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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