Downey & Houghtaling Bill to Improve Emergency Response for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Advances

TRENTON – Assembly Bill A4916, which requires the New Jersey Department of Human Services to study emergency response services for individuals with developmental disabilities, was released from the Assembly Human Service Committee last week following a hearing regarding the services available to persons with co-morbid developmental disabilities, severe behavioral disorders, and mental health issues. The bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle.

“When individuals with developmental disabilities require emergency aid, our first responders sometimes lack the resources and training needed to resolve the situation successfully,” said Assemblywoman Downey, who serves as Chair of the Human Services Committee.

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Downey and Houghtaling Bill Urging FDA Ban of Electrical Stimulation Devices Advances

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assembly Members Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling released the following statement regarding the Human Services Committee’s release of Assembly Resolution AR217, which respectfully urges the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately implement a ban on electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) used to treat aggressive or self-injurious behavior, especially in individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities:

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Appropriation to Shore Protection Fund Clears Senate Committee

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey issued the following statement in response to the release of bill S1614 from the Senate Environment and Energy Committee:

“If the State does not contribute its share of shore protection costs, we could lose all federal funding,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “This bill increases the amount annually credited to the Shore Protection Fund to $50 million. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy showed us just how damaging these intense, powerful storms can be to the livelihoods of our residents on the shore. We need those funds to complete projects before future storms cause more erosion and property damage. If that happens, the cost of restoring and protecting the shore will go up, making any delays or underfunding a great concern to our coastal communities.”

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Gopal, Houghtaling, & Downey Laud State's Filing Against Offshore Drilling

OCEAN TOWNSHIP -  Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe that the State of New Jersey had joined a motion in federal court seeking to block drilling-related seismic testing activity:

“Opening portions of the Atlantic Ocean for offshore drilling would put beaches, fisheries, and marine life all along the coast at risk,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling, who serves as Chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Seismic testing alone has the potential to inflict great harm on our local populations of marine mammals and other wildlife. An oil spill off the New Jersey coast would harm our fragile marine ecosystem; kill off endangered and threatened species of fish, birds and other wildlife; and poison the many types of fish and shellfish that are enjoyed by millions of people. We have seen time and again that offshore drilling can irreversibly damage precious marine and coastal resources, which itself would cause great harm to our fishing industry and local conservation efforts. It is only right that our federal courts recognize the priceless value that our pristine coast holds for our State.”

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Downey and Houghtaling Bill to Simplify Medicaid Applications Passes Assembly Human Services Committee

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling released the following statement in response to the approval of Assembly Bill A4569 by the Human Services Committee today:

“Those seeking benefits under Medicaid and the New Jersey FamilyCare programs are among the most vulnerable people in our state,” said Assemblywoman Downey, who chairs the Human Services Committee. “This important legislation recognizes the need for a process that determines an applicant’s eligibility for these programs while sparing them and their loved ones from further anxiety and financial hardship.”

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Bill Package Dedicated to Farmland and Historic Site Conservation Clears Assembly

Fighting to protect New Jersey’s farmland and historic sites, Assembly Democrats sponsored a series of bills appropriating constitutionally dedicated corporate business tax (CBT) revenues to preserve the state’s farms and historic sites. The bills cleared the full Assembly Monday.

The first bill (A-4733), sponsored by Assembly Members Adam Taliaferro, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, appropriates $15,000,000 from CBT revenues to the State Agricultural Development Committee for municipal planning incentive grants for farmland preservation purposes. The bill passed 79-0-0.

“New Jersey’s farmlands are the foundation for a strong agricultural industry and a way of life for generations of farm families”, said Taliaferro (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Farmland preservation is a key component for our agriculture industry to sustain itself and for it to continue to be a pillar of our state’s economy.”

“The 20 municipalities receiving grants are reliant upon the agriculture industry and must have adequate farmlands in order to thrive,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “These funds will allow for farmers to build upon an industry which has remained a key part of our state’s economic sector for years to come.”

“Our agriculture industry has been a way of life for generations of New Jerseyans. It is one of the backbones of New Jersey,” said Downey(D-Monmouth). “It is our responsibility to provide the municipalities most dependent upon this industry with the resources necessary to keep our farmlands beautiful and functional.”

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