Johnson's Journal June/July 2015

Johnson’s Journal – June/July 2015 
From Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson – Deputy Speaker.
Chairman, Commerce and Economic Development Committee
Vice-Chairman, Judiciary Committee
Member, Budget Committee

 

Priorities.

      As we passed the recent budget, I fought to bring the needs of our community to the forefront.  In New Jersey’s current economic climate, there were many challenges, and no easy choices.  It was an opportunity to prioritize and give a voice to the critical issues facing our state.

     I was proud to stand up for middle-class families by presenting a balanced and fair budget that fully funds the New Jersey pension plan.  A budget that supports women’s health initiatives and well-being, so that screening, prevention and diagnosis are never out of reach.  A budget that values the success of disadvantaged students pursing a dream of higher education. 

     We are stronger as a nation because of the work of great teachers and our public school system. This makes fully funding New Jersey’s pension plan, a top priority.  We cannot wish away or turn our back on our obligation to our educators, public employees and our retirees.  A budget reflects our priorities.

Juneteenth – June 19th, 1865.

     Every year an important commemoration takes place in Englewood, Bergen County and throughout our country.  The observance of Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, is a celebration of the true end of slavery in the United States.  This significant event dates back to June 19th 1865 and is one of the oldest annual commemorations in the history of our country.   It is an important occasion that shows us how far we have come as a community, and keeps us mindful of how far we need to go as a society.  I congratulate the Jabari Society of Bergen County for their leadership and accomplishments!

                    Junteenth_pic.png      Congratulations to the Jabari Society of Bergen County on the success of this historic event! Society members photographed in Englewood.  Englewood Fire and Jabari Society member Joseph Hoyle with Englewood Councilman Wayne Hammer (photo credit: Luke Servilio).

Troop Five – Prepared!

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     Proud to join Holy Trinity Troop Five - The Oldest Catholic Sponsored Boy Scout Troop in NJ - 100TH Anniversary Celebration, held at Holy Trinity Parish, Hackensack, NJ.  Congratulations to these future leaders!  

July 4th, 2015 – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

     For over 239 years, these words of liberty and freedom have marked the evolution of our democratic republic, shaping our ideals and values that have defined the promise of our country.  Powerful ideas for which so many have sacrificed, so we can enjoy the profound freedom we enjoy today.  As we come together to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, let’s remember the sacrifice of those who came before us, who made it possible for us to purse and to keep working towards our American Dream. 

                           4th_panel_nw.pngLegislative Bills/Work:

     The fight for district 37 families continues – My legislative work in Trenton expands liberty and brings freedom to the innocent.  As these bills advance we are proud to stand with the families of veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  We renew a commitment to the most vulnerable while bringing common sense oversight to the community. 

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Assembly Bill A1678 - Expand Access to DNA Testing & Exonerate the Wrongfully Convicted.

     Legislation to help clear the wrongfully convicted by allowing anyone convicted of a crime to request DNA testing gained final legislative approval. 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.  Sadly, under current state law, an innocent person who is on probation or parole does not have the same access to the technology that can help clear their name and restore their dignity. This bill would open access to DNA testing to these individuals so they can stop living under the shadow of guilt and finally be free.

         New Jersey is one of 14 states with an incarceration requirement in their post-conviction DNA testing statutes, meaning only those who are currently incarcerated can file a motion for DNA testing. This bill would allow any person who has been convicted of a crime to make such a motion.  The bill now goes to the governor's desk.  

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Assembly Bill A2849 - Establishes Scholarship Fund for Families of Soldiers Lost, Missing & Disabled in Action.

     Legislation to provide scholarships to the children of military personnel who have died, become permanently disabled or are missing in action received final legislative approval and now heads to the governor's desk. Our men and women in uniform place their lives on the line everyday to preserve American values.  When we encourage and enable their families to pursue their goals we pay homage to their parent or spouse self-less service to our country.

     The bill establishes in the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority the Military Dependent Scholarship Fund. The fund will be used to provide scholarships to the spouse, child or other eligible dependent of a New Jersey resident who is killed, missing in action or totally and permanently disabled as a consequence of certain military actions.  The scholarships will be provided to pay for the costs of undergraduate study at a public or independent institution of higher education.

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Assembly Bill A3593 - Bill to Keep Guns from Those Who are Mentally Unstable Gains Final Legislative OK.

     A bill to ensure that individuals looking to have a mental health record expunged in order to buy a handgun in New Jersey are well vetted.  The bill (A-3593), approved by a vote of 74-0, would require certain law enforcement officials to be notified when a person applies to the court to have a mental health record expunged for the purposes of purchasing a firearm.

      Right now, the decision to expunge a person's mental health record so that they are able to buy a gun rests in the hands of a judge, who may be unaware of any recent run-ins the person may have had with the law.  We have seen the terrible things that can happen when a mentally unstable person gets a hold of a firearm.

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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.  Jeffery Richardson, Treasurer. PO Box 971, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632. Produced in house.

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