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Lampitt & Mosquera Bill to Protect Babies, Ensure Safety of “Milk Banks” Advanced by Assembly Panel

May 11, 2015

An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt and Gabriela Mosquera to protect nursing babies as the practice of sharing breast milk through "milk banks" rises in popularity.

Human milk banks are an organized service for the selection of a donor and the collection, processing, storage, and distribution of donated human breast milk to a hospital for use by low birth weight babies or new mothers with delayed lactation, or directly to a parent, with a physician's prescription order, who is unable to nurse, or is in need of additional breast milk to feed the parent's child.

"The practice of sharing breast milk has a long history dating back to the days of wet nurses," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "While modern day 'milk banks' may be a godsend in some cases, breast milk, like blood, is a bodily fluid and should be licensed and regulated with stringent medical and scientific standards."

The lawmakers noted that there are many babies, particularly premature ones, who cannot digest formula properly, making breast milk an imperative and contributing to the rise in popularity of milk banks. However, the limited number of licensed human milk banks in the country has made it hard for families, especially those on a fixed income, to gain access to one.

Christie sticks fork in vegetarian bill

Courier Post
May 8, 2015
Jim Walsh
Link to original

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill Thursday that would have required school districts to consider "culturally sensitive" menu choices for students, including vegetarian fare.

Advocates said the measure, overwhelming approved by the Legislature, would benefit students whose diets reflect religious or cultural restrictions. Among other provisions, it would have require districts to make "all reasonable efforts" to offer hot and cold vegetarian and vegan choices if requested by a student.

But Christie said the measure "would unnecessarily burden" more than 500 school districts across the state.

In a veto message Thursday, he noted the bill would require districts to conduct "food surveys" of middle- and high-school students, and to form an advisory committee if any student indicates an "unmet food preference."

"In light of the many challenges school districts already encounter in order to provide an education worthy of our children's future, I cannot support the additional costs and burdens this bill would impose," Christie said in the statement.

He said parents or students unhappy with cafeteria food could "raise their concerns to the local board of education or elected officials."

The bill won approval by votes of 58-16 in the Assembly and 34-5 in the Senate.

Diegnan, Lampitt & Caride Bill to Promote Engineering Education Continues Advancing

May 7, 2015

Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Patrick Diegnan, Pamela Lampitt and Marlene Caride to create a task force that would be charged with recommending how to incorporate engineering into the K-12 science curriculum continued advancing on Thursday.

"STEM jobs are on the rise, but our colleges are not graduating enough engineering majors to keep up with the demand. If we want to compete in an increasingly global economy, we have to expand engineering education," said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). "Early introduction can encourage more students, especially women and minorities who are under represented in this field, to consider engineering as a career. The task force created by this bill would rely on the expertise of professionals in education, engineering and science to tell us how to best introduce engineering into the school curriculum."

Assembly Panel OKs Bill to Make Cost-Effective Biological Drug Alternatives More Widely Available

May 7, 2015

An Assembly panel on Thursday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Daniel Benson, Shavonda Sumter, Angel Fuentes and Nancy Pinkin to make it easier for consumers to obtain more cost-effective, "generic" versions of biological medicines used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, psoriasis and various forms of cancer.

"The FDA has created a safe pathway to make alternative biological medicines more readily available on the market," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "If there is a more cost-effective option to treat and cure various illnesses, then by all means we should be helping patients pursue it."

"Substitution of these biologically similar products for their name-brand counterparts at the pharmacy level is expected to reduce cost by increasing competition," said Conaway (D-Burlington). "Ultimately, this will allow more patients to access treatments."

While New Jersey has allowed chemically-synthesized generic drugs to be substituted for brand-name prescriptions for quite some time because the active ingredients are identical to their brand-name counterparts, biological medicines, on the other hand, are manufactured through biotechnology using living organisms and are much more complex than traditional, chemically-synthesized drugs.

Vainieri Huttle, Lampitt & Lagana Bill to Tackle Campus Sexual Assault Clears Assembly Panel

May 7, 2015

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainiei Huttle, Pamela Lampitt and Joe Lagana to better equip New Jersey colleges and universities to prevent and respond to sexual assaults on campus was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The 2014 report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault revealed that one in five college students experiences sexual assault during their college career. Even more staggering, the ACLU estimates that 95 percent of U.S. campus rapes go unreported.

"College sexual assault has become far too common," said Vainieri Huttle (D- Bergen). "Rape should never be the norm. The only way to prevent sexual assault is to change the culture on campus and to do that we need support from the entire higher education community."

"Many sexual assault cases go unreported, leaving the victim to deal with the trauma alone and the attacker free to strike again," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "If we want victims of sexual assault to report these crimes and prevent others from becoming another statistic, then we have to change the culture that is discouraging victims, whether intentionally or inadvertently, from speaking up and seeking justice."