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Governor Phil Murphy

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This Week In New Jersey: May 12th, 2023


Governor Murphy Signs Health Care Heroes Violence Prevention Act

In response to increased attacks on health care workers in recent years, Governor Phil Murphy signed the ‘Health Care Heroes Violence Prevention Act’ to make it a criminal offense to intentionally threaten health care professionals or volunteers in an effort to intimidate them or interfere with their work. The act also establishes additional penalties against individuals who assault health care workers or volunteers.

Under the bill (A-3199), a person who knowingly and willfully makes, delivers, or sends a threat against health care workers covered by the act is guilty of a disorderly persons offense, which is punishable by imprisonment of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For individuals convicted of assault against the covered workers, this act allows them to be sentenced to an anger management course of up to 12 months and community service of up to 30 days.

“If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic made abundantly clear, it is the essential role health care workers play in our society,” said Governor Murphy. “Growing threats and attacks against these courageous heroes are unacceptable. We owe health care workers, including volunteers and employees in health care settings, our gratitude and respect. This law will provide greater protections for health care workers in our state to help deter both physical and verbal acts of violence against these professionals.”


Governor Murphy Signs Bipartisan Legislation Criminalizing Sexual Extortion

Governor Phil Murphy signed bipartisan legislation (S653/A343) to crack down on acts of sexual extortion, which have been on the rise as the digital age creates new avenues for bad actors. Specifically, the new law criminalizes the act of coercing another person to engage in sexual contact or provide explicit images or videos under threat, either of disclosing an explicit sexual image or video of the victim or to the victim’s person, property, or reputation.

“In this digital age, the protections we have in place to safeguard our residents must expand to address threats that arise online,” said Governor Murphy. “As cases of sexual extortion rise across the country, we will work tirelessly to ensure that New Jersey’s residents are not exploited or victimized. This legislation will modernize our laws by bolstering protections for victims of sexual extortion and allowing for harsher penalties to hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable.”

“I thank Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature for taking steps to strengthen the tools we have to protect those most vulnerable to victimization – especially our children and developmentally disabled New Jerseyans. These groups and others are at risk of being blackmailed into engaging in sexual acts or exposing intimate images to predators, and this legislations allows law enforcement to hold the perpetrators criminally accountable,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “This bill serves as a strong warning to anyone who wants to exploit members of our community through this criminal conduct.”


Governor Murphy, New Jersey Civil Service Commission, Other State Departments and Agencies Celebrate State Employee Recognition Day

This week, the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Civil Service Commission (CSC) are proud to celebrate State Employee Recognition Day during National Public Service Week, a day that is dedicated to honoring the hard work and dedication of all state employees. 

“Our state employees devote each day to ensuring that New Jersey remains the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family,” said Governor Murphy. “It is important to take time to acknowledge and appreciate their hard work and tireless commitment to improving, and in certain cases even saving, the lives of generations of New Jerseyans. There’s no better time to recognize the dedication of our exceptional workforce than on State Employee Recognition Day.

“It is an honor to recognize the contributions of our state employees alongside other New Jersey state departments and agencies,” said Allison Chris Myers, Acting Chair & Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Civil Service Commission. “New Jersey’s state employees work tirelessly to serve our citizens and make our State a better place to live. It is important to highlight our employees, and all public servants, to let them know how much they are appreciated for the hard work they do.”


NJEDA Awards Over $1 Million Through Food Security Grant Program

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has awarded nine grants totaling over $1 million to seven county and municipal governments to support the development of plans to improve food access and food security by leveraging and repurposing distressed assets in New Jersey’s Food Desert Communities (FDCs).

Established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, the Food Security Planning Grant Program provides grants of up to $125,000 to municipal governments, county governments, and/or redevelopment agencies to fund development of plans to decrease food insecurity in designated FDCs. All of the grants that have been awarded thus far have gone to entities servicing seven of the top 20 FDCs, including three of the highest-ranked FDCs (Camden, Atlantic City and Newark), which have the greatest acuity of need.

“Connecting every New Jerseyan with equitable access to nutritious food is a core component of Governor Murphy’s strategy for building a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Through the Food Security Planning Grant Program, we are providing funding to help local government leaders design creative and sustainable reuses that transform their distressed assets into resources that will aid in the fight against hunger and support local economic development.”


New Jersey to Partner With NASDA Foundation for Regional Food Business Center in Northeast

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced that the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is a partner in a recently announced United States Department of Agriculture national initiative developed to help farmers and food businesses access new markets and available federal, state, and local resources, such as technical assistance and funding opportunities. The USDA awarded the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Foundation $38.4 million to establish a Regional Food Business Center to serve the agricultural industry in 11 states across the Northeast.

“The availability of these funds will provide a resource to assist New Jersey farmers so they can better serve their constituents and serve as a tool to start new operations or upgrade current businesses,” Secretary Fisher said. “We will be working with farmers and food businesses to take advantage of this opportunity.”