Asemblywoman Joann Downey, the Chairwoman of the Human Services Committee, has buried a bill in her committee that would require psychiatric health care facilities to provide 24 hour per day monitoring of children under their supervision, according to a report on NJHerald.
The bill is being championed by a Hunterdon County mother whose 7 year old foster son was sexually abused by another patient while under the care of Newark Beth Israel’s psychiatric facility in 2015. It has been buried in Downey’s pile for 18 months.
Word is that the Murphy administration is opposed to the bill. Downey is known to do what she is told by the dark money donors stuffing the mail boxes of 11th district voters with scary pictures of Matt Woolley and Mike Amoroso, the Republicans running for Assembly in 11.
The other word is that Downey has not advanced the bill because it is sponsored in the Assembly by freshman Republican Hal Wirths. Freshman Republicans are not allowed to get their bills passed, according to the unwritten rules of Trenton Democrats. That the bill has bi-partisan sponsorship in the Senate makes no difference.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” said Wirths, R-24th. “What this family has had to endure is horrendous. We urgently need to address these facilities’ inadequate supervision policies through legislation by requiring them to properly supervise and protect children who are in their care due to psychiatric crises. More children are put at risk every day that this legislation remains at a standstill.”
“As chair of the Assembly Committee on Human Services, it’s my first priority to make sure that the vulnerable families, children and communities of New Jersey are well cared for and supported in their times of need,” Downey said in a statement to NJHerald. “I appreciate Assemblyman Wirths’ interest in our state’s psychiatric facilities and look forward to reviewing this legislation as we develop the Committee’s agenda for the coming months.”
How many kids were sexually assaulted over the last 18 months while Downey has been waiting for permission of her political bosses to advance the bill?