Bill to Rename Route 36 Span “Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge” Approved by Assembly Committee
Legislation (S-2073) to rename the bridge on Route 36 over the Shrewsbury River in memory of the late Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina has been approved by the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee. The legislation is sponsored by Monmouth County Senators Sean Kean (R-11), Joe Kyrillos (R-13) and Jennifer Beck (R-12).
Azzolina, a veteran of the United States Navy, served in both the General Assembly and the Senate and was a successful and respected businessman in the local community.
Legislation Would Remove Supreme Court from School Funding Decisions
Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon) sent a letter today inviting Senate President Steve Sweeney and the entire Democratic caucus in the New Jersey Senate to sign on as co-sponsors of SCR-121. The proposed constitutional amendment, sponsored by Oroho, clarifies that the responsibility of determining levels of education funding rests solely with the Legislature, not the Judiciary.
The letter reads, ” For more than two decades an activist Court has improperly assumed the powers of the State Legislature on many issues, including school funding. As a result of past court decisions, New Jersey’s school funding formula has been constructed so that about 60 percent of all state education aid is directed to just a handful of school districts….. If we are to effectively improve educational outcomes for all students in New Jersey, we must increase the Legislature’s ability to adopt critical reforms without being continually hamstrung by an overreaching Court. That is why I have sponsored a constitutional amendment to make it perfectly clear that education funding levels are to be determined at the sole discretion of the Legislature, and not dictated by members of the unelected Judiciary.”
Senators Christopher Connors and Jennifer Beck are pleased to announce that their bill, S-106, which would establish the “Hooked on Fishing – Not Drugs” program, was approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
The bill calls for the appropriation of $200,000 from the Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for the creation of this program which was designed not only to increase a youth’s angling skills, but to enhance the development of self-esteem, civic values, family and community relationships, and environmental awareness, all of which are life skills that hopefully will divert children from using drugs.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden) permitting marriage by proxy for members of the armed forces serving in a war or conflict has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“When a member of the military is called upon to serve in a place of war or conflict, personal plans are put on hold,” Allen said. “This legislation allows men and women of the military to share the financial and legal benefits of marriage with their partners that would otherwise be delayed by service to our country.”
A proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution (SCR-107), sponsored by Senators Jennifer Beck and Stephen Sweeney, establishing an open space program for New Jersey, has cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today. The bill reduces property taxes on privately held lands that are capable of being subdivided and permanently preserved as open space, and establishes rules for preservation of open space.
“During my time in the Senate,” said Beck, “I have been working to repair New Jersey’s farmland assessment laws that permit decreases of property taxes of up to 98% for actively devoted agricultural land. Unfortunately we know that some of that land is receiving the generous tax break even though it is not a real farm. Additionally, New Jersey, unlike surrounding states, has used its farmland assessment law to preserve open space, and that is really the wrong mechanism.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would establish a “Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” (HOFNOD) program within the Division of Fish and Wildlife to encourage children to avoid drug use was released today by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” (HOFNOD) is a nationally recognized program developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation which has operated successfully in over a dozen states. The Connors-Rumpf-Gove bill would establish a program in each county within the state to be overseen and coordinated by the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife.
As part of a ceremony held during a recent Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, Senator Christopher J. Connors presented Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) District 12 Ocean County Commander Larry Kelly a jointly issued Resolution for his service in our country’s Armed Forces and his tremendous efforts on behalf of veterans. The Resolution was also issued by Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove, who serves on the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
VFW District 12 Ocean County Commander Larry Kelly (l) speaking after receiving a Joint Legislative Resolution from Senator Chris Connors (r) on behalf of the delegation from the 9th legislative district.
VFW members from across the state were honored during the May 19 Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs hearing. Mr. Kelly was also honored by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs (DMAVA) for his outstanding dedication and sacrifice.
Were it not for New Jersey crashing the list of the five worst states, little would have changed from the previous surveys…Respondents said New Jersey’s tax policies were the most likely to dissuade companies from relocating to or expanding in the state. That’s a stunning change for a state that didn’t make the worst five in a single question in our 2000 tax survey.. (2004 State Tax Survey, CFO Magazine)
Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon), a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement today after hearing legislative budget experts testify that the state’s tax revenue may exceed original projections by as much as $430 million this fiscal year:
“Over the past decade Democrats controlled both the Legislature and the Governorship and drove New Jersey’s once proud competitive position into the ground by over-taxation, over-regulation and over-spending. As a result we lost jobs, businesses and tax revenue. Study after study reflects this regression over the past 10 years.
Republican Fiscal Discipline Beginning To Show Results
Senate Republican Budget Officer Tony Bucco issued the following statement regarding testimony on the FY 2012 state budget today:
“Under Governor Christie’s leadership, the fiscal discipline we implemented in the budget I introduced last year is beginning to bear fruit. It is important to remember that the revenue estimates, while encouraging, are volatile and unreliable.
Monmouth Poll Shows Negative Opinion of Legislature With Reforms Stalled by the Majority
Senate Republican leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) said that a Monmouth University poll showing the public disapproving of the job the Legislature is doing is unsurprising in light of key reforms being stalled by the Majority party in Trenton.
“When the Majority cannot be brought to embrace the common-sense concept that sick leave is to recover from illness rather than a supplemental retirement fund for public employees, it is little wonder the public doesn’t trust its Legislature, ” Kean said. “Sick leave payouts are a creature of special interests run amok over government and must be ended, not simply capped.”