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A bill approved Monday by a state Assembly committee aims to help prepare public transportation employees to handle human trafficking.

The bill, A-5703, would require public transportation employees to complete a training course every two years to learn how to respond to suspected human trafficking, according to a news release from state Assembly Democrats.

“Every public transportation employee should know the best methods to help someone who endured severe trauma as a result of human trafficking. The same applies to a person who may have just been abducted,” said Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, one of the bill’s sponsors. “If just one person can be rescued, our efforts will have been well worth it.”

The course would be developed by the Department of Transportation along with the state Commission on Human Trafficking, according to the release, or by a recognized nonprofit.

The bill was sponsored by Mazzeo, Patricia Egan Jones, Dan Benson and Pam Lampitt, and approved by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. It heads to the Assembly speaker for further consideration.

Another bill sponsored by Mazzeo and approved by an Assembly committee would prohibit a business from contracting public work in the state if they are barred from federal contracts.

“Public work is incredibly important, whether it’s fixing bridges or highways or working on public buildings,” Mazzeo said in a news release. “These types of projects are funded by the public, and we want upstanding citizens to get those jobs. If the federal government has identified a person as unfit for federal work, they should not be trusted with a contract here in New Jersey.”

The bill, A-3745, was approved by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

Also on Monday, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez announced legislation he plans to introduce that would extend protections against fraudulent and unauthorized transactions at small businesses, according to a news release from the senator.

The Small Business Fraud Protection Act would extend the time small businesses have to report fraudulent transactions without being held liable from 24 hours to 60 days.

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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