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Combating Mold Hazards, Protections for Medical Marijuana Patients, Tougher Penalties for Repeat Drunk Drivers Also on Tap

Death with Dignity Act, Sandy Relief Money Oversight, Banning Payment Card Surcharges, Restoring Tax Credit for Working Poor & More Job Creation Measures Highlight Thursday Assembly Agendas
Combating Mold Hazards, Protections for Medical Marijuana Patients, Tougher Penalties for Repeat Drunk Drivers Also on Tap


Asking voters whether to permit terminally ill patients to self-administer medication to end their life in a humane and dignified manner, oversight for Sandy relief money, banning retailers from imposing payment card surcharges, more job creation measures, restoring a tax credit for the working poor slashed by Gov. Christie, protections for medical marijuana patients, combating residential mold hazards and tougher penalties for repeat drunk driving offenders top Thursday’s Assembly agenda.
The hearings are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Audio of them will be streamed live at:
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp.
The agenda can be viewed at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/legcal.asp.

Highlights include:
• The Death with Dignity Act (A-3328) sponsored by John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) and Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) to ask voters whether to permit terminally ill patients to self-administer medication to end their life in a humane and dignified manner. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.
• Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto has invited state Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff to inform the committee on the expected impact of the federal Hurricane Sandy Relief Package. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m.
• Two bills (A-60/61) sponsored by Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) to create monitors and oversight to oversee the spending of Sandy relief money to ensure it’s allocated properly. The bills will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Budget Committee.
• Legislation (A-3743/3758) to ban retailers from imposing a surcharge on the cost of a purchase when a customer uses a payment card. Beginning Jan. 27, merchants were permitted to impose a surcharge on consumers when they use a credit card. Historically credit card companies have not permitted retailer surcharging, but allowing surcharging was a key provision required by merchants to settle long-standing litigation brought by a class of retailers in 2005. This bill would mirror the action taken in 10 other states to ban the surcharges. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. It’s sponsored by Vincent Prieto and Angelica Jimenez (D-Hudson/Bergen), Connie Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic), Gary Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic), Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex) and Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex).
• Legislation (A-3793) to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor slashed by Gov. Christie in 2010. It’s sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) and will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Budget Committee.
• More job creation measures as part of the continued Assembly Democratic effort to spark economic development and hiring. The bills (A-3795 and A3794) create a small business loan program and establish a special commission to ensure New Jersey’s schools and universities are meeting the needs of tomorrow’s employers. They’ll be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Budget Committee and are sponsored by Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace (both D-Bergen/Passaic), Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex), Gabriela Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) and Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex).
• A bill (A-765) sponsored by Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex), Annette Quijano (D-Union) and Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) to make clear that a patient’s use of medical marijuana is to be considered equivalent to the use of any other prescribed medication. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly health panel.
• The Assembly Appropriations Committee will meet at 2 p.m. to consider legislation (A-1588) requiring the state to establish mold hazard standards for residential buildings and certify programs for mold inspection and abatement. It’s sponsored by Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex), Celeste Riley (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) and Connie Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic).
• A bill (A-3057) to criminalize repeat drunk driving offenses. It’s sponsored by Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam (both D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland), Charles Mainor (D-Hudson) and John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). The bill comes after a Vineland man has racked up five drunken driving offenses in just over a month. The bill will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• Legislation sponsored by Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace (both D-Bergen/Passaic) to help protect the public from flooding and facilitate smart development. The legislation (A-3262) would require the Department of Environmental Protection to quickly evaluate any newly released FEMA floodway delineations in order to allow permit applicants to apply for a permit using the federal floodway delineation when it is at least as protective as the DEP’s delineation. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• A measure (A-3132) to create a bill of rights for continuing care retirement community residents. It’s sponsored by Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen) and will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly health committee.
• A bill (A-3251) to allow pharmacists to give vaccines to children 14 years of age or older. It’s sponsored by Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hudson) and will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly health committee.
• A measure (A-3272) sponsored by Jason O’Donnell (D-Hudson), Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) and Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) to provide newborn screening for adrenoleukodystrophy, a rare inherited disorder that can lead to brain and adrenal gland damage. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly health panel.
• Legislation (A-953) sponsored by Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) to authorize colleges and universities to grant college credit to high school students who complete the Jersey Boys State or Jersey Girls State program. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Higher Education Committee.
• A bill (A-3216) sponsored by Joe Cryan and Annette Quijano (both D-Union) and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hudson) to require colleges and universities to provide prospective students with cost, loan and debt information in a financial aid shopping sheet. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Higher Education Committee.
• A bill (A-3726) sponsored by Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex) and Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) to repeal outdated provisions from state law, such as laws regulating trespassing rams. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.
• A measure (A-748) sponsored by Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex), Linda Stender (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset), Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex) and Celeste Riley (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) to direct the state to forgive student loans in the event of a borrower’s death. It’s to be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• A bill (A-1657) to help sexual violence victims by requiring mandatory sexual violence training for law enforcement, judicial and prosecutorial personnel. It’s sponsored by Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) and will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• A measure (A-1898) to extend burial of indigent veterans to those who did not serve in time of war. It’s sponsored by Matt Milam (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• A bill (A-3090) sponsored by Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) to revise the state’s farmland assessment program to better ensure only actual farmers receive its benefits. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• An innovative measure (A-3289) sponsored by Angel Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Albert Coutinho (D-Essex) to create a five-year pilot program that allows private entities to fund public policy initiatives through pay-for-success contracts, or social impact bonds. The bill will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• Legislation (A-3598) sponsored by Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), Angel Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington) that would help individuals charged with petty or disorderly offenses avoid jail time by creating an alternative to typical prosecution. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• Legislation (A-3066) sponsored by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) and Albert Coutinho (D-Essex) to increase the amount of compensation awarded to those who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned and provide for additional services for such persons. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• A bill (A-1996) sponsored by John McKeon (D-Essex/Morris), Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex), Herb Conaway M.D. (D-Burlington) and Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex) to permit the NJEDA to grant low-interest loans to developers building a high-performance green building. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
• A bill (A-3072) sponsored by Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) to make it easier for local governments to require care and upkeep of vacant properties. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
• A bill (A-3420) sponsored by Matt Milam and Nelson Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) to require property tax bills to contain information detailing state tax relief programs. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
• A bill (A-2061) sponsored by Wayne DeAngelo and Daniel R. Benson (both D-Mercer/Middlesex) to encourage nursing schools to give academic credit to students for training received in the U.S. military as corpsmen and medics. It will be heard at 1 p.m. by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.

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