Press Releases

Bill to Boost College Internships in Life Sciences Field Ok’d by Assembly Panel

September 18, 2014

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Wayne DeAngelo, Annette Quijano, Pamela Lampitt and Thomas Giblin that would help boost paid internship opportunities for college students in the life sciences field was cleared the Assembly Commerce Committee on Thursday.

The bill (A-1011) would create "The New Jersey Life Sciences Internship Challenge" program, which provides a tax credit subsidy to small life science companies to establish a limited number of paid summer internships in the life sciences field for undergraduate students from New Jersey and undergraduate students attending New Jersey schools.

"This bill helps New Jersey students attain paid work experience in the life sciences field," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "These companies represent well-paying jobs for our graduates. By targeting smaller companies, we are helping them to grow and bolster this vital segment of our state's economy."

"It's almost expected for college students to build up their work experience by participating in internship programs," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This particular program gives our college students a paid option in a burgeoning field that offers good wages to its workers, while strengthening the companies that will one day be looking to hire the best prospects."

Bill to Boost Participation in School Breakfast Program Advances in Senate

September 15, 2014

Bill Would Create "Breakfast after the Bell" Program

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Cryan, Daniel Benson, Troy Singleton, Pamela Lampitt, Celeste Riley and Nancy Pinkin to boost breakfast programs in schools, particularly for underprivileged children, in order to help give them a leg up on academics advanced in the Senate on Monday.

The bill (A-­­­679/2186) would require the state to make every effort to assist school districts and nonpublic schools in increasing the participation rate of students, particularly low-income students, in the federal School Breakfast Program by establishing a "breakfast after the bell" program in the first-period classroom or during the first few minutes of the day.

The Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Department of Education, would oversee the effort and also be charged with preparing and issuing an annual report to the governor and the legislature on the number and percentage of students participating in a school breakfast program, and the format used for providing breakfast.

"Currently, the vast majority of New Jersey school districts only serve breakfast to a fraction of eligible children," said Cryan (D-Union). "With research showing that school breakfast increases attendance and decreases tardiness, improves academic performance both in class and on standardized tests, and improves attentiveness, we need to make it a priority.

Lampitt Bill Bolstering Car Safety for Young Children Continues Advancing

September 18, 2014

Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Pamela Lampitt to bolster car safety for young children was released Thursday by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

"With advances in research and car safety technology, recommendations to protect children in motor vehicles are always changing. Just look how different things were just a decade or two ago," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington), chairwoman of the Assembly Women and Children Committee. "Incorporating the latest recommendations will help ensure that we're doing all we can to protect young children in automobiles."

The bill (A-3161) would amend the state's child passenger restraint system and booster seat law to implement the latest car seat safety recommendations.

Under current law, every person operating a motor vehicle equipped with safety belts (other than a school bus) who is transporting a child under the age of eight years and weighing less than 80 pounds must secure the child in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat.

The bill amends the law to specify that when being transported in a motor vehicle:

- A child under the age of two years and weighing less than 30 pounds must be secured rear facing in a child passenger restraint system equipped with a five-point harness.

- A child under the age of four years and weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured:

Lampitt, Garcia & Mukherji Bill to Account for Cultural Preferences in School Menus Gains Panel Approval

September 11, 2014

Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Carmelo Garcia and Raj Mukherji sponsored to require public school districts to consider making their breakfast and lunch menus more culturally sensitive was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-3360) would require superintendents in public school districts containing a middle or high school to establish a district-wide food services advisory committee to recommend breakfast and lunch menu options that reflect the student body's cultural, traditional and overall dietary preferences if the student population suggests such a need exists.

"Consistency in teaching New Jersey's children about embracing cultural diversity requires us to ensure that they know everyone is welcome in the classroom as well as in the cafeteria," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "School menus that respect students' dietary preferences will send a message of inclusion that is central to our state's value system."

"One of the greatest aspects of living in New Jersey is our multiculturalism," said Garcia (D-Hudson). "Honoring that diversity involves making sure no student feels like his or her cultural background is a limiting or ostracizing factor in any regard, and lunchroom options are no exception."

Assembly Panel Approves Comprehensive Legislative Strategy to Combat Domestic Violence

September 11, 2014

Five-bill Package is Sponsored by Quijano, Gusciora, Spencer, Tucker, Caputo, Johnson, Vainieri Huttle, Lampitt, Riley, Burzichelli & Mosquera

An Assembly panel on Thursday unanimously approved a comprehensive legislative strategy sponsored by Assembly Democrats to combat domestic violence by expanding protections for victims and providing law enforcement with better tools to deal with offenders.

The five-bill package is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Reed Gusciora, L. Grace Spencer, Cleopatra Tucker, Ralph Caputo, Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Pamela Lampitt, Celeste Riley, John Burzichelli and Gabriela Mosquera.

The package includes the following bills:

* A-1310, sponsored by Quijano and Gusciora, would require that defendants convicted of a domestic violence offense who are placed on probation or have their sentence suspended must attend domestic violence counseling.

"In order to effectively combat domestic violence, there needs to be a twofold approach: cracking down on offenders while also enhancing protections for victims," said Quijano (D-Union). "Counseling for offenders is a good start to systemically tackling the root of the problem."

"Counseling will essentially help us treat the disease, rather than just masking the symptoms," said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This is a smart component to a comprehensive strategy to tackle domestic violence."

* A-1579, sponsored by Spencer, Tucker and Caputo, would create a self-defense justification for victims of domestic violence.