Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) introduced legislation to allow for more efficient prosecution of alleged drug dealers.
The bill eliminates the requirement for a forensic laboratory analysis of apparent unknown or imitation drugs that a defendant is charged with distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute.
“It’s already illegal to deal drugs and imitation controlled dangerous substances, so we don’t need to delay prosecutions by mandating costly testing when police bust dealers or pill rings,” O’Toole said. “The sooner we can lock up perpetrators and get these dangerous substances off the streets, the safer everyone will be. This legislation will also help mitigate processing and testing backlogs that labs are struggling to clear.”
Legal action originally encouraged by Senator Kevin O’Toole against a now-defunct Essex County travel agency, which baited hundreds of consumers to pay cash for nothing in return, has now resulted in a settlement that can provide restitution to local victims.
Approximately 250 consumers who paid for but did not receive all or part of the “all-inclusive” packages they ordered from Bloomfield-based Club ABC Tours are eligible for restitution, under a $644,000 settlement obtained by the Attorney General and state Division of Consumer Affairs. The State announced it would take action in this case after Senator O’Toole urged an investigation in October 2012.
“On behalf of my constituents and the victims of this disgusting scheme, I’d like to thank the state Attorney General’s Office and the Division of Consumer Affairs for investigating this matter and obtaining a just outcome,” said O’Toole (R-Essex, Bergen, Morris, Passaic). “After hearing horror stories from dozens of constituents who were defrauded and abandoned by Club ABC Tours, I initially said there was an appearance of conspiracy, consumer fraud and theft, and soon after we learned the extent and magnitude of this case was much worse. For people to spend significant amounts of their hard earned money on ‘trips of a lifetime’ only to arrive and learn they had been bamboozled was unconscionable.”
The New Jersey Senate will hold a voting session on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the New Jersey State House to consider the following bills:
|A206||Crim records, cert-automatic expungement||2RS||6/8/2015|
|A1466||Transp. med. needs students-concerns||2RS||8/13/2015|
|A1662||ID theft-expungement of cert. records||2RS||8/13/2015|
|A4144||Insur. producer lic.-concerns language||2RS||7/23/2015|
|S929||Workers’ comp. suppl benf, cert-concerns||2RSC||6/25/2015|
|S1621||Unemp, long-term-training prog priority||2RSG||8/13/2015|
|S1736||Admin. Procedure Act-revises||2RS||2/24/2015|
|S2174||Air bags, nonfunctional counterfeit-proh||2RSC||6/29/2015|
|S2260||Check casher lic.-modify cert. fees||2RS||7/23/2015|
|S2311||Bus., cert.-proh. making camp. contrib.||2RS||10/16/2014|
|S2360||Mental health record-concern expungement||R/S||8/10/2015|
|S2375||Ambulatory care fac.-concerns||2RS||10/27/2014|
|S2617||Shellfish species-allows cultivation||2RS||5/7/2015|
|S2663||Crim. records-concerns expungement||2RS||6/8/2015|
|S2710||Emp end operations in St-annual eval req||2RS||2/9/2015|
|S2755||Insur. producer lic.-concerns language||2RS||7/23/2015|
|S2784||Boats-prov. max. sales and use tax||R/S||8/10/2015|
|S2787||Voc. training pilot prog in DOC-estab.||2RSG||8/13/2015|
|S2856||ID theft-expungement of cert. records||2RS||8/13/2015|
|S2946||Summer camps-req. min. wage||2RS||6/8/2015|
|S2972||Vets-mentor thru criminal justice sys.||2RS||6/29/2015|
A three-bill package of legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer to increase consumer protections for customers of third-party energy suppliers was advanced by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“The deregulated energy market has brought with it a host of third-party energy suppliers and the opportunity for consumers to shop for providers offering lower rates,” said Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “However, a lack of transparency and oversight has led to confusion and misleading contracts that has left too many customers who switched to third-party suppliers in hopes of lowering costs with astronomical gas or electric bills due to variable-rate plans and changing energy costs. This package ensures a greater level of transparency and establishes clear standards to better protect consumers in the third-party energy supplier marketplace.”
Bateman Bill Providing Energy Star Compliant Homes With Financial Incentives for Installing Solar Panels Advances
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman requiring the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to give preference to Energy Star compliant homes when awarding financial incentives for installing solar panels (S-1413) has cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“By first awarding financial incentives to Energy Star compliant homes, we are encouraging New Jerseyans interested in purchasing solar panels to go above and beyond by investing in energy-efficient technology throughout their entire home,” Senator Bateman said. “These incentives help justify the cost of installing solar panels while advancing our state’s efforts to invest in renewable energy sources, securing a cleaner, greener future for generations of New Jersey residents to come.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio to help small businesses grow and expand by creating a program to help small business operators qualify to bid on public works projects was advanced by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
Under the legislation, S-3064, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority would be required to establish a “Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program” to provide support services to small businesses and to help them meet surety bonding requirements so that they can qualify to bid on projects.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy but often are at a disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for and winning public works projects due to limited resources,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “Many small companies are perfectly capable of completing the work but don’t qualify because they haven’t been positioned to meet certain requirements, like bonding.”
The Senate Economic Growth Committee has advanced a bill sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to provide much-needed support for individuals or groups temporarily caring for dogs who are training to be service animals. S-2281 exempts that these dedicated caregivers and “foster parents” from applying for and procuring a license and registration tag for the dog, while the service-animal-in-training is placed in a foster home.
“Seeing-eye dogs and service animals are vital to the health and welfare of our state’s most vulnerable residents,” Senator O’Toole said. “At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of service dogs are assisting disabled individuals in every corner of America. The volunteers and foster parents who care for service dogs provide extremely specialized and time-consuming training – often at a great cost.
“By passing this bill, we are offering vital support by allowing caregivers to spend more time training a dog to be a life-saving companion, without having to worry about procuring a license or registration tag. It is my hope that removing this red tape will encourage more New Jerseyans to take on the responsibility of training dogs to be loyal and loving service animals,” Senator O’Toole added.
Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) today provided an assortment of sackpacks and pencil cases containing school necessities to kindergartners, first graders and second graders at the Elias Boudinot School in Burlington City. The sackpacks and other school supplies were donated through a program made possible by the Office Depot Foundation and in partnership with the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL).
The NFWL has a longstanding partnership with the Office Depot Foundation, the independent, charitable, giving arm of the supply store chain ‘Office Depot’. Women legislators all across the country are able to provide students in their districts with supplies and fun and trendy knapsacks, helping them to start the new school year off on the right foot.
“Passing out the sackpacks today was a great opportunity to not only provide students with some supplies they will need but also to encourage them, build their confidence and help them start the school year off on a high note,” said Allen, who is chair of the NFWL. “One of the NFWL’s cornerstones has been emphasizing how important it is for students to get off to a good start in both their school year and education as a whole.”
Pope Francis’s historic trip to Philadelphia is expected to draw more than one million people to the city next week, generating $500 million in tourism and business revenue. Tourists travelling into town for the papal event, as well as regular NJ Transit commuters should expect delays and be prepared to adhere to new protocols. A limited number of advance rail tickets are available here. The following report, provided by NJ Transit, outlines the changes customers can expect during next week’s events. PATCO riders may also experience delays and schedule changes. Click here for more information.
As legislative Democrats continue their redundant hearings to delay bipartisan, bi-state bill to reform the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Assistant Senate Republican Leader Joe Pennacchio renewed his call for bipartisan, bi-state reform of the long-troubled Delaware River Port Authority, which is the subject of an ongoing federal criminal investigation.
“Democrat leaders in Trenton need to explain to people why they are ignoring a bi-state, bipartisan reform bill for the hard-working families and commuters who rely on the DRPA services,” said Pennacchio, a veteran Transportation Committeeman. “Our constituents need enhanced oversight, accountability and transparency for the DRPA just as much as they do for the PANYNJ.”
Pennacchio classified yesterday’s PANYNJ legislative committee hearing as just another example of New Jersey Democrats wanting the issue of PANYNJ reform to try to hurt the Christie administration, instead of them wanting to be a part of the solution by passing legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Kean, which has already passed in New York.