Press Releases

Diegnan, Lampitt & Voss Push to Ensure Students Know NJ STARS Eligibility Advanced by Senate Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly members Patrick Diegnan, Pamela R. Lampitt and Joan Voss are sponsoring legislation to ensure high school juniors and seniors are aware that they could be in line for a NJ STARS full-tuition scholarship has been advanced by a Senate panel.

The New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS) program provides full-tuition county college scholarships to students who graduate in the top 15 percent of their high school class.

“No high school student should be left unaware that they could qualify for NJ STARS,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex), the Assembly Higher Education Committee chairman. “NJ STARS is allowing thousands of deserving students who might not have had the means to attend college to work towards a degree that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Every student who has a chance at the same success should know they, too, could have the same opportunity.”

“The potential for a NJ STARS scholarship must be part of the basic conversation kids and parents have when preparing to look at colleges,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “Knowing that a tuition-free degree could be theirs could be the carrot some students need to push themselves a little harder.”

Scalera & Lampitt Bill to Require School Security Improvements Receives Final Legislative Approval

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly members Fred Scalera and Pamela Lampitt sponsored to require school security drills to improve emergency preparedness received final legislative approval 39-0 Thursday by the Senate.

State law requires most public schools to conduct two fire drills per month, but their bill (A-3002) aims to improve readiness at public and private schools by requiring one monthly fire drill and one monthly security drill.

A security drill would practice procedures that respond to emergencies such as a lockdown or an active shooter.

“Many schools haven’t practiced their security plans because there’s no law to require them to do so,” said Scalera, (D-Bergen, Essex, Passaic) chairman of the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. “That’s a problem. History has taught us that school security drills can be vitally important and lifesaving.”

The bill would direct the Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, in consultation with state education, fire safety, emergency management, state police and attorney general’s office officials to develop and disseminate curriculum to each school district and nonpublic school to help them prepare and conduct school security drills.

“The curriculum will educate school employees on proper procedures in a variety of emergency situations, such as bomb threats and active shooter situations,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “No matter how much we hope the worst will never happen, we need to be prepared. This is information that could one day save lives.”

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Assembly Democratic Bill to Create 'Silver Alert' System for Missing Vulnerable Receives Final Approval

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by six Assembly Democrats to make New Jersey the 11th state with a “Silver Alert” system to notify the public about missing persons, of all ages, who are believed to be suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairments was approved 39-0 Thursday by the Senate.

The bill now goes to the Governor.

The plan is based on the “Amber Alert” system used by state police to locate missing children.

The measure is sponsored by Assembly members Wayne DeAngelo, Sandi Love, Paul Moriarty, Pamela R. Lampitt, Cary Rodriquez and Elease Evans.

“Unfortunately, it’s common for an elderly loved one suffering from dementia and other ailments to wander,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This can be dangerous and even life-threatening for our loved ones and stressful for caregivers and family. This new system would be a common sense step toward protecting those who deserve our best, the elderly.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 60 percent of those with dementia will wander at some point.

Under the legislation (A-2844), the emergency alert plan would be a voluntary, cooperative effort between state and local law enforcement agencies and the broadcast media. Upon notice by the state police, broadcast media would transmit an emergency alert to inform the public of the disappearance of an elderly person or a younger person suffering from a cognitive impairment such as autism.

Love/Lampitt/Wagner/Evans Bill to Regulate Credit Card Solicitation on Campuses Signed By Governor

Law Requires Credit Card Companies to Register with Colleges & Students to Complete Education Courses Before Credit Cards Could be Issued

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assemblywomen Sandi Love, Pamela R. Lampitt, Connie Wagner and Elease Evans sponsored to regulate how credit card companies solicit new customers on college campuses was signed into law Friday by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

“When used properly, credit cards can be a great financial tool,” said Love (D-Camden). “Unfortunately, many college students do not understand how credit works and wind up getting themselves and their parents into financial trouble by spending more than they can possibly pay.”

According to a 2004 study conducted by Nellie Mae, a national student loan company, nearly 76 percent of college students hold at least one credit card. The study found that credit card possession and credit card usage drastically increases as students progress through college. Fifty-six percent of seniors reported that they possessed four or more cards and carry an average total debt of $2,864.

“Casual, uninformed use of credit can have long-lasting financial implications,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “Requiring credit card companies to ensure that college students understand how credit works before they apply for a credit card will go a long way toward making New Jersey undergraduates more savvy consumers.”

Oliver/Lampitt/Greenwald/Love/Cruz-Perez Bill Requiring State to Report Assaults & Deaths at State Psychiatric Hospitals Signed

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Sheila Y. Oliver, Pamela R. Lampitt, Louis D. Greenwald, Sandi Love and Nilsa Cruz-Perez to require the state to publicly report assaults and deaths at state psychiatric hospitals has been signed into law by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

The law (A-2949) is a direct response to delays in the release of statistics on assaults at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Camden County.

Lawmakers had requested the information following several high-profile incidents at the hospital, including a patient escape and several deaths.

“The well-being of patients at state-operated hospitals should never be in doubt and breaches in the safety net cannot be hidden from view,” said Oliver (D-Essex). “Any violent incident at a state hospital must be made part of the public record so health officials and legislators can take appropriate and immediate action.”

The law requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish a system for reporting the number of physical assaults and unexpected deaths that occur at the state’s psychiatric hospitals: Ancora, Ann Klein Forensic Center, Greystone Park Psychiatric Center, Senator Garret W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Center and Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.

The report will be a public record, posted on the official DHS website and updated quarterly, but will not contain identifying information about patients or staff members.