TRENTON – The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted to release legislation that proponents say would strengthen the state’s Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.
The bill, A2380, is named after the former Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce, who championed the rights of crime victims, said Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, (R-26), the bill’s sponsor.
The bill would require victims to be notified about the progress of their case, including any changes in the court schedule; protect victims from harassment or abuse by defendants or their supporters; provide medical assistance, including psychological treatment, for victims of crimes; give greater consideration to a victim’s impact statement in court; allow victims to display a picture or wear a button in support of a murdered loved one in court.
Lawmakers voted unanimously to release the bill with little discussion.
Meadowlands Conservation Fund
Lawmakers also released legislation that would establish the “NJ Meadowlands Conservation Fund” and would provide for a designation on state gross income tax returns that would permit taxpayers to voluntarily donate to the fund.
The bill, A2504, is being sponsored by Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. Lawmakers released the bill with little discussion.
“The Meadowlands Conservation Trust benefits land preservation in the Hackensack River and Meadowlands regions,” Prieto said in a statement. “The trust acquires land to permanently preserve wetlands, waterways and open space, offering flood protection, clean water, wildlife habitat and passive recreations.”
Casino mobile gaming
Legislation that would allow casinos to offer electronic versions of certain games on mobile devices to be played only on a casino’s property was also released from committee.
The bill, A2575, would permit the use of mobile gaming devices in any area located within the property boundaries of the casino hotel facility, including the swimming pool area and any outdoor recreation area, according to the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, (D-3), Paulsboro, the committee’s chairman.
“In order to remain attractive to visitors and competitive with neighboring states, it’s important that Atlantic City keep up with the latest innovations and trends,” Burzichelli said in a statement following the bill’s release. “This move will allow visitors to enjoy gaming while they’re taking advantage of other attractions that the casino hotels have to offer. It’s a smart 21st century adaptation on the part of the casinos.”
The committee also released legislation that would toughen penalties laid out in the state’s Electronic Waste Management Act and provide various revisions to the original law.
The bill, A1459, would upgrade fines for dumping electronic waste. Currently, anyone found in violation of the law is subject to pay a $500 to $1,000 fine. Under the proposed bill, violators could be slapped with a fine of up to $50,000.
The Department of Environmental Protection would be tasked with administering the fine. The DEP would also be exempt from having to file action in Superior Court to levy a civil penalty, according to the legislation.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, (D-15), Trenton, would also exempt manufacturers that sell less than 100 televisions in a given year from paying the current $5,000 registration or renewal fee.