Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz which limits the exceptions from state-mandated immunizations was released by the Assembly Heath and Senior Services Committee today.
“Vaccinations are effective and have a proven history of preventing serious childhood diseases,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Too many children aren’t being vaccinated, causing the return of some diseases such as the recent measles outbreak. Some parents may have a valid medical or religious reason for not vaccinating their child. This measure respects that decision while protecting the public.”
The bill, A-1931/S-1147, permits an exemption from immunizations in either of the following:
• a written statement to the school by a licensed physician with the reason why the vaccine is medically unnecessary; or
• a statement by the student or parent explaining that a vaccine conflicts with their religious practices.
An Assembly panel today advanced legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors to assist people with drug and alcohol addictions who are seeking help at residential treatment centers.
The bill, A-3955, requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to maintain a database that can be accessed by the public on the availability of open beds in residential treatment facilities that receive state or county funding. The Assembly Appropriations Committee today approved the measure.
“Even when someone with an alcohol or drug problem wants help, it can be tough to find,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Thousands of adults and adolescents are being turned away from treatment facilities due to a lack of available space. The process can be complicated, because of a lack of a centralized information source. A database will help streamline the process, saving people time and unnecessary frustration.”
According to a November 2013 media report, at least 30,000 adults and 15,000 adolescents were turned away from treatment in 2009.
Under the bill, treatment facilities will be required to submit at least once a day, information on the number of open beds that are available for treatment. The database will include, by county, the address and telephone number of the facility; the type of services provided; the licensed bed capacity, and the number of open beds that are available.
In an effort to promote New Jersey’s tourism industry, Assembly Republicans Nancy F. Muñoz and Anthony M. Bucco sponsor legislation that allows people to view online the state’s war efforts from the American Revolution to the Vietnam War. The bill today won Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee approval.
“Many people who plan a vacation start the process with a Google search. New Jersey, and all it has to offer vacationers, needs to be in that queue,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “As one of the original 13 colonies, our state played a significant role in the American Revolution. Several important battles were fought here including the Battle of Trenton, the Battle of Millstone, and the Battles of Monmouth and Princeton. We were also instrumental in supporting many of our nation’s other war efforts. Allowing people to view online these historical events will hopefully entice them to visit our state and these sites in person.”
“New Jersey is famous for its war efforts from the American Revolution to the Civil War and World Wars I and II,” said Bucco, R-Morris. “General Washington set up two winter camps in Morristown where the Ford family also ran a powder mill that supplied needed powder for the early war effort. During World War I, our state was a center of shipbuilding and manufacturing. That continued in World War II as many of our nation’s battleships, aircraft carriers, heavy cruisers and destroyers were built in our shipyards. Promoting tourism by highlighting these places and events via the internet is an opportunity we should take advantage of.”
The bill, A-4278, requires the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State, in consultation with the New Jersey Historical Commission, to develop a list and an online historic tour of war battles fought and places of historic significance to the military and war efforts in New Jersey.
Legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors that will allow an attending advanced nurse practitioner (APN) to determine their patients’ cause of death today won General Assembly approval.
“As the patient’s primary treating health professional, the APN is often with the patient at time of death which is a very emotional time for family members,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “APNs are trained professionals who are licensed to treat, order tests, make referrals to surgeons, diagnose and manage long-term illnesses. It’s not only appropriate, it’s common sense to allow the attending APN to make such a call. Doing so in a timely manner will help the family move forward.”
The bill, A-1319/S-1152, allows an APN to determine the cause of death and execute the death certification of a patient when the nurse is the patient’s primary caregiver and the collaborating physician is not available. The measure cleared the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee last month. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Continuing their efforts to combat drug abuse by adolescents, Assembly Republicans Mary Pat Angelini and Nancy F. Muñoz sponsor legislation prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter medications containing dextromethorphan to persons under the age of 18. The bill, A-622/1469, today won General Assembly approval.
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 to get 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 bill, 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 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.
Legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors that provides sexual assault victims with protection against their offenders today won General Assembly approval.
The “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015” (A-4078), allows victims to obtain protection without filing criminal charges.
“Sexual assault is physically and psychologically devastating; and victims too often are embarrassed or feel they are in some way to blame for the attack,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “As a result, only a very small percentage of victims file criminal charges. Unless they report the crime, they cannot obtain a restraining order. This leaves their attacker free to harass or assault them again.”
The bill allows the court to issue a temporary protective order regardless of whether the alleged victim has filed criminal charges. It prohibits the alleged offender from having any contact or communication, including personal, written, telephone or via electronic device, with victims and their family members, employers, and employees.
Under current law, restraining orders are predominately used for victims of domestic violence.
In addition, the measure prohibits stalking, following or harassing, including cyber-harassing, the alleged victim.
To save lives in cases of a heroin overdose, Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon sponsor legislation that allows more first responders and other healthcare professionals to administer drug overdose antidotes and protects them from liability. The bill was signed into law today by Gov. Christie.
“Heroin overdoses can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to turn deadly. Every second counts when reacting to an overdose situation,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, who is a registered nurse. “Allowing more first responders and other professionals to administer this critical first aid without fear of legal repercussions will help prevent more unnecessary tragedies.”
Under the current “Overdose Prevention Act,” healthcare practitioners and pharmacists are protected from liability when prescribing, dispensing, or administering an opioid overdose antidote. This bill, S-2378/A-3720, expands the list of people authorized to administer an opioid antidote and provides them immunity from liability, including sterile syringe access program employees, law enforcement officials, emergency medical technicians, and other emergency responders. In addition to heroin, opioids include drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine.
“Our first responders will now have the necessary tools to save lives when time is of the essence,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “They no longer will need to worry about liability when someone’s life is on the line. This law allows them to treat those in need without second guessing themselves and risking catastrophe.”
The measure also authorizes needle exchange programs to obtain a standing order permitting their employees to carry/dispense opioid antidotes, and provide overdose prevention information to clients.
A recent national trend of rising heroin overdose deaths across demographic groups has been reflected in New Jersey. Last year, more than 500 residents died from heroin overdoses – nearly double the number reported in 2010.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have implemented laws making it easier for responders to give life saving antidotes to reverse overdoses.
As Assembly panel today advanced legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors that will allow an attending advanced nurse practitioner (APN) to determine their patients’ cause of death.
“An APN is licensed to treat, order tests, make referrals to surgeons, diagnose and manage long-term illnesses. As the patient’s primary treating health professional, they are often with the patient at time of death,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “End of life is a very emotional time for family members. It’s not only appropriate, it’s common sense to allow the attending APN to make such a call. Doing so in a timely manner will help the grief-stricken family.”
The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee cleared the bill, A-1319/S-1152, which allows an APN to determine the cause of death and execute the death certification of a patient when the nurse is the patient’s primary caregiver and the collaborating physician is not available.
To protect stalking victims, repeat offenders face increased jail time under legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors. The bill, A-3841, today received General Assembly approval.
“Restraining orders often aren’t enough of a deterrent for stalkers. Regardless of their motivation, the goal is the same – to instill constant fear in their victims,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “They are also at an increased risk of being attacked or killed. In addition to the threat of physical harm, the psychological trauma is devastating. Repeat offenders continue to harass their victim with terrifying consequences. These criminals will no longer receive a slap on the wrist. Instead they’re going to face several years in prison.”
The measure increases prison time and fines for persons convicted of subsequent stalking offenses. Under current law, repeat offenders face up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. Under Muñoz’ bill, such an offense is upgraded from a fourth degree crime to a third degree which carries a 3 to 5-year prison term and a fine up to $15,000.
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.”