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NJ considers dispensing quick and healthy breakfast at schools

January 20, 2015
Phil Gregory
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In an effort to get more students to participate in school breakfast programs, New Jersey lawmakers are hoping to enlist the help of a healthier version of a vending machine.

A bill advanced by an Assembly committee would create a pilot program in three school districts to make breakfast food available at kiosks stationed near a school entrance.

That would allow students to have easy access to breakfast without having to pay for a full-price meal price in the school cafeteria, said Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt.

"If you want to get the yogurt in a tube or grab a banana, you¹re able to acquire nutritious items in a more cost effective way," said Lampitt, D-Camden.

Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, said a healthy breakfast can help kids learn.

"It feeds their brain. It makes sure that they have fewer issues in the classroom," she testified before the committee. "They're able to sit still, they're able to absorb information, and they're less of a problem."

Jennifer Maloney with the New Jersey Principals and Superintendents Association agreed with the strategy as a way of increasing student participation in school breakfast programs.

Assembly Panel Advances 2-Bill Package to Boost Access to School Breakfast

January 15, 2015

An Assembly panel on Thursday approved a two-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Gary Schaer and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to help ensure that more students receive breakfast every day to boost their chances of success in school.

The first bill (A-3889), sponsored by Lampitt, would establish a school breakfast kiosk pilot program to ensure students have greater accessibility to breakfast items in school.

“This program will help more children start the school day with a nutritious breakfast in order to learn, grow, and develop to their full potential,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “Research shows that school breakfast increases attendance and decreases tardiness, improves academic performance and attentiveness and reduces emotional and behavioral problems among students from all backgrounds.”

A school district seeking to participate in the two-year pilot program shall submit to the Department of Agriculture a plan outlining how the school will make food available on a cart, cubicle, or kiosk on the way into the school or to a classroom, dining room, or other designated area. The plan shall also outline food choices, including how they will be consistent with federal guidelines, pricing, and packaging requirements, as well as location, support, and disposal needs.

Lampitt Bill to Promote Flu Vaccination Among Seniors Clears Panel

January 14, 2015

Legislation Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt sponsored to promote seasonal influenza awareness among New Jersey seniors was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-3890) would require the Department of Health to prepare and publish online printer-friendly information about the flu vaccine for older adults.

"Older New Jerseyans are far more susceptible to serious flu-related complications. Because their immune systems are weaker, the flu can result in hospitalization or even death among seniors," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "Supplying members of this specific population with the information they need to protect themselves and those around them can keep older residents healthy and save lives."

The information would include items such as:

· How vaccination can help prevent the flu in older adults;
· The availability and efficacy of the flu vaccine for older adults;
· A recommendation that seniors consult with their physicians regarding the flu vaccine; and
· The particular individual and community benefits of vaccination among older adults sharing close quarters, such as residents of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs)

Each CCRC in New Jersey would be required to post the information in a conspicuous public place in the facility.

"Given how quickly the flu can be transmitted in environments where many people regularly share a space, it's especially important that residents of senior housing communities get vaccinated and reduce the risk of the influenza virus spreading," said Lampitt.

Lampitt Bill to Boost Creation of Small, Women- & Minority- Owned Businesses Gains Assembly Panel Approval

January 12, 2015

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt to expand the scope and reach of small, women- and minority-owned businesses throughout New Jersey by providing loans through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority was approved Monday by an Assembly panel.

"Statistics show that women- and minority-owned businesses generate noticeably less revenue than small businesses as a whole," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This isn't because they aren't as bright or innovative as other business owners. Many times it's because loans and investment capital are harder to come by, putting these businesses at a disadvantage from the get-go. Rebuilding our economy depends on our ability to invest in small, women- and minority-owned businesses in surrounding urban regions."

Under the bill (A-3168), when the Economic Development Authority makes direct loans to small, women and minority-owned businesses, manufacturers, redevelopers or nonprofit organizations in areas designated by the State Development and Redevelopment Plan as urban centers, it must also include such businesses located in "regional centers" surrounding these urban areas.

The Urban Plus Program provides financial support in the form of loans from the EDA with a below-market interest rate to qualified community and economic development projects, manufacturers, redevelopers and not-for-profit organizations in the following endorsed New Jersey municipalities: Camden, Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, East Orange, New Brunswick, and Atlantic City.

Bill to Create Alert System For Missing Persons With Developmental Disabilities Clears Assembly

The Bergen Dispatch
December 18, 2014
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Legislation introduced by Assembly Democrats Pamela R. Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson, Gabriela Mosquera and Grace L. Spencer to facilitate the immediate circulation of information about missing persons with developmental disabilities was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.

The bill (A-2709) would establish the “Gold Alert System,” a cooperative effort between law enforcement agencies and media outlets to broadcast emergency alerts about missing persons with developmental disabilities. The alerts would include physical descriptions and other pertinent details. Under the bill, consent must be obtained prior to disseminating information about the person who is believed to be missing.

“This legislation reflects our collective duty to protect some of the most vulnerable New Jersey residents,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “We must do all we can to ensure missing individuals can return home safe and sound, especially when we have all the necessary resources already in place.”

“When it comes to recovering a person who’s gone missing, we know that time is of the essence and knowledge is power,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “By creating widespread awareness as soon as possible, we can maximize the likelihood that a missing person will be found alive and unharmed.”