GOVERNOR’S STATEMENT UPON SIGNING ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 1676

Governor Chris Christie released the following statement upon signing of Assembly Bill 1676, bi-partisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union. A-1676 provides that crime victims do not have to pay fees to obtain records relating to the crime; and that requests for such records are not public information.

“Assembly Bill No. 1676 (First Reprint), which I have signed today, provides that crime victims shall not be charged fees to obtain copies of the victims’ own records to which the victim is entitled to access under the Open Public Records Act. Those records include, but are not limited to, any law enforcement agency report, domestic violence offense report, and any temporary or permanent restraining order. The bill also provides that such record requests are not themselves subject to disclosure under the Open Public Records Act.

This bill continues New Jersey’s strong policy of assisting victims of crimes by not charging them fees for access to their own records. Moreover, as the Superior Court of New Jersey has already recognized, disclosure of any person’s Open Public Records Act requests implicates privacy, confidentiality, and competitive advantage concerns. Because   disclosure of crime victims’ record requests raises the additional concern of their physical safety, the bill makes explicit for crime victims the previously established general policy that record requests made under the Open Public Records Act are not subject to disclosure.”

Muñoz Statement on Passing of Union County Sheriff Froehlich

Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, expressed her sympathies on the passing of Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, who passed away Sunday night:

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, who spent over 50 years dedicated to protecting the people of Union County. His commitment to public service is greatly appreciated and he will be truly missed. I offer my condolences to his family.”

Muñoz: Raising Taxes on Job Creators Defies Logic

Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Somerset and Morris, issued the following statement regarding the Senate Democrat’s FY15 budget proposal which calls for $1.6 billion in income and business tax increases:

“The Democrats’ claims that our economy is failing are simply not true. The numbers out today show New Jersey’s unemployment rate continues to decrease. We have created more than 129,000 jobs under this governor’s leadership and our business climate continues to improve.” 

“Raising taxes now would be catastrophic. It defies logic to increase taxes on  the very people who create jobs.  Increasing taxes is not fiscally responsible and these proposed tax increases will lead to people and businesses fleeing New Jersey. This budget proposal is nothing more than a cheap, political ploy that instills class warfare and will decimate our business community after we have made steady progress.”

MUÑOZ BILL THAT ADDRESSES HEROIN CRISIS ADVANCES

The Assembly Judiciary Committee has unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Deputy Republican Leader Nancy Muñoz to combat the heroin epidemic facing New Jersey.

The bill, A-783/A-2831, implements a recommendation from the July 2013 report from the State Commission on Investigation titled “Scenes from an Epidemic: A Report on the SCI’s Investigation of Prescription Pill and Heroin Abuse.” It increases the penalties for manufacturing, distributing, and dispensing heroin by reducing the amount of heroin necessary to be charged for first, second and third-degree offenses.“It’s a frightening epidemic that crosses racial, geographic and socioeconomic lines,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “We need to give law enforcement officials the tools they need to prosecute criminals who are spreading heroin in our local communities.”

A report released in April by the Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by New Jersey’s Youth and Young Adults identified heroin abuse as “the number one health care crisis” confronting the state.

“Heroin is a cheaper but more potent alternative that drug dealers are using to meet the growing demand for opiates and avoid the more serious criminal penalties,” said Muñoz. “If we are going rid our communities of heroin abuse, it’s time we make the punishment fit the crime.”

Current law measures the seriousness of the crime by the weight of the controlled substances involved. Equivalent weights or quantities of heroin and cocaine are treated identically under the law, which ignores the difference between how those two drugs are used. The amounts of heroin consumed by an average user and carried by an average dealer are far lower than those involving cocaine.

Under the bill, the threshold for a first-degree offense would be lowered from five ounces to 2.5 ounces or more of heroin. It carries a prison term of 10 to 20 years, up to a $500,000 fine, or both. In addition, a mandatory minimum term may be imposed, fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed with no eligibility for parole.

For a second-degree offense the threshold quantity would be reduced to 0.17 ounces or more, but less than 2.5 ounces of heroin. It is punishable by imprisonment for five to 10 years, up to a $150,000 fine, or both.

A third-degree offense would require a threshold quantity of less than 0.17 ounces and is punishable by three to five years in prison, up to a $75,000 fine, or both.

MUÑOZ ON “JESSICA LUNSFORD ACT” BILL SIGNING: IT WAS WORTH THE EFFORT

Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz said the hard work and perseverance was all worth the effort at today’s ceremony where Gov. Christie signed legislation known as the “Jessica Lunsford Act” into law. The new law increases the criminal penalties on those who commit sex crimes against minors. Muñoz is the prime sponsor of the legislation which was initially introduced by her late husband, Assemblyman Eric Muñoz, nine years ago.

“The tragedy involving Jessica Lunsford shocked our country nine years ago,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “We sympathized with Mark Lunsford and his family over their loss. This heinous act, committed in Florida, raised everyone’s awareness across the country and was a call to action. I am grateful to all those who supported and remained committed to seeing this legislation become law.

“I want to thank Governor Christie for his support and Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Prieto for their part in making the Jessica Lunsford Act law in New Jersey.”

 

mark lunsford gov christie

ASSEMBLY APPROVES MUÑOZ BILL TO REDUCE HOSPITAL RE-ADMISSIONS

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz that is designed to help reduce hospital re-admissions by having patients designate a caregiver for post hospital care was approved today by the General Assembly.

The bill, A-2955, requires hospitals to provide patients and their legal guardians with two opportunities to designate a caregiver within 24 hours following the patient’s admission into the hospital and prior to the patient’s discharge or transfer to another facility.

“As a nation, we are spending $17 billion in Medicare funds annually on unnecessary hospital re-admissions. Here in New Jersey, we have a surging population of older adults and others who have significant needs for long-term services and support that needs to be addressed,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “This measure will enhance patient care by enabling caregivers to provide better support to their loved ones at home and avoid costly hospital readmissions.”

According to the AARP:

• 69 percent of care recipients did not have a home visit by a health care professional after discharge from the hospital;

• 46 percent of family caregivers perform medical/nursing tasks for loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions; and

• Most family caregivers report that they received little or no training to perform their tasks.

Under the bill, caregivers will receive training regarding the patient’s follow up treatment, including instructions in all after-care assistance tasks described in the hospital’s discharge plan, such as a live or recorded demonstration of the tasks performed by an authorized hospital employee, an opportunity for the caregiver to ask questions about the tasks, and answers to those questions.

MUÑOZ-SPONSORED “JESSICA LUNSFORD ACT” SIGNED INTO LAW

Gov. Christie signed legislation today known as the “Jessica Lunsford Act” which increases the criminal penalties on those who commit sex crimes against minors. Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, is the prime sponsor of the legislation.

“It was a long-time in coming, but  we  persevered and worked in a bipartisan fashion to get to this important day. I am grateful to all those who support the effort to increase the penalties on pedophiles who prey on society’s most vulnerable and innocent victims – our children,” said Muñoz. “Such a heinous act inflicts tremendous damage on their physical, psychological and emotional state. It takes a toll on their families and loved ones as well. This law now sends a message of how much we value young people and that such despicable behavior will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”

The bill, A-892, establishes a sentence of between 25 years and life imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. The bill also establishes a period of parole ineligibility of at least 25 years for a person convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. In addition, if a victim is unable to testify at trial, a prosecutor would be permitted to negotiate a plea agreement for a prison term of at least 15 years without parole.

Muñoz’ Assembly colleagues, Jerry Green, Mary Pat Angelini and Alison McHose are the other primary sponsors of the legislation as well as 45 additional co-sponsors in the Assembly.

MUÑOZ NAMED AMONG TOP 50 IN 2014 HEALTHCARE POWER LIST

Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, was named today by PolitickerNJ among the top 50 in its Special Healthcare Power List. The list ranks the power brokers who help influence and impact New Jersey’s medical field. Muñoz is one of four Assembly members named to the list.

Muñoz, who is a member of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee and Women and Children Committee, is the sponsor of the “Higher Education Epinephrine Emergency Treatment Act,” which allows colleges and universities to develop a policy for the emergency administration of epinephrine to a member of their campus community to treat an anaphylaxis attack.“I am especially honored by this recognition,” said Muñoz, who is a Clinical Nurse Specialist. “I have dedicated most of my life to ensuring patients are treated with the dignity and compassion they deserve. As a legislator, I am fortunate to have input into public policies which affect the healthcare field and am proud to be named with my other legislative colleagues to this prestigious list.”

She also sponsors legislation that provides for the training of emergency medical technicians to administer an antidote in cases of opioid overdoses; allows for the screening of newborn infants for genetic mutations associated with hereditary hemochromatosis; prohibits the sale of products containing dextromethorphan to minors; and permits attending advanced practice nurses to determine the cause of death and execute a death certification of patient if the nurse is the patient’s primary caregiver.

MUÑOZ-SPONSORED “JESSICA LUNSFORD ACT” APPROVED BY SENATE

The State Senate approved bipartisan legislation today known as the “Jessica Lunsford Act” which increases the criminal penalties on those who commit sex crimes against minors. Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, is the prime sponsor of the legislation.

“I am grateful to all those who support the effort to increase the penalties on pedophiles who prey on society’s most vulnerable and innocent victims – our children,” said Muñoz. “Such a heinous act inflicts tremendous damage on their physical, psychological and emotional state. It takes a toll on their families and loved ones as well. This law sends a message of how much we value young people and that such despicable behavior will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”

The bill, A-892/S-215, establishes a sentence of between 25 years and life imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. The bill also establishes a period of parole ineligibility of at least 25 years for a person convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. In addition, if a victim is unable to testify at trial, a prosecutor would be permitted to negotiate a plea agreement for a prison term of at least 15 years without parole.

Muñoz’ Assembly colleagues, Jerry Green, Mary Pat Angelini and Alison McHose are the other primary sponsors of the legislation as well as 45 additional co-sponsors in the Assembly.

The bill now goes to Gov. Christie for his consideration.

MUÑOZ-SPONSORED “JESSICA LUNSFORD ACT” APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY

The General Assembly today approved bipartisan legislation known as the “Jessica Lunsford Act” which increases the criminal penalties on those who commit sex crimes against minors.

The bill, A-892, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz, and establishes a sentence of between 25 years and life imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. The bill also establishes a period of parole ineligibility of at least 25 years for a person convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. In addition, if a victim is unable to testify at trial, a prosecutor would be permitted to negotiate a plea agreement for a prison term of at least 15 years without parole.

“Pedophiles who display such aberrant behavior and prey on innocent victims will now face stronger penalties that protect the most vulnerable in our society – our children,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Such a heinous act robs our youth of their innocence and has a tremendous impact on their physical, psychological and emotional state. It also takes a toll on their families and loved ones as well. These unspeakable acts must result in severe punishment that sends a message of how much we value young people and will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”

The legislation was initially sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Muñoz in 2005 and has received committee approvals in prior legislative sessions. It finally received unanimous approval by the General Assembly in Feb. 2013.
After Assemblyman Muñoz passed away in March 2009, he was succeeded by his wife, Nancy F. Muñoz, who has been the primary sponsor of the legislation ever since, including the current bill.

“My husband was intent on passing this important legislation and I am proud to continue the effort,” stated Muñoz. “The support and perseverance of all the sponsors is testimony to the importance of the Jessica Lunsford Act.”

This bill is named after Jessica Lunsford, who was a nine-year-old Florida resident and was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender, John Couey. Couey received the death penalty in August 2007, but died in federal prison in September 2009. Monday, Feb. 24 was the ninth anniversary of Jessica’s kidnapping.

Eric Muñoz introduced the original bill after learning the details of Jessica Lunsford’s death and he invited Mr. Lunsford to New Jersey in 2005 to advocate for the legislation. Assemblywoman Muñoz met with Mr. Lunsford in New Jersey in March 2011 and June 2012 to again speak about his support for the “Jessica Lunsford Act.” Lunsford has been an ardent supporter of the “Jessica Lunsford Act” across the country and is working with federal lawmakers on a national “Jessica Lunsford Act.”

Muñoz’ Assembly colleagues, Jerry Green, Mary Pat Angelini and Alison McHose are other primary sponsors of the legislation as well as 41 additional co-sponsors.