OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Though organizations and agencies throughout New Jersey offer programs helping veterans deal with healthcare access, housing costs, or finding a career, many veterans don’t know how to apply for them - or even that these programs exist.
That’s why Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey are teaming up with the Monmouth University School of Social Work to host their second annual “Coming Home Project,” a veterans’ claims clinic that will empower Monmouth County veterans learn about the benefits and services available to them and obtain guidance in applying.
“Our veterans make tremendous sacrifices in service to their country, showing outstanding courage and loyalty in the face of extraordinary danger and life-threatening situations,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch), who chairs the state Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “When they return home, though, too many veterans fall through the cracks and find themselves facing mental illness, unaffordable bills, or other challenges completely alone. The Coming Home Project is here to tell them that they’re not alone, and to help them get right back on their feet.”Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) released the following statement in response to a report by the Asbury Park Press that Judge John F. Russo “knows it was wrong for him to ask an alleged rape victim if she kept her legs closed” but “wishes to return to hearing cases”:
"I'm glad to see Judge Russo admit his wrongdoing in this case, but we cannot let his or any similar case slide. We need to root out this dangerous and harmful bias from our judicial system in order to truly support survivors in their path towards justice and recovery. Survivors need to be confident that our judicial system will hear them.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ - In response to vile comments made by Judge Troiano in a case involving the alleged rape of an underage girl, including remarks that there was “distinction” between “a sexual assault and a rape”; that the alleged crime did not resemble “the traditional case of rape”; and that the accused perpetrator should not be overly penalized because “this young man comes from a good family,” and “he is clearly a candidate for not just college, but probably for a good college,” Monmouth County Senator Vin Gopal issued the following statement:
“The comments made by Judge Troiano are despicable and beyond the pale. They have no place in our courts. Commentary and thinking like Judge Troiano’s cause further pain and suffering for survivors and put the legitimacy and fairness of our judicial system into question.Read more
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal released the following statement lauding the signing of the “Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act” this Tuesday in Freehold:
“I’m so glad to see this vital legislation finally signed into law. As a co-sponsor of this session’s original legislation expanding access to medical marijuana, I know how much this new law means to sick patients and anyone living with chronic pain across New Jersey. I’m deeply grateful to the Honig family and my colleague Assemblywoman Joann Downey for their devoted efforts to push this law through - your leadership and dedication will make a true difference for children and other patients throughout our state."Read more
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