TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Richard Codey that would require that emergency homeless shelters, rooming and boarding houses, nursing homes and residential health care facilities be maintained within a temperature range of 65 through 81 degrees Fahrenheit passed out of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today.
“If we don’t protect our most vulnerable in society, no one else will,” said Senator Codey (Essex/Morris). “Ensuring that our elderly, or people who are homeless or individuals living on the fringes of society are staying in places that are not extremely cold in the winter or hot in the summer is a moral imperative. These people have no voices in government if we do not stand up and do right by them.”
The bill, S-794, would permit the Commissioner of Health to grant a waiver to a nursing home or residential health care facility in the case of any unusual event which results from natural or unnatural causes beyond the control of the facility, including, but not limited to, the declaration of a state of emergency or disaster by the State or by the federal government, which results in the inability of the facility to maintain the temperature guidelines detailed in this bill.
The temperature requirements under this bill would be restricted to areas of the facilities that are used by residents or patients. The temperature requirements would not apply to rooms designated for activities requiring physical exertion or rooms where residents can individually control the temperature in their own living units, independent from other areas.
The bill was passed out of committee by a vote of 8-0 and advances to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.