O’Toole, Russo, Rumana Bill Designating Portion of Rt. 17 ‘Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway’ Signed by Christie
Legislation (A-3582/S-2321) sponsored by District 40 legislators Sen. Kevin O’Toole and Assemblymen Dave Russo and Scott Rumana that designates a section of Rt. 17 in Waldwick the “Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway” in memory of the fallen hero was signed into law today by Gov. Christie.
Waldwick Police Officer Goodell, a former U.S. Marine, was killed in the line of duty last July, when a tractor trailer struck the 32-year-old while he was conducting a radar operation on Route 17.
“It’s impossible to accept a senseless tragedy taking the life of a true hero like Christopher, who family, fiancée, colleagues and community will always keep in their hearts,” O’Toole said. “But this sign will instill the lasting honor that Christopher and his family deserve due to his selfless service and sacrifices for us all.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman raising awareness of the value of horticultural therapy has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
Under Senator Bateman’s legislation, SJR-12, the third full week in March of each year will now be designated as “Horticultural Therapy Week” in New Jersey.
“Designating a week each year to raise awareness of Horticultural Therapy will hopefully expand opportunities for more people to take advantage of the many benefits it offers,” said Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex).
Legislation sponsored by District 24 legislators Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space to rename State Highway Route 15 in Sussex County in honor of the late Senator Robert E. Littell was signed into law today by Governor Christie.
“The Senator Robert E. Littell Memorial Highway will now be a permanent and visible reminder of Senator Littell’s tireless work to better the lives of families in Sussex County and all those he came in contact with,” said Oroho, who succeeded Senator Littell as the state Senate representative in the 24th District. “Senator Littell was a remarkable man who earned the respect of all he met through his kindness, fairness and commitment to personally respond to the concerns of those in the neighborhoods he represented. Senator Littell has left a lasting legacy and I’m pleased that future generations will be reminded of that legacy through the renaming of this highway.”
Pennacchio to Introduce Resolution Urging Jets, Other NFL Teams to Donate Money Received for Patriotic Promotions
Senator Joe Pennacchio said he will introduce a resolution urging the New York Jets and all NFL teams to donate the millions of dollars in public funds the teams have been paid for patriotic in-game events and displays to veterans organizations.
According to a Star-Ledger article, the Jets were paid $377,500 between 2011 and 2014 for patriotic festivities, including segments in which soldiers were featured on the big screen, thanked for their service and given tickets to the game. The bulk of the tab was picked up by the New Jersey Army National Guard.
“It is a shame that these teams that get so many public subsidies and tax breaks are using patriotism as a money grab,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic, Essex). “For-profit patriotism is slap in the face to the men and women in military who risk everything to fight for the freedoms we all enjoy. The Jets’ stadium is built on public land and is afforded a hefty property tax discount. There’s no excuse for now charging the National Guard for these in-game promotions.”
Thompson to Dems: End Double Standard & Allow Same Protections for Kids on School Buses as in Cars Under New Law
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) is calling on Senate Democrat leaders to finally address legislation to give children the same lifesaving protections on school buses that are now afforded in family cars via Senate Democrat Jim Beach’s new law.
While Senator Thompson applauds the signing of Beach’s S-2026 — a bipartisan measure that Thompson voted for to modernize child safety belt laws in passenger vehicles — he questions why Democrats have denied a vote on S-632 to similarly implement the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for children riding in school buses.
“In the two years since I introduced S-632 to require all new school buses to include the same three-point lap and shoulder belts we have in our own cars, we have seen a slew of school bus accidents in New Jersey,” said Senator Thompson. “By passing S-2026, this legislature has shown that when it comes to our children’s safety, we are willing to reach across the aisle and work together to make passenger vehicles safe and secure for young children across New Jersey. Why wouldn’t we now work together in the same way to pass legislation to keep children on school buses just as safe from harm?”
Holzapfel, McGuckin & Wolfe Legislation Amending Rules of Evidence Regarding Marital Communications Advances
Bill Changes Marital Communication Privileges During Criminal Trial
In response to a decision by from the New Jersey Supreme Court in the case of State v. Terry, legislation sponsored by the 10th District legislators to amend the rules of evidence to establish a crime-fraud exception to the marital and civil union partnership communications privilege has advanced from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel, Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe amends “The Evidence Act, 1960″ which currently provides that no person shall disclose any communication made in confidence between such person and his or her spouse or civil union partner unless both consent to the disclosure.
“The purpose of this bill is to thwart ongoing criminal conspiracies that hide behind an evidentiary privilege designed to protect the sanctity of marriage,” stated Senator Holzapfel.
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a pair of bills sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to protect stalking victims and assist prosecutors in obtaining information to present at trial.
Senator O’Toole’s S-2540/A-3841 upgrades the violation of a stalking restraining order to a third-degree crime, which carries maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $15,000.
“Violations of stalking restraining orders are both common and often associated with significant danger to victims,” said O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic). “We need to give survivors all the protection we can to assure that they won’t be re-victimized.”
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck to allow sexual assault victims to seek protective orders against their offenders was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill, S-2686, known as the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015,” would permit victims of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, or attempts of such acts to apply for a temporary protective order with the Superior Court. This bill would specifically apply to cases in which the victim does not have a domestic relationship with the perpetrator and if he or she decides not to file a criminal complaint.
“Sexual assault survivors who feel that they are in danger of being re-victimized deserve immediate, responsive protection and assistance from the courts,” Senator Beck said (R-Monmouth). “As a former rape crisis advocate, I must say that this issue and the many impacted people cannot be ignored. Between 75 percent and 80 percent of sexual assault survivors know their perpetrator — they are friends, neighbors and colleagues. The same type of interpersonal dynamic exists in domestic violence cases, and restraining orders have served as an important protection for those survivors. All survivors need the opportunity to obtain a protective order.”
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to create criminal offenses for dog fighting and leading dog fighting networks, and amend the RICO statute to include dog fighting, was advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I had the opportunity to meet some of New Jersey’s brave and gentle survivors of dog fighting rings,” said Senator Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “Such atrocities as those suffered by these innocent animals cannot go unpunished. We must expand our crackdown on this barbaric underground business by holding the leaders of these deadly rings accountable for their actions.”
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean allowing drivers to display electronic proof of automobile insurance was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
The legislation, S2680, allows drivers to show proof of insurance on their smart phones or other electronic devices.
“Allowing drivers to use their phone or another electronic device to show proof of insurance is an easy way to make life more convenient for many drivers,” said Kean. “Motorists now won’t have to worry about facing a hefty fine because they simply forgot to add their insurance card to the glove box. It’s important that as technologies continue to change that steps like this be taken to modernize government services to ensure they are as efficient and convenient as possible.”