Government Affairs

Whats Happening in Trenton

October 2018

The Legislature is back in session with quite a busy agenda. Their first priority is marijuana… both medicinal and adult-use recreational.  The Senate will lead the charge, and Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex), the sponsor of the PA Modernization Practice Act, will be responsible for drafting and amending the legislation to expand the medicinal marijuana program.

In addition to revising requirements for alternative treatment centers (dispensaries), establishing additional legal protections for patients and caregivers, and revising requirements to authorize and access medical marijuana, this new legislation expressly includes physician assistants as authorized prescribers of this medication along with APNs.  Current law only allows physicians to prescribe.  Our lobbyists worked with the bill's sponsors to ensure that PAs are included in current drafts of the bill.  We know this legislation will continually be amended throughout the duration of the legislative process, but this is great news and we are very excited to have PAs included!  Our lobbyists will be monitoring this bill very closely.

Also, we continue to make progress on NJSSPA’s major goal for 2018.

Our priority bill for this year, legislation allowing PAs to sign Physician Orders for Life-Saving Treatment (POLST) forms, is sponsored by Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) and Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz (R-Somerset) and Annette Quijano (D-Union).  The bills are designated as S-1109 and A-2144.  S-1109 was heard by Senate Health Committee on March 12, 2018.  Tracey Piparo, then NJSSPA’s GAC chair (now President) , joined our lobbyist, Lynn Nowak, in testifying in support of the bill.  It was released unanimously from Committee.  An additional amendment was added which changes the “P” in POLST from “physician” to “provider.”  The bill passed the Senate unanimously on April 12th (the vote was 36-0).  We are working to get the bill posted in the Assembly Health Committee, the next step in the process.  At that time, NJSSPA will again register our support. 

New Opioid Law


ALERT: LEGISLATION CLARIFYING S3, EXPANDING ACCESS TO PMP! Among one of his last acts in office, on Jan 15 2018, Governor Christie signed legislation, S3604, sponsored by Senator Vitale and Speaker Coughlin (both D-Middlesex), that provides additional anti-addiction measures related to the prescribing of controlled dangerous substances.  The law took effect immediately.

The heart of the bill delineates when practitioners MUST access prescription monitoring information. It adds benzodiazepine drugs when a practitioner prescribes for the first time. It also delineates how controlled dangerous substances may be prescribed in an emergency room (cannot exceed a five-day but that will not apply once the Division of Consumer Affairs makes prescription monitoring information in an electronic system).


For additional details and further analysis of the bill you can see it below

Law Status

Modernization Act      Regulations Published

Bills Signed into Law in Lame Duck Session 2018

S3604 – New Opioid Law

Signed 1/15/2018

Concerns prescribing of

S2205 – Online Licensing

Signed 1/15/18

Note:  Division of Consumer Affairs is given 3 years to get this up and running.

S294 – Opioid Antidote Mandate

Signed 1/15/18

Mandate Regarding Provision of Treatment Information by Health Care Professional to Person Receiving Opioid Antidote.

PA Modernization Act


Signed into law 2017



Signed into law July 21, 2017.

Provides a framework for providers including physician assistants in providing telemedicine.


S1305 Diabetes Self Management

Diabetes Self-Management

Signed into law 

PAs are among the providers authorized to order the diabetes self-management education and/or medical nutrition therapy.




Hazardous Drug Safe Handling Act

A837 / S468
Public Law 2017, c.28
Signed into law February 15, 2017

 NJSSPA has a designated representative on the Stakeholder Group established by the law. 


Government Affairs Committee Chair

Tracey M. Piparo, PA-C

John Albanese, MPA PA-C

Diane Daw, PA-C, NJSSPA Past President

Camille Dyer, PA-C

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