I am pleased to be able to report that our UULMNJ “signature” piece of legislation, S3228/A4907Address Confidentiality Program for Reproductive Health Service Employees and Clients, is at last headed for public review in both the NJ Senate and House committees.
We are headed into the home stretch. However, timing is of the essence. We will need all our supporters to call/email their legislators to ask them to move this legislation through to a successful end.
THERE IS MORE YOU CAN DO!
UUs in the Garden State are, for the first time, the creators and backers of “our own” piece of justice legislation. We need to show up when the bill comes before the two committees for public debate. The Senate and Assembly versions will appear before the Senate Health Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee respectively sometime in mid June.
We may only have 2-3 days notice before the bills are scheduled to be read. It would be terrific if you were able to pencil in the following dates as the most likely dates (according to our contact in Senator Weinberg’s office) for showing up in Trenton:
Monday June 12 (anytime between 10-3)
Tuesday June 13 (anytime between 10-3)
Thursday June 15 (anytime between 10-3)
Monday June 19 (anytime between 10-3)
Additionally, assuming both houses vote the bills out of committee, Weinberg’s office suggests that S3228/A4907 could come up for Senate/House votes as early as the week of June 19 or the week of June 26th. It would be wonderful if a delegation of UU clergy and lay people were in the gallery to witness to and celebrate the (presumed) passage of our HISTORIC first UU-inspired legislation on that day.
Obviously there are a lot of scheduling “ifs” involved. The UULMNJ staff will do our best to give you as much of a heads up as we receive from our sponsoring partners, Sen. Loretta Weinberg (Democratic Majority Leader) and Asms. Pam Lampitt (D) and John McKeon (D).
Below is further background information on the bill provided by Reproductive Justice Task Force Chair Carol Loscalzo. Carol and Legal Advocacy Project (LAP) Chair, Gary Nissenbaum are responsible for most of the heavy lifting on this legislation. We owe them both many thanks for getting this far.
In the meantime, if you know you would like to be involved as scheduling allows, please let me know by emailing me at ExecDir@uulmnj.org. As always, I remain available for your questions, concerns or suggestions going forward.
Some good news in the midst of much that is disturbing and drear. We keep the faith and the faith keeps us, however you name your faith. For me, I am glad to be doing this work together.
Come to Trenton in June!
In faith and service,
Rev. Rob Gregson
Updates to S3228/A4907 Address Confidentiality Program for Reproductive Health Service Employees and Clients
Proposed Modifications to the bill as first written were accepted and are now part of the bill. As a reminder, the modifications are below.
Proposed Modification #1
Page 1, section 2(a) of the OLS Bill only includes a “person”, which is limited to an employee of, or contractor with, a reproductive health service provider. We think that definition should be expanded to include unpaid volunteers, patients and the families of any “person.”
Proposed Modification #2
Page 2, section 2(a)(1)(a) of the OLS Bill only allows people to qualify for the Address Confidentiality Program if they “have good reason to believe that” they are already “a victim of assault, stalking or terroristic threats committed because of the applicant’s status as an employee of, or contractor with, a reproductive health service provider.” That means that they will already have experienced what is essentially a disorderly persons offense or possibly a degree crime. Instead, the UULMNJ Version stated that the applicant was only required to allege that they are fearful for their safety or the safety of their family because of their interactions with a reproductive health service provider.
The reason we believe our language would be advisable is that if a bomb were to go off in such a facility, the nurse who was the target of the bomb would have access to the Address Confidentiality Program, but her colleague who works with her who was not the actual intended target might not. Yet they would both obviously be fearful of further violence. In addition, if someone is so fearful that they are a potential target, but they cannot prove that they already have been the victim of assault, stalking or terroristic threats committed because of the applicant’s status as an employee of, or contractor with, a reproductive health service provider, it would seem logical that they should, nevertheless, be allowed to participant in the Address Confidentiality Program.
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