Press Releases

Assembly Panel Approves Democratic Bill Package to Give Kids a Leg Up In School by Boosting Breakfast Programs

March 10, 2014

An Assembly panel on Monday approved a comprehensive package of bills sponsored by Assembly Democrats to boost breakfast programs in schools, particularly for underprivileged children, in order to help give them a leg up on academics.

The package is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Cryan, Daniel Benson, Jason O'Donnell, Troy Singleton, Pamela Lampitt, Celeste Riley, Bob Andrzejczak, Gilbert "Whip" Wilson, Gabriela Mosquera, Gary Schaer, L. Grace Spencer and Eliana Pintor Marin.

The first bill (A-­­­679/2186), sponsored by Cryan, Benson, Singleton, Lampitt and Riley, 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 school 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.

Assembly Panel OKs Lampitt Bill to Ensure Newborns are Covered Under Parents Insurance During First Few Critical Months of Life

February 25, 2014

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt to ensure newborns are covered under their parents insurance during the first few critical months of life was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

The bill (A-2682) would extend the time period in which newborn children are covered under their parent's health benefits coverage from the current 30 days to 90 days.

"With all that's going on when a child is first born, the 30-day deadline can be problematic for some parents to meet and may cause unnecessary stress," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This bill will provide a longer period of time for children to be covered under their parents' health coverage in order to ensure that children have access to adequate health care during the critical first few months of life."

Current law limits the coverage of newly born children to 30 days from their birth. At the conclusion of 30 days, the child would be without coverage, unless parents enroll the child in a private health benefits coverage policy or in a state or federal program, such as FamilyCare.

Lampitt's bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee, which she chairs.

Assembly Panel Approves Democratic Measure to Strengthen New Jersey Families by Increasing Parental Involvement

February 24, 2014

An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Pamela Lampitt, Gary Schaer and Benjie Wimberly to develop a "Responsible Fatherhood Initiative" in New Jersey geared towards strengthening the development of children throughout the state by promoting the positive involvement of both parents in their lives.

"There are many different factors that might inhibit a father's involvement in their children's life," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Whether it's a strain in the relationship with a child's mother, somebody who never had a positive male role model in their life as a child, or simply somebody who hasn't learned to take responsibility, the goal of this initiative is to promote positive interactions between fathers and their children and identify obstacles that impede or prevent their involvement in the lives of their children.

The bill (A-945) would establish a 21-member New Jersey Council on Responsible Fatherhood in the Department of Children and Families in order to promote the participation of both parents in the lives of their children, identify needs and priorities relating to fatherhood programs in the state, and support the contributions each parent brings to the family unit.

Oliver, Watson Coleman, Quijano & Lampitt Bill to Safeguard Distribution of Sandy Recovery Funds OKd by Assembly Panel

February 24, 2014

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Sheila Oliver, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Annette Quijano and Pamela Lampitt to create better oversight to safeguard the distribution of Hurricane Sandy recovery funds was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

"There have been questions raised about how effectively recovery funding has been used," said Oliver (D-Essex). "Residents devastated by Sandy should be able to trust that funds slated for recovery are being used properly. This bill adds greater transparency to the process and ensures that recovery funding is administered adequately and in the best interest of those affected by the storm."

"According to the Fair Share Housing Center, African-American and Latino families affected by the storm have been disproportionately denied relief distribution. This is a serious problem," said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "We must ensure that all residents affected by Sandy are getting the assistance they need. This bill provides the proper oversight necessary to ensure this is done."

The bill (A-2293) would require the State Treasurer to issue New Jersey's Comprehensive Hurricane Sandy Recovery Funding Report. The report must address:

-the amount and manner of recovery funding receipt;
-the processes by which recovery funding is distributed;
-operating plans for recovery funding projects and administration;
-the award of state grants or contracts using recovery funding;
-analysis of whether recovery funding is achieving its objectives;

Assembly Bill to Reduce Foreclosures, Help Families Stay in their Homes Advanced by Assembly Panel

February 21, 2014

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Jerry Green, Wayne DeAngelo, Shavonda Sumter and Pamela Lampitt to create a pilot program to help distressed New Jersey homeowners stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

"Behind every financially-troubled home is a family working feverishly to stay afloat," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "This pilot program would help these homeowners be able to afford to stay in their homes without encouraging homeowners who are current on their mortgages to default, reducing the foreclosures and short sales that are stifling the recovery of the housing sector."

The bill (A-955) would establish the "Mortgage Assistance Pilot Program" in the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJ HMFA). The three-year pilot program would allow homeowners, who have negative home equity and who are in default on an agency owned mortgage, to lower their principal balances by transferring shares of equity in the mortgaged property to the agency.

The sponsors noted that New Jersey's foreclosure inventory is still the second highest in the nation, and we are one of the few states in the nation where the foreclosure percentage rose over the past year.