Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman raising awareness of the value of horticultural therapy has been passed by the Senate.
Senator Bateman’s SJR12 designates the third full week in March of each year as “Horticultural Therapy Week” in New Jersey. The measure passed the Senate on March 27 and now must be passed by the full Assembly before going to the Governor for final approval.
Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) stated the following in response to the State Budget Overview and Revenue Forecast Hearings with the Office of Legislative Services and the State Treasurer:
“I’m proud that Governor Christie has presented us with another budget proposal that focuses on the people and not political interests. This proposal exercises fiscal restraint by budgeting for everyone’s future. The budget makes the largest-ever investment in our students with nearly $13 billion, and makes the largest-ever $2.25 billion pension payment. It cuts millions of dollars in discretionary spending while saving several million dollars by streamlining state government.
Asm. O’Scanlon & Sen. Doherty Join Mayor Kern to Announce End of Pohatcong’s Red-Light Camera Program
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Senator Michael Doherty joined Mayor James Kern, III of Pohatcong to announce that the township will not be renewing its contract with red-light camera company American Traffic Solutions (“ATS”) when it expires in 2016.
“This is another crack in the armor of an industry that has proven itself to be one of double-speak and misdirection,” said O’Scanlon. “Mayor Kern joins a growing list of public officials who are seeing the light concerning the state’s failed red-light camera pilot program. It doesn’t take anything more than a cursory glance at the statistics to see that the cameras in Pohatcong aren’t doing anything more than robbing innocent drivers and, it appears, making roads less safe. As I’ve been saying for years now, red-light cameras do NOT improve safety, they are ONLY about revenue.”
“The simple fact is that red light cameras do not provide the safety benefits that vendors like ATS claim they do,” said Doherty. “We should commend local officials, like Mayor Kern in Pohatcong and Mayor Ducey in Brick, who refuse to defend the false safety arguments that some continue to employ to keep the cameras that fleece their residents. It is a positive sign that more towns are stepping up to defend their residents from the red light camera scam.”
Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) issued the following statement on the bipartisan legislation to extend the arbitration award cap.
“Once again the New Jersey Senate has proven they will stand strong to try to keep property tax increases in check,” Kyrillos said. “It is imperative that the Assembly now do the same by passing the extension of the arbitration award cap.”
“If the cap on police and fire contracts expires, it will weaken municipalities’ ability to keep property tax increases in check and will result in bargaining units being severely pitted against one another,” said Kyrillos. “If the police and fire unions do better, what happens to other municipal unions and their interests? If this cap is not in place, how can we expect our municipalities to comply with the overall two percent property tax cap?”
Senator Mike Doherty urged the New Jersey Assembly Democrats to return to Trenton and pass bipartisan legislation to extend the 2-percent property tax cap on local government employee raises before Tuesday’s expiration date.
“It is a travesty that Assembly Democrats ran from Trenton yesterday afternoon, with their public duty undone,” Doherty said. “By failing to pass this bill, they are leaving already overburdened taxpayers in communities all across New Jersey in a position to have to shoulder drastic property tax increases or cuts in service.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to raise awareness of accommodation rights for people with disabilities was approved by the full Senate and will now go to Governor Christie for approval.
“I am ecstatic that both the Senate and Assembly have approved this measure to help our most vulnerable citizens. I encourage anyone who reads this and has a friend or family member who has run into roadblocks in getting modifications to their homes approved to tell them to reach out to the Division on Civil Rights.” Bucco said. “People with disabilities should have a clear, direct path to challenge any form of potential violations of their accommodation rights.”
Media Advisory: O’Scanlon & Doherty to Join Pohatcong Mayor to Discuss Town’s Red Light Camera Program
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Senator Michael Doherty will join Mayor James Kern, III to discuss the future of Pohatcong’s red light camera program.
Who: Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, Senator Michael Doherty and Mayor James Kern, III
What: Press conference concerning the future of the red-light camera program in Pohatcong
When: Tuesday, April 1, 12:30PM – 1:30PM
Where: Pohatcong Municipal Building, 50 Municipal Drive, Phillipsburg, NJ
Legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck and co-sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman that establishes a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing in New Jersey has passed the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“We just don’t really know all the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “I have heard from many residents and they are vocally concerned about fracking in New Jersey. And while there is currently no fracking in our state, this bill will ensure that the process is safe before we even consider the practice’s permissibility here.”
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Steven Oroho and Paul Sarlo to facilitate charitable contributions for the development of northern New Jersey’s first veterans cemetery was unanimously passed by the Senate today and will now head to the governor’s desk for final approval.
The Senators’ bipartisan measure, S361, would give taxpayers the option on their tax return to contribute a portion of their tax refund to support the development and operation of the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery. The planned 66-acre parcel in Sussex County would be the first cemetery dedicated to veterans in the northern part of the state.
“I’m confident that with this easy mechanism to give, many New Jersey taxpayers will be generous in donating to support the veterans who gave so much themselves to this state and country,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren and Morris). “Establishing this cemetery in North Jersey will at last provide thousands of veterans an honored resting place near their family, friends and communities they love. Families too can have peace of mind knowing they can visit their loved one’s grave site without having to drive hours away from home.”
Senate Passes Allen, Kean, Oroho Sponsored “Lunsford Act” to Increase Minimum Sentences for Child Predators
The primary sponsors of the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” Senators Diane Allen, Tom Kean Jr., and Steve Oroho, released the following about its passage today by the full Senate. The legislation will now to go the Governor’s desk for final approval.
“These protections to guard against repeat sexual offenders are long overdue in New Jersey,” said Allen (R- Burlington), who started this initiative in 2005. “Keeping child predators behind bars where they belong will send a message that those types of monstrous crimes will be punished as severely as possible and help to eliminate an opportunity for a repeat offender to strike again.”