Legislation written by Rep. Chris Smith to protect student athletes across America took a major step toward becoming law after the influential Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)—who has prime jurisdiction over the issue—voiced his willingness to support and help steer the bill through the full House.
Last week, Smith arranged for key congressional leaders to meet with Joanne Atkins-Ingram of Neptune, N.J., mother of Braeden Bradforth, a student who died of exertional heat stroke after football practice at Garden City Community College (GCCC), Kansas in August 2018.
“With the chairman’s support the bill clears a majorhurdle and his support helps pave the way for passage by the full House,” Smith said.
“The bill creates a 12-member Commission of health and sports professionals empowered to study and identify best practices and minimum standards for the prevention, recognition, and treatment of exertional heat stroke. I thank Chairman Scott for his commitment, and I will work with him to advance the bill.”
With Smith at her side along with her friend and attorney, Jill Greene, Ms. Atkins-Ingram made her way on Capitol Hill building support for Smith’s legislation, Braeden’s Commission: Protect our Athletes from Exertional Heat Stroke. They also met with other members of the New Jersey delegation who agreed to cosponsor the bill. “This is a tragic incident where a young man from Monmouth County, NJ lost his life, but Braeden could have been from any county in any State,” Smith said. “Joanne is turning her pain into a chance for other students experiencing exertional heat stroke to have a better outcome than Braeden’s tragic story.”
Following months of Atkins-Ingram being unable to get any answers from GCCC, she asked Smith for his assistance. In 2019, Smith, pressed GCCC President Ryan Ruda to conduct an independent investigation into Braeden’s death in a March 2019 letter. The college ultimately conceded, and an independent investigation was released in November. The report by a four-person investigative team exposed a lack of leadership, as well as failure after failure on the part of the college to prevent Braeden’s death from exertional heat stroke—which the report confirmed as a preventable death.
After meeting with Smith and Ms. Atkins-Ingram last week, Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ-06) agreed to cosponsor the bill, and on Monday Rep. Don Norcross (D-NJ-01) also became a cosponsor.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) is an original co-sponsor of Smith’s bipartisan bill, and Education and Labor Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), has indicated her willingness to work with Smith and Scott on moving the bill.
establish a commission to conduct a study on exertional heat stroke among student athletes at educational institutions across the country to study best practices for prevention, recognition and treatment of exertional heat stroke;
develop recommendations for the purpose of reducing fatalities from exertional heat stroke among student athletes, and;
require members of the commission to submit a report to the President and Congress with its with findings and recommendations within two years.
Bradforth was 19 when he arrived at GCCC in late July of 2018 to play football. On Aug. 1, 2018, only his second day on campus, he collapsed after evening football practice and was found unresponsive. After being taken to the hospital in an ambulance sometime later, he passed away due to exertional heat stroke, his autopsy later revealed.
Experts agree that death from exertional heat stroke can be prevented when diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. As identified in the independent investigation, the college where Braeden played and subsequently died did not have adequate steps in place to identify and treat the common heat-related illness.
FREEHOLD – Two men and a woman, all from Ocean County, were indicted Tuesday morning for their respective roles in the October shooting death of a Manalapan man, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Zoey S. Monte, 20, of Jackson, was arrested after she turned herself into authorities at the Manalapan Township Police Department yesterday. Monte was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
Tyler J. Martucci, 22, also of Jackson is currently be held in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River on separate, unrelated charges. Martucci was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
In October, Gerard A. Grimes Jr., 23, of Jackson, was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Narciso Rodriguez-Corona, 43, of Manalapan. Tuesday, Grimes was indicted on one count of first degree Murder, one count of first degree Felony Murder, two counts of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, two counts of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, two counts of fourth degree Aggravated Assault, one count of second degree Eluding, one count of fourth degree Resisting Arrest, and one count of fourth degree Tampering with Physical Evidence.
On Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 9:34 p.m., Manalapan police officers responded to a call, reporting a fight at 25 Fawn Run in the township. Several minutes later, police received another call for a confirmed shooting victim. Manalapan police officers arrived on scene and discovered RodriguezCorona suffering from a gunshot wound. Mr. Rodriguez-Corona was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced deceased. The investigation revealed Grimes, Monte and Martucci all came to the Manalapan residence armed with a handgun. Grimes attempted to enter the residence while Monte and Martucci remained outside. Residents of the home were alerted to Grimes’ presence and attempted to stop him from entering, resulting in a brief confrontation outside the home. Shortly thereafter, a second encounter occurred nearby, where Grimes ultimately shot the victim. Grimes, Monte and Martucci all fled the area
Police were quickly dispatched to the area and encountered the victim, who was suffering from lifethreatening injuries. After receiving initial information regarding the incident, police began to search the area. A few hours later, police attempted a motor vehicle stop of Grimes’ vehicle, but he failed to stop. Thereafter, Grimes fled the vehicle. Monte and Martucci were also onboard the vehicle and were arrested at that time. A short time later, Grimes was in the backyard of a neighborhood residence.
If convicted of Murder, Grimes faces a minimum sentence of thirty (30) years in New Jersey state prison without the possibility of parole, and a maximum sentence of Life imprisonment subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of his imposed sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole. Grimes would also be under parole supervision for five years following his prospective release from state prison.
If convicted of any of the second degree crimes, Grimes, Monte and Martucci each face up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison on each count. Any sentence resulting from a conviction for the second degree crime of Burglary is also subject to the provisions of NERA. Grimes, Monte and Martucci would also be under parole supervision for five years following their respective release from state prison.
Grimes, Monte and Martucci are each being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) in Freehold Township. Grimes has been detained pending trial since his arrest on Oct. 5, 2019. Detention hearings for Monte and Martucci are schedule for Feb. 3, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Joseph Lanzot and Lawrence Nelson.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
Deep thanks as well to all the assembled leaders—for your commitment and effectiveness in this human rights and humanitarian cause.
Truckers Against Trafficking have written the book on how to discern and disrupt human trafficking networks through training and referrals to law enforcement. You are the eyes and ears on the highways—thank you, Kendris.
Human trafficking is a barbaric human rights abuse that thrives on greed, secrecy, a perverted sense of entitlement to exploit the vulnerable and an unimaginable disregard for the victims.
Twenty years ago, the U.S. Congress approved and the President signed legislation that I authored—the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000—a comprehensive whole-of-government policy to combat sex and labor trafficking in the United States and around the world.
Among its many “prevention” provisions, the Douglass Act provides grants to local education agencies in partnership with NGOs to establish, expand and support programs:
to provide age-appropriate information to students on how to avoid becoming victims of sex and labor trafficking;
to educate school staff to recognize and respond to signs of sex and labor trafficking.
The law also requires General Services to ensure that any contract entered for the provision of air transportation with a domestic carrier submit the number of personnel trained by that carrier, notifications of number potential victims, whether they contacted the trafficking hotline or law enforcement.
Yesterday I spoke to her in El Salvador where she is advising that government on airline training of flight attendants, pilots and other personnel akin to what was prescribed in the 2016 and 2018 FAA reauthorizations.
In 2008, I first introducedInternational Megan’s Law. It passed the House in 2010, 2014, 2016—and, thankfully, finally cleared the United States Senate and was signed into law in 2016—eight years later!
Megan Kanka of Hamilton—my hometown—was just 7 years old when she was kidnapped, raped, and brutally murdered in 1994. Her assailant lived across the street. Unbeknownst to her family and other residents in the neighborhood, he was a convicted repeat sex offender sexual predator.
We know from law enforcement and media documentation that Americans on the U.S. sex offender registries are caught sexually abusing children in Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and, frankly, everywhere.
A deeply disturbing 2010 report by the GAO found that at least 4,500 U.S. passports were issued to registered sex offenders in fiscal year 2008 alone. Typically, a passport is valid for 10 years, meaning some or many of the tens of thousands of registered sex offenders possessing passports may be on the prowl internationally looking to exploit and abuse.
Now, under International Megan’s Law, convicted child sex offenders who travel abroad must provide notice to the U.S. Government—via the Angel Watch Center—prior to departure of all planned destinations. Failure to do so carries a significant jail term commensurate with a convicted child sex abuser not reporting to local law enforcement. Upon receipt of the travel itinerary, the
U.S. government informs the destination country or countries of those plans.
The destination country or countries are then empowered with actionable information to render the traveler inadmissible.
International Megan’s Law also requires the passport of convicted child sex offenders to carry this endorsement: “The Bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212 (C) (I).”
The law is working. In just about two years, 10,541 covered sex offenders had been noticed by the U.S. government to foreign countries—and 3,681 individuals as of July who were convicted of sex crimes against children were denied entry into those nations.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes who just spoke has not only pioneered an aggressive multifaceted strategy through his Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force and prosecutors of the Utah SECURE Strike Force—but when I learned of his amazingly heroic and brilliantly planned and executed undercover 2014 sting in Cartagena, Columbia with Operation Underground Railroad in which he and others posed as sex tourists to disrupt three trafficking rings in three Columbian cities—and rescue 120 child victims, I was in awe.
Mr. Reyes testified at one of my trafficking hearings in May of 2015 and as an undercover buyer he said he “saw up close the horror and helplessness in the eyes of young girls ages 10-16 after the drugs the traffickers had given them had worn off and they were paraded in front of us like a pet or a dessert to sample…we transacted large amounts of cash, and captured on hidden cameras the disgusting things” the traffickers said could be done to these children.
The AG and his team not only liberated 120 innocent girls and boys that day but trained local law enforcement.
The rescued children shouted: “Thank you Americans, we love you Americans.”
For what you’re doing here, children and victims of every age shout thank you.
The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system in New Jersey has long been in need of revamping and overhauling. Since 2010, the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) has been working with the New Jersey State Legislature to enact critical changes to our EMS system that will help keep our communities safe. In fact, a law to rebuild the system was passed by the Legislature in 2012, but was vetoed by Governor Christie.
State Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon Jr. (R-13) is taking advantage of the union-busting shut-down of MONOC – New Jersey’s Hospital Service Corporation on April 1 to advocate for swift passage of a bill he is sponsoring (S-617) that would fundamentally change EMS delivery in New Jersey. Make no mistake, this bill will impact the method in which emergency medical help is provided to every neighborhood and family in our great state. The O’Scanlon bill is not the lifeline the NJ EMS system needs.
Instead of strengthening New Jersey’s EMS system, O’Scanlon’s bill lowers standards. It takes highly trained paramedics out of advanced life support units and replaces them with lower-paid EMTs with significantly less training and life-saving capabilities. While O’Scanlon’s bill claims to allow more staffing flexibility, it merely gives hospital systems shortcuts to higher profits. Some of these same hospital systems are the very ones responsible for the dismantling of MONOC.
Senator O’Scanlon has stated that MONOC’s business model was no longer sustainable. One must ask, if these hospital systems were responsible for MONOC when MONOC collapsed, how will they effectively run this new EMS service?
The needed overhaul of our EMS system should be about giving the citizens of New Jersey the best possible emergency medical services available. The PFANJ and Professional Emergency Medical Service Association PEMSA – IAFF Local 4610 (PEMSA) have worked constructively in the past with Senator O’Scanlon on this overhaul, but more work needs to be done before this current and flawed legislation moves forward.
Paramedics know that hurrying through an emergency scene can lead to unintended mistakes. Deliberative care is always best for the patient and results in a better long-term prognosis. The same can be said for legislation. Instead of rushing to pass legislation like O’Scanlon’s bill that front-line EMS professionals are uncertain will help our communities, it is far more prudent to work with all stakeholders to create sustainable solutions that will have a proven positive impact on how EMS is delivered.
The citizens of New Jersey deserve the best emergency medical system the world has to offer. The PFANJ looks forward to continuing to modernize and increase professionalism of our state’s EMS system. We fear that the forced closure of MONOC and the rushing of O’Scanlon’s bill takes us in the wrong direction and makes us all less safe.
Don Marino President Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey
Smith a Cosponsor of the Bill to Protect Older Workers
January 15, 2020
Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), a cosponsor of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (HR 1230), welcomed today’s passage of key legislation pushing reform to provide equal opportunity for older workers in America and legally recognize age discrimination in the workplace.
“With close to 35 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 50, we must act now to stop discrimination and ensure fairness and equal opportunity in the workplace,” said, Rep. Smith.
Smith cited the Association of American Retired Persons (AARP) reports that show 3 in 5 workers see or experience age discrimination on the job, and more than half of older workers are forced out of a job before they intend to retire.
“Discrimination against older workers is real and prevalent despite the fact that more Americans are working harder, contributing more, healthier, and staying longer in the workplace,” said Rep. Smith.
Smith said that under current law, workers are given close to “impossible hurdles” to overcome in order to demonstrate age discrimination. An individual must show that age discrimination was the decisive and determinative cause for the employer’s adverse action, rather than just a motivating factor in the employer’s adverse action. This burden of proof was significantly raised in age discrimination cases as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2009, Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc.
“As a cosponsor of this legislation, I am pleased that HR1230 would restore the burden of proof for age discrimination cases in order to be on par with other forms of workplace discrimination,” he said.
Smith also touted an amendment he cosponsored to address the added disadvantage older women face.
“I am also a cosponsor of an amendment which would require Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to conduct a comprehensive study on the increased prevalence of age discrimination against older women in the workplace and make recommendations for best practices on combatting age discrimination for women.”
I am committed to ensuring fairness is returned to older workers, and we must fight to ensure age is not a barrier to those with experience, skill, and desire to continue to contribute to our economy,” said Rep. Smith.
Smith called on the Senate to swiftly act on and pass HR1230, where it awaits due consideration.