Kean Introduces Consensus Port Authority Reform; Legislation is Expected to Be Made Law This Week in NY
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following after introducing Port Authority of New York & New Jersey reform legislation that is supported by the bipartisan governors of both states, bipartisan leaders of both houses in the New York Legislature and bipartisan sponsors in the New Jersey Assembly.
“This new legislation — supported by both governors, bipartisan legislative leaders in both houses of New York’s legislature and bipartisan sponsors in the New Jersey Assembly — will prevent the Port Authority from wasting, abusing and wantonly increasing the billions of dollars the public agency takes each year from hard-working commuters and taxpayers. This bill ensures an accountable, transparent, efficient and transportation-oriented Port Authority that will be vital to economic growth and job creation in New Jersey.
The following is Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s speech as prepared for delivery at today’s press conference hosted by leaders from the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce; New Jersey Business & Industry Association; the New Jersey Society of CPAs; and the state’s largest trade associations:
— Senator Tom Kean (@tomkean) June 22, 2015
“Picture this: A New Jersey employer or prospective New Jersey job creator in another state is watching TV. Their prime-time program is interrupted by an enticing invitation: Move here. Our state is so affordable you can spend your money on growing, hiring the best that the tri-state area’s workforce has to offer and increasing your success.
“The advertisement continues: We have lowered our CBT rate to among the lowest in the country; we’ve lowered income taxes, and we are offering you a 10-year tax break to start or grow your operations and workforce in one of our tax-free zones.
“This scenario is not some Republican tax-cutting, regulation-reducing fantasy. It is an ongoing marketing campaign by the State of New York and its Democrat governor that is winning them our hard-working residents, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Addiego: Decision Is a Triumph for Transparency
All three 8th District legislators voiced their support for a BPU decision rejecting a truncated approval schedule proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas for the construction of a natural gas pipeline routed through Burlington, Ocean, and Monmouth counties.
The proposal consisted of an accelerated schedule that is two months shorter than that proposed by the BPU, significantly cutting back on time for public participation in the process. The proposal was defeated in favor of the BPU’s proposed schedule, in a decision handed down by the board yesterday afternoon.
“This is the first step in what will hopefully be a transparent process that is open to public scrutiny,” said Senator Dawn Addiego. “The BPU has rightfully sided with the public and cast aside this egregious attempt to circumvent what is supposed to be an open and fair proceeding.”
The following editorial by Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) on medical billing legislation was published by The Record:
The article on Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to protect patients from unexpected high medical bills (“How plans to reform medical bills stalled,” June 14) did little to shed light on the legislative attempt to deal with the very real problem of surprise and often outrageous out-of-network charges that consumers and insurers alike too often encounter. There is no disagreement that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.
Senate Transportation Committeeman Joe Pennacchio issued the following statement in agreement with Senate Democrat Leader Loretta Weinberg on the need to pass Port Authority reform legislation to protect all New Jerseyans.
Senator Weinberg said the following in a press release yesterday: “Any bill we pass has to protect the regional interests of the New Jersey residents that Governor Christie, Senate President Sweeney, Senate Minority Leader Kean and I represent.”
Senator Pennacchio and dozens of bipartisan legislators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania sponsor legislation to reform the Delaware River Port Authority, which is under federal investigation and is marred with a history of waste, fraud, abuse and corruption.
With its four toll bridges and regional rail line, the DRPA serves approximately 300,000 commuters each day, predominantly people from Mercer to Atlantic counties, including those from the third legislative district represented by Senate President Stephen Sweeney.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following after today’s announcement of new hybrid legislation to reform the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey:
“I’m pleased that the common-ground, comprehensive reform effort I started in December served as the framework for Port Authority reform legislation that is supported by both governors, as well as bipartisan legislative leaders in New York, and should immediately become law in both states.
“This legislation will prevent the Port Authority from wasting, abusing and wantonly increasing the billions of dollars the public agency takes each year from hard-working commuters and taxpayers. This bill ensures an accountable, transparent, efficient and transportation-oriented Port Authority that will be vital to economic growth and job creation in New Jersey.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco to save the lives of newborn infants was passed by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.
The Senator’s bill, S-122, expands the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act,” to include the premises of fire stations and ambulance, first aid, and rescue squads that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was passed by the Senate in May 2014. Senator Bucco is also a proud sponsor of the original Safe Haven law, enacted in the 2000-2001 legislative session.
“Since the original Safe Haven law was passed, the lives of more than 60 infants have been saved, with a 60 percent drop in illegal child abandonment, according to a 2014 state report,” said Senator Bucco. “This bill will surely save even more lives by expanding the list of sites at which newborns may be left safely and anonymously.”
New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic) called on transportation network services business Uber to cease operating in New Jersey.
“Uber has constantly fought against being included in the New Jersey regulatory system,” Pennacchio said. “This system provides that the cars transporting clients are safe, their drivers are not criminals and in case of injuries covered by the proper liability insurance.”
The Senate Higher Education Committee passed Senator Kevin O’Toole’s “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act” and companion awareness act. A native of Allendale within the senator’s district, Madison Holleran committed suicide in January 2014 while attending the University of Pennsylvania.
“We can never fully know what Madison and her family have been through, and it’s impossible to make sense of her tragedy, but through glimpses of her triumphs and tribulations shared by family and friends, we can make sure her tragedy will save others,” said O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic). “Despite the terrible sadness we still feel, and will continue to feel, about losing Madison, I am hopeful that when we swiftly enact this legislation, fellow parents will be reassured that powerful suicide prevention and awareness programs are right around the corner.”
The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee advanced “Michael Massey’s Law,” (S-951) a bill sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck to help prevent automobile accidents that result in death or injury for sanitation workers.
The bill was named for 39-year-old Michael Massey, a Freehold Township man who was killed after being hit by a vehicle while he was loading a garbage truck as part of his public works duties in Ocean Township.
“Providing sanitation services is a dangerous line of work, and those who perform this service often go unnoticed by motorists who speed through busy streets and highways without concern for a sanitation worker’s safety,” said Senator Beck. “We must do more to protect the lives of these public servants by making sure that drivers are aware of their presence.”