Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) said that Governor Christie’s proposed changes to teacher tenure will bring a much needed focus on student outcomes to public education:
“Current tenure protections provide no incentives for excellence in the classroom and no consequences for failure,” said Senator Kean. “A system of career promotion based solely on seniority and length of service serves neither the interests of teachers who care about their jobs nor the students who are entitled to a thorough and efficient education. Governor Christie’s proposed tenure reforms are pro-teacher, pro-student, and bring the focus of education policy in New Jersey where it truly belongs- educational outcomes for our children.”
State Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington), a member of the Senate Education Committee, issued this statement following the release of Governor Christie’s tenure reform proposals:
“I sincerely believe that reforms to teacher tenure must be made, and that those changes must protect our schools from undue political influence, use multiple measures of teacher performance, reward excellence in the classroom, and make it easier to get poorly performing teachers out of the profession. Everyone is in agreement that the system must be changed, even the NJEA.
Lawmakers Will Introduce Three-Bill Package to Protect Public
A package of bills to be introduced by Senator Dawn Marie Addiego, Assemblyman Scott Rudder, and Assemblyman Pat Delany increasing the penalty for misuse of a flashing blue emergency light, establishing a fourth-degree crime for using a vehicle to impersonate a police officer, and providing for fines for selling blue lights to unqualified individuals.
The legislators were motivated by a recent incident in Medford in the 8th District. A teenage female driver was pulled over by a vehicle flashing a blue emergency light, but after she was questioned by the male “officer,” it became apparent that he was not a policeman.
“This is a story that could have had horrible repercussions,” said Senator Addiego. “Drivers of all ages need to be assured that flashing blue lights are used only for legitimate, lawful purposes. Public safety demands the highest level of public confidence.”
Senate Minority Leader Calls for Vote on Governor’s Conditional Veto
“…even if the governor signed the bill, it would not instantly lower property taxes.”
-Asw. Linda Stender (D-Union), The Record, 2/15/2011
“Voters must be allowed to decide whether their towns will keep civil service or chuck it. There is room for a deal on other civil service issues, but not that one.”
–The Star-Ledger, 2/14/2011
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) called on Senate leadership to schedule a vote on Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto of civil service reform. His call comes on the heels of Democrat admission that their changes to the civil service system will not result in savings for property tax payers:
Senator Gerald Cardinale, the senior Republican member of the Senate Commerce Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Trenton Democrats attitude towards the potential privatization of certain state services:
“I am very disturbed by the attitude exhibited by my colleagues across the aisle on the issue of privatization. When properly done, privatizing certain services can streamline and enhance the delivery of services, while lowering the cost to consumers. The services would be delivered more efficiently at a great benefit to the taxpayer while creating sustainable private sector jobs. This will improve the business climate in New Jersey turning the clock back on initiative like SCR-150 that will hurt job creation.
Sen. Pennacchio: “Stop Scare Tactics and Have an Honest Discussion to Save New Jersey’s Pension Fund”
“The private sector is looking at us, and we do look good. I know we’ll have to give…I’m more than willing to pay more to support my benefits.”
“I got 38 years in, but everything’s up in the air. They’re taking 10 percent out of the principal every year to pay existing retirees. I’m worried that it won’t be there for me.”
Citing today’s New York Times conversation with New Jersey public employees on the state of New Jersey’s public pension system, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R- Morris/Passaic) called for an end to scare tactics aimed at derailing real reform:
9th District Delegation Informs Area School Districts About State Police Gang Awareness Presentation
In letters sent out to each school district of the 9th Legislative District, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are informing local school superintendents about gang activity seminars that are offered by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). The 9th District Legislators recently received a briefing from the State Police on gang activity in the area and around the state.
In their letter to the superintendents, the 9th District Delegation made the following remarks:
“In response to the growing concern over gang violence, our Delegation recently met with members of the New Jersey State Police who provided a comprehensive briefing on the status of gang activity in our state. During the briefing, information was presented to us that we feel would be beneficial to your school district in addressing this serious societal and criminal issue now increasingly confronting parents, educators and law enforcement.
Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding Standard and Poor’s decision to reduce New Jersey’s bond rating:
“Standard and Poor’s decision to lessen New Jersey’s bond rating makes it crystal clear that we must act now to rescue the state’s pension funds. Failure to act with speed will, quite literally, increase the costs to the taxpayers.
“Early in his term Governor Christie set the course to return New Jersey to fiscal solvency. His common-sense agenda includes pension and health benefits reform, a reduction in regulations and red tape and other substantial matters to improve our competitive position throughout the region.
The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean appeared in The Star-Ledger on February 10, 2011:
Most communities in New Jersey are blessed with great schools, good teachers and a local district that prepares children to enter the work force or go to college. By and large, New Jersey public schools produce good outcomes for the majority of their pupils.
But in a handful of communities — our state’s poorest and most dangerous — children and their parents face dire circumstances. Despite billions of dollars spent on education in these cities, their schools are failing nearly every student day in and day out, each and every year, with no end in sight.
Decades of Irresponsible Borrowing and Spending Come to a Head
Senator Anthony Bucco, the Senate Republican Budget Officer, issued the following remarks regarding Standard and Poor’s downgrade of New Jersey’s general obligation bonds:
“For more than a decade New Jersey irresponsibly borrowed, taxed and spent, often without voter approval, until the state is near the edge fiscal collapse. Standard & Poor’s downgrade is further proof that the tough decisions being made by Governor Christie are the only way to return New Jersey to fiscal health.