Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have reintroduced legislation that would create the new offense of theft by financial exploitation of vulnerable person. Under the 9th District delegation’s legislation (S-925/A-738), a newly established offense of financial exploitation would be established for person who when, being in a position of trust, commit a theft against a senior citizen or a person with a disability.
Connors, Rumpf and Gove remarked on the key provisions of their legislation to protect some of the most vulnerable persons in our society:
End of Career Vacation & Sick Time Payouts Spell Disaster for Many Towns
On the heels of the reported $84,000 payout to the outgoing Asbury Park police chief, Senator Jennifer Beck renewed her call for the passage of legislation that limits the payout for unused sick time to $15,000 and permits a municipal employee to carry forward only one year of vacation time.
“These types of payouts can crush local governments,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “In cases of cities like Asbury, an unplanned lump cost like this can be catastrophic. Asbury Park already has significant financial woes; this payout makes an already bad situation worse. Chief Kinmon has done a very admirable job leading the Asbury Park Police Department, he is totally within the bounds of the law to receive this payout and that’s why we need to fix the law.”
Senator Diane Allen, joined by her colleagues Senators Jennifer Beck, Joe Kyrillos, Anthony Bucco, Robert Singer, Dawn Addiego, Joe Pennacchio, Steven Oroho and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr., announced legislation and a photo gallery to save animals in need of a home.
In an effort to encourage more residents to consider adopting a sheltered or rescued animal, Senator Allen and her colleagues are sponsoring legislation to recognize the month of September each year as “New Jersey Adopt a Shelter Pet Month.” To coincide with the legislation, Senator Allen (R-7) and Senators Beck (R-11), Kyrillos (R-13), Bucco (R-25), Singer (R-30), Addiego (R-8) and Pennacchio (R-26) are sponsoring a photo gallery (details below), highlighting local shelter or rescue animals.
“Shelters and rescue agencies have too many animals without homes and not enough resources to support them,” said Allen. “I hope by designating September as Adopt a Shelter Pet Month it can become a time each year filled with events promoting local shelters and a time where more and more animals find a loving, permanent home.”
Senator Robert Singer and Assemblymen Sean Kean and David Rible (R-30) issued the following statement today regarding the death of Lakewood’s Aaron Sofer.
“Our thoughts and prayers today are with the Sofer family. Aaron’s tragic death is an unthinkable loss for his family, peers and the entire Lakewood community. Aaron’s dedication to his faith and family should serve as an example to us all. We thank those in the community, across the state and the country who offered their support and prayers for Aaron and his family during these past difficult days.”
Two of the state’s largest public sector unions have endorsed SCR-134, a constitutional amendment proposed by New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Essex/Passaic) that would give the Legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at New Jersey’s four horse racetracks.
The so-called “racinos” would be run by a consortium of Atlantic City’s existing casinos. Fifty percent of those proceeds would be constitutionally dedicated to New Jersey’s public worker pension system, 40 percent would go to the consortium of Atlantic City casinos running the video slot machines and 10 percent would be provided for infrastructure and entertainment enhancements in Atlantic City.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho boosting New Jersey’s “Farm to School” program was signed into law by Acting Governor Kim Guadagno.
The package of bills will raise the profile of the “Farm to School” program by increasing the program’s presence on the state’s website and foster expansion of the “Farm to School” program to more schools by allowing for private investment into the program and by recognizing successful programs established by schools.
“The ‘Farm to School’ program provides students with healthy, nutritious meals while at the same time giving a boost to the local farmers in our communities who grow these crops,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “By better promoting the program and allowing outside investment we can hopefully get even more ‘Jersey Fresh’ produce into cafeterias across the state. Bringing attention to and expanding this valuable program will give more students access to healthy lunch choices and help foster a deeper appreciation and knowledge of New Jersey’s important agriculture industry.”
Governor Signs Connors-Rumpf-Gove Supported Bill Enhancing Towns’ Ability to Regulate Vacant Foreclosed Upon Properties
Legislation sponsored by the 9th District delegation allowing municipalities to adopt ordinances to regulate the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep to the exterior of vacant and abandoned residential properties which have been foreclosed upon has been signed into law.
Under the provisions of the now enacted S-1229/A-1257, prime sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors and cosponsored by Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove, an ordinance would also provide that the creditor of the residential property, if located out-of-State, would be responsible for appointing an in-State representative or agent to interact with the municipality.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen requiring public and charter high schools to provide students with training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator is now law after being signed by Acting Governor Kim Guadagno on August 20, 2014.
“There’s undeniable value in this life-saving training and I’m proud that today as a state we have taken the step to make sure it’s taught in our high schools,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “Teaching students the ability to save a life is the most important skill we can give them.”
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) is calling for an investigation by the state Attorney General into allegations that local officials in New Jersey were bribed by Redflex Traffic Systems to secure new contracts to install and operate red light camera systems.
The allegations were made by Aaron Rosenberg, a former executive vice president and nationwide lead salesman for Redflex, in a lawsuit against the company. Redflex is one of the two major vendors with red light camera systems in New Jersey.
“When a senior insider comes forward to say that red light camera companies are influencing local officials not with statistics proving safety benefits, but with gifts that are almost certainly illegal, we must take action,” said Doherty. “I call on the Attorney General to investigate the claims of Aaron Rosenberg that Redflex engaged in bribery in New Jersey to secure contracts for its red light camera systems.”
The following op-ed by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) was published by The Bergen Record on Sunday, Aug. 17. Senator O’Toole’s op-ed urges legislative Democrats and Republicans to consider solutions to fix the judicial crisis in Bergen and Essex counties, and to step up for the people by making sure other counties aren’t strapped with empty courtrooms due to partisan politics.
I would like to echo The Record editorial board’s Aug. 11, 2014, piece: “It is time to end the practice of holding up nominees for judgeships and other key positions for undisclosed political reasons.”
The Bergen County court system faces a 25 percent judicial vacancy rate, and Essex County, which I also represent in the state Senate, has an almost 40 percent judicial vacancy rate. By October 2014, Passaic County will have a judicial vacancy rate of over 20 percent. These empty courtrooms caused by the political practice of “senatorial courtesy” add to the backlog of divorce and custody cases, as well as delays in criminal and civil matters.