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FEB. 8 Quick hits: NJ news in brief

FEMA ponies up an additional $300 million for New Jersey

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has unlocked an additional $300 million in federal COVID-19 relief for New Jersey, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, said. Screen Shot 2021-02-08 at 18.37.46

New Jersey has received more than $846 million in FEMA disaster assistance for the state’s COVID-19 response. Menendez argued New Jersey communities should not be “burdened” with the 25% “local cost-share.”

“Eliminating FEMA’s required local cost-share means New Jersey will get hundreds of millions more in federal funding to help our state, counties and towns defeat the pandemic, support our hospitals and schools, purchase vital personal protective gear, and ramp up vaccinations,” Menendez said in a news release.

Booker reintroduces ‘baby bond’ legislation

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, have reintroduced the American Opportunity Accounts Act to give children born in the country $1,000 at birth.

As part of the “Baby Bonds” initiative, they could also receive an additional $2,000 annually, depending on their household’s income.

The “growing” economic “gap has been driven in part by federal policies and a federal tax code that subsidizes asset building for some Americans but fails to extend and expand that opportunity for all Americans,” Booker said in a statement. “Baby Bonds will start to level the playing field.”

New Jersey Dems introduce nursing home oversight legislation

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr. and Mikie Sherrill, all D-New Jersey, introduced the Promoting Restoration of Emergency Preparedness and Advancing Response to Epidemics in Long-Term Care Act (PREPARE LTC Act).

The lawmakers say the measure requires facilities to develop and maintain “an infection prevention program and an emergency plan to protect residents during emergency situations.”

Of the 451,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, more than 136,000 died in nursing homes, according to a news release. That includes 7,500 in New Jersey.

Lawmakers want to prioritize vaccinations for teachers

U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Tom Malinowski, D-New Jersey, want states to prioritize vaccinations for educators and school staff.

“We know that every parent, including ourselves, wants their child to be able to return to a safe and stable school environment,” they said in a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky.

“...We, therefore, believe that prioritizing vaccinations for teachers and school staff is critical,” they added. “We should do so for the same reason we decided to vaccinate first responders like firefighters and police officers – because they perform an indispensable public function that puts them at risk.”

– The Center Square

published here with permission