Representative Smith Reports To Constituents

Smith Details Latest Legislation, Issues

 
   
News from Representative Chris Smith
 
September 2, 2016
District Work Period Update

Smith Meets with Residents Against Giant Electric,
Opposes Powerline Project

 
  

I oppose the Monmouth Reliability Project as currently planned. The project, a 10-mile, 230-kilovolt electric transmission line proposed by Jersey Central Power & Light, will run along a New Jersey Transit rail right-of-way through Aberdeen, Hazlet, Holmdel, Middletown and Red Bank.

Having walked the proposed route, I believe that the many substantive concerns expressed by local residents outweigh the speculative benefits of running high-voltage electricity lines above ground and so dangerously close to homes, schools and parks. These include: the potential effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) including the health risks they can pose for residents, particularly children; possible decrease in property values; potential harmful environmental impacts; and the potential ‘fall zones’ that the towering poles would present.

 
     
 
 
 
 
 

New Federal Support for US&R Team in Ocean County

In June, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave final—and long overdue—approval for New Jersey Task Force One (NJ-TF1) to enter the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) System. The designation brings well-deserved federal support including $1 million in funding annually and equipment from FEMA’s inventory, while its volunteers will continue to be paid by their employers when they are activated to service by FEMA. 

The Task Force, which I recently visited, is housed at its training facility in Ocean County on the Jointbase. These men and women are an elite, proven team that has long been recognized as a key component of our state's and our nation’s emergency preparedness—including and especially with their response to the horrific attacks on 9/11 and in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The new designation, which took effect on June 1, 2016, will further enhance their ability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Opioid Bill Become Law

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA/ now Public Law 114-198) was signed into law by the President on July 27th. I strongly supported this legislation because communities across the country are struggling to address this public health and safety crisis and assist those in need of treatments. Federal statistics show that overdose deaths from prescription painkillers almost quadrupled between 1999 and 2013 and that opioid abuse is killing nearly 30,000 Americans annually.

CARA offers a comprehensive, multi-tiered approach that is broad in scope and includes provisions targeting distinctive populations. Read more about how the new law will help families impacted by addiction here.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Homeless Veterans Facility Coming to Tinton Falls

After five years of collaborative work by federal, state and local officials—under the tremendous leadership of Freeholder Lillian Burry and Soldier On’s Jack Downing—Soldier On is bringing their proven and effective veterans housing model to Tinton Falls

One homeless veteran a night is one too many. Soldier On has led in the fight to help end veteran homelessness throughout the Northeast and their services are most welcomed here. When announcing the project, Downing said he found a passion for serving veterans and an environment of support from the Monmouth County community to help “change the end of the story for homeless veterans.” 

 As the author of the landmark Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act (P.L. 107-95)—which authorized $1 billion to aid homeless veterans and prevent veterans from becoming homeless—I am proud to have worked with Freeholder Burry to make this project a reality. There is no doubt that it is sorely needed and will make a real difference in the lives of veterans who have fallen on hard times.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Hayden Spratt, Adorable Junior Constituent, Doing Well

In August, I had the opportunity to meet with the Spratt family of Jackson, nearly one year after their safe return from a dramatic ordeal overseas

Hayden, now one, was born 13 weeks prematurely on a trip to Portugal, and was too sick to fly home on a commercial aircraft. Their insurance carrier, Highmark Blue Shield, refused to cover the cost of the necessary medical transport.

 
 

I worked to get her medical transportation back to the United States, and thanks to an outpouring of public support, the insurer reversed their decision and approved coverage for the medical transport flight to New Jersey.

 
 
 
 
 
 

2 Year Anniversary of Autism CARES and
Sean & David Goldman Acts becoming law

On August 8th, we marked the two year anniversary of the signing of two of my recent laws, one to assist individuals and families with autism, and one to prevent international child abduction.

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research and Support (CARES) Act authorizes $1.3 billion over five years to continue the critical federal research working to identify best practices for early intervention, treatment and care for families touched by autism.

The Goldman Act works to right the terrible wrong of international child abduction, end the enormous pain and suffering endured by separated children and parents, and force the federal government to act to bring abducted children home. Left behind parents now have tangible support and backing from their federal government.

 

 

 

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