In response to an audit revealing the New Jersey Department of Human Services lost millions over a three year period due to the mismanagement of NJ FamilyCare accounts, Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey issued the following statements:
“It is utterly unacceptable that the state’s NJ FamilyCare accounts were grossly mismanaged throughout the Christie Administration,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “Due to poor oversight, the State paid out $177.5 million in false claims, in addition to $720,000 in payments and fee-for-service claims for individuals who were deceased. New Jersey cannot afford these costly mistakes.”
“I sincerely hope the Department of Human Services takes swift action to correct these egregious errors and fulfill the responsibilities of the NJ FamilyCare program,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “We are confident the Murphy Administration will see the severity of this issue and work quickly to get the DHS and NJ FamilyCare program back on course.”
“There are far too many hardworking New Jerseyans who rightfully deserve these funds to carelessly fulfill fraudulent claims,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Chair of the Human Services Committee. “The extreme lack of care in the management of this program during the Christie Administration is appalling and has led to the waste of valuable resources. Our residents deserve better and we look forward to working with Governor Murphy to right the ship.”Read more
In response to The Attorney General’s announcement that it will suspend enforcement of the “Special Ruling” issued on September 21 regarding limited brewery licenses, Senator Vin Gopal issued the following statement:
“I am extremely pleased to see the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is not moving forward with the restrictions placed by the ABC on breweries,” said Senator Vin Gopal.
“Our local breweries play a key role in our economy, employing numerous hardworking residents and bolstering our tourism industry. Our focus needs to remain on supporting small businesses like local breweries, not stifling them with unnecessary and inane regulations. I was proud to speak out on behalf of the local business owners within my district when these restrictions were first announced, and I look forward to continuing to work with these business owners to ensure these facilities thrive here in Monmouth County.”
These regulations included a limit of 25 “special events,” such as paint and sip nights, trivia nights, live televised sporting events and live music nights; a limit of 12 special permits a year to sell products off the brewery premises such as festivals, athletic events, and other civic events; a limit of 52 private parties (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries) a year; and a requirement to electronically notify the ABC 10 days prior to holding the event.
Senator Vin Gopal has offered a $1,500 reward, funded through the Vin Gopal Civic Association, for any information that leads to the successful arrest and prosecution of the vandals who desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Freehold.
Four headstones, including one of a World War II veteran, were found toppled the morning of Aug. 26 at the Congregation Agudath Achim Cemetery.
While the incident has not yet been labeled as a hate crime by authorities, several instances of vandalism and hate have occurred throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties. In August, Klu Klux Klan flyers were distributed in Red Bank.
In Lakewood, a synagogue on Route 9 has been vandalized twice. A cloth banner with an anti-Semitic slur was hung up in July 2017 and a black "666" was spray painted on a stone Holocaust memorial in March.
Senator Gopal will join the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America in offering a reward for the arrest and prosecution of the guilty parties.
In response to Governor Phil Murphy’s plan to build a stronger and fairer state economy, Senator Vin Gopal issued the following statement:
“I commend Governor Murphy on taking positive and innovative steps towards moving New Jersey’s economy forward,” said Senator Vin Gopal.
“While I plan to dig deeper into his proposals, I strongly support his sentiment in getting New Jersey’s economy back on track after eight years of stagnant economic policy. I am extremely pleased to see education and workforce development at the center of the Governor’s plan.”
“As State leaders, supporting the economy must be among our top priorities. I look forward to working with the Governor to execute a plan that is in the best interest of New Jersey residents.”
Sexually transmitted diseases, specifically chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are on the rise in New Jersey, prompting renewed emphasis on the importance of fully funded women’s health care centers.
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of gonorrhea increased 15.6% from 2016 to 2017, with a 34.6% increase from 2013 to 2017 while cases of syphilis increased 15.2% from 2016 to 2017 and 92.8% from 2013 to 2017. Cases of chlamydia rose 2% from 2016 to 2017, with a 24.4% jump from 2013 to 2017.
“These statistics are absolutely staggering,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “With the frequency of STDs increasing at such an astronomical rate here in New Jersey, where funding for family planning services was gutted in the previous administration, it is critical that we continue our efforts to support vital healthcare facilities.”
Senator Vin Gopal was instrumental in working with the Murphy Administration to restore $7.5 million in funding to Planned Parenthood that was previously slashed by the Christie Administration.Read more
Senator Vin Gopal is raising strong concerns on the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s new regulations on the state’s breweries.
These regulations, which severely limit the scope of breweries’ operations, include a limit 25 “special events,” such as paint and sip nights, trivia nights, live televised sporting events and live music nights; a limit of 12 special permits a year to sell products off the brewery premises such as festivals, athletic events, and other civic events; a limit of 52 private parties (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries) a year; and a requirement to electronically notify the ABC 10 days prior to holding the event.
“These regulations are extraordinarily restrictive, placing an undue strain on our breweries,” said Senator Vin Gopal.
“We must focus our efforts on supporting small businesses, not limiting their ability to attract customers. Special events are vital to these small businesses, which employ numerous hardworking local residents. Without the ability to attract new customers and grow their business, local breweries will be stifled and stunted. I strongly encourage the ABC to reconsider these ill-conceived regulations and give our breweries the chance to grow and thrive. I will be speaking with ABC as well as seeing what we can do legislatively to remove some of these restrictions.”Read more
Gopal, Diegnan Bill to Prohibit NJ Transit from Issuing a Law Enforcement Badge to Anyone Who is Not a Law Enforcement Officer Advances
Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senate Transportation Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. that would prohibit the New Jersey Transit Corporation from issuing a law enforcement badge to NJ Transit board members, Port Authority Commissioners and local and state elected officials cleared the Senate Thursday.Read more
A bill sponsored by New Jersey Legislative Manufacturing Caucus Chairman Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Steve Oroho that would make a General Fund supplemental appropriation of $250,000 to the Department of State for the purpose of funding the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc advanced from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on September 24.
“Many residents and veterans in our state struggle to find long-term employment with a decent wage,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).Read more
Gopal, Diegnan Bill to Prohibit NJ Transit from Issuing a Law Enforcement Badge to Anyone Who is Not a Law Enforcement Officer Clears Committee
Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senate Transportation Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. that would prohibit the New Jersey Transit Corporation from issuing a law enforcement badge to NJ Transit board members, Port Authority Commissioners and local and state elected officials cleared the Senate Transportation Committee.
“The only people who should be issued a law enforcement badge are individuals who are trained to be law enforcement officers. I am glad that that distinction will be clarified in this piece of legislation,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).
Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senate Transportation Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. that would authorize special Combat Action Badge license plates cleared the Senate Transportation Committee today. The license plate would display the words, "Combat Action Badge" and the Combat Action Badge emblem.
“This badge is relatively new in the Army. Those who have been awarded this distinction should have it publicized and display it with honor in order to educate others on its significance,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Allowing for veterans to display that they have seen combat on a license plate will allow them to cherish the pride of knowing they served their country.”Read more
Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey honored 16-year-old Colts Neck High School student William Dean for his commitment to supporting New Jersey’s veterans.
On Sept. 5, Senator Vin Gopal presented William with a resolution on behalf of the 11th Legislative District honoring his efforts to support local veterans, which include countless hours of volunteering and raising over $26,000 to support veterans organizations throughout the state.
“This inspiring young man displays levels of selflessness, community-mindedness and determination that are far beyond his 16 years. I was extremely proud to have the opportunity to meet William and thank him for all he has done for our brave veterans. I look forward to seeing what William achieves in the future — I am certain he will go on to accomplish great things,” said Senator Vin Gopal.
“We commend William for all he has done to better his community and for the veterans he works so tirelessly to support. We are extremely impressed with all he has accomplished at such a young age and we are grateful that his future goals include serving his country in the United States Navy. Thank you, William, for all you have done and best of luck in your future,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.
“William is an incredible young man who has wholeheartedly committed himself to service. From his work with his school’s ROTC to the over 300 hours of community service he has performed, William sets a stunning example of what it means to serve your community. We are extremely proud of this young man and were honored to have the opportunity to celebrate his accomplishments,” said Assemblywoman Downey.Read more
School security, affordability and consolidation were among the key issues discussed at a community forum for seniors, hosted by Senator Vin Gopal on Thursday, Aug 30.
Residents packed the room at the community forum at Tinton Falls Town Hall, where attendees had the opportunity to meet the Senator and speak to him directly about their concerns.Read more
In an effort to implement responsible spending and reduce property taxes, Senator Vin Gopal introduced legislation that would allow municipalities and boards of education to jointly contract for certain group insurance benefits for their employees.
The bill (S2899) would provide these municipal bodies with increased flexibility to allow them to work together to lower costs. This savings would, ultimately, be passed on to residents in the form of decreased property tax rates.Read more