents in need of long-term employment.

“As a member of the Bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, I understand what these businesses are up against,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “NJMEP plays a key role in supporting our manufacturing industry and, in turn, our State economy. We are proud to support this vital organization.”

“Manufacturing is a key industry here in New Jersey, making major contributions to our economy and employing hundreds of thousands of hardworking residents,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “It is imperative that we, as legislators, work to support our manufacturing industry and organizations like NJMEP that advocate on behalf of manufacturing business owners and employees.”

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Congratulate Long Branch Congratulate Superintendent Salvatore

Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey join the community in congratulating Dr. Michael Salvatore, Superintendent of the Long Branch School District, on earning the title of as the Region II Superintendent of the Year.

“We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to Dr. Michael Salvatore on this well-earned recognition and thank him for all he has done for the Long Branch School District,” said Senator Vin Gopal.

“We are extremely proud to have an educator like Dr. Salvatore leading the staff and students in Long Branch. Congratulations on this wonderful achievement,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“Dr. Salvatore’s commitment to his district and his students is extremely noble. We are proud to see his efforts have been recognized,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey.

Dr. Salvatore is one of three regional winners for the award from the New Jersey Association of School Administrators that recognizes outstanding leadership in education.
Dr. Salvatore was honored specifically for his work with personalized learning for students and putting a focus on transformational education.

Houghtaling and Downey Host Holiday Toy Drive

Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are hosting a Toy Drive to make sure everyone has a very happy holiday this year.

The Toy Drive will be hosted through December 7. All toys will be distributed to local non-profit organizations.

“We feel extremely fortunate to be able to host this Toy Drive and to have a hand in making this holiday season joyful for everyone in our community,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“Everyone deserves a happy holiday,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “We hope you join us in our mission to make this holiday season very merry.”

Donations can be dropped off to the District 11 Legislative Office, located at 802 West Park Avenue, Suite 221, in Ocean Township.

For additional questions, please contact the District 11 Legislative Office at (732) 695-3371 or email the Assembly Members at AsmHoughtaling@njleg.org or AswDowney@njleg.org.

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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Houghtaling & Downey Bill Establishing Fund to Assist Locked-Out Workers With Regard to Health Insurance Benefits Clears Assembly Panel

In an effort to assist people who are stripped of their health insurance because of a labor dispute, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are sponsoring legislation creating the Working Family Health Security Fund. The bill was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee Thursday.

“Health insurance is one of the most critical things an individual can possess,” said Houghtaling. “It is only fair to assist individuals who, to no fault of their own, are suddenly stripped of their ability to utilize their health insurance because of a labor dispute.”

“No one should be at risk of being forced into suffocating debt because of a lack of health insurance, especially if their insurance was discontinued due to a work stoppage,” said Downey.  “It is our responsibility to protect our residents and ensure that they are provided with the health insurance they had been assured.”

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Houghtaling Bill Requiring Companies that Offshore Jobs Out of State to Return State Aid Continues to Advance in Assembly

Encouraging the return of jobs to the state, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling to require employers that offshore call center jobs overseas to forfeit any state aid or business incentives they may have received continues to advance in the Assembly Monday.

The bill (A-1992) would require that any employer relocating a call center from New Jersey to one or more foreign countries must notify the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, and return the value of any direct or indirect state grant, guaranteed loan, tax benefit, and any other financial support provided by the state that was not used. An employer that violates this requirement would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $7,500 for each day the violation continues.

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Downey Bill Requiring DMV to Suspend Bus Driver Endorsements for Multiple Moving Violations Continues to Advance in Assembly

Continuing to strengthen protections for New Jersey student bus riders, an Assembly panel approved Monday a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey mandating suspension of school bus drivers who receive multiple motor vehicle moving violations in a three-year period.

The legislation was prompted by concerns raised during the investigation of the bus accident occurring on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive last May. The bus carried students and teachers from Paramus. A student and a teacher were killed in the crash and more than 40 other bus passengers were injured.

It was discovered that the bus driver’s license was suspended 14 times over 42 years. Six of those were for parking violations; seven were for administrative or paperwork reasons. One of the violations was given for driving while his license was suspended.   He also had eight speeding tickets, was cited for an improper lane change in 2010 and was involved in five previous crashes.

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Houghtaling & Downey Bill Package to Combat Ticks, Invasive Species Clears Assembly Panel

New Jersey is especially conducive to dangerous, disease-carrying ticks because of the state’s climate, woodlands and large agricultural sector. Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, however, have taken action to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases and invasive species as two of their bills to combat these threats cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Monday.

“New Jersey has the third most tick-borne disease cases in the entire United States, yet we have never taken any action to curb the spread of these diseases through controlling the tick population,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “Diseases stemming from tick bites can be incredibly dangerous—and in rare cases, fatal—and we must put forth every effort to prevent the spread of these diseases in order to protect our residents.”

The first bill (A-4459), sponsored by both Monmouth Democrats, authorizes the state and county mosquito control commissions to create and implement measures to control the tick population.

Under current law, no statewide or countywide measures have been taken to control the tick population.

“New Jersey saw the most reported cases of Lyme disease in 2017 in nearly twenty years,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Ticks may be small, but the threat they pose to the health of our communities can be mammoth. This is a problem we must tackle head-on for the safety of all New Jerseyans.”

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