Gopal Supports Extension of Urban Enterprise Zone Program

Senator Vin Gopal offers his full support of a bill (S846) seeking to extend the designation of all previously designated Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ), including Asbury Park and Long Branch.

The bill, which was approved by both the Senate and Assembly on Thursday, April 5, would extend the designation of UEZs for a one-time period of 10 years, allowing participating cities continue their involvement in the program.

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Urge Volunteer Fire Departments to Apply for Federal Assistance Program

Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey encourage all local volunteer fire departments to take advantage of The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response [SAFER] federal assistance program.

SAFER will provide $345 million in total grants for local fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations around the country. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720).

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Sen. Gopal Supports Governor Murphy Firearms Executive Order

Senator Vin Gopal stands behind Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order pertaining to gun violence.

Signed today at Asbury Park Middle School, the order directs the Department of Law and Public Safety to consider all reasonable efforts to publicly release information on guns used in the commission of crimes in the state. The information is to be posted on the website of the State Police and the Department of Law and Public Safety.

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Gopal Appointed to Two Senate Positions

Senator Vin Gopal was appointed to serve as Senate Majority Conference Leader and as Chairman of the bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus by Senate President Steve Sweeney Wednesday, April 4.

“I am grateful to Senate President Steve Sweeney for entrusting me to serve in these positions,” said Senator Gopal.

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Princess Prom Project Returns for Third Year

Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey are pleased to announce the Princess Prom Project is back for the third year.

The expenses related to prom can add up quickly, especially for a family living on a tight budget. The Princess Prom Project works to alleviate a major expense by providing local high school students with a dress and accessories to ensure every student has the opportunity to enjoy prom.

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Gopal Responds to State Gun Divestment

In response to the State Investment Council’s decision to sell a $1.9 million stake in Vista Outdoor, a company that manufactures semi-automatic rifles, Senator Vin Gopal said the following:

I am encouraged to see the State Investment Council has responded to our call for responsible investment practices and divested from a manufacturer of semi-automatic rifles," Senator Gopal said.

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Gopal Urges Veterans to Take Advantage of Income Tax Exemption

The Veteran Income Tax Exemption allows eligible veterans to receive a $3,000 exemption on their income tax.

If you are a veteran who was honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces, or if you are the spouse of a veteran who passed away in 2017, you are eligible for this exemption.

To claim the Veteran Income Tax Exemption, you must fill out a submission form and send it to the New Jersey Division of Taxation along with a Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty. You will not be able to claim this exemption without completing this application process.

This is a well-deserved tax break for our veterans and I want to ensure every veteran in the district can take advantage of it. Our office is available for assistance with the application process. To request a Veteran Income Tax Exemption submission form, call our office at 732-695-3371 or request a form online here.

Gopal and Sarlo: Save Property Tax Dollars By Capping Sick Day Bonuses


Senators Vin Gopal and Paul Sarlo introduced legislation to save property tax dollars by extending the cap on unused sick day bonuses.

The bill limits payment to public employees for accumulated unused sick leave upon retirement to $15,000. Current law places this cap on public employees hired since 2010. The Gopal/Sarlo legislation would extend that cap to all current public employees, including county, local, and school district employees for any new sick days accumulated.

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Promote Veterans Income Tax Exemption

Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey urge residents to apply for an Income Tax Exemption that benefits local veterans.

The Veteran Income Tax Exemption allows eligible veterans to receive a $3,000 exemption on their Income Tax returns.

“New Jersey’s veterans are heroes who have made significant sacrifices to serve and protect this nation. Now, it is our turn to serve them. This income tax exemption is the least we can do in an effort to repay our debt of gratitude,” said Sen. Gopal.

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Announce Ocean Community Economic Action Now Funding

Screen_Shot_2018-03-07_at_3.26.34_PM.pngSenator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey announce Ocean Community Economic Action Now, Inc. [OCEAN], has been approved to receive a $457,686 award from the Heating Improvement Program.

This funding will provide funds to improve heating system efficiency in the homes of eligible households in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

“We are thrilled to see this funding be made available to Monmouth County’s most vulnerable populations,” Sen. Gopal said. “Our residents should not have to worry about being able to properly heat their homes during the winter. This infusion of funding goes a long way towards achieving that goal.”


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Gopal Introduces Firearm Restrictions Bill Package

powerful-handguns.jpgSenator Vin Gopal introduced three pieces of legislation to better regulate firearms in the wake of the tragic Parkland, Florida, shooting that claimed 17 innocent lives and the subsequent national outcry for more stringent gun laws.

The three-part bill package includes a bill that prohibits an individual who has been convicted of animal cruelty from possession or purchasing a firearm; a bill requiring the safe storage of a firearm and establishing penalties for improper firearm storage; and a bill which establishes a process by which a family or household member, law enforcement agency, or an employee of a high school or institution of higher education may petition a court to have a person’s firearms temporarily seized upon finding that the person poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others.

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Gopal Introduces Legislation Banning The Investment of Pension Funds in Gun Manufacturers

TRENTON – Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) introduced legislation prohibiting the investment of New Jersey public employee pension funds or annuities in any gun manufacturing companies. Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling will introduce the legislation in the General Assembly at their next quorum.

“We cannot stand by and let gun manufacturers, that profit by producing weapons, benefit from the investment of our pension funds,” said Gopal. “With this bill we are sending a message that New Jersey is making a conscious decision about the type of companies the state should invest in.”

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Gopal, Houghtaling, Downey Decry Increase in Anti-Semitic Incidents

hands-1939895_960_720.pngOCEAN TOWNSHIP – Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey call on all New Jersey residents to unite against the rash of anti-Semitic incidents that have scourged the state.

In 2017, there were 208 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey – a 32 percent increase from 2016 and the third most of any state in the nation, according an Anti-Defamation League report published Feb. 27.

Incidents include 110 reports of vandalism, 95 reports of harassment and three reported incidents of physical assaults. Overall, New Jersey accounted for one-tenth of the 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents reported across the country last year and saw incidents in nearly every county of the state.

“This rash of bigotry and hatred cannot and will not be tolerated in New Jersey,” said Sen. Gopal.

“As residents, as neighbors, as human beings, we must do better. Our country is inundated with messages of hate and ignorance each and every day. We cannot allow these messages to push us to acts of vandalism, harassment and violence. It is up to us to denounce this disgusting behavior, to rise above the hate and learn to embrace and accept our neighbors, regardless of religion or culture.”

“To characterize these incidents as unacceptable is an understatement,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“I call on each and every New Jerseyan to do better. We must not accept the rise of anti-Semitism in our great state as the new normal. Rather, we must overcome the hate and redefine the ways in which we treat one another. We each have the power to make the choice, to choose how we treat one another and in making that choice, create a safer, more tolerant New Jersey.”

“To see such a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in our state is absolutely heartbreaking and underscores the fact that now, more than ever, we must come together as a state,” Assemblywoman Downey said.

“We must learn to look past our differences, to find value in what makes us unique – be it our religion, our ethnicity, our appearance – and base our actions and our beliefs on a foundation of acceptance rather than ignorance. New Jersey must set a better example for the nation during this tumultuous time.”

New Jersey has a population of approximately 545,450 Jewish residents, according to a 2016 data from the Jewish Virtual Library.