Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco prepared the following statement for the budget committee overview hearing with the New Jersey Treasurer:
“I’m pleased that Gov. Christie has again presented us with a state budget proposal that focuses on fiscal restraint and everyone’s future.
“This budget makes the largest-ever investment in our students and the next generation, with nearly $13 billion in school aid, all without increasing taxes or fees. It helps continue job creation by implementing the fifth and final year of bipartisan tax reforms that will allow employers to grow and improve their operations and also help continue to increase state revenues.
“With this budget’s record-high $1.3 billion pension payment, the Gov. Christie administration has allocated more money to the state pension system than the five previous administrations combined over 15 years.
Singer to Introduce Legislation Protecting Disabled Adults Following Bullying of Autistic Howell Man
Senator Robert Singer will introduce legislation expanding legal protections for disabled adults following a reported incident in Manasquan where a developmentally disabled man nearly drowned after being dared to jump from a jetty into the frigid ocean.
According to a report in the Asbury Park Press, the 19-year-old man, who is autistic and diabetic, was egged into jumping from the jetty into the ocean on February 25 by two acquaintances who taped the incident with their cell phone and then later posted the video online. Law enforcement authorities said they couldn’t charge the men criminally because the conduct didn’t fall under any current state statute.
“This is a very troubling incident where a young man with a mental disability was taken advantage of,” said Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “This was not a harmless prank. It was flat out wrong and could have resulted in this young man’s death. This type of abuse of a developmentally disabled person who didn’t know any better simply can’t be tolerated.”
The following editorial by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) regarding the historic number of veto override attempts conducted by legislative Democrats against Governor Christie was published by the Asbury Park Press on March 26:
Editorial writers, Democrats and others have reported Gov. Chris Christie has set a record with the number of bills he has vetoed and have continuously asserted that Republican members of the Legislature are spineless, intimidated cowards because, despite 50 veto override attempts, they have never provided the votes for a single veto override.
A historical review of records of gubernatorial vetoes and veto override attempts belies both of these statements. However, it also reveals the most significant and record-making number usually cited is actually the 50 override attempts. This is truly a record for the last 60 years.
As “Made in New Jersey Day” was celebrated in the State House, Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco unveiled the fifth phase of the Senate Republicans’ new jobs package. This phase includes seven bills centered on “Reducing Burdensome Regulations.”
“As a small business owner and a state Senate leader, I’ve been on both sides of the conversations on ‘Made in New Jersey Day,’ and I understand how important this collaborative event is for our economy, job market and workforce,” Bucco said. “I’ve spoken with too many entrepreneurs and employers who need onerous regulations reduced in order to start and grow their operations here, and I will continue to share their concerns and needs with fellow leaders and governors in Trenton.
Governor Signs Connors-Rumpf-Gove-Supported “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove has been signed into law which provides that a veteran, regardless of their state of residence, who is living in New Jersey and attending a public higher education institution in New Jersey, will be eligible to pay an in-State tuition rate.
The legislation (A-3967) was entitled the “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act.”
The following editorial by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman on ending the 40 years of chaos caused by COAH and the need to pass reasonable affordable housing reforms was published by NJ.com on March 24:
Too many people are still struggling to find adequate housing in New Jersey — a troubling issue embodied by the Council on Affordable Housing’s chaotic 40-year existence, which has been marked by the passage of harmfully overreaching court rulings.
COAH regulations set forth by New Jersey courts have placed an undue tax burden on residents and crippled communities that have been forced to conform to one-size-fits-all mandates that ignore their unique needs. New Jersey has more inclusionary zoning requirements than any other jurisdiction in the country, according to a 2014 report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Costly COAH fees have also harmed the economy by stymieing development and related job growth.
Just last week, the state Supreme Court again issued a troubling COAH ruling that state trial judges will now decide housing laws and quotas on a town-by-town basis. That decision will not fix our housing problem and stands to create expensive litigation and countless lawsuits.
What other state allows the courts to mandate to municipalities how much affordable housing to build and where it must go? It should be the legislature’s responsibility to develop statewide policies, not unelected members of New Jersey courts.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset) banning the sale or production of personal care products containing microbeads was signed into law by Governor Christie. The bill (S-2178) will protect New Jersey’s rivers, lakes, and drinking supplies from environmental damage and harmful contamination.
Microbeads are small plastic particles that are added to products like face washes and cosmetic products to exfoliate. These tiny beads can become trapped in water filtration systems, ending up in rivers and lakes and contaminating the drinking supplies used by millions of New Jerseyans every day.
“By signing this bill into law, we are placing our state at the forefront of a national effort to eliminate the dangers this product poses to our environment and our water supply,” said Senator Bateman. “We have a responsibility to protect New Jersey residents from contamination and keep our state’s waterways clean and pristine. The only way to keep our drinking water safe and protect our beautiful rivers and lakes is to stop production and get these items off the shelves.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following after Senate Democrats asked the Port Authority to sell billions of dollars worth of non-transportation-related real estate:
“It’s encouraging that my Democrat colleagues are now echoing a key component of my comprehensive, common-ground reform legislation — a provision prohibiting the Port Authority from spending public dollars on anything but a core mission of quality mass transportation. It’s critical to note that the common-ground bill, S-2794, includes overdue transparency reforms while eliminating from the failed S-2181 onerous property provisions, which would have made it virtually impossible for the Port Authority to sell billions of dollars of non-transportation-related real estate.”
The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to require the state Motor Vehicle Commission to study and make recommendations about implementing electronic driver’s licenses and mobile applications. The Senate also passed legislation to allow drivers to display electronic proof of automobile insurance.
“Whenever possible, people should be able to access and use government services and information in a convenient and efficient manner, whether that’s via social media or mobile apps,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “People are literally attached to their phones and devices, with many of us opting for mobile forms of payment, banking and credit.”
Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) issued the following statement after voting against legislation (S-2316) that was advanced by the Senate to require new single- and two-family homes to have expensive fire sprinkler systems:
“The people of New Jersey should each decide if this expensive measure is necessary in their own homes. Government should not decide how families spend their personal income or force them to spend thousands of dollars more for things in their homes.