American Journalists Reporting from China-North Korea Border Charged, Convicted and Sentenced to 12 Years of Hard Labor
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40) has written letters to officials of both the United States and China appealing for their assistance in ongoing efforts to obtain the release of a pair of American journalists who were arrested, convicted and sentenced by North Korea to 12 years of hard labor. The reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were working on a story about the human trafficking of women across the China-North Korea border at the time of their arrest for committing what has only been described as a “grave crime” by the insular nation.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean asked why Governor Corzine has not released cost estimates of the concessions he agreed to before a campaign rally with Vice President Joseph Biden. According to a letter written by state union leaders to all their members, the concessions included putting hundreds of temporary workers into permanent positions at an unspecified cost to taxpayers. Kean called on the governor to live up to his promises of transparency and accountability, and release the Treasurer’s best estimates of how many workers will become permanent and how much this policy change will cost taxpayers.
Senator Kevin O’Toole, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the terms of the Corzine Administration’s $2 billion line of credit:
Ciesla, Wolfe & Holzapfel: BPU One-Year Suspension of JCP&L Rate Hike Benefits Corzine’s Re-Election Bid
Calling today’s decision by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to suspend for one year a plan by JCP&L to raise rates this summer for high usage residential and commercial customers nothing more than political posturing, Senator Andy Ciesla and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Jim Holzapfel chastised the agency for not permanently rejecting the rate hike.
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, the Republican legislators from District 12, announced they will introduce legislation calling for a constitutional amendment that would require the budget be balanced for two years, not just one. Governor Corzine championed two-year budgeting (see his quotes below) when running for governor four years ago, but failed to deliver on his campaign promises. This year, Corzine is proposing a cynical, election-year budget that relies on gimmicks that will leave the next governor facing the worst fiscal crisis in state history in 2011. A two-year budget would make it much more difficult for a governor such as Corzine to use irresponsible fiscal practices just to win re-election.
“The fiscal crisis that Governor Corzine is creating is real and unprecedented in its scope,” Beck said. “A two-year budget would make it far harder for the governor to paper over problems for political gain.”
Legislation introduced by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblyman Daniel M. Van Pelt to prohibit sexual offenders from living within 500 feet of a school, daycare center or playground was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee today. The 9th District Delegation’s measure, A-285, was among several bills on the Committee’s agenda that primarily focused on Megan’s Law.
Following reports that Governor Corzine hurried an important negotiation with the largest state union to prevent an embarrassing protest during a visit by Vice President Biden, Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-13) noted the apparent hypocrisy of the Corzine Administration’s use of a “poison pill” provision in the rushed labor agreement.
In return for the agreement of the Communications Workers of America to minor concessions on wages and furloughs, the Corzine Administration has agreed to not layoff any state employees between now and January 1, 2011. The Corzine Administration further agreed to a poison pill provision that would reverse all of the agreed upon concessions if this Governor or his successor violates Corzine’s “No Layoff” pledge.
Anne Milgram Will Decide How to Distribute $30 Million in Federal Stimulus Money to Police Departments in NJ
Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder are calling on Attorney General Anne Milgram to appropriate federal stimulus money to Burlington County municipalities to combat gang activity and rising crime.
“Gangs are now a problem in our communities, our schools and our prisons,” said Assemblywoman Addiego. “We can not afford to spend this money without seeing results. An injection of stimulus money will enable law enforcement to keep our neighborhoods safe, and we’re asking the Attorney General to make that a priority.”
Senator Tom Kean, Republican leader of the New Jersey Senate, made the following comments after reading the details of the concessions that Jon Corzine made to a state employee union before Vice President Joseph Biden appeared at the governor’s campaign rally. The concessions included the promise of a 7 percent pay raise made during a recession that has robbed thousands of New Jersey workers of their private sector jobs.
“New Jersey’s middle class will pay for years because election-year politics led Governor Corzine to abandon them,” Kean said. “This agreement trades one year of modest benefits for ill-advised concessions that may force tax hikes and service cutbacks for years to come.”
District 24 Legislators Say Communications Workers of America Agreement Provides Limited Relief
While Governor Jon Corzine hailed the state’s new labor deal with the Communications Workers of America as a “historic agreement,” Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblywoman Alison McHose, and Assemblyman Gary Chiusano, all R-Sussex, Morris, and Hunterdon, said that after evaluating the details there will be minimal financial benefit for the state after the upcoming fiscal year.