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Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Benson, Mosquera, Spencer & Wimberly Bill to Create Gold Alert System Advances in Senate

February 9, 2015

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson, Gabriela Mosquera, L. Grace Spencer and Benjie Wimberly to facilitate the immediate circulation of information about missing persons with developmental disabilities was approved by a Senate panel on Monday.

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."

Lampitt, Andrzejczak, Mazzeo & Mukherji Bill to Make It Easier for Veterans to Get Services Continues Advancing

February 9, 2015

Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo and Raj Mukherji sponsored to help New Jersey's veterans - especially women veterans - obtain the help and services they need was released last week by an Assembly panel.

Under the bill (A-3749), the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs is to establish a program to provide assistance to qualified veterans in in-patient and out-patient treatment programs to travel to attend counseling programs within this state.

"Many veterans are unable to take advantage of helpful treatment programs in New Jersey because of the difficulty in arranging transportation," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This bill will promote transportation assistance to veterans in order to ensure our veterans have the access to quality care they deserve."

"Counseling programs are vital for many of our veterans, who sacrificed so much serving our country," said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). "Unfortunately, getting to these programs can prove difficult for many veterans, so the least we can do is create a program to ensure they can travel to attend these programs."

"Having programs for our veterans is important, but our veterans need to be able to travel to them for them to be of value, which can be a difficult task for many," said Andrzejczak (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland), who is a disabled U.S. Army veteran wounded in Iraq. "If we truly want to help veterans, we need to ensure they can take full advantage of the programs there to help them, so that's the goal of this bill."

LEGISLATURE GRAPPLES WITH HOW TO REGULATE BIOLOGICS, NEW CLASS OF MEDICATION

NJSPOTLIGHT
February 6, 2015
Andrew Kitchenman
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In recent years, many of the bestselling new medications haven’t been traditional drugs chemically synthesized in labs. Instead, they belong to a growing class of “biologics” -- substances that are cultivated from living cells, often by altering the DNA that carries genetic information.

Biologics have been a boon to those with a variety of conditions, and are widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis as well as to fight infections in chemotherapy patients. But these products often are expensive to develop and buy, racking up $66.3 billion in sales nationally in 2013. That’s why the 2010 Affordable Care Act included a provision to encourage the development of generic products that would be similar to but cheaper than the name-brand biologics.

New Jersey laws don’t cover how these so-called biosimilars should prescribed, which is why the Legislature is grappling with ways to regulate them. Biologics-industry representatives have supported state-level legislation addressing biosimilars prescriptions across the country. In fact, biosimilars aren’t yet available in the United States but could result in significant savings if the federal Food and Drug Administration approves.

N.J. 'Pay it Forward' task force to study waiving tuition and letting students pay with future earnings

NJ.com
February 6, 2015
Adam Clark
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New Jersey will create a task force to study how to make college more affordable for the state's students under a law signed Thursday.

The commission will study a "Pay it Forward Pilot Program," in which public college and universities could waive tuition and fees in favor of taking a percentage of students' future earnings. It will also study several other ways to reduce college costs, including an accelerated program for high school students interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

New Jersey's public four year colleges rank among the most expensive in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education rankings.

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden), one of the bill's cosponsors, said New Jersey needs to better compete with the schools in neighboring states that lure its students.

"This migration hurts our schools and it hurts us as a state since many of these students will take jobs and settle in these states," Lampitt said. "Making our schools more affordable can help us better compete, and keep students who after graduation will help contribute to our economy."

Christie vetoed prior versions of the bill which called for staff from the executive branch to work on the study, because he said it would duplicate work the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education was already doing.

Conaway, Lampitt, Pinkin, Benson, Sumter & Wimberly Bill to Expand Life-Saving Overdose Prevention Act Now Law

February 5, 2015

A bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway Jr., Pamela Lampitt, Nancy Pinkin, Daniel Benson, Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly to help save more lives by granting immunity to emergency responders and other critical frontline professionals who administer overdose antidotes has been signed into law.

"When seconds count, a well-meaning individual should not have to think twice about helping someone in need due to a fear that it ultimately may result in being held culpable for wrongdoing," said Conaway (D-Burlington). "This law is about making sure that more men and women who are willing and able to assist an individual during an emergency can do so without hesitation."

Specifically, the law (A-3720) extends the immunity provisions of the Overdose Prevention Act to certain professionals and professional entities that administer or dispense opioid antidotes, including sterile syringe access program employees, law enforcement officials, emergency medical technicians and other paid or volunteer emergency responders, safeguarding them from liability if they in good faith administer an antidote like naloxone, known also by its brand name Narcan, in the event of an emergency. Such antidotes counteract the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system opioids cause and can prevent death during an overdose.