OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Under “Penny’s Law,” a new bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Vin Gopal this November, Jersey Shore towns that go above and beyond to make their beaches accessible to beachgoers with disabilities would be empowered to advertise those beaches to the disability community with an official State label or sign.
Named for Penny Gnesin, a resident of Asbury Park who knew firsthand the shortage of handicapped-accessible beaches in New Jersey, the bill would direct the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop new guidelines for beach accessibility to accommodate the needs of those with disabilities, including recommendations for ramps, restrooms, showers, boardwalks, surf chairs, parking, and any other facilities deemed appropriate.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal recently introduced new legislation that would allow certain volunteer first responders to qualify for free tuition at Community Colleges under the Community College Opportunity Grant program, regardless of income.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey today announced that Monmouth County municipalities will receive a combined $12.6 million in infrastructure grants from the Department of Transportation.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - The office of Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey is now accepting applications for spring 2020 internships for high school and college students in the legislators’ Tinton Falls and Ocean Township offices.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal this month introduced new legislation that would correct oversights in funding for New Jersey food banks, restoring equity and necessary resources to non-profit organizations such as Fulfill, the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
The bill (S-4247), which amends the FY2020 State Budget, would require that State funds for community food banks be distributed based on the number of food-insecure households that each organization serves as a percentage of the total number of food-insecure households throughout New Jersey.
“Every food bank serves a different community, and each of these communities has its own unique needs,” said Senator Gopal (D-Long Branch).Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal this Thursday introduced legislation that would establish a new price preference program on State contracts for businesses owned by veterans with disabilities obtained in service. Under current law, many State contracts or purchases are publicly advertised and awarded to the lowest competitive bidder.
This legislation would establish a price preference of up to 15 percent of the contract's amount to the business of a qualified disabled veteran. In order to qualify, a business must be independently owned and operated, with a majority ownership by veterans with disabilities and a principal place of business within New JerseyRead more
Joining other states who have enacted or considered a ban on the use of ‘gay or trans panic’ legal strategies in criminal cases, legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal cleared an Assembly panel on Monday. The bill (A-1796) would prohibit the use of so-called “gay panic” defenses for the commission of murder.
"Members of the LGBTQ community deserve protection from bigotry and hate - and the so-called "gay panic" or "trans panic" defense has no place in our courts," said Gopal. "It's long past time we made sure that no LGBTQ person has to fear for their lives because of their sexuality or gender identity."Read more
One hundred years ago this week, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first-ever Armistice Day, a holiday to celebrate peace, heroism, and gratitude for those who have served. It wasn't until 1947 that this holiday's name was changed to "Veterans Day," but even before then, our country understood the importance of recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of those who defend our nation. As President Wilson said on November 11, 1919, “To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service, and with gratitude for the victory” - a sentiment that lasts to this day.
In the past century since Veterans Day was established, our veterans have participated in armed defensive and peacekeeping conflicts across the globe. Over the decades, our nation has celebrated our veterans with gratitude and thanks, such as when America founded the Veterans Administration in 1930, or enacted pro-veteran legislation like the G.I. bill following World War II, which helped veterans afford a mortgage, start a business, or obtain higher education.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are asking Monmouth County residents to donate food to help families and children in need throughout the 11th Legislative District during November.
“In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, we’re asking residents to show their generosity to their less fortunate neighbors, helping underserved families who may not otherwise be able to put healthy meals on the table for their families,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “According to Fulfill, Monmouth County’s local food bank, two out of every five people it serves at its network of food pantries are children. With this food drive, we hope to support their efforts to help struggling households feed their families.”Read more
With the Veterans Income Tax Exemption doubling to $6,000 for 2019, State Senator and Senate Military & Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Vin Gopal is urging New Jersey veterans to check their eligibility and pre-certify to make claiming the exemption easier during tax filing season.
Applicants need only apply the first year they claim the exemption. A veteran’s spouse or civil union partner, who is also a veteran, can take the exemption if they are filing a joint return. However, a veteran cannot claim this exemption for a domestic partner or dependents.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Today, Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey called for a renewed effort by state agencies to crack down on the rampant and widespread illegal abuse of workers in the construction industry.
"Not only are these bad actors robbing workers - they're also cheating taxpayers and undercutting lawful businesses," said Senator Gopal (D-Long Branch). "When you have a system that rewards illegality, you wind up with a race to the bottom that hurts everyone and only helps the criminals who made that possible. I'm glad to see the Governor and the Department of Labor making progress on these critical issues, but we need further and stronger action to end these daily abuses."Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal joined with Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to applaud the release of $10 million in funding for shared services and school district consolidation in New Jersey following years of advocacy in the Legislature in support of both policies.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal joined Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to announce that the Ocean Township School District will receive $586,000 in state aid to implement or expand quality early childhood education programs.Read more