The following interview with NJTV anchor Mike Schneider aired on the November 21st edition of “NJTV News.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean says that this year’s election results should mean the enactment of reforms to accomplish the people’s priorities of a more affordable New Jersey, enhanced education and job opportunities for all, and a more accountable government.
Senator Kean points out that the majority of New Jerseyans voted for Senate Republican candidates and Governor Christie to finish the job on these reforms, which have been blocked in the past few years by the Democratic majority.
State Sen. Diane Allen was lauded by her female colleagues in the Senate and Assembly Republican caucuses today after she was named the new President of the National Order of Women Legislators (NOWL) last night in Washington, DC. The National Foundation for Women Legislators is holding its annual Capital Forum in the nation’s capital and celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Allen was joined at the conference by Assembly Republicans Alison Littell McHose, Caroline Casagrande, Nancy F. Muñoz, and DiAnne Gove. Allen, who has served in New Jersey’s Legislature since 1996, succeeds outgoing NOWL President Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson from South Carolina.
“During 17 years in the state Legislature, Diane Allen has been a trailblazer who played a crucial role in changing the political landscape at the Statehouse, where 35 elected women hold almost 30 percent of the seats in both houses,” said McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “I congratulate Senator Allen for her well-deserved selection to serve as President of this proud and growing organization, and commend the NOWL for making the right choice.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. stated the following in response to Deputy Republican Leader Diane Allen (R-Burlington) being installed tonight as president of the National Order of Women Legislators:
“Senate Republicans are so proud that one of the strongest women in the history of New Jersey’s legislature is our colleague and has earned this impressive national leadership position.
“Senator Allen lives and breathes for the people of her district and those around this state. She enriches our caucus with unique perspectives on how we can best empower and protect women, minorities, victims and the vulnerable. The NOWL stands to make great strides during her presidency.”
The National Order of Women Legislators issued the following press release today about Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) being president of the organization:
The National Order of Women Legislators proudly announces New Jersey State Senator Diane Allen will be installed as the new president at the Women of the Future Installation dinner tonight. The bipartisan organization has been a resource for women in government for 75 years.
“We are so happy to have Senator Allen taking over as President of the NOWL,” said immediate past President Joyce Dickerson. “I know she will hit the ground running and take this great organization to the next level.”
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) today, along with many members of the Senate Republican Caucus, sent the attached letter to state Department of Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf requesting information on the implementation and reasoning behind the state’s acceptance of the Common Core State Standards.
CCSS is a set of standards for New Jersey students adopted in 2010. Students will be tested on the standards beginning next year.
“There have been a number of legitimate questions raised about the implementation and reasoning behind CCSS that should be addressed,” said Pennacchio. “There’s little as important as assuring a quality education for our children and we need to make certain when there are significant changes made as to how that education is evaluated that those changes are understood and in the best interests of the future of all students. Transparency on issues like the cost of these changes and the security of the data kept on students is rightly expected by taxpayers and families alike.”
The state Senate has advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to give municipalities more time to review defeated school budgets whenever the annual school district elections are postponed due to religious holidays, as will happen in 2014.
“I’ve worked hard with local government leaders on this one to make sure municipal boards will have enough time to thoroughly review defeated school budgets and determine how much of the people’s property taxes are necessary to fund each budget item,” Bucco said. “It is common sense to give them the same amount of time from the election to the deadline to modify a defeated school spending plan.”
Certain victims of serious crimes and their families should soon have the opportunity to witness parole hearings, with today’s Senate passage of legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic).
“Victims are already asked to relive the most traumatic experiences of their lives as part of parole proceedings,” O’Toole said. “They should not be denied access to hearings that could provide closure or a full understanding of their tragedies.”
Bateman Bill Affording Police at Private Colleges Immunity From Certain Civil Liabilities Passed by Senate
The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman affording private colleges and their police officers immunity from civil liabilities for damages directly related to the lawful exercise of the officers’ authorized police powers.
The measure, S2344, would protect the officers from liability from incidents involving the general public if they happen to be on the campus. Current law only offers protection for incidents involving students and faculty and any other “beneficiary” covered under the Charitable Immunity Act.
“Officers at private colleges have a myriad of responsibilities like responding to emergencies, enforcing laws and protecting visitors and students,” said Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex). “So long as they are obeying the law and not abusing their powers, officers performing these types of vital public safety functions on campus shouldn’t be held liable for lawsuits and damages that occur as result of their actions.
The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to require emergency shelters for the homeless to admit persons with a mental illness so long as the person poses no risk to others.
“Having a mental illness should in no way preclude someone from being given shelter in a time of need,” Allen said. “Those who are homeless and suffering from mental illness face enough challenges already without enduring unfair discrimination and being left in the cold.”
A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to ease the financial hardship of homeowners who had to withdraw from their retirement plans to pay for damage caused by Superstorm Sandy was adopted by the full Senate today.
Senator Bateman’s resolution, SR125, urges Congress to not penalize residents who were forced to use their 401K funds to pay for damage the storm caused to their homes or property. Under current law, the amount of any 401K hardship distribution is considered taxable income, subjected to an additional 10 percent tax as an early withdrawal and the individual is prohibited from making further salary contributions to the plan for six months.