Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) today said that a provision in state employee contracts that pays uniform allowances to employees who are not required to wear uniforms is proof of the need to pass a legislative remedy to state pension and healthcare shortfalls.
“It is an absolute outrage that non-uniformed public employees are paid uniform allowances,” Kean stated. “This is seen by taxpayers for exactly what it is- a back door salary increase that is being hidden from the public eye. It is beyond me how either state officials or employee representatives could view this as a legitimate expenditure of taxpayer dollars.”
Bill Gives Governor Veto Power Over Multi-Jurisdictional Authorities, Improves Transparency
State Senators Jennifer Beck (R- Monmouth/Mercer) and Kevin O’Toole (R- Essex/Bergen/Passaic) have submitted legislation that establishes gubernatorial veto power over the state’s independent authorities, commissions, and utilities. The legislation mirrors Governor Christie’s “Shadow Government Reform” plan.
“Taxpayers and ratepayers are charged millions of dollars per year by autocratic boards and commissions that answer to nobody under a guise of ‘independence’,” said Beck. “In some cases, these bodies have been corrupt and wasteful. The executive branch can serve an additional check and provide final oversight over these entities.”
Senator Jennifer Beck lauds Governor Christie’s signing of two bills into law today, S-831/A-2513 and S-2390/A-3511.
“I am very proud to have sponsored both of these bills,” said Beck, who sponsors both bills, “and am appreciative that Governor Christie saw fit to sign them both into law. Horseracing has an opportunity to become, once again, a self-sustaining and financially thriving industry for New Jersey with the proper business model, and these bills both address aspects of the new model we have been working towards the past few years.”
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande are pleased with the State’s choice to award New York developer and entrepreneur Morris Bailey a five-year lease to run Monmouth Park Racetrack.
“Mr. Bailey seems like a fortunate choice for this lease,” said Beck, “given his own history as a racehorse owner, as well as his personal commitment to both the sport of thoroughbred horseracing and to Monmouth Park in particular. He is a businessman who has been drawn to the thoroughbred industry for quite some time, and that is very promising for the future of Monmouth Park.”
The five Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee agreed today with Governor Christie, Attorney General Dow and former Governor Corzine that the provision requiring early release of inmates in the law be immediately repealed:
“It is unfortunate that the commitment that former Governor Corzine received to repeal this ill-conceived provision of the law was not honored. In fact, Governor Corzine at the time he signed the bill, issued a signing statement that reads in part; ‘that the provision of the bill that would require parole release six months before the maximum expiration of the sentence in cases where the No Early Release Act does not apply, will be removed through immediate remedial legislation.’
Senator Calls for Immediate Vote or Justification from Senate Leadership
“In total, these municipalities (Newark, Atlantic City, Camden, Jersey City, Trenton, South Brunswick, East Orange, Hackensack) paid more than $39 million last year to more than 700 employees who cashed in their unused sick and vacation time.” – The Star-Ledger, 4/11/2011
In light of new information showing eight municipalities in New Jersey paid out $39 million in terminal leave payments to departing public employees, Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth/Middlesex) called for Senate Democrats to explain their continued defense of the practice:
“I have to wonder if the cost to the taxpayers of this outrageous public employee perk is sinking in with my Democrat colleagues.”
The five Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee lauded the Governor’s commitment to quality, affordable, higher education in New Jersey as evidenced by the work of Governor Christie’s Higher Education Task Force. The Senators called for immediate hearings to consider the Task Force’s recommendations:
“It is critically important that we take immediate steps to moderate the rise in tuition rates in New Jersey. The Senate would greatly benefit from immediate hearings on the report and from the Task Force’s chairman, Former Governor Thomas Kean.”
Senate Leadership Squanders Another Chance to do the Right Thing for Taxpayers
“Monday April 11, 2011 10:00 a.m. Committees @ the Call of the Senate President” – Official Senate Schedule, rev. March 28, 2011
In response to lack of committee action on any tax relief bills pending before the Senate today, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) said Senate leadership must provide taxpayers with an explanation:
“Senate Leadership has thrown away yet another opportunity to do the right thing for New Jersey taxpayers.”
“New Jersey residents deserve an explanation from those who control the agenda in the Legislature as to why committees were not called to address well-connected lobbyists helping themselves to the public pension trough, municipalities being forced to bond for jackpot sick leave payouts for public workers, and legislation that would enable towns and counties to share services.”
Legislation a Result of Governor’s Red Tape Review Group
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon) that would simplify and stabilize the rulemaking processes for state agencies was signed into law today. A-2721/S-2013 extends the expiration date of state regulations to seven years from five and establishes a new procedure for the re-adoption of rules without substantive changes.
“The five-year sunset provision is an unnecessarily burdensome requirement for well-established rules, ” stated Oroho. “Under this requirement, agencies must undertake the full rule-making process for established rules, regardless of whether any issues have arisen or been identified with the current regulatory scheme.
Addresses Personal Battle with Cancer in Keynote Address to Head & Neck Cancers Conference
State Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden) has been honored by the University of Pennsylvania Health System with Penn Medicine’s “Patient Advocacy Award”. Senator Allen was surprised with the award after delivering the keynote address at the hospital’s second annual Focus on Head and Neck Cancer’s Free Conference.
“Being asked to share my personal battle with oral cancer by the hospital that saved my life was honor enough,” said Allen, “but I am truly humbled to receive this award. While I was able to beat back the disease thanks to timely detection and aggressive treatment, too many go undiagnosed or lack access to care until it is too late. That is why I believe it is so important for survivors to get involved, because raising awareness among the public and policymakers will save lives.”