Following through on the 9th District delegation’s pledge to fight against bigger government, Senator Christopher J. Connors voted against legislation (S-579) brought to the Senate floor that would allow counties and municipalities to establish stormwater utilities that would be empowered to impose charges on ratepayers.
Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove also vehemently oppose the legislation which has advanced through committee in the Assembly.
Legislation sponsored by Senators Anthony Bucco and Joe Pennacchio to allow widows to obtain a driver’s license with their maiden name, after the death of a spouse was passed by the full Senate.
“Widows endure enough suffering, complications and stress after the passing of their spouses, and with that in mind, forcing them to get a court order to change their name on a driver’s license is unnecessary and absurd,” Bucco said. “This is common-sense legislation to responsibly allow widows to resume the use of their maiden names without having to deal with layers of bureaucracy and jump through crazy hoops.”
The Senate has passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Diane Allen and Joseph Vitale prohibiting correctional facilities from placing restraints on inmates during or immediately after childbirth.
“It’s outrageous that anyone would think it necessary or appropriate to handcuff or aggressively restrain a female inmate during labor or right after delivery,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “Sadly, there have been instances of this type of inhuman and excessive force being used at some correctional facilities across the country. This legislation makes it clear that this barbaric and medically unsafe practice won’t be permitted in New Jersey.”
Editorial: Thompson Urges Committee to Vote on Bill to Require Schools Buses to Have Same Seat Belts as Family Cars
The following editorial by Senator Sam Thompson on legislation that would require all new school buses to include three-point lap and shoulder belts was published in the Times of Trenton on March 13, 2015:
As our communities grow concerned over yet another New Jersey school bus crash, I am trying to do everything possible to ensure the passage of legislation to keep our children secure and safe every time they step onto a school bus.
In 2013, I introduced S632, which would require all new school buses to include three-point lap and shoulder belts, following school bus crashes in Chesterfield and a pair in Old Bridge, and others more recently in Bergen and Mercer counties. On March 9, a school bus was struck from behind by another vehicle in Lumberton (“School bus turns over in Lumberton,” March 9, nj.com), flipping the bus onto its side, reportedly injuring one of the three students who were on board.
It is clear that children in school buses are in no way immune to dangers of the road faced by all other motorists and passengers and that our next generation must have the same protections no matter what vehicle they are traveling in.
Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe of the 10th Legislative District will introduce legislation allowing courts to hold certain offenders responsible for the cost of rescue and recovery operations.
The measure was drafted after a pickup truck fell through the ice after being driven onto the frozen Toms River, reportedly to do “donuts,” prompting an emergency search and recovery effort by local emergency responders and the State Police and Coast Guard.
“The massive emergency rescue mission in Toms River resulted from intentional activity that likely violated the law,” said Holzapfel. “Taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of paying for someone else’s stupidity.”
The following editorial by Senator Robert Singer on the need to act on legislative reforms to help Sandy victims was published in the Asbury Park Press on March 11, 2015:
Nearly three years after superstorm Sandy, too many disaster victims are still struggling to rebuild and recover. Powerful legislation that could provide aid and protection for Sandy victims has been pushed aside, as we still remember empty storefronts lining flood-ravaged streets and waterlogged homes crumbling on the Jersey Shore.
We cannot continue to allow Sandy victims to struggle, nor can we deny local communities valuable recovery resources and tools they need to prepare for future natural disasters.
Gas Explosions Leveled Two New Jersey Homes in Less Than a Week
In response to recent gas explosions that leveled a pair of New Jersey homes, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin of the 10th Legislative District have drafted legislation requiring explosive gas detectors to be installed in homes and other dwellings.
Dashcam video provided by the Stafford Township Police Department captured a natural gas explosion destroying a home on February 24, 2015.
Explosive gas detectors alert residents to the presence of dangerous quantities of methane or propane gas in the air. Methane is the primary component of natural gas used to fuel many furnaces, hot water heaters, fireplaces, stoves and ovens.
“While the use of natural gas and propane for heating and cooking in our homes is extremely safe, the recent house explosions in Pt. Pleasant Beach and Stafford Township have reminded us that gas leaks do pose some risk,” said Holzapfel. “We can lower the risk of gas leaks by modeling our response on the successful rollout of carbon monoxide detectors that are now present in nearly every home.”
Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer) renewed his call for the legislature to take up legislation reforming the state’s affordable housing laws, after the state Supreme Court ruled that trial judges would begin deciding housing laws on a town-by-town basis.
“This issue should have never gotten to this point,” Bateman said. “Senate Republicans have had sensible solutions on the table for years and it’s the legislature’s responsibility to get this done. The legislature does not have to subject the public to this costly Supreme Court ruling. We can fulfill our obligation to implement a reasonable plan that has the best interest of New Jersey’s diverse communities, property owners and residents.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris) proposing a roadside memorial program for fallen police, fire, and rescue workers was advanced by the Senate Transportation Committee.
Under the bill, S-1567, the Department of Transportation would be directed to establish the memorial program to build signs honoring fallen police officers, sheriffs, EMS workers and firefighters.
“I am proud to sponsor legislation that pays tribute to the dedicated men and women who put their lives at risk protecting and serving our communities,” Senator Bucco said. “Men and women like Patrolman Joseph Wargo who are killed in the line of duty should never be forgotten. By advancing this legislation, we are honoring the legacy left behind by local heroes who kept us safe and were the first to arrive in our time of need.”
The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean on the Opportunity Scholarship Act was published in The Record on March 10, 2015:
Governor Christie’s recently announced Fiscal Year 2016 budget justly includes $2 million to save students trapped in and deprived by failing schools. That funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Act gives families who otherwise don’t have the resources a chance to obtain a successful future for their children by enrolling them in one of New Jersey’s outstanding public, charter or private schools.
OSA ensures that students in all ZIP codes and of all socioeconomic levels will receive a top-notch education, and it will help directly improve and eliminate failing schools by creating healthy competition.