With a New Jersey-bound shipment of badly needed road salt still stuck at a Maine port and yet another snow storm forecast for Wednesday’s morning commute, Senator Joe Kyrillos today introduced a resolution urging federal authorities to waive the requirements of a nearly century old shipping law during certain states of emergency.
Delivery of New Jersey’s 40,000 ton order of rock salt from a Maine dock has been significantly delayed because of provisions of the Jones Act. Enacted in 1920, the act requires that maritime transport of cargo between two points in the United States be carried by U.S.-flagged ships and waivers of the requirement are only granted in the interest of national defense. While state and county rock salt supplies have been dangerously low because of repeat snow storms this winter, the state’s request for a waiver of the act to allow for the quickest delivery of the shipment was denied.
New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris & Passaic) and Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R – Bergen, Essex, Morris & Passaic) today both questioned why the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a bi-state agency, has delayed the port of New Jersey from filling approximately 600 vitally needed jobs.
The Waterfront Commission was created in the early 1950s to perform background checks and eliminate the presence of organized crime in the ports. It also has veto authority over the actual number of new hires.
“Even though management and labor have both agreed that additional staffing is needed, it still must go through a third party just to get approval for those numbers. What other business has to subordinate themselves to a third party when dealing with hiring practices?” questioned Senator Pennacchio.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced legislation, A-892, entitled the Jessica Lunsford Act, which is cosponsored by 9th District Representatives Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove.
The Act, which is named after the Florida girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered by a convicted sex offender, requires mandatory terms of imprisonment for persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13, for a specific term of years fixed by the sentencing court, between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which 25 years or more must be served before parole eligibility.
Senator Diane Allen today applauded announcement of a new partnership between the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and the state’s 21 county vocational schools.
The announced New Jersey Employer Coalition for Technical Education is made up of more than 120 members from the state’s business and academic industries and will work to promote career and technical education (CTE) throughout the state.
“New Jersey’s county vocational-technical schools give students the skills and training they need for meaningful careers and are a key part of creating the diverse workforce that’s needed to achieve a truly thriving economy and business industry,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “The abundance of different industries today requires workers with different skills and training and our educational offerings should reflect that. Career and technical education programs are another avenue for students to find the learning environment that best meets their needs and helps them get most prepared for what they may want to pursue later in life.”
Senator Jennifer Beck issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) refusal to to waive rules that prevent homeowners from rebuilding or performing mitigation work during the federal aid application process:
“This ruling is not just counterintuitive, it’s dangerous. Families are still struggling to get back on their feet and into their homes. Many are spending every dollar they have just make their homes livable. These folks should not be punished by the federal government for wanting to go home.
Senator Blasts HUD’s Denial of State Request to Allow Grant Applicants to Rebuild Homes
Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) implored federal officials and representatives to allow a waiver for New Jersey property owners to recover their lives after Superstorm Sandy.
“It’s ridiculous, to say the least, that the people of New Jersey are being denied access to grant money because they are trying to rebuild their lives after the worst storm ever,” Kyrillos said. “The people of my district and the surrounding areas were some of the hardest hit and their federal government should not be hindering their recovery. Our home owners should be able to rebuild as they apply for grant money and I urge our congressional delegation to get to work immediately.”
Thompson Urges ‘Select Committee’ Inquiry on Newark’s Abuse of Tax Dollars, in Light of Latest Comptroller Findings
Senator Sam Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean) urged the chairman and chairwoman of the “New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation” to open a full inquiry into the City of Newark’s abuse of tax dollars, in light of state Comptroller investigative report released today.
“This Committee is empowered to investigate any matter ‘raising concerns about abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power’ over the next two years,” said Thompson. “Democrats vowed that this would remain a bipartisan committee. Just as other legislative committees address many different matters during a legislative session, this committee can investigate how New Jersey’s largest city has been wasting billions of dollars from taxpayers all across this state — and potentially covering up such action.”
Large-scale drug dealers, including those at the center of the heroin trade, would receive lengthier sentences under legislation re-introduced by 9th District Legislators Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove.
Under the 9th District Delegation’s legislation (S-209/A-782), which was drafted in close collaboration with Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, a new classification scheme would be established for certain controlled dangerous substances that empower prosecutors the option to grade the seriousness of a drug distribution offense by the number of dosage units involved rather than the actual weight of the drugs. The legislation was drafted in response to the deadly heroin epidemic sweeping across the state.
Senator: There’s Still Hope After Senate President Relinquished Sponsorship of His Own Bipartisan-Supported Sick-Leave Bill
Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) wants to work with the Senate President to finally pass bipartisan-sponsored sick leave legislation that mirrors a bill sponsored last session by Senator Sweeney.
“As the Senate President pushes an initiative to impose a zero-percent property tax cap on local entities that do not share services, he cannot neglect the billion-dollar sick leave liability that drives up property taxes in the short and long term,” Senator Cardinale said. “Sick leave reform needs to be done before you can even consider a zero-percent tax cap. A zero cap would force towns to have to bond or cut critical services at a moment’s notice to make these six-, seven- and eight-figure payouts.”
Bipartisan Bill Will Protect Residents from Predatory Energy Schemes
Governor Chris Christie recently signed into law a bill that will protect New Jersey consumers from fraudulent claims made by electric power and gas suppliers. Sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Jennifer Beck, the new law requires the Board of Public Utilities in consultation with the Department of Consumer Affairs to adopt advertising and marketing standards for electric power and gas suppliers who purposely make false or misleading advertising claims to a potential residential customer or who – via the telephone – initiate contact with a potential residential customer who is on the state or federal “do not call list.”
“This bill provides an important protection for utility customers and potential customers,” explained Senator Beck (R-Monmouth). “I had heard from constituents in the Seabrook retirement development that there were confusing and sometimes predatory tactics being used by some utility suppliers to garner their business. We cannot allow these suppliers to take advantage of what can often be a confusing process while exploiting a potentially vulnerable client base.”