TRENTON - Acting to improve health care access for New Jersey residents, Governor Phil Murphy last week signed legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal establishing a State-Based Health Exchange in New Jersey. Under this law, New Jersey will have greater control over its health insurance market and the ability to establish stronger protections against the Trump Administration’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act.
"This new law is an important step forward in making sure that families can access more affordable health coverage," said Gopal (D-Long Branch). "Right now, the federal government has done serious damage to the national exchanges, cutting enrollment periods, and slashing funding for critical outreach and advertising. By creating new health insurance exchanges based right here in New Jersey, we can keep our local health insurance market stable, protect residents from disruption to their health or insurance, and make sure that we can keep premiums low and coverage high."Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey announced the securing of an additional $55 million in extraordinary special education funding on Sunday following Governor Murphy’s signing of the state budget.Read more
TRENTON - This Thursday, the State Senate approved legislation introduced by Senator Vin Gopal that would provided in-State tuition for veterans attending vocational schools in New Jersey regardless of their state of residence.
“Our veterans have made incredible sacrifices and put their lives on the line for our country, but they’re all too often unable to find work after leaving the military,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “By passing this bill, we can give our faithful servicemembers a leg up on getting the education they need to transition back into civilian life and build a successful career..”Read more
TRENTON - The State Senate and Assembly approved legislation this Thursday introduced by Senator Vin Gopal that would prohibit pet stores and breeders from leasing cats or dogs as pets in New Jersey.
“There’s an implicit assumption in the idea of ‘leasing’ a pet - that, after a period of time, that pet is going to be torn away from a loving home, possibly just after it’s come to know its new family,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “When families can’t or won’t pay, their loved cat or dog is taken away and leased to the next buyer in line, just to pad the breeder’s pockets.”Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - In response to recent events in Belmar where non-disabled veterans were accidentally required to pay to access public beaches, Senators Vin Gopal and Robert Singer are working to introduce a bipartisan resolution to clarify the existing State statute that allows municipalities to provide free beach badges to military veterans.
“I was surprised to hear that officials in Belmar had interpreted current law to mean that non-disabled veterans aren’t allowed to receive complimentary beach badges when other Shore towns like Long Branch, Sea Bright, and Ocean City have been doing that for years,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “Our veterans and active servicemembers have done so much in service to this country, and we should make sure that our hardworking local elected officials are fully aware of the small ways in which we can honor that dedication.”Read more
TRENTON - Legislation introduced by Senator Vin Gopal that would ban the abusive practice of pharmacy benefits manager (PBMs) "clawbacks" was approved by the Assembly today, and now heads to the Governor for final approval.
"This abusive practice of paying for prescriptions and then retroactively reducing the payment several months afterward does extensive damage, disrupting pharmacies' revenue streams and turning reliability into uncertainty," said Gopal (D-Long Branch). "By banning these tactics, we can drive down the costs of prescription medication and make our system work for patients, not middlemen."Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal joined Assembly Members Houghtaling and Downey to announce a combined $2 million in funding allotted to Monmouth County community organizations, nonprofits, and programs under the State Legislature’s new proposed budget.
“These millions of dollars in investment and supportive services have the power to stimulate our economy, revitalize our area’s cultural and historical landmarks, and improve protections for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch).Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal has introduced a line-item budget resolution for New Jersey’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget that would allocate a full $750,000 to the LGBTQ Community Health Center operated by the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (VNACJ) in Asbury Park.
“The VNACJ does outstanding work to help underserved or vulnerable communities get the care that they need,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch).Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Following a report that at least 9 New Jersey cities are likely to be underwater within the century due to rising sea levels caused by climate change, State Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey joined Senator Vin Gopal to introduce legislation this month that would require schools to teach students about climate change as part of the science curriculum in middle and high school.
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, and as a clear result of human activity,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch).Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - In response to a case where State regulators attempted to fine a Howell woman for taking care of two baby squirrels abandoned by their mother, State Senator Vin Gopal introduced legislation (S-3829) that would protect New Jersey residents from liability for providing temporary care to injured wildlife after making a good-faith effort to contact a licensed rehabilitator.
“I’m glad to see our State agencies working to make sure that at-risk wildlife is well-equipped to survive in its natural habitat, but this was clearly a case where the State was overzealous, and needed to step back and accept the net-beneficial and well-meaning actions of a Good Samaritan,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch).Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - With a goal of cutting costs on prescription drugs and cracking down on abusive practices by out-of-state pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), legislation recently introduced by Senator Vin Gopal would require prescription drug services covered under the Medicaid program to be converted from a managed care delivery system to a fee-for-service delivery system.
“Any New Jerseyan who has visited a hospital or doctor’s office recently has experienced firsthand a crisis of soaring medical bills and skyrocketing pharmaceutical costs,” Gopal (D-Long Branch).Read more
TRENTON - Senator Gopal this week introduced new legislation (S-3785) that would increase the amount of pension and retirement income that certain taxpayers are able to exclude from their gross income taxes.
“Our office has heard and sympathized with the frustration of many of our constituents regarding the exceptionally low exclusion amounts for pension and retirement income,” Gopal (D-Long Branch) said.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Aiming to cut administrative costs and promote a uniform curriculum for students, Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) introduced legislation last Thursday that would require the Commissioner of Education to study the most efficient and effective means of consolidating school districts, with the exception of Pre-K- or K-12 districts, into all-purpose regional school districts.
"Studies have shown that the consolidation of K-5 and K-8 schools into K-12 districts is one of the most powerful tools we have for cutting education costs and saving taxpayer dollars," Gopal said.Read more