Johnson’s Journal – July/August 2016
From Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson – Deputy Speaker.
Chairman, Commerce and Economic Development Committee
Vice-Chairman, Judiciary Committee
Member, Budget Committee
As Hillary Clinton walked on to that stage and accepted the nomination for President of the United States she stepped into history. I couldn’t be more proud that my daughter and all Americans got to see Hillary’s profound accomplishment. The 2016 Democratic National Convention was transformational, a truly “Herstory” making event. Secretary Clinton’s success transcends gender, her example is an inspiration, not just for women, but for everyone.
Her leadership has advanced a campaign that is inclusive and centered on the unifying progress we make collectively when we work together. Her understanding of the complex issues we face as a country and her global insight makes her uniquely qualified to be our Commander-in-Chief. Her voice speaks for us all – our values, our principles - our story. I’m with Her!
July 4th - Independence Day 2016
As we mark the 240th anniversary of the founding of our county, it is a time of joyous celebration with family and friends. It is also time to reflect on the brave service of our men and woman in uniform who sacrifice so much for the freedom we enjoy everyday. Englewood’s Independence Day Celebration on the lawn of Dwight-Morrow High School rallied our patriotic community. With fireworks, music and by coming together, we celebrated the ideals of liberty and freedom that sparked a revolution and define the promise of our republic.
United for a New Bus Terminal in NYC – NOW!
I’m proud to stand with Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle in calling for the construction of a new bus terminal in New York. This will preserve a one-seat ride to New York for New Jersey's commuters and create economic growth throughout the bi-state region. NJ State and Federal Officials joined together to advocate for what our commuters demand: A new Port Authority Bus Terminal on Manhattan’s west side –Now! Our coalition expressed to the Port Authority board, that the current environment for commuters is unacceptable, inadequate and incapable to meet the needs of future growth.
Seeking Justice: Expanding access to DNA Testing
New Jersey law, that I sponsored, expands access to DNA testing to help clear the wrongfully convicted by allowing anyone convicted of a crime to request DNA testing. Thanks to DNA testing, we have seen a number of individuals exonerated after years, sometimes decades, spent behind bars for crimes they did not commit. Now an innocent person who has served their time has the same access to technology that can help clear their name and restore their dignity.
This month, Dion Harnell who served his time for a serious crime years ago, was able to access DNA that cleared his name and have his conviction thrown out. Our law, will help others in New Jersey like Dion get access to DNA testing.
Childproof Handgun Legislation - Enough Inaction
My colleagues and I are proud to stand with Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg in sponsorship of commonsense Childproof Handgun Legislation.
The national headlines confirm the grim reality that the data has made clear; in the US, teens are 32 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than their peers in other high-income nations. As reported, 505 people were killed by an accidental discharge of a firearm in 2013, including 30 children under the age of three. Smart gun technology is an innovation that is a clear benefit to public safety; personalized handguns will help prevent the tragedy of an accidental shooting from ever occurring.
Having a personalized handgun in the store will give the marketplace an alternative, a safer option when looking at a handgun purchase. This new bill modernizes our law by expanding consumer access to personalized handguns, and it is a reasonable approach to improving gun safety in our state, especially for children.
As a father, Assemblyman and former Sherriff, I believe we must take the necessary steps to protect the safety and well being of our residents. This legislation will help jump start the development and availability of childproof handguns in NJ, thus setting a tone for our nation. I urge the Governor to sign this bill without delay.
Assembly Bill A-1663
Bill Establishing Diversity Training for Law Enforcement Signed into Law.
Revamped legislation to better prepare law enforcement agencies to handle racial, ethnic, religious and various other diversities within their respective communities has been signed into law.
The bill (A-1663) that was originally approved by the legislature in the spring would have required every local and county law enforcement department in the state to develop and adopt a cultural diversity training course. The revamped legislation, signed by the governor, incorporates suggestions made in his conditional veto of the bill. It will require the Department of Law and Public Safety to develop or identify uniform cultural diversity training course materials and an online tutorial, and to periodically update them, as appropriate.
Under the new law, the materials and tutorial must include instruction designed to promote positive interaction with, and community outreach to, all residents within a community, including residents of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
The department is also required to make the materials and online tutorial available to every state, county, and municipal law enforcement department and to each campus police department.
Cultural diversity training can help law enforcement officers strengthen their relationships with citizens, which ultimately creates a safer environment for everyone involved.
Assembly Bill A-1421
Law Revises Definition of Victim in “Crime victim’s Bill of Rights.”
In July, Assembly Bill 1421 that I sponsored was the signed into law by the Governor. This important bill revises the definition of “victim’ under the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.”
Previously, the New Jersey Constitution defined a victim to also include the nearest relative of the victim of a criminal homicide as a spouse, parent, legal guardian, grandparent, child or sibling of the decedent in a criminal homicide.
Under the new law the definition now includes domestic partners or civil union partners. This significant change effects those entitled to receive compensation, or those who are entitled to protections or benefits.
Excluding domestic and civil union partners from these protections and benefits is unfair to a surviving partner. This measure expands equality and makes the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights” and New Jersey law more reflective of our society.
Gordon M. Johnson was elected by the people of the 37th District of Bergen County, to the New Jersey State General Assembly in 2001. Assemblyman Johnson serves in the position of Deputy Speaker. He is the Chair of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee, Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, member of the Budget Committee.
Paid for by Johnson for Assembly. Jeffrey Richardson, Treasurer. PO Box 971, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632. Produced in house.