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'Gold Alert' legislation pushed following case of missing Woolwich man

South Jersey Times
August 21, 2014
Rebecca Forand
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In the wake of a two-day search for a mentally challenged township man who went missing this week, legislation introduced regarding a "Gold Alert" system similar to the Amber or Silver Alerts that currently exist is receiving positive feedback.

Michael Lawton, 35, walked away from his group home on Viereck Road Monday night. He was missing for nearly two nights before a passerby spotted him walking down Oak Grove Road around 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Introduced by Assemblywoman Pamela Rosen Lampitt (D-6 of Cherry Hill), the Gold Alert bill, which would provide information to the public for help finding missing individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities, passed the Assembly Human Services Committee in May. It is modeled on the Silver Alert system, which provides similar information for missing senior citizens.

"I am deeply thankful that this individual was found quickly and was safely returned to his living facility. Fortunately, this story had a happy ending, but in such situations, that is not always the case. That's why New Jersey needs the legislation I have proposed to create a 'Gold Alert' to assist the public and public safety officers in finding missing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities," Lampitt said.

Lampitt: Averted Tragedy in Woolwich Shows Need for "Gold Alert" Legislation

August 20, 2014

Assembly Women and Children Committee Chairwoman Pamela Rosen Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington) released the following statement Wednesday, after CBS reported that a man with cognitive disabilities was safely returned to his living facility after wandering off Monday in a rural section of Gloucester County:

"I am deeply thankful that this individual was found quickly and was safely returned to his living facility. Fortunately, this story had a happy ending, but in such situations, that is not always the case. That's why New Jersey needs the legislation I have proposed to create a 'Gold Alert' to assist the public and public safety officers in finding missing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"My legislation is modeled on the already successful 'Silver Alert' system, which provides the public with information to help find missing senior citizens in similar situations. These recent events show the importance of such a system to assist in finding missing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. New Jersey should act on this common-sense legislation without delay."

Lampitt's bill, A-2709, passed the Assembly Human Services Committee in May by a vote of 5-0.

New Jersey would be the second state with a paid sick leave law under a new bill

Washington Post
August 7, 2014
Niraj Chokshi
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New Jersey’s state assembly next month will take up a bill that would require employers to provide paid sick leave, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said in a statement on Wednesday.

The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D), would allow workers to earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 worked. Two New Jersey cities and New York City already have such mandates.

“I support every local effort to adopt this pro-worker policy, but I also feel strongly that this must be a statewide policy that helps all workers,” Prieto (D) said in the statement. “This would especially benefit workers in the health, education, social services, hospitality and retail industries and provide needed assistance to part-timers.”

The fight for paid sick leave requirements has picked up steam since San Francisco passed the nation’s first local paid sick leave policy in 2006. D.C. followed suit two years later, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. Seattle passed a similar policy in 2011, the year that Connecticut became the only state to implement such a law. Last year, Portland, Ore., New York City, and Jersey City, N.J., also implemented paid sick leave. Newark joined that group early this year.

NJ Assembly to consider paid sick-leave bill next month

Burlington County Times
August 6, 2014
David Levinsky
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New Jersey lawmakers plan to take up legislation requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced Wednesday that the Assembly would consider the legislation next month. He described the initiative as an overdue “step forward in worker rights.”

An estimated 1.1 million employees in New Jersey do not earn or receive sick leave from their jobs, according to advocates pushing for the law.

“New Jersey’s middle class and working poor have waited far too long,” said Prieto, D-32nd of Secaucus. “I support every local effort to adopt this pro-worker policy, but I also feel strongly that this must be a statewide policy that helps all workers.

“Earned sick leave is a modern and sensible workplace policy that is good for business and will prove crucial to New Jersey’s economic strength,” he said.

Legislation to allow employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work was introduced in February by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-6th of Cherry Hill. Prieto said the Assembly Labor Committee would begin by considering that bill.

Paid Sick Leave's Impact on Workers, Business Earns Mixed Prognosis

NJSpotlight
June 17, 2014
Andrew Kitchenman
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One year after groups representing workers and employers battled over a minimum wage hike, a rematch is looming this fall over requiring paid sick leave.

Supporters emphasize the potential public health benefits, including a reduction in contagious diseases spread by sick workers.

But employer groups caution that proposed legislation would worsen the state’s business climate at a time when the state’s economy remains fragile.

Under the bill, S-785 /A-2354, employees would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work.

The maximum number of hours that they could accrue would depend on the size of the employer: 40 hours for workers at businesses with fewer than 10 employees and 72 hours for those at businesses with 10 or more employees.

Workers could use the time off when they were sick, to care for a family member, or in instances of domestic violence. Paid sick leave would begin to accrue after a worker had been on the job for 90 days.

The bill would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who requested or used paid sick leave, or who filed a complaint alleging that the employer violated the law.