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Hearing set for N.J. bill to ban possession of new armor piercing bullet

September 12, 2016 GMT

Bills that would enable some striking workers to collect unemployment insurance, allow sex assault victims to testify by video regardless of age, and ban possession of a new type of armor piercing bullet will be among the measures up for a hearing Monday before the Legislature.

The Assembly Labor Committee will meet at 10 a.m. to consider six bills, including one that would allow workers to collect unemployment benefits if a labor dispute is caused by an employer failing to comply with an existing contract or agreement or if it involves a violation of state or federal labor laws regarding hours, wages and other working conditions.

The measure also waives the normal 30-day waiting period in which a striking worker can collect unemployment if the employer hires permanent replacement workers for the striker. The lead sponsor on the bill is Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, who first introduced the measure in May.

In a fiscal analysis of the bill, the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services said that while the bill could generate more unemployment claims, the future impact can not be quantified because the nature and number of labor disputes from year to year are unpredictable.

The OLS analysis did note that New Jersey has had two major strikes of 1,000 or more workers since 2006 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most recent – a seven-week strike involving 4,800 Verizon employees – who were on strike from April 13 to May 31. The bill pertains to all labor disputes after April 10.

OLS notes that had all 4,800 striking Verizon workers applied for the maximum weekly benefit of $657 for the full seven weeks, it would have resulted in an expenditure of $22 million from the $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

At 10:30 a.m. the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee will hold hearings on five bills, including one that would outlaw possession of a bullet known as the SS190AP, which is designed specifically for a Five-seven tactical handgun.

New Jersey currently outlaws hollow point or Teflon-coated bullets that can pierce body armor.

According to the bill, the SS190AP is a full metal jacket bullet with two metal inserts, a steel penetrator followed by an aluminum core. The weight relationship between the two metals causes the bullet to tumble into soft body tissue, resulting in massive and often deadly wounds.

Sponsors say the bullet poses a special threat to law enforcement because when fired from a Five-seven handgun, the bullet can penetrate 48 layers of Kevlar, the material used to make many kinds of body armor. The measure is sponsored by Sen. Fred H. Madden, Jr., D-Gloucester.

The committee also will take up a bill aimed at removing the age restriction on when sex assault victims can testify on video.

Currently, the law allows victims 16 years old or younger in sex assault or sex abuse or trafficking cases to testify via a closed circuit television outside the presence of a jury, the defendant or courtroom spectators. The witness is required to show that that he or she would suffer emotional or mental distress if required to testify in open court.

Under that arrangement, the defense lawyer is present for the testimony and the defendant is able to confer via a separate audio system.

The measure, co-sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck and Christopher “Kip” Bateman, R-Somerset, would make the video testimony available to any victim of a sex crime provided they can demonstrate that testifying in open court would cause emotional distress.

Email: ensslin@northjersey.com