OCEAN TOWNSHIP - In response to inappropriate and horrific comments made by Monmouth County Judge James Troiano regarding an alleged rape case in which he dismissed the assault as not a “traditional case of rape,” which he defines as involving “two or more” men and said that the suspect should not be tried as an adult because he “comes from a good family” and attended an “excellent school,” Assembly Members Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling are calling for Judge Troiano to immediately and permanently resign all judicial and legal positions.
“It should be clear to anyone that Judge Troiano’s comments were vile, unacceptable, and harmful to any survivor of sexual assault or abuse,” said Downey (D-Freehold).Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - For years, seniors making more than $70,000 annually have been banned from entering New Jersey’s Senior Freeze program, which allows homeowners to freeze their property taxes at their current level after applying. That will change next year due to major reforms secured by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey which raises the annual income cap to allow homeowners making up to nearly $90,000 to qualify for the program.
“When it was first designed, the Senior Freeze program was supposed to help residents under a certain income level keep their property taxes affordable,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “Unfortunately, it hasn’t kept up with inflation for years, forcing seniors out of the program and preventing new applicants from qualifying.”Read more
RED BANK - Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey announced $13,000 in state funding awarded to Red Bank RiverCenter, a Red Bank-based nonprofit that works to promote local merchants, recruit business, stage downtown events, and beautify streetscapes.
The funding, which was approved under the Main Street New Jersey District Transformation Grant program, will provide funds to enhance safety and amenities for pedestrians and strengthen the connections between Red Bank’s arts, the river and its people. The award will also provide funds for lighting, benches, landscaping and two murals.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - A bill sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey that would prohibit pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) from common abusive practices that harm community pharmacies was passed by the State Senate last week, and now proceeds to the Governor for approval. A PBM is a third-party administrator of prescription drug programs for a commercial, self-insured, Medicare Part D, Federal employee, or state employee health plan.
“If you pay a restaurant or cashier for a product or service, no person in their right mind would reasonably allow you to then demand a “fee” from the business in exchange for making that purchase,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “Even so, this is exactly the relationship that many PBMs have forced community pharmacies into. It’s a demonstrably ridiculous system, and badly needs to be reformed.”Read more
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP - Today in Freehold Township, Governor Murphy signed into law a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Joann Downey dramatically expanding 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.
“This moment is a victory for patients and families from every corner of our State, delivering medical justice to every person who has waited for this law to become a reality,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold), the law’s prime sponsor, as the bill (A-20) was signed Tuesday morning. “Jake’s Law is a win for compassion, for leadership, and for the quality of life of every person it benefits.”Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - For homeowners impacted by Superstorm Sandy, a new law will extend foreclosure protections and mortgage relief programs for an additional three years.
“As of the sixth anniversary of Sandy last October, about 1,200 New Jersey families had not finished rebuilding,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune), a sponsor of the bill. “Hurricane Sandy was devastating for New Jersey, and the road to recovery has been far from smooth for too many residents. More than 150 people have been charged with fraud related to Sandy relief, and the scams have thus far cost hundreds of storm victims more than $20 million. While we cannot change how victims were treated by contractors in the past, we can ensure they have the time they need to find qualified workers to rebuild their homes.”Read more