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Paid sick leave bill advances from Assembly Budget Committe

Burlington County Times
December 16, 2014
David Levinsky
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Legislation to require all employers to provide paid sick leave for their workers took another step forward this week as theAssembly Budget Committee approved it for a floor vote by the full Assembly.

The committee voted 6-4 with one abstention Monday to release the bill, which would mandate that all public and private sector employees accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours of work.

Earned time could be used by employees to recover or receive treatment from a mental or physical illness or injury, as well as care for a family member. Employers with more than 10 workers would be permitted to cap the amount of sick time at 72 hours. Those with fewer than 10 workers could cap the amount at 40 hours.

Supporters, including union and worker advocacy groups, claim that more than 1 million New Jersey workers aren’t able to take paid sick leave and are forced to choose between their job and caring for either themselves or a loved one.

“We need to allow people to earn the time. We need to allow people to take the time and take the time to care for their loved ones,” Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-6th of Cherry Hill, said Monday during the committee hearing.

Providing Tax Relief to Those Caring for Elderly Relatives: N.J. Bill Clears Assembly Panel

NJ News Room
December 12, 2014
Regina Wilder
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Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela R. Lampitt Gary S. Schaer, Gabriela Mosquera, Daniel J. Benson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to provide a tax credit to those who take in and support an older family member was released on Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-1855), designated as the Caregiver’s Assistance Act, provides a gross income tax credit to qualified caregivers, including resident taxpayers and resident individuals, who pay or incur qualified care expenses for the care and support of a qualifying senior family member residing with the caregiver at the caregiver’s permanent place of abode in this state.

“Those who provide older loved ones with care and support meet a critical need of the state’s aging population,” said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). “There is no question that allowing seniors to remain in their own communities for longer periods of time can improve their overall quality of life and reduce the demand for long-term care services.”

Domestic Violence Victim Protection Measures Clears Assembly Panel

The Bergen Dispatch
December 11, 2014
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The first bill (A-3655), sponsored by Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Joseph Lagana, intends to enhance the protections offered under the “New Jersey Safe Housing Act” by prohibiting a landlord from terminating a tenancy, failing to renew a tenancy, or refusing to enter into a rental agreement due to a tenant or prospective tenant’s status as a domestic violence victim.

Under the act a tenant may terminate a lease prior to its expiration if the tenant provides appropriate documentation and written notice that the tenant or his/her child faces an imminent threat of serious physical harm from another person if they remain on the premises.

The bill would amend the act to prohibit a landlord from terminating a tenancy, failing to renew a tenancy, or refusing to enter into a rental agreement based on the tenant’s, applicant’s or household member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or based on the tenant or applicant having terminated a rental agreement pursuant to the Act.

“Victims of domestic violence must deal with their life being thrown into upheaval,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “The last thing they need is to have their home uprooted through no fault of their own.”

Bill to Ensure Juvenile Offender's Right to Counsel Advanced by Assembly Panel

The Bergen Dispatch
December 5, 2014
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Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Pamela Lampitt and Benjie Wimberly to ensure a fair judicial process by defining when a juvenile offender has the right to legal counsel during a court proceeding was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

Under current law, a juvenile has a right to an attorney at every critical stage of a court proceeding in a delinquency case. This bill (A-2208) clarifies that a juvenile has a right to an attorney during every court appearance by the juvenile, any interrogation, identification procedure, or other investigative activity undertaken by law enforcement or prosecutorial personnel subsequent to the filing of the complaint; and the duration of any dispositional order entered by the court.

“The court system can be intimidating for most adults, never mind minors,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This will help to make sure vulnerable youth do not fall through the cracks by providing needed legal representation.”

NJ lawmakers advance sick leave bills

Burlington County Times
October 27, 2014
David Levinsky
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New Jersey lawmakers advanced legislation Monday that would require all employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers, as well as a bill capping how much retiring public workers can receive as compensation for unused sick time.

The Assembly Labor Committee approved the mandatory sick time measure by a 6-3 vote over objections from business groups.

Unions and worker advocacy groups applauded the bill’s release, saying it would aid the estimated 1.1 million New Jersey employees who do not earn or receive sick leave at their jobs.

The measure would mandate that all public and private sector employees accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Businesses with more than 10 workers would be permitted to cap the amount of sick time employees can accrue at 72 hours (nine days). Smaller businesses with 10 or fewer employers could cap the amount at 40 hours (five days).

Earned time could be used by employees to recover or receive treatment from a mental or physical illness or injury, as well as care for a family member. The time also could be used by employees who are victims of domestic violence or who have a family member who is a victim.