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National American Miss Teen Joins Senator Buono Before Education Committee Thursday

TRENTON – National American Miss Teen 2005 Samantha Hahn will join Senator Barbara Buono tomorrow, Thursday, March 2, 2006, in speaking to the Senate Education Committee about legislation that will include electronic communications under the State’s definition of bullying.

Miss Hahn, a New Jersey native, has made bullying the central theme of her platform while serving as National American Miss Teen. As a victim of bullying herself, she will give an account to the committee of the harassment and intimidation she faced in school, especially through e-mail and instant messaging, and discuss the impact that bullying can have on young people.

“Samantha’s story is not unique among New Jersey students, but it’s a telling example of how cyberbullying is becoming more pervasive and destructive in our schools. Clearly she and her family figured out how to correctly deal with the bullying and I expect we’ll learn a great deal from her story,” said Senator Buono, D- Middlesex.

Senator Buono’s bill, S-993, which would modify the State’s definition of bullying to include electronic communications, such as e-mail, instant messaging or text messaging, will be considered during the Committee meeting starting at 1 p.m. in Room 6 of the State House Annex.

The Senate Labor Committee and the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens’ Committee will also hold a joint committee hearing on employers’ responsibility to provide health benefits to their workers. Testimony will be given by representatives of workers, businesses and public interest groups.

Senator Stephen Sweeney, Chair of the Labor Committee, and Senator Joseph Vitale, Chair of the Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee, are prime sponsors of S-447, currently in the Labor Committee, that would require large employers to provide a minimum benefits rate to their employees rather than placing the responsibility on government health programs like NJ FamilyCare.

The hearing will be held in Committee Room 4 at 1 p.m.

Also meeting tomorrow is the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, which will be hearing about the potential use of new gaming technologies in Atlantic City. They will begin at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 6.

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