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Senator Jennifer Beck

Beck, Tom Komninos & Advocates on Gov. Christie’s CV of ‘Stephen Komninos’ Law’

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Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) released the following statement on Governor Christie’s conditional veto of “Stephen Komninos’ Law,” her bipartisan bill to improve accountability and transparency at the 2,340 group homes, developmental centers and day programs statewide.

Sen. Jennifer Beck said that she will accept Governor Christie’s recommended revisions to her bill, “Stephen Komninos’ Law,” which protects people with developmental disabilities from abuse and neglect at group homes and other types of care facilities. (SenateNJ)

Senator Beck thanked Tom Komninos, Aileen Rivera, Martha Cray, Gus Egizi, Senate President Sweeney, and all those who have advocated for this legislation over the past seven years.

“The advocates and I are ready and willing to accept Governor Christie’s recommended revisions to Stephen Komninos’ Law,” Senator Beck said. “I believe that our lifesaving legislation is so strong, that it could serve as a national model. This was a hard-won victory and I am grateful to the families and Senate President Sweeney for working with me to get this done.”

“When the Stephen Komninos bill becomes law, it will provide protections that currently do not exist for our most vulnerable citizens, and it will establish a strong foundation for future improvements,” advocates Tom Komninos, Aileen Rivera, Martha Cray, and Gus Egizi said.

“We have long-held that the state has a certain responsibility to protect people with developmental disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation. No one should ever have to endure the horrors that Stephen went through,” Senator Beck added. “The law we have named in his memory will establish a comprehensive set of checks and balances to ensure that every resident at every facility in New Jersey is safe and receiving the proper care. I look forward to seeing the concurrence pass both houses of the Legislature with full, bipartisan support.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Now Law: Bateman Bill Creating Pet Trafficking Crime

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Governor Christie has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) establishing pet trafficking as a third-degree crime.

Sen. Kip Bateman’s bill establishes pet trafficking as a third-degree crime. (©iStock)

“No one should be able to sell an innocent animal to a medical research facility or a puppy mill and walk away with a slap on the wrist,” Senator Bateman said. “I am pleased to see that the law finally recognizes that our pets are family, not pieces of stolen property. The penalties we have created for pet trafficking will ensure that anyone who is cruel enough to steal and deal a pet gets the punishment they deserve.”

S-332, establishes criminal penalties for an increasingly pervasive practice known as “dog flipping,” where pets are stolen and sold for a variety of reasons, including breeding, medical research, and dog fighting.

Prior to the Governor’s July 21st signing of Senator Bateman’s S-332, there was no law establishing a specific crime for trafficking stolen animals. Under previous law, stolen animals were considered “stolen property,” which meant that the penalties would be determined by the animal’s “pet store value.” Usually, that would only range from a disorderly persons offense up to a second degree crime.

Under S-332, anyone that traffics, initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises trafficking in stolen domestic animals would automatically be guilty of a third degree crime.

Third-degree crimes are punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and a term of imprisonment of three to five years, or both.

Stealing domestic animals is a crime on the rise in the United States, with the country experiencing 31 percent increase in pet thefts in just one year, according to the most recent statistics available from the American Kennel Club.

Tips for protecting your animal from pet theft can be found here.

Senator Diane Allen

Gov. Signs Allen’s ‘Charlie’s Law’ to Protect Service Dog Access to Public Spaces

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Governor Christie has signed “Charlie’s Law,” legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) that creates civil penalties for preventing a person with a service animal from accessing a public facility.

Sen. Diane Allen’s “Charlie’s Law” creates civil penalties for preventing a person with a service animal from accessing a public facility. (Flickr)

“Charlie’s Law” (S-2662) is named after a service dog who was denied access to an airport while assisting his owner, Ben Shore, a Cherry Hill teen who is on the autism spectrum and suffers from panic attacks.

Charlie was ordered out of the airport by an employee who did not believe that he was a service dog. That is completely unacceptable, not to mention illegal. Just because a disability is ‘invisible’ doesn’t mean it isn’t real,” Senator Allen said. “Charlie’s Law will empower law enforcement to respond immediately, so that people who are discriminated against in this way get the swift justice they deserve.”

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Senator Diane Allen

Gov. Signs Allen Bill to Bring Telemedicine to New Jersey

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Governor Christie has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to authorize healthcare providers who are licensed in the state to practice telemedicine in New Jersey.

Gov. Christie signed a law sponsored by Sen. Diane Allen authorizing the use of telemedicine in New Jersey. It takes effect immediately. (Flickr)

“Telemedicine is revolutionizing the way people access healthcare in other states around the country. It’s time for families here to have the same access to this technology,” Senator Allen said. “Many people live too far away or can’t afford to take time off of work to go see a doctor. That can be life-threatening for someone with a chronic condition. In this time of great uncertainty, bringing telemedicine to New Jersey is a sure-fire way to provide affordable, quality care for our residents.”

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Dawn Addiego

Gov. Signs Joan’s Law Amendment to Mandate Life Sentence for Murder & Sexual Assault of Minors

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Governor Christie has signed an expansion of “Joan’s Law” sponsored by Senate Republicans Dawn Addiego and Anthony Bucco, to mandate life without parole for murdering a minor, of any age, during the course of a sex crime.

Rosemarie D’Alessandro testifies at a May 31, 2017 Senate Budget Committee hearing in support of Sens. Dawn Addiego and Anthony Bucco’s bill expanding the law named after her daughter. S-607 extends Joan’s Law to mandate life in prison for murdering and raping any minor. (SenateNJ.com)

For the past 20 years, “Joan’s Law” has mandated “no release” in cases involving a minor under age 14. S-607 extends Joan’s Law to protect victims between the ages of 14 and 18.

“This law cannot ease the pain of losing a child, but it can ensure that parents do not have to relive that trauma by having to appear before a parole board time and time again, just to keep a killer locked up where they belong.” Senator Addiego said. “Now, every minor who is brutally raped and murdered will receive equal justice under the law – and so will their family.”

“There is always more we can do to keep our children safe from sexual predators. Anyone who commits such an atrocious crime should, at the very least, spend their life in a jail cell,” Senator Bucco said. “There is no justification for releasing these monsters back into the general population. I am hopeful that this law will act as a deterrent. I believe it will save countless young lives for years to come.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Now Law: Bateman’s ‘Water Quality Accountability Act’

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Act Ensures Public Water Systems Protect Consumers from Unsafe Drinking Water and Cyber-Attacks on Utilities

Governor Christie has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to improve the safety of New Jersey’s drinking water by holding public water systems accountable for making infrastructure improvements and inspections.

Sen. Kip Bateman’s “Water Quality Accountability Act” will protect people from unsafe drinking water by requiring all public water systems to establish a cyber-security program and a plan for making infrastructure improvements and inspections. (Pixabay)

“New Jersey residents are becoming more and more concerned about lead, bacteria and cancer-causing contaminants leeching into our drinking water, and given recent reports, they have every reason to feel this way.” Senator Bateman said. “This legislation demands that public water systems make the improvements necessary to keep our families safe.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Gov. Signs Bateman’s NJ Library Construction Bond Act

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Governor Christie has signed Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman’s “New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act,” ensuring it will appear on the ballot in the upcoming November general election.

Sen. Kip Bateman’s NJ Library Construction Bond Act gives voters the ability to approve funds for the repair, construction or expansion of local libraries. (Abhi Sharma/Flickr)

“Public libraries drive the economy by providing career training and access to technology for people who wouldn’t have it otherwise,” Senator Bateman (R-16) said. “They are invaluable community centers that everyone should have access to, but 78 percent need repairs and less than half are ADA accessible.”

“Putting this on the ballot allows the public to decide on how their taxpayer dollars are being spent, which is exactly the way it should be done. I have no doubt that people will rise up to support their local library in November. It’s the right thing to do,” Bateman continued.

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Senator Jim Holzapfel
Senator Tom Kean

Sweeney-Greenstein-Kean-Holzapfel Bill To Crack Down on Child Porn Now Law

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Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Linda R. Greenstein, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, and Senator Jim Holzapfel that would strengthen New Jersey’s child pornography laws and establish additional penalties for violators was signed into law by the Governor today.

Legislation sponsored by Sens. Sweeney, Kean, Greenstein, and Holzapfel strengthening New Jersey’s child pornography laws and establishing additional penalties for violators has been signed into law. (©iStock)

“If someone in New Jersey has engaged in the large-scale collection or distribution of pictures of children in sexually suggestive poses, they pose a serious threat to our children and our community,” said Senator Kean. “The Attorney General has highlighted the need to better address this growing problem, including the establishment of new child pornography crimes, tougher punishments, and better monitoring of offenders. There’s a bipartisan consensus that these protections are overdue.”

“We cannot allow the sexual exploitation of children to be tolerated in this state, nor can we turn a blind eye to loopholes in our laws that allow people to engage in this despicable activity in any way,” said Senator Holzapfel. “It’s clear that people who collect child erotica are a threat to public safety and the children of New Jersey, and our laws must be tightened to reflect that.”

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Senator Steve Oroho

Now Law: Oroho’s ‘Ralph & David’s Law’ to Up Penalties for Drunk Drivers Who Kill

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Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) to increase penalties for deaths caused by drivers who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

“Ralph and David’s Law” is named in honor of David Heim and Ralph Politi, Jr., innocent victims who lost their lives to drunk drivers.

Sen. Steven Oroho’s bipartisan “Ralph and David’s Law” establishes harsher punishments for drunk drivers who cause a fatality. (Flickr)

“Families that lose a loved one to a drunk driver suffer through so much. They deserve justice and a little closure,” Senator Oroho said. “Harsher punishments can act as a deterrent and ensure that reckless drunk drivers who kill receive a punishment that reflects the magnitude of their crime.”

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Senator Anthony Bucco

Bucco’s Concussion Awareness Day Resolution Signed by Gov.

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A resolution sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset) to raise awareness about concussions was signed by Governor Chris Christie.

Sen. Anthony Bucco’s resolution creating Concussion Awareness Day was passed by the Senate. (Flickr)

“Every year, we see more and more evidence about the dangers of concussions and the serious health problems they can cause,” Senator Bucco said. “Professional sports leagues have started taking them more seriously, but youth sports — where concussions can cause even more damage — still lag behind. Spreading knowledge about concussions can go a long way in preventing lifelong brain injuries.”

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Diane Allen

District 7

Kip Bateman

District 16

Jennifer Beck

District 11

Anthony Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Joe Kyrillos

District 13

Steven Oroho

District 24

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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