Press Releases

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.

Assembly Bill Designating February as 'Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month' Now Law

January 30, 2014

(TRENTON) -- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John F. McKeon, Pamela R. Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Benjie E. Wimberly, which designates February as 'Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month' in New Jersey is now state law.

One in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds other types of violence affecting young adults. Nationwide, one in ten high school students has been deliberately hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend, and more than one in four teenagers have been in a relationship where a partner is verbally abusive.

"The prevalence of violence among our youth involved in dating is highly disturbing and can have serious negative repercussions on its victims including substance abuse, eating disorders and psychological and emotional trauma," McKeon (D-Essex\Morris) said.

"A recent White House report highlighted a stunning finding of the occurrence of rape on college campuses, with one in five female students being assaulted and one in eight victims reporting it. Teen violence is unacceptable and we need to stand up against it. The measure we sponsored will promote public awareness and help increase the prevention of violence in dating," he added.

Assembly Bill to Equip All New Police Cars in New Jersey with Cameras Gains Final Legislative Approval

January 13, 2014

(TRENTON) -- Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul D. Moriarty, Charles Mainor, Angel Fuentes, Gabriela Mosquera and Pamela Lampitt sponsored that would eventually equip all police cars in New Jersey with cameras received final legislative approval Monday by a vote of 54-17. The bill (A-4193) comes after Moriarty's own personal experience.

Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden) was charged with drunken driving and other charges in July 2012 in Washington Township, but Moriarty told police he had nothing to drink that day. Dashboard camera video from the officer's car showed Moriarty did not cut off the officer, as the officer claimed, and showed Moriarty passing sobriety tests without problem.

The charges against Moriarty were dismissed in early May, and the officer who filed the allegations has now been indicted on 14 criminal counts accusing him of making a false arrest of Moriarty and lying to support his claims.

"Having a visual record of a traffic stop provides the best evidence for police to use in court," Moriarty said. "The video doesn't lie. It doesn't forget what is said. It is impartial and may, in fact, help reduce protracted court cases and litigation. To not have a visual recorder in police cars used for traffic stops is like having an office desk without a computer."