O’Toole Calls on New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation to Demand Probe of Lockerbie Bomber’s Release
Terrorist Megrahi Killed 33 New Jersey Residents in Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40) expressed outrage today at new reports that convicted Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi may have been released from imprisonment by the Scottish government in exchange for favorable terms in a trade deal involving Libyan oil. O’Toole called on New Jersey’s congressional delegation to demand that an official inquiry be conducted by Congress to uncover the details of Megrahi’s release.
Legislation Introduced in ’08 Would Prohibit Lawmakers from Directing State Funds to Employer/Client
As former state Senator Joseph Coniglio was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison today for using his influence to direct over $1 million in state funding to Hackensack University Medical Center, Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, all R-Monmouth, said the latest incarceration of a corrupt politician demonstrates the urgency to address ethics reform.
Senator Joe Kyrillos, senior Republican member of the Economic Growth Committee, urged Governor Corzine to use his influence with his union supporters and liberal Democrat allies to stop a proposed tax on New Jersey’s financial services industry. Liberal Democrats and leaders of the AFL-CIO, reportedly angry at the surging profitability of some investment banks, want to impose a tax on every stock transaction in the nation.
“As former chief executive of a huge Wall Street banking firm and a securities trader, Governor Corzine knows that this proposed tax could have tremendous negative consequences for New Jersey’s financial services industry,” Senator Kyrillos said. “I urge him to speak out against this job-killing proposal.”
Senator Jennifer Beck, though confident that the trial of Joseph Coniglio was fair and just, expressed sadness as the former senator was sentenced to two and a half years in prison today. If Senate Bill 2315 had been the law, Senator Coniglio might have reconsidered taking the job with Hackensack University Medical Center that led to his conviction, Senator Beck said.
The bill would make it clear that no legislator can use his position to direct money to his employer, for any reason. Current law requires prosecutors to show during a lengthy trial that a legislator received a bribe or extorted money in return for securing grants for their employers.
COAH Proposes New Regulations to Create “RCA-Lite” for Favored Towns
Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) said that new regulations set to be adopted by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) prove once again that the Corzine Administration lacks both direction and a coherent plan for managing development in New Jersey.
Under proposed regulations set to be adopted at its upcoming September 9 meeting, COAH will reincarnate a scaled-down version of the Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs) that were banned when Governor Corzine signed A-500 into law. The proposed regulations allow for the creation of Regional Affordable Housing Development Planning Programs (RAHDPPs), essentially “RCA-lite,” which have guidelines that closely mirror those that governed RCAs.
Calls for Governor to Support Job Growth Measures that Will Create Jobs and Insure Families
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (all R-Monmouth) today noted that the most recent census data available indicates that even before New Jersey’s unemployment rate more than doubled from 4.6% to 9.3% since the end of 2007, the number of people in New Jersey without health insurance had already climbed from 1,076,000 in 2001 to 1,348,000 in 2007.
Senator Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, said that the Corzine administration has put more than 200 New Jersey jobs at risk by not letting office supply companies bid on a multi-million dollar state contract. Seventeen local businesses now sell tens of millions of dollars of office supplies to the state.
They will lose the business on Sept.1 because the state has contracted with Staples Advantage, a Massachusetts company, to supply all office supplies. Vendors who now hold the contracts say they were given no advance notice that their contracts would not be renewed, nor were they granted the opportunity to bid for the state’s business.
‘We expect changes to our housing policy by the end of the year.’ — Corzine spokesman, responding to Star-Ledger questions about housing ruling.
Senator Steve Oroho, R-Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon, said an Appeals Court ruling this week has thrown community housing and job creation programs into chaos and made towns vulnerable to costly lawsuits at a time when every municipal budget is under unprecedented strain.
It’s critical that laws be passed immediately that will stop the harmful effects of this ruling from spreading to other towns and finally provide the state with a workable, sensible housing plan, Oroho said.
Normally, we don’t weigh in on federal issues unless there is a direct correlation to State government. However, we are forced to make an exception in the case of the ongoing debate on health care reform that Congress is currently engaged in.
As State Legislators we do not have the authority or the ability to vote on any federal health care reform bill. That said, we feel it necessary to explain to the people of the 9th District where we stand on the issue given that our office continues to be overwhelmed with letters from irate constituents who believe the proposal will detrimentally impact the quality of the medical care they receive.
Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, has sent a letter to the state Division of Investment and the chairman of the State Investment Council after reading an Aug. 20 news article that indicates that the state will not reveal where outside advisers have invested about $100 million of taxpayer and worker pensions. The article states that the outside advisers are former employees of Lehman Brothers, which the state is suing for $118 million in investment losses.