Gopal, Diegnan Bill Would Authorize Special Combat Action Badge License Plates Clears Committee

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.”

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Gopal, Houghtaling & Downey Honor Local Teen

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.

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Sen. Gopal’s Town Hall A Great Success

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.

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Sen. Gopal Bill Would Promote Joint Contracts

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.

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Sen. Gopal, Asm. Burzichelli To Introduce Bill Supporting Horse Racing Industry

In an effort to support the local horse racing industry, Senator Vin Gopal and Assemblyman John Burzichelli will introduce a bill (S2312/A4413) that designates $20 million from the General Fund to the New Jersey Racing Commission for allocation to the thoroughbred and standardbred industries for horse racing purse subsidies.  

“The horse racing industry is critical to the economy of Monmouth County, which is home to Monmouth Park and Freehold Raceway,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “New Jersey’s horse racing industry has faced challenges in recent years. Monmouth Park has struggled since losing a $17 million annual payment from the state’s casino industry to supplement purses in 2011, while the thoroughbred industry has been unable to keep pace with tracks in neighboring states with purse structures bolstered by casino dollars. We cannot allow venues like Monmouth Park to falter. In ensuring this vital industry is properly supported, we secure direct and indirect jobs for countless hardworking New Jersey residents and maintain a stable local economy.”

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Sen. Gopal Applauds Issuance of Funding for Infrastructure Projects

Senator Vin Gopal applauds the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s issuance of $10,302,964 in funding to assist the county in completing infrastructure improvements at the municipal level.

“Our roadways and bridges are heavily utilized, particularly during the summer when our tourism industry surges. It is imperative that we work to ensure our infrastructure is properly maintained to provide safe and smooth travel throughout Monmouth County and to avoid major repair projects that could close down a roadway or bridge,” said Senator Vin Gopal.

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Sen. Gopal Supports Executive Order to Close State Lands to 2018 Bear Hunt

On Monday, Aug. 20, Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to close all public lands under the Department’s jurisdiction to bear hunting for the 2018 season. This includes all State forests, State parks, State recreation areas, State historic sites, State Wildlife Management Areas and State natural areas.

In response, Senator Vin Gopal issued the following statement:

“Our beautiful state lands are pristine testaments to New Jersey’s history and natural beauty. They are not hunting grounds,” said Senator Vin Gopal.

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Sen. Gopal Bill to Revitalize Fort Monmouth Signed Into Law

 

On Friday, August 17 Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill introduced by Senator Vin Gopal to distribute additional liquor licenses to the three host communities surrounding Fort Monmouth.

The bill  (S2498) allows for the issuance of 12 additional licenses to properties in Fort Monmouth, which comprises Tinton Falls, Oceanport, and Eatontown. Tinton Falls will receive two additional licenses; Oceanport will receive four licenses; and Eatontown will receive six additional licenses.

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Handlin and Gopal Empower & Inform Residents at Fraud Panel

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Senator Vin Gopal, in a bipartisan effort, hosted a fraud panel to educate residents on the dangers of scams and teach them how they can protect themselves.

The panel was held on Wednesday, Aug. 15 in the Warner Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College. The Legislators were joined by a panel of experts who shed light on the types of scams that target residents and shared advice for combating these malicious fraudsters. The panelists included Melanie Hazim of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Christine Newman of AARP, Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Lori Linskey and Asbury Park Press “Press on Your Side” reporter David Willis.

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Gopal to Host Community Forum

In an effort to engage local seniors, Senator Vin Gopal will host a Community Forum.

As your State Senator, there is nothing I value more than feedback from my constituents. Whether I am drafting a bill, casting a vote in Trenton or working with my colleagues to address a local issue, the opinions and needs of my constituents are at the center of everything I do,” said Senator Vin Gopal.

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Gopal Gives Manufacturers Platform at Caucus Hearing

Senator Vin Gopal hosted a hearing of the Bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus to gauge the needs of the manufacturing industry.

The hearing, hosted at SPEX Certiprep in Metuchen on Tuesday, August 14, gave leaders within the manufacturing industry a platform to discuss the issues impacting their businesses, including tariffs, apprenticeships and minimum wage.

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Vitale, Gopal Bill to Address Unemployment Compensation in Labor Disputes Signed Into Law

A bill sponsored by Senate Labor Committee Vice Chair Joseph F. Vitale and Senator Vin Gopal to permit individuals who are unemployed due to a labor dispute to collect unemployment compensation under certain circumstances is now law after being signed by the governor.                       

The new law, S-1046, will allow unemployment compensation during a labor dispute if it was caused by the failure of an employer to comply with an agreement or existing labor laws and specifies that if a dispute is caused by any other reason, unemployment compensation would not be available for the first 30 days of unemployment.  The bill outlines that a waiting period would not apply if the employer hires a permanent replacement worker and that any hired replacement workers would be presumed to be permanent unless the employer certifies in writing that the unemployed individual would be able to return to their position when the labor dispute ends.

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Gopal Lauds Issuance of Local Bridges, Future Needs Grants in Monmouth County

Senator Vin Gopal applauds Governor Phil Murphy for allocating $47.3 million in grant funding to maintain county bridges.

Local Bridges, Future Needs (LBFN) is a $47.3 million program funded through the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), which provides funding for each of New Jersey’s 21 counties for the improvement of county bridges. The recent gas tax increase as part of the TTF renewal made it possible to increase grants in Fiscal Year 2018 to $47.3 million from $25 million in prior years. These are the largest bridge grant awards in New Jersey history, almost doubling the amount of funds previously provided to counties across the state.  

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