Gopal Bill Banning "Gay Panic Defense" Advances in Assembly

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."

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November 18, 2019

Celebrating the 100th Veterans Day

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.

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November 14, 2019

Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Sponsor Thanksgiving Food Drive

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.”

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November 13, 2019

Senator Gopal Urges NJ Veterans to Apply for Newly Doubled $6,000 Income Tax Exemption

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.

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November 13, 2019

Gopal Calls for Crackdown on Worker Abuse and Corporate Crime

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."

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November 08, 2019

Gopal Applauds $10 Million for Shared Services and School District Consolidation

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.

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September 25, 2019

Gopal, Houghtaling, & Downey Announce $586K in Pre-K Funding for Ocean Township Schools

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.

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September 03, 2019

Gopal Bill Expanding Veteran Access to Vocational Education Signed into Law

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal that will provide in-State tuition for veterans attending vocational schools in New Jersey regardless of their state of residence, was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.

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August 28, 2019

Gopal Introduces "Braeden's Law" to Protect Student-Athletes from Heat Stroke

NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP - On July 30 of last year, star athlete Braeden Bradforth left his home in Neptune Township to attend Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas. Just two days later, Braeden passed away at school after football practice, his death sending a shockwave through his community and devastating his family.

Braeden’s autopsy revealed that he had suffered from exertional heat stroke following the grueling conditioning "test" his team was made to run in the heat of August: thirty-six fifty-yard dashes in a row, each in under eight seconds - and without access to water. Since this tragedy, Senator Vin Gopal has urged the Kansas Attorney General to further investigate the case, and today introduced “Braeden’s Law” in the New Jersey State Senate to protect other student athletes from suffering Braeden’s fate.

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August 27, 2019

Gopal Sponsors Bill to Fund Planned Parenthood

Legislation (S-4103) co-sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, which would provide a supplemental appropriation of $9.5 million to the Department of Health for health care providers withdrawing from the federal Title X program, was introduced in the Senate yesterday.

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August 27, 2019

Gopal Stands With Planned Parenthood on Title X Funding

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal today called for New Jersey to join Planned Parenthood in support of Title X healthcare services and to close the funding gap in women’s healthcare left by new federal rules:

“Planned Parenthood does outstanding work to ensure that women across New Jersey can receive the highest quality of care, and I’m proud to see them standing with their values,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). "Our Legislature must immediately take action to ensure that Planned Parenthood and women’s health clinics across our state are able to continue supplying the reproductive healthcare services that are so essential to our communities.”

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August 22, 2019

Gopal Bill Banning Abusive Pet Leases Signed Into Law

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Legislation introduced by Senator Vin Gopal that would prohibit pet stores and breeders from leasing cats or dogs as pets in New Jersey was signed into law this Friday.

“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 beloved cat or dog is taken away and leased to the next buyer in line, just to pad the breeder’s pockets.”

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August 09, 2019