Government

Governor Signs Muñoz Bill to Further Protect Domestic Violence Victims

TRENTON, N.J. – Domestic violence victims will be afforded another layer of protection under legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz and signed today by the governor.

 

The bill (S-2483/A-4126) prevents a person convicted of a domestic violence crime or who is under a domestic violence restraining order from possessing or purchasing firearms and requires the immediate surrender of any firearms along with purchaser identification cards and handgun permits.

 

“For far too long innocent domestic violence victims lived in fear of their abusers who often made threats and ignored court orders, but it’s a new day in New Jersey,” said Muñoz (R-Union). “Such offenders will now face severe consequences for their actions. Disarming them will give their victims additional protections and peace of mind.”

 

The measure also requires stringent mandatory minimum prison terms, including parole ineligibility based on the crime’s severity for offenders who commit physically violent acts.

 

 

Assembly Advances Muñoz Bill Keeping Sexual Assault & Stalking Victims’ Home Addresses Private

Legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors that keeps the home addresses of sexual assault and stalking victims shielded from their assailants was advanced today by the General Assembly.

“Individuals who have been traumatized by sexual assault or stalking live in constant fear of their assailants,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “No one should ever have to fear for their lives or their children’s well-being while living in their own home. This measure will help protect their identity and keep their actual address private.”

The bill (A-3809) expands the state’s Address Confidentiality Program. It was enacted in 1998 to keep the actual address of domestic violence victims confidential on public documents and prevent their assailants from finding them. The program forwards the participant’s mail to their actual address, which remains available only to employees of the program and to law enforcement. It is run through the Division on Women in the Department of Children and Families.

Of the 35 states that have similar programs, 30 protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and 28 states also protect stalking victims.

“Expanding this program can offer many more victims some peace of mind so that their home is a safer place,” said Muñoz.

Muñoz is also the sponsor of the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015,” which allows victims to obtain protection without filing criminal charges. That legislation was signed into law by Gov. Christie in November.

 

 

 

 

 

Angelini-Muñoz Bill Preventing Teen Cough Medicine Abuse Signed into Law

Efforts to combat drug abuse by adolescents received important support today as Gov. Christie signed legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Mary Pat Angelini and Nancy F. Muñoz prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter medications containing dextromethorphan to persons under the age of 18.

Dextromethorphan, commonly known as DXM, is an over-the-counter ingredient found in more than 120 cough and combination cold medicines, including Nyquil, Robitussin, Coricidin, Delsym, Zicam, Theraflu, and Vick’s Formula 44. It can cause hallucinations, seizures and death when taken in large quantities.

“DXM is affordable, easy accessible and legal. Unfortunately, that’s a combination which makes it appealing to teenagers who are taking increased doses to get high,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth. “Using products with DXM to get high is more popular among this age group than cocaine, ecstasy, LDS and meth. Like alcohol, tobacco and pseudoephedrine, we need to make DXM more difficult for youngsters to obtain. That’s the goal of this law, but parents also need to be aware of this very serious health issue.”

“Since DXM is legal, many teens believe it’s less dangerous than illegal drugs. It’s not,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Taken in large doses, it can cause hallucinations and loss of motor control. It’s often combined with other ingredients like antihistamines and decongestants. High doses of these combined meds can cause fatal liver injury and cardiovascular problems.

“If they aren’t already doing so, parents should pay attention to what’s in their medicine cabinets and who is using what drugs,” she continued.

The bill, A-622,1469/S-2436,  also requires the Department of Health to post a link on its website containing a list of products in which dextromethorphan is an active ingredient.

Christie Signs Muñoz ALS Awareness Bill into Law

A resolution sponsored by Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz to increase public awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” was signed into today by Gov. Christie. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

“ALS takes a physical and emotional toll on those who suffer from the disease and their families,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “While there still is no cure, people who are diagnosed today need to know that recent advancements in research and improved medical care allows many patients to live longer, more productive lives.

“Many may recall the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which helped bring an enormous amount of attention to this debilitating disease,” she continued. “However, the novelty of the campaign has faded. That’s why we need to make sure we continue our efforts to educate the public about ALS.”

Muñoz’s resolution, AJR-67, designates the third Wednesday in May as ALS Awareness Day, and the month of May as ALS Awareness Month in New Jersey. The annual Walk to Defeat ALS, the ALS Association’s national signature event, will be held at various locations in the state during the month of May.

Muñoz Bill Makiing Animal Fighting a Crime Now Law

TRENTON, N.J.  – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz that revises and expands the state’s animal cruelty laws to criminalize animal fighting was signed in law on Monday. The bill increases the level of crime for certain offenses, establishes new criminal and civil offenses and increases criminal and civil penalties.

“Training, promoting and selling animals for the purpose of fighting for amusement or financial gain is despicable and extremely inhumane,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “The injuries inflicted on these poor animals, especially dogs, are very severe, if not fatal. Those that lose the fight but survive are either tortured to death by their owners or left with debilitating injuries.

Specifically, the measure, A-3037/2547/3596/2422/S-736, criminalizes animal fighting and leading an animal fighting network. The latter will be considered “racketeering activity” under the state’s anti-racketeering law.

“Animal fighting, in particular, dog fighting is a secret, underground activity, but it happens everywhere in towns all over New Jersey,” she continued. “It’s a highly profitable, sadistic blood sport and anyone who operates, promotes or in any way participates in this activity should be justly punished.”

Under the bill, assets or property used in animal fighting activities will be seized or forfeited.

 

 

 

 

 

MUÑOZ LAUDS COMPTROLLER’S REPORT ON WASTE AT UNION COUNTY NON-PROFIT

Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz commended the Office of the State Comptroller today for uncovering the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars by Union County to a non-profit agency.

The comptroller issued a report showing the county issued no-bid contracts to the Union County Alliance (UCA) between 2008 and 2011. The county gave UCA $1.5 million over a four-year period to market economic development. The only material produced by UCA was the publication of a newsletter that was issued twice a year. Previously, the newsletter had been published by the county.

“Union County taxpayers are picking up an expensive tab and getting little in return,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “The comptroller did a lot of digging and research to find the lack of accountability and oversight that exists. Homeowners and families are challenged each day to ensure they receive the services they pay for. The county must implement the best practice recommendations made by the comptroller to improve transparency and save wasted tax dollars.

“More oversight is needed to make certain competitive bidding for contracts is open and fair,” continued Muñoz. “Union County residents pay more than their fair share in property taxes. They are entitled to know that expenditures are made prudently and are justified.”

MUÑOZ BILL TO ALLEVIATE CHRONIC FLOODING WINS ASSEMBLY APPROVAL

Legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors that will help reduce flooding in many of the state’s flood-prone areas by making it easier for local officials to clean streams won unanimous approval today from the General Assembly.

“Residents in numerous towns in Union, Morris and Somerset counties and throughout the state live under the constant threat of flooding every time we have a major storm,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Removing accumulated sediments, debris, garbage and vegetation from streams helps reduce flooding risks in our communities which can be devastating and costly. Restrictions on sediment removal in current law make stream cleaning difficult for local officials yet it is vital to keeping our waterways flowing which helps prevent flooding.”

The bill, A-3507, allows municipalities and counties to de-snag more streams by increasing the number of streams eligible for cleaning without obtaining a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permit. Under current law, only stream beds 15 feet or less in width may be cleaned without DEP approval. Muñoz’s bill increases the width to 30 feet.

CASAGRANDE-MUÑOZ LAUD ASSEMBLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN COMMITTEE FOR ACTION ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

With domestic violence at the forefront of public concern, Assembly Republicans Caroline Casagrande and Nancy F. Muñoz lauded the action taken today by the Assembly Women and Children Committee which released a package of bills addressing the problem. Both Republican legislators are members of the committee.
The 5-bill package requires counseling for domestic violence offenders; establishes the justification of self-defense by victims; creates a program to assist victims reintegrate into society; and permits a witness under age 16 to testify by closed circuit television in domestic crime prosecutions.

“We heard testimony from people on the front lines of domestic violence that the Ray Rice case wasn’t rare,” said Casagrande, R-Monmouth. “Even though common sense dictates that knocking someone unconscious is an attempt to cause serious bodily injury, these charges are frequently downgraded. There is clearly a disconnect between the legislative intent regarding domestic violence and how the law is applied in the courtroom. Reducing charges that allow a violent act to go unpunished trivializes the seriousness of this crime.”

“Physical assault is an act of violence,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “The recent event regarding Ray Rice and his then fiancé brings this important issue to the forefront. The Legislature is committed to protecting the public from violent acts. Today’s bill package addresses the victims’ needs, and we must also make clear there is an intent to punish those guilty of committing this heinous crime.”

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.”