Johnson's Journal - May/June 2015

Johnson’s Journal – May/June 2015                                                                                         From Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson – Deputy Speaker.  

Chairman, Commerce and Economic Development Committee                                                                                                   Vice-Chairman, Judiciary Committee                                                                                                                                 Member, Budget Committee

Thoughts & Prayers…

I would like to offer my condolences to the families of the victims of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 that derailed north of Philadelphia, on the evening of May 12th. This tragedy took the lives of eight individuals and injured hundreds more. My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this derailment. In their memory and on behalf the residents of our community, I will continue to fight for enhanced rail safety and modernization. Increased funding for new rail infrastructure is an important part of a larger rail strategy to meet our national transportation needs.


High-Hazard Trains.

 In 2014, I called on the US Department of Transportation to enact the safest possible requirements for rail cars transporting oil and other high hazard material in New Jersey.  This included placing appropriate speed restrictions on high-hazard train traveling in New Jersey, a significant safety measure that became the new standard for train travel.  I called for state- of–the-art train cars to make the rails safer for our community, rail workers and product traveling in our State.

Recently, I joined my colleague Senator Loretta Weinberg sponsoring legislation that requires owners and operators of trains to have a contingency plan for train carrying hazardous material.  This bill will hold train companies accountable for proper training of employees, emergency personnel and require them to submit to the State an emergency response plan.  Accountability, training, and a response plan to deal with high-hazard trains will help protect the community!


Bridgegate - 1 Guilty Plea and 2 indictments.

      From the very beginning it was clear that the GWB lane closures were an evident abuse of power by the members of this Administration’s top staff.  We knew from the beginning there was no traffic study… Time for Some Traffic Problems in Ft. Lee.


Memorial Day 2015 – We Remember, Honor, Salute.

     On Memorial Day we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  We say thank you to the men and women serving in our military, to their families, and remember the sacrifice made by our veterans.  I was honored to be a part of Englewood and Teaneck Memorial Day Commemorations. 


Congratulations to everyone who took part in honoring our veterans on Memorial Day.  Thank you to those who serve, Englewood Parade Grand Marshal Sgt. Oscar Hernandez, and the Cedar Lane Management Group.  


Legislative Bills/Work:

I fight in Trenton for the important issues that need a loud and committed voice, issues such as making New Jersey more affordable for middle-class families.  This budget period we have been working to protect our seniors, our veterans, and the most vulnerable in our community. 

Johnson Questions Christie’s Proposed Funding Cut for Higher Education Assistance for Disadvantaged Students.

 I recently questioned the Christie administration's decision to cut funding for higher education assistance for disadvantaged students in the proposed FY 2016 budget during a hearing before the Assembly Budget Committee at the Statehouse in Trenton.

Gov. Christie has proposed cutting Educational Opportunity Funding (EOF) by $1.6 million, or 3.9 percent, for the FY 2016 budget. New Jersey's EOF program was created by law in 1968, to ensure meaningful access to higher education for those who come from disadvantaged economic and educational backgrounds by providing supplemental financial aid to help cover college costs, as well as a wide-array of campus-based support services.

It's puzzling that the Christie administration would propose scaling back funding for this program at a time when we should be doing all we can to make college more affordable and accessible. This small investment on the part of the state can pay a lifetime of dividends for aspiring students. 

Increasing access to higher education for disadvantaged students, veterans, “DREAMers,” and New Jersey families working to make a better life for themselves is a top priority.

Assembly Bill A2618 – Victim Rights Restitution bill becomes law.

 Last week an important victim’s rights bill that I sponsored with our Senator Loretta Weinberg became law. Under previous law, when the Department of Corrections could not find the victim who was owed restitution payments by a prisoner, the funds remained with the Department of Corrections indefinitely. The new law will put the money owed where it rightfully belongs, in the hands of victims. After trying to find the victim for two years, the money is transferred to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office to help crime victims across the state.  Should the victim come forward after two years, they will still receive the money they are owed.

Assembly Bill A2619 – Ensure Fairness in Burial Costs.

Many religious and charitable groups organize burial plots for their members. This law will prevent consumers from being charged twice, once when the plot is purchased and again, when the member uses it.  The last thing a grieving family deserves is an unexpected bill when they are laying their loved one to rest.  Senator Weinberg and I would like to thank the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, as well as Rabbis Shammai Engelmayer, Steven Sirbu and Neil Borovitz for their work on this issue.

Assembly Bill A3905 - Bill Allows for Display of e-Car Insurance Signed into Law.

The new law will allow operators of motor vehicles to provide proof of insurance electronically. Under previous law, an operator of a motor vehicle who is asked to provide proof of insurance may display to a police officer or judge only an insurance identification card in traditional, paper form. The new law will allow drivers to provide an insurance identification card in either paper or electronic form. 

Under the law, "electronic form" means the display of images on an electronic device, such as a cellular telephone, tablet, or computer, which must conform to regulations prescribed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance. Nowadays anybody with a smart phone usually never leaves home without it. Meanwhile, how many times have we all either misplaced our insurance card or forgot to replace an expired one? This is an easy and convenient change that will help ensure a driver doesn't have to go through the hassle of getting caught without proof of valid insurance on them.


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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