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.

MUÑOZ BILL TRAINING EMT’S TO ADMINISTER ANTIDOTE FOR OPIOID OVERDOSE RELEASED BY COMMITTEE

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Nancy F. Muñoz that provides for the training of emergency medical technicians (EMT) to administer an antidote in cases of opioid overdoses was released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee today.

An opioid overdose is an acute condition due to excessive use of narcotics and is the leading cause of accidental death. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reports there was a 21 percent increase in overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers and a 45 percent increase in deaths involving heroin between 2006 and 2010.

“Many times, an EMT is the first person on the scene in an urgent situation,” said Muñoz. “Training them to administer the antidote, usually Naloxone, will save lives and prevent permanent physical or mental illness. Treating addiction is an ongoing challenge, whether it is from overdosing on prescribed medications or using illegal narcotics such as heroin.”

Muñoz said the training and certification requirement in the bill, A-2770, will clarify that EMT’s are protected by the Overdose Prevention Act passed last year that allows anyone to get Naloxone as long as they have a prescription from a doctor and received instruction on how to use it.

“Opiod overdoses can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to turn deadly. Every second counts reacting to this crisis,” stated Muñoz, who is a clinical nurse. “Training EMTs to administer this type of first aid can prevent unnecessary tragedies.”

Kean-Bramnick-Muñoz Announce School Aid for District 21

Sen. Tom Kean Jr. and Assembly members Jon Bramnick and Nancy Muñoz, all R-Union, Morris and Somerset, are pleased to announce that under Gov. Christie’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, District 21 schools are scheduled to receive a 2.3 percent increase in school aid compared to last year. Overall, the governor has budgeted $13 billion in total state aid for education which is the highest level in state history.

“With this school funding increase for our district, the governor has once again shown his commitment to improving public education,” Kean said. “We are lucky to live in a district with already outstanding schools that we know will use these added resources the right way for our students.”

“Investing in education is one of our most important priorities,” said Bramnick. “Many of the highest ranked schools are in District 21. I am pleased that Governor Christie remains committed to funding education that will allow our public schools to maintain their high standards of success.”

“It is great news that the children in our school districts will benefit from the increased educational funding,” said Muñoz. “Investing in our children’s future is one of our main responsibilities. The additional funding is welcome news and reaffirms our commitment to provide a quality education.”

MUÑOZ-SPONSORED “JESSICA LUNSFORD ACT” RELEASED BY COMMITTEE

The Assembly Judiciary Committee today released 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 prey on innocent victims will now face stronger penalties that will help protect the most vulnerable in our society – our children,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Robbing our youth of their innocence has a tremendous impact on their physical, psychological and emotional state, and takes a toll on their families and loved ones as well. This kind of larceny must result in severe punishment that sends a message of how much we value young people and that such detestable actions 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. Today is 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 40 additional co-sponsors.

MUÑOZ CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION ON SICK LEAVE PAYOUT REFORM FOLLOWING REPORT THAT SUSPENDED PATERSON POLICE OFFICER TO RECEIVE $70K UPON RETIREMENT

Citing a report today that a Paterson police officer on paid suspension for alleged sexual assault may cash in $70,000 worth of unused leave when he retires, Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz said there is no excuse for not ending such an egregious and costly practice.

“If this isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “This is everything that is wrong with the system. How many more outrageous examples of these kinds of ludicrous payouts do we need before lawmakers stop this unconscionable practice? For years Republicans have been demanding the elimination of these huge end-of-career payouts to public employees for their unused sick days, but Democrat leadership refuses to take action.”

According to the media report, city documents show that the Paterson officer, who was suspended with pay since 2007 for the alleged sexual assault of a prisoner, is among eight police officers and nine firefighters who will receive more than $1.65 million in accrued leave days when they retire.

“One of the reasons property taxes are so high is that towns like Paterson are stuck with a series of costly rules, such as this, that increases the cost of government. As the cost of government grows, taxpayers are paying a very high price,” stated Muñoz. “We are now a month into the new legislative session, and sick leave payout reform legislation we have sponsored has not even been scheduled for a committee hearing. Taxpayers deserve to know why.”

Muñoz, who noted that New Jersey towns are facing almost a billion dollars in liability, said sick time should be used when you’re sick.

“If you’re lucky enough to be healthy, that is reward enough,” she said. “No one in the private sector enjoys such an outrageous and expensive perk. It’s time to enact the “zero means zero plan.”

In addition to Muñoz, Assembly Republican members Caroline Casagrande, Donna Simon and Declan O’Scanlon, sponsor A-158 which would eliminate the practice of paying public employees for unused sick time.

MUÑOZ LAUDS GOV’S EFFORTS IN DETERRING HUMAN TRAFFICKING AHEAD OF SUPER BOWL

Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz, a prime sponsor of New Jersey’s stringent new law to combat human trafficking and aid its survivors, today lauded Gov. Christie and his administration for their efforts to help prevent the illegal sex trade during the weeks leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“Hosting a Super Bowl is a tremendous undertaking which takes years of meticulous planning,” stated Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “It is more than evident that Governor Christie recognizes that education and public awareness are some of our best weapons against this vile crime. He is to be lauded for undertaking comprehensive measures to ensure that law enforcement officials are engaged in a concerted effort to target anyone who attempts to traffic other humans in the weeks leading up to this event and beyond.”

The governor joined Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Sen. John McCain, and state and local officials at a news conference at the Meadowlands Wednesday to warn anyone thinking of engaging in human trafficking at the event that they shouldn’t do it because they are being targeted by a series of undercover operations.

Forbes reports that 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami for the 2010 Super Bowl and 133 minors were arrested for prostitution during the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas.

Muñoz, Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, R- Sussex, Warren and Morris, and Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth, are the prime sponsors of the state’s expanded human trafficking law (A-3352) that the governor signed in May 2013. As a result of the new law, the Polaris Project’s 2013 State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws ranked New Jersey as one of the two best states in the U.S. when it comes to statutes fighting human trafficking.