Bramnick-Sponsored 'Janet's Law' Receives Governor's Approval
Legislation pushed by Warren's Jim and Karen Zilinski to prevent deaths from sudden cardiac arrest becomes law.
Six years after 11-year-old Janet Zilinski succumbed to sudden cardiac arrest during a cheerleading practice in Warren, legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, known as “Janet’s Law,” was signed into law on Sept. 21 by Gov. Chris Christie.
"We are very happy New Jersey children will be protected from sudden cardiac arrest," Janet's father Jim Zilinski said. Zilinski and Janet's mother, Karen, have pursued passage of the legislation for nearly six years, testifying before statehouse committees and panels.
To help support the goal of preventing further deaths by SCA, the Zilinskis founded the Janet Fund, which has provided more than 100 AEDs to schools and municipalities in the state, as well as CPR training.
"It was a long and emotional road, but it is done," he added. "Lives will be saved because of Janet's Law."
The new law requires New Jersey public and nonpublic schools to be equipped with an automated external defibrillator (AED), and for schools to establish emergency action plans for responding to sudden cardiac events, as well as training for school officials and coaches on how to operate an AED.
“Saving lives is the most important goal of Janet’s Law,” Bramnick said. “All schools will now have a defibrillator available and an emergency plan in place which will help avoid the tragedy which the Zilinski family experienced. I appreciate the unanimous support this bill received in the Legislature and I thank Governor Christie for signing it into law.”
Organizations supporting the legislation included NJ School Boards Association, NJ Association of School Administrators, NJ Principal and Supervisors Association, Garden State Coalition of Schools, NJ Education Association, The Janet Fund, NJ Recreation and Park Association, the Athletic Trainers’ Society of NJ, the American Red Cross, and the American Heart Association.
Zilinski said he views his work through the Janet Fund as ongoing, however.
"For me personally, it means I kept my promise to my love bug (my nickname for her)—others will be saved in her name," he said. "We are not done, though. It is just the begining. We will continue to protect our children from SCA. We will do it every day and never stop. Our future is a stake and my wife Karen and I will never stop fighting for New Jersey children.
"We also could not have done it without all of the support we have received over the last six years, Zilinski added. "Thanks to them, Janet's Law is a reality."