Several Measures to Better Prepare New Jersey for Sandy-like Storms, Halfway House Task Force & Bedbug Eradication
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, March 04, 2013, 04:37 PM EST
Highlight Thursday Assembly Committee Hearings
Board of Public Utilities to Detail Storm Response Requirements;
Bills Deal with Gas Stations, Energy Infrastructure, Flood Damaged Vehicles & Insurance Costs
Autism Insurance Concerns, Higher Education Funding to be Discussed
Several bills to better prepare New Jersey for storms such as Hurricane Sandy highlight Thursday’s Assembly committee agendas, with bills focusing on gas stations sales, the state’s energy infrastructure, exorbitant insurance costs and flood damaged vehicles up for consideration.
Bills to combat bedbugs, improve security and inmate services at the state’s halfway houses, better protect crime witnesses and promote the federally funded health insurance exchange are also up for consideration.
Hearings are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and will be streamed live at:
• A bill (A-3549) sponsored by Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) to require the Division of Consumer Affairs to post information on a web site about gas station operations during emergencies. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the consumer affairs panel.
• Two bills (A-3610 and A-3632) to require disclosure of storm or flood damage in vehicle sales. The bills are sponsored by Joseph Cryan (D-Union), Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) and Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden) and will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.
• A bill (A-3519) sponsored by Jerry Green and Linda Stender (both D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset) to establish compensation limits for licensed public adjusters during emergencies. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.
• A measure (A-3535) sponsored by Wayne DeAngelo, Daniel R. Benson (both D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Marlene Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic) to establish an Energy Infrastructure Sandy Commission to better protect public utilities from storms such as Sandy. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.
• A bill (A-3654) sponsored by Joseph Cryan (D-Union) and Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex) to require electric public utilities to communicate regularly with county and local officials responsible for tree management to ensure utility lines are better protected from storm damage. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.
• The Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee at 10 a.m. will hear from the Board of Public Utilities on the 100 storm response measures utilities must now take following Sandy.
• The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee at 10 a.m. will receive testimony on various issues concerning health benefits coverage for the treatment of autism. The committee will receive testimony from the Department of Banking and Insurance, the Division of Pension and Benefits,organizations involved in providing health insurance in the state and other invited guests. Interested members of the public are also welcome to testify.
• The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee at 10 a.m. will hear testimony regarding the charging of interchange fees by financial institutions processing credit and debit transactions.
• The Assembly Higher Education Committee at 10:30 a.m. will receive testimony from invited guests on performance-based funding for public institutions of higher education.
• Legislation (A-3503) to establish a task force to review the state’s halfway houses and make recommendations concerning security and inmate services. The bill will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is sponsored by Nelson Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland), Joseph Cryan (D-Union), Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex), Whip Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester), Charles Mainor (D-Hudson) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer).
• Legislation (A-603) sponsored by Grace Spencer (D-Essex) and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hudson) to establish procedures to prevent and eradicate bedbug infestations in apartment buildings. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
• Legislation requiring insurance coverage for off-label uses of certain drugs, in particular for those suffering from a terminal or chronically debilitating illness (A-1830). It’s to be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is sponsored by Herb Conaway M.D. (D-Burlington), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hudson).
• Legislation (A-2753) sponsored by Daniel R. Benson and Wayne DeAngelo (both D-Mercer/Middlesex) that would require certain energy tax receipts currently collected by the state be paid directly to municipalities for property tax relief. The intent of the bill is to ensure towns are able to collect the amounts of energy tax receipts that they were originally promised when the state revised the collection and distribution process in 1997. Energy tax receipts are collected from utilities and energy companies. The bill will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• A bill (A-3692) to require notification to crime witnesses of a defendant’s release from custody. It’s sponsored by John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), Nelson Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) and Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex) and will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• Legislation (A-3708) sponsored by Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex) and Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) to establish a pilot program that would give the Attorney General the authority to perform internal affairs functions. The sponsors note the bill was proposed in response to the allegations of misconduct in Edison Police Department’s internal affairs unit late last year. It will be heard at 2 p.m. by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
• A bill (A-3878) sponsored by Herb Conaway M.D. (D-Burlington) to require the state to establish a public awareness campaign about the new federally funded health insurance exchange. It will be heard at 10 a.m. by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.