Assembly Panel Moves on Houghtaling and Downey Bill Barring Public Agencies from Settling Whistleblower Suits Confidentially

An Assembly panel approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey that would bar public entities from entering into confidential settlements of whistleblower lawsuits with public employees and mandate that such settlements are part of open public records.

The bill was first introduced last session in response to the settlement reached with former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Bennett Barlyn, who testified extensively on the bill during a hearing this week before the Judiciary Committee.  Barlyn filed a lawsuit against the state in 2012 alleging he had been fired in 2010 after complaining to a superior that an indictment brought by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office had been dismissed by then Attorney General Paula Dow for political reasons. 

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Houghtaling Bill to Consolidate Homestead Property Tax Information Data Given OK to Advance by Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling  to make it easier for homeowners to find their information for the Homestead Property Tax Reimbursement Program application was recently approved by the Assembly State and Local Committee.

The homestead property tax reimbursement program provides property taxpayers with a refund of the difference between property taxes paid in the base year, the first year in which a taxpayer becomes eligible to participate in the program, and the year for which an eligible claimant seeks reimbursement.

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Promote Veterans Income Tax Exemption

Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey urge residents to apply for an Income Tax Exemption that benefits local veterans.

The Veteran Income Tax Exemption allows eligible veterans to receive a $3,000 exemption on their Income Tax returns.

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Announce Ocean Community Economic Action Now Funding

Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey announce Ocean Community Economic Action Now, Inc. [OCEAN], has been approved to receive a $457,686 award from the Heating Improvement Program.

This funding will provide funds to improve heating system efficiency in the homes of eligible households in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

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Downey Bill to Prevent Gun Violence among Individuals with Mental Disorders Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation Assemblywoman Joann Downey sponsored, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, to prevent individuals with an elevated risk of engaging in violence due to mental illness from causing harm to themselves and others was advanced 532449501.jpgWednesday by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Suicide – the 10th leading cause of death in the United States overall and the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-34 – is substantially more likely among those with mental disorders, Jones noted.

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Gopal, Houghtaling, Downey Decry Increase in Anti-Semitic Incidents

hands-1939895_960_720.pngSenator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey call on all New Jersey residents to unite against the rash of anti-Semitic incidents that have scourged the state.

In 2017, there were 208 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey – a 32 percent increase from 2016 and the third most of any state in the nation, according an Anti-Defamation League report published Feb. 27.

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