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Anti-Bullying Task Force Releases Second Annual Report

AntiBullyingWe are pleased to share that our partner, Luanne Peterpaul, as member of the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force (ABTF) contributed to the publication of this year’s annual report. This morning, ABTF submitted its annual report to the Governor, NJ State Legislature, and the Commissioner of the Department of Education. With a focus on the effective implementation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABR) in New Jersey schools, the ABTF is recommending several revisions to regulation, as well as the development of additional guidance for the field that will help to clarify the law and support its practice in schools.

Among these recommended code revisions are:

  • the inclusion of the concept of a “power differential” in the definition of bullying as a method of distinguishing the motivating characteristics of the aggressor,
  • the establishment of minimum criteria that must be met for the principal to initiate an investigation through the Anti-Bullying Specialist,
  • the development of time limits for parents/guardians to request a hearing before the Board of Education related to an HIB incident,
  • clarification that adult-on-student behavior is covered by the ABR,
  • clarification that a confidential disciplinary file is a “mandated student record”, and
  • a re-naming of the School Safety Team to the “School Safety/Climate Team,” to better reflect its critical role to develop, foster, and maintain a positive school climate.

“I must thank and congratulate all of the members of this Task Force who worked countless hours preparing this report,” said Task Force Chairperson Patricia Wright. “We gathered a lot of data; listened to many principals, teachers, administrators, and parents throughout New Jersey; discussed and debated the issues; and ultimately wrote what I consider to be a very impressive report with strong recommendations that will further improve the culture and climate in our schools. I am looking forward to continued conversations with the Administration and the Legislature and hopefully positive changes in regulations to make the goals of this important legislation a reality in every New Jersey school.”

The Anti Bullying Task Force was established in March 2012 as part of an amendment to the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act” to provide guidance to school districts, examine the implementation of ABR, draft model regulations, present recommendations, and prepare a report on the effectiveness of the act in addressing bullying in schools.

A copy of the 2014 Annual Report can be downloaded here.

Luanne Peterpaul co-authors piece on First Amendment and Anti-Bullying

LPeterpaul1stAmendIn the June 2013 New Jersey Lawyer magazine, Partner Luanne Peterpaul co-authored a piece with her colleague, Michael Ansell, regarding the impact the First Amendment has on New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying law. The piece, titled, “The First Amendment’s Impact on New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” explores the boundaries of First Amendment law in a school setting and how this can be balanced with the goal of eliminating harassment, intimidation, and bullying from places of education.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, or interfering with the right to peaceably assemble. The First Amendment applies to each state through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

Free speech for students in public schools was recognized in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dis- trict.19 In Tinker, the U.S. Supreme Court held that schools could not restrict symbolic speech that did not cause substantial interruptions of school activities or the rights of other students.

Nonetheless, courts have recognized that there are some limitations on the protection of free speech in the school environment.

A copy of the article is available to read and download here.

Welcoming Partners Frank and Luanne Peterpaul

GluckWalrath is pleased to announce the addition of two partners who are joining the firm, as part of the labor law group in our Red Bank office.

Both attorneys arrive from Peterpaul & Clark, P.C. and recognized with very high regard in the fields of labor and employment law. Frank specializes in representing employers in labor relations matters, including assisting with and providing advice to employers during union organization campaigns. He represents before the NLRB and the PERC in unfair labor practice matters. His practice also includes collective bargain agreement negotiation, handling grievances and arbitrations stemming from such agreements, and representation in Law Against Discrimination, Wage and Hour, Equal Employment Opportunity and similar litigation.

Luanne Peterpaul specializes in all phases of labor and employment matters, trying to conclusion a myriad of civil and criminal cases in Federal and state court. In addition she also handles matters before administrative agencies including the Department of Labor, Division of Civil Rights, PERC, and the NLRB. She was also instrumental in shaping and drafting New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying law, the strongest of its kind in the nation.

We are extremely excited by Frank and Luanne’s addition and look forward to continued growth at GluckWalrath.

GluckWalrath successfully defends New Jersey SOCE law as part of legal team

Our firm is pleased to learn that as part of Garden State Equality’s legal team in King v. Christie, (Civ. Action No. 13-5038, Case 3:13-cv-05038-FLW-LHG), Garden State Equality, as successful interveners in the case, found summary judgment granted in their favor. The ruling dismisses a case challenging a recent bill signed into law by Governor Chris Christie. Assembly Bill A-3371, (Codified at N.J.S.A. 45:1-54, -55), prohibited New Jersey state licensed practitioners, who provide professional counseling services, from treating minors using methods of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (“SOCE”), more commonly referred to as “gay conversion therapy”.

In the most recent decision by the Honorable Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J., in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Judge Wolfson granted Garden State Equality’s motion to Intervene, denied the Plaintiff’s motion for Summary Judgment, and granted the State’s (which considered Garden State Equality’s support) motion of Summary Judgment, successfully defending the constitutionality of the SOCE law and dismissing the case.

Judge Wolfson concluded that the New Jersey law “restricts neither speech nor religious expression.” She also noted that the therapists’ challenge to the law “runs counter to the longstanding principle that a state generally may enact laws rationally regulating professionals, including those providing medicine and mental health services.”

“The court’s decision today is a huge victory for New Jersey youth. This law will save lives by protecting young people them from these horrible and damaging practices,” said Troy Richardson, Executive Director of Garden State Equality.

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, who represents Garden State Equality in the case, added: “This law protects youth from practices that have been rejected by all leading medical and mental health professional organizations. The court issued a clear and thorough decision explaining that state-licensed therapists do not have a constitutional right to engage in discredited practices that do not improve patients’ health and put young people at risk of severe harm, including depression and suicide.”

Andrew Bayer, Chairman of GluckWalrath LLP’s litigation department, stated: “The team at GluckWalrath is honored to have worked on such an important case of national significance which protects the youth of the State of New Jersey.”

Garden State Equality is represented in the case by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the law firms of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and GluckWalrath LLP.

A copy of the opinion can be found here. The plaintiff has filed an appeal in the matter.

Associate Troy Kaplan publishes in New Jersey Law Journal

Kaplan-NJLJIn the October 7, 2013 New Jersey Law Journal, Associate Troy Kaplan published commentary (pay wall) offering perspective on the recent changes to the Medical Marijuana law in New Jersey. As you may be aware, on September 11, 2013, Governor Christie signed S-2842, a bill concerning medical marijuana in the Garden State and this piece offers opinion on the new law’s effect.

Among other topics, Mr. Kaplan offers an informed take on the impact the law will have on minors.

Patients of all ages would be better served with unrestricted access to professionally manufactured products, such as medical marijuana capsules (enhanced coconut oil-based pills and the like) and tinctures (concentrated liquid drops or oral sprays made from glycerin extraction), both more predictable and easily administered means of ingestion than medibles. Of course, medibles are clearly a healthier option for children than smoking, but consuming cannabis in such form is not without its drawbacks.

[...]

The inconsistencies in effect, timing and intensity of medibles are compounded by nonstandardized dosing among manufacturers and misinformation about best practices in the production and extraction processes.
New Jersey would be wise to address such issues through comprehensive preventive legislation with strict labeling requirements, including appropriate warnings, manufacturing standards in line with those of commercial kitchens and regulations governing safe extraction.

Freedom of choice in medical-marijuana products is paramount for the suc- cess of the state’s program, as each patient needs to find what works best for him or her.

Full text of the article can be found at the New Jersey Law Journal website (first link through Google bypasses pay wall). A copy of the article in pdf format can also be downloaded here.

Fall 2013 CapitalNJ Newsletter

Newsletter_FallThe Fall 2013 issue of our firm’s government affairs Newsletter is out.

Inside this issue:

  • A look at the Gubernatorial Race
  • Special Senate Election
  • Unemployment comparison of New Jersey and neighboring states
  • National Organization pushing for Marriage Equality in New Jersey
  • Nursing Home Bill of Rights heads to Governor
  • Open Space vote fails
  • Governor signs Sexual Orientation Conversion Effort ban bill into law
  • Medical Marijuana changes signed into law

You will soon be able to subscribe to an email version of the newsletter. Until then, we welcome you to download a copy of theNewsletter Fall 2013 newsletter.

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GluckWalrath ranks 3rd for Bond Counsel

BondBuyerRankings2013

Announced this Monday, the August 12, 2013 Bond Buyer Magazine issued its semiannual “Midyear Review” for the Northeast. GluckWalrath is proud to announce that on page 21 of the review (PDF), our firm is listed third in New Jersey for Bond Counsel, with $1 billion in volume.

More on the background on this report can be found here:

Northeast Issuance Drops in 2013 First Half.

“We are very pleased to once again be listed in the Top 5 across the entire State [for Bond Counsel] and it is a testament to our firm’s effectiveness and specialized skills. We are proud of what we’ve built here,” declared Chris Walrath, Partner.

“I believe these rankings confirm our dedication to our work, considering we’re listed amongst firms double and triple our size,” added Jim Fearon, Partner. Howard Eichenbaum, Partner, chimed, “for me, these rankings reaffirm my belief that GluckWalrath offers a unique opportunity for potential clients. Our obvious success in the field offers clients hands-on and approachable representation that rival any firm in New Jersey.”

GluckWalrath welcomes new client, Garden State Equality

GardenStateEqualityThe GluckWalrath Government Relations department is pleased and humbled to be working with our newest client, Garden State Equality to renew the push for Marriage Equality in New Jersey. Michael Gluck and Ryan M. Jones will be working with the organization to develop legislation, formulate strategy, and distribute a unified message throughout the State to pursue equality for all couples irrelevant of sex or sexual orientation.

From the Garden State Equality site:

With more than 125,000 members, Garden State Equality is the state’s largest civil rights organization of any kind – not just the state’s largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

We anticipate the United States Supreme Court ruling U.S. v. Windsor, addressing the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and are prepared to work with all elected officials in order to ensure that no one in New Jersey is denied 1,138 Federal benefits solely based upon the person they love. GluckWalrath is excited to be partnering on such an important civil rights issue.

Congratulations Rider Graduate, Kendal Jones

On May 16, 2013, administrative assistant Kendal Jones graduated from Rider University with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Law & Justice and a minor in Psychology.  She graduated at the top of her class, Magna Cum Laude, and was selected as a member of Rider’s Omega Theta Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lamda Honor Society, an honor society for graduates at the top of their class who are pursuing continuing education programs.

In addition, Ms. Jones received the Ann Giovanelli Award from the University, an acknowledgment given to a student who acheives excellence in the classroom while overcoming significant life challenges.

The members of GluckWalrath are unbelievably proud of Ms. Jones’ perseverance and success in college and were boisterously in attendance at commencement last week. Way to go Kendal!