January Newsletter


Assembly Democratic Bill Package Designed to Create Fairness and Transparency in Civil Asset Forfeiture Cases Clears Assembly Panel

Assembly Democratic Bill Package Designed to Create Fairness and Transparency in Civil Asset Forfeiture Cases Clears Assembly Panel

Bills Sponsored by Swain, Chiaravalloti, Pinkin and McKnight

(TRENTON) – Seeking to protect citizens from unfair and unclear civil asset forfeiture practices, Assembly Democrats Lisa Swain, Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Nancy Pinkin and Angela McKnight sponsored a legislative package revising certain state civil forfeiture practices, increasing transparency in these practices and studying how those who lack legal representation are affected. The bills cleared the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Thursday.

The first bill (A-4969), sponsored by Swain, Chiaravalloti and Pinkin, would establish the “Fairness in Asset Forfeiture Proceedings Task Force” to study the nature, extent and consequences of the lack of legal representation of certain New Jersey residents in asset forfeiture proceedings.

“It is important that we understand how legal representation, and its relation to socioeconomic status, affects the outcome of civil asset forfeiture cases,” said Swain(D-Bergen, Passaic). “We must ensure that all our citizens in these instances are being treated fairly, and learn how to better assist those who lack the means for adequate legal representation.”         

According to a recent American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey (ACLU) report, between January and June of 2016, there were approximately 1,860 civil forfeiture cases initiated by county prosecutors in New Jersey, mostly in low-income areas. These cases involved more than $5.5 million, 234 cars and a home. Of these 1,860 cases, the defendants in only 50 of them appeared in court to oppose the forfeiture.

The ACLU report further notes that public defenders are prohibited from representing defendants in civil matters and most legal services providers in New Jersey do not offer assistance to defendants in civil asset forfeiture matters.

“This task force is meant for us to learn how individuals lacking legal representation in civil asset forfeiture cases are affected differently from those individuals who are able to employ counsel,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Asset forfeiture can turn someone’s life completely upside down, potentially losing a devastating amount of property, and we must do our best to protect all citizens equally.”

The second bill (A-4970), sponsored by Chiaravalloti, revises procedures for certain asset forfeiture proceedings and requires criminal conviction for forfeiture of certain seized property.

“It is not fair if someone is deemed innocent of committing a crime, yet their property said to be related to that crime is taken away from them, never to be returned,”said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “If there was no foul play, it is only right that these individuals have their property returned to them.”

Under current law, a prosecution involving seized property terminates without a conviction does not preclude forfeiture proceedings against the property.

            Under this bill, seized property, other than prima facie contraband, or something assumed to be contraband until proven otherwise, is not to be subject to forfeiture unless a prosecution involving: (1) property in the form of cash, negotiable instruments, or other cash equivalents with a value of $1,000 or less; or (2) property, other than cash, negotiable instruments, or cash equivalent, valued at $25,000 or less terminates with a conviction.

A criminal conviction is not required for other seized property, however, consistent with current law, a conviction creates a rebuttable presumption that the property was used in furtherance of unlawful activity.

Under current law, the burden is placed on the owner of the property, rather than the state, to establish, by a preponderance of evidence, that the owner was not involved or aware of the unlawful activity. This bill would amend this to place the burden on the state to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the owner of the property was involved in or aware of the unlawful activity relating to their property.

The third piece of legislation (AR-222), sponsored by McKnight, Chiaravalloti and Pinkin, urges the New Jersey Supreme Court to study the reasonableness of lowering court fees in civil asset forfeiture cases.

“Oftentimes, court filing fees cost more than the money seized by law enforcement, and, as a result, many people do no defend their rights civil action to seek back their seized property,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “It is important to determine if this is the best practice to put in place to encourage our residents to pursue their civil rights.”

Additionally, McKnight is a sponsor of (A-3442), which establishes asset forfeiture reporting and transparency requirements.

The legislation now heads to the Speaker for further consideration.

 

 


#4 Bus Ride


Chiaravalloti and McKnight joint statement regarding the #4 bus line.


Bill to Expand Sexual Assault Law Between Teachers and Students Passes Full Assembly

Bill Would Criminalize Sexual Contact Between Teachers and Students Under Age 20 Passes Full Assembly 

Read more

Asm. Chiaravalloti’s statement on the passing Barbra “Babs” Siperstein


minimum wage

An increase to the minimum wage moved another step closer to reality. Thank you


Bill Encouraging Reporting of School Bus Driver Misconduct Clears Assembly

Calabrese & Chiaravalloti Bill Encouraging Reporting of School Bus Driver Misconduct Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Looking to improve the safety for all of New Jersey’s student bus riders, Assemblymen Clinton Calabrese and Nicholas Chiaravalloti sponsored legislation requiring school buses to have a display of identifying information in order for the public to easily report potential bus driver misconduct. The legislation cleared the full Assembly Thursday by a 75-0-0 vote.

“School bus safety is of absolute paramount importance. We need, therefore, to have a mechanism by which the public can easily communicate careless driving of school bus drivers to the respective school district or private school,” said Calabrese (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This measure will also put school bus drivers on notice that their driving will be reported by the public should they fail to perform their duty of driving safely and carefully.”

The bill (A-4031) mandates an agency, board of education, nonpublic school or school bus contactor that operates school buses to display a phone number, website address or other identifying information that allows the public to report a bus driver’s misconduct across the back of the school bus in a color that contrasts with the bus.

“When we put our children on school buses, we have an expectation that the individuals driving the buses will understand the importance and potential dangers of their jobs,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “This bill will help us ensure the safety of children across New Jersey, as it will allow us to more easily identify who is and isn’t fit to be entrusted with the lives of our kids.”

Under current regulations, there can be no lettering on the front or rear of a school bus other than the words “SCHOOL BUS.” This bill would amend this to include the allowance of information helpful to the public in reporting bus driver misconduct.

The bill was initially advanced through the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on January 17 and now heads to the governor’s desk


Bill to Establish Municipal Dedicated Funding Source for Arts and Culture through Public Question Advanced by Assembly Panel

Mukherji, McKnight & Chiaravalloti Bill to Establish Municipal Dedicated Funding Source for Arts and Culture through Public Question Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – In an effort to encourage New Jersey’s art initiatives, Assembly Democrats Raj Mukherji, Angela McKnight and Nicholas Chiaravalloti bill (A-3832) allowing municipalities to establish an annual funding dedication to arts and culture though public question advanced in the Legislature Monday. The sponsors issued the following statement on the bill:

“The arts and our creative economy are vital to our urban communities, to the state’s cultural identity, and to the overall economy, contributing nearly $520 million annually,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson), a card carrying member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA). “This legislation will allow voters to decide if their municipalities should create a dedicated source of funding for the arts and provide much needed stability for additional programming and local venues.”

“From the performing arts to individual artists to children’s art programs in our schools, there are many who would benefit from the additional funding,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “If our residents want their tax-dollars going towards boosting New Jersey’s arts and culture then this is absolutely something we should encourage.”

“Municipalities often lack a recurring funding source for the arts,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “This legislation aims to give residents the ability to choose whether some of their tax dollars will be devoted to the New Jersey arts.”

The bill was approved by the Assembly Appropriations panel on Monday, Jan. 28.


Bill to Ensure Health Insurers Cover Pre-Existing Conditions Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation Would Protect Patients if ACA Were Changed or Repealed

Vainieri Huttle, Chiaravalloti, Downey & Danielsen Bill to Ensure Health Insurers Cover Pre-Existing Conditions Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - To make certain patients would continue to have coverage for pre-existing conditions if the federal Affordable Care Act were ever amended or repealed, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Joann Downey and Joe Danielsen to require health insurers to cover pre-existing conditions for New Jersey residents was approved on Monday by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

"Because of the Affordable Care Act, as many as 133 million people - or 51 percent of Americans - who have pre-existing conditions are guaranteed that condition will be covered by their health insurer," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "But the ACA has been threatened in the past few years. This bill will safeguard this crucial protection for patients should anything ever happen to the ACA."

The bill (A-1733) clarifies that a health insurer shall not impose, or include in its insurance policies, any provision excluding coverage for a pre-existing condition. It revises New Jersey law concerning group health insurance, the Individual Health Coverage Program, the Small Employer Health Benefits Program, hospital confinement plans, and certain hospital, medical, and health service corporation plans to conform to the federal law regarding pre-existing conditions. 

"When the ACA was passed, state law was never changed to include the mandate for coverage of pre-existing conditions," said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). "This important update sends a clear message that we in New Jersey believe health care is not a privilege, but a right."

"People with pre-existing conditions had their lives changed when the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. For the first time, they could not be denied coverage by an insurance company because of their conditions, from diabetes to allergies to cancer," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "We cannot go back to a world where people had less access to critical medications or treatments because of poor insurance coverage. With this bill, we ensure that will never happen in New Jersey."

"No one should ever be penalized for having a medical condition," said Danielsen (D-Middlesex, Somerset). "The ACA paved the way for Americans to begin seeing what was possible when they had access to coverage for pre-existing conditions. So many people now have far better quality of life as a result, and that's something we will fight to protect and guarantee for all New Jersey residents."

The measure now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.

 

 


Chiaravalloti’s delivers food to US Coast Guard

 


legislation to tackle distracted driving


Press Release on Eastern Millwork tour


Season Greetings

Friends 

As 2018 comes to an end, I wanted to just thank you for your support. As I reflect on the past year, like many of you, I realize that although I didn’t accomplish nearly as many things as I had hoped – that I accomplished more than I thought.

I am lucky to have great partners in Trenton, an amazing staff, an incredibly supportive family and all of you.

This Christmas as my family celebrates the Feast of the Seven Fishes – I hope all of you will enjoy your holiday tradition with those you love. Because despite the fights and the slights, we are really lucky. 

As my family gathers and argues over who gets the last piece of baccala, we will also be thinking of those less fortunate. This year, I would encourage you – if you can – to make a donation (of any amount) to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey . Nearly 14% of households in New Jersey are food insecure and will struggle to find enough food this week. This equates to
almost 1 in 8 households – many with children. 

Have a fantastic holiday and a wonderful New Year! Looking forward to an exciting 2019.


legislation regarding "Blocking the Box" on Rte. 440


Legislation banning credit report fee signed into law today


Neil Carroll passing at 91

Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson) issued the following statements:

“Today Bayonne and Hudson County lost a legendary public servant.  Neil Carroll's influence on a generation of elected and government officials is impossible to measure.  He was always generous with his time, patience and knowledge. Among the many lessons I learned from Neil is that politics should not be personal and that when you make a commitment you stick to it - no matter what.  I will miss our breakfasts. Even when we found ourselves on opposite sides of an election, he always remained a mentor and friend. He served with integrity and honor. My deepest condolences go out to his family. Neil will be missed by so many because he impacted the lives of so many.”




Legalizing Lemonade Stands


Come Build a Gingerbread House


Assemblyman Chiaravalloti Comments in regards to City of Bayonne Reorganization


2018 Summer Newsletter


HCDO Gala

I will be attending HCDO dinner tonight honoring US Senator Bob Menendez with special guest Governor Phil Murphy. I stand with Bob, Phil and other democrats and I stand against the Trump Republican Party.


Tonight I will drive past the protestors and recognize many friends - colleagues, former students, and probably a few former players and parents from soccer teams I have coached in Bayonne.


Immigration Reform has been a wedge issue in this country since our founding. My former political science and public administration students understand how it has been used to insight anger and violence but also how these struggles have lead to incredible progress in our Democracy.


As the son of immigrants, I understand the opportunity America presents to those looking for a better life. The reality is that all my success is tied directly to the decision of my family to come to this country. Of course, it was fortunate that both my grandparents and parents joined unions - seamstress, longshoreman, electrical and teachers - which provided a path to the American Dream and middle class.


The debate on the ICE contract is an important one - but not in regards to immigration reform. I think everyone at Liberty House would agree the 1. There needs to be a pathway to citizenship. 2. Undocumented residents should not be detained for simply being undocumented. 3. Anyone, regardless of immigration status, who commits a violent crime should be prosecuted. 4. There has been no stronger advocate for immigration reform in the United States Senate than Bob Menendez.


I know my progressive friends will hate to hear this, but the debate on the ICE contract is bigger than immigration - it is about the monetization of our public prison system. For years, many of us have been outspoken critics of the privatization of prisons and prison industrial complex. (Should sound familiar to some of my students). Today, that private system has been replaced by a public system that follows a similar market driven philosophy. Quite simply, each cell needs to be filled to maximize profits. That is exactly the wrong approach for public policy leaders. We should want to create a society where prisons are no longer needed; where occupancy rates plummet. In this society, we are providing services to the community which prevents the necessity of large prison complexes.


In New Jersey, bail reform has gone a long way to shrinking prison populations. Now we need to invest in some other core issues to continue this trend. These include job training programs, mental health services, and quality public education systems, among others. NJ also needs to study consolidated state and county prison systems. A major component of this work should include working with correction officers on career development and transition opportunities.


National Night Out in Bayonne


The Guy Who Made a Killing

 


Chiaravalloti Bill for Transportation Services to Aid in School Funding Gains Assembly Panel Approval

FOR RELEASE                                                                   
6/20/2018

Chiaravalloti Bill for Transportation Services to Aid in School Funding Gains Assembly Panel Approval

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti to establish a 20 cent per ride fee on certain prearranged rides, dedicating revenue to schools, was approved by the Assembly Budget Committee on Tuesday.

This fee would pertain to prearranged rides provided by transportation network companies and would be adjusted annually for inflation. The fee would only be applied if the ride is provided entirely within the state.

"These days, it is difficult to find people who are not taking advantage of prearranged ride services such as Uber and Lyft," said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). "Devoting some of the increasing revenue coming from these services to our schools is significantly beneficial to our students as well as our state."

Under the bill (A-4061), transportation network companies would be required to collect the fees and pay them quarterly. The fees are governed by the State Uniform Tax Procedure Law, and the Director of the Division of Taxation would be authorized to immediately issue rules to carry through the purpose of the bill.

The money collected from this fee would be deposited in the Property Tax Relief Fund and would be used as aid to school districts.

Extra time would be given before this measure becomes active to allow transportation network companies and the Division of Taxation to take necessary preparatory action to comply with it.

On the Net:
The Assembly Democratic Office Web site
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NJ Assembly Dems on Facebook

Assemblyman Chiaravalloti on facebook
NJ Assembly Dems on Twitter

Assemblyman Chiaravalloti on Twitter
NJ Assembly Dems e-mail alerts


Joint Assembly /Senate Transportation Committee meets to discuss Paramus school bus accident.

On Monday, June 18th, 2018 the Assembly and Senate Transportation Committee held a joint session to discuss  the Paramus School bus accident. An 11 year-old bus crash victim, Peter C, delivered his emotional experience of that day.

"Now, a month after this terrible accident we need to take action and fix the delay in communications between departments," said Chiaravalloti

 


Chiaravalloti voices support for "Complete Streets" & Vision Zero

 

Assemblyman Chiaravalloti invited Jersey City Transit Planner, Barkha Patel, to testify on a resolution encouraging New Jersey municipalities to adopt "complete streets" program.  "Jersey City has been a leader in fulfilling the complete streets urban planning vision and their commitment to safe streets is a model for the rest of New Jersey.  Mayor Fulop and his administration have a done a great job making sustainable urban planning a reality in one of the state's largest cities," said Chiaravalloti

"Complete streets" is conscientious urban planning that seeks to provide  safe access for pedestrians, bicyclists and public transportation users.

Read more

Spring Newsletter


Game Changer at 14A

As a member of the Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee,  today was a great day for Bayonne! Governor Muprhy joined us in Bayonne to announce the completion of the 14A improvement project. We all know there will still be traffic but this project eases most of the in city backups. 

 

 


Proposed Expansion of Educational Opportunity Fund and Tuition Aid Grants to Provide Affordability for More Students

Governor Murphy Underscores Commitment to Bolster Higher Education Assistance

Proposed Expansion of Educational Opportunity Fund and Tuition Aid Grants to Provide Affordability for More Students

Jersey City – Emphasizing his commitment to making higher education more affordable for New Jersey students, Governor Phil Murphy further outlined his goals during a roundtable discussion at New Jersey City University in Jersey City.  The Governor’s proposed 2019 budget contains $8.5 million for the expansion of Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) and the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF).

“Our goal is to keep a college degree within reach for working families and those who come from economically disadvantaged areas,” said Governor Murphy. “These investments will ensure that students can continue to realize their dreams because no one should be deprived from getting an education based on where they’re from, or their background, or current economic status, or their abilities. This is a matter of fairness that will lead to a stronger future for our students and for New Jersey.”

Overall, Governor Murphy’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget allocates $2.4 billion in total appropriations for higher education, including funding for facilities and capital and represents an overall increase of $69.9 million over last year’s budget. 

“The Governor’s proposed increase in funding for these programs will assist students in need at our New Jersey institutions of higher learning, both two-year and four-year,” said Acting Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis. “This will help to improve affordability and opportunity for those pursuing a higher education.” 

Governor Murphy’s college affordability plan strengthens student assistance for Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) and the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) by $7 million and $1.5 million, respectively.

Proposed Fiscal Year 2019 TAG funding of $432.9 million is projected to aid more than 67,500 students – an increase of nearly 3,500 TAG awards over the current year.

The $7 million increase in funding for Fiscal Year 2019 will ensure continued access to need-based financial assistance for qualified students, by increasing award amounts provided to all qualified applicants at levels not to exceed 2 percent above those levels provided in the prior fiscal year.

In addition, the Governor’s proposed budget strengthens EOF by preserving the $5 million the legislature put into the Fiscal Year 2018 budget for EOF and including an additional $1.5 million of support to the EOF program.

After successive years of cuts, this is the first consistent commitment to this overwhelmingly successful program that has been made in almost a decade.

“I’m excited to be part of a discussion that leads to an increase in educational opportunities for students from economically challenged backgrounds,” said Senator Sandra B. Cunningham, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Tuition Aid Grants and grants from New Jersey’s Education Opportunity Fund are based on financial need and also take into account the environments from which students are coming from. That’s why we have added $8.5 million in funding for these grants in the proposed budget. TAG and EOF grants don’t just open the door to higher education, they can ensure that once a student is inside, they can stay and learn.”

“The Tuition Assistance Grant and the Equal Opportunity Fund programs serve low-income, first generation students in every county of the state,” Assemblyman Nicholas A. Chiaravalotti said. “Students which demonstrate a commitment, motivation and potential for success in higher education and beyond. Investment in these programs is imperative and I applaud Governor Murphy for prioritizing higher education and his increased proposed funding for both the TAG and EOF programs.”

"I applaud Governor Murphy’s proposed expansion of TAG and EOF funding,” said Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight. “Knowledge is power; by investing in our youth who otherwise may not have been given an opportunity to attend an institution of higher education, we are assuring New Jersey creates an atmosphere for those brilliant minds to flourish.”

http://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562018/approved/20180418b_education.shtml