Governor Signs Houghtaling Bill Extending Foreclosure Protections for Sandy Victims

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.”

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Gopal, Houghtaling & Downey #EveryKidCounts Campaign Wins $55 Million for School Funding

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey announced an additional $55 million in extraordinary special education funding on Sunday following Governor Murphy’s signing of the state budget. The #EveryKidCounts campaign, an initiative developed by Gopal, Houghtaling, and Downey, lauded the new funds, pointing to an outpouring of support from concerned parents and local taxpayers across New Jersey.

“We’re tremendously glad to see the State Legislature finally devoting the necessary resources to help schools afford the incredibly high costs of special education,” said Downey (D-Freehold). “I’ve got two girls of my own in elementary school, and I know what it means to fight as a parent to see your kids succeed. With this critical funding, we can finally keep our promises and give each student - with special needs or not - the quality education that they rightfully deserve.”

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Houghtaling & Downey Bill to Improve Medicaid Eligibility Process Passes Senate

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - A bill (AJR-158) introduced by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey that aims to help individuals qualify for Medicaid without racking up significant medical bills was approved on Thursday by the State Senate, and will now proceed to the Governor for approval.

“Right now, the Medicaid application process is a mountain of bureaucracy that can tax the resources of even the most well-prepared households,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “Applicants are routinely faced with surprise expenses stretching into the thousands of dollars, and the entire procedure is a maze of red tape and overlapping regulations. Moreover, as the application period lengthens, families are stuck with mounting medical bills that Medicaid won’t cover.

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Houghtaling & Downey Bill to Protect Shore Homeowners from Short Term Rental Tax Heads to Governor

TRENTON - A measure to ensure private homeowners – particularly at the Jersey Shore – will not be subject to a 2018 law that extended New Jersey’s sales and occupancy tax to short term rentals received final legislative approval on Thursday, passing the full Assembly 74-0. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk.

“Over the past several months, we’ve listened to Jersey Shore homeowners – many of whom are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy – who are worried they’ll see far less summer guests this season as a result of the short term rental tax," said Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold), who introduced the bill. "Summer tourism is the heartbeat of the shore, and this law was never intended to hurt the private homeowners who help it grow and thrive."

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Downey & Houghtaling Bill to Establish Suicide Prevention Training Course Clears Senate

TRENTON - The Senate and Assembly have now both unanimously approved legislation introduced by Assembly Members Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling which would educate firearms dealers on suicide prevention.

"Every year, nearly 22,000 Americans take their own lives, including nearly 1,000 teens and children," said Downey (D-Freehold). "We need to recognize that gun violence includes suicide as well, and act quickly and decisively to confront this significant public health crisis. By educating and training firearms retailers in suicide prevention strategies, we can save lives across our state."

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Assembly Passes Downey Bill to Establish Alert System for Hit-and-Runs

TRENTON - The State Assembly unanimously passed “Zackhary’s Law,” sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey, which would create an alert system similar to the Amber and Silver alert systems to help apprehend drivers who abandon a victim with serious injuries at the scene of a hit-and-run accident.

 “Leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident where someone is hurt is a selfish and shameful act, “said Downey (D-Freehold).

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