Senator Jennifer Beck said that the Board of Public Utility’s (BPU) recent recommendation to JCP&L that the energy provider should cut its rates was step in the right direction. A brief filed by BPU last week with a state Administrative Law judge recommends JCP&L lower rates by $207.4 million.
“If approved this would offer JCP&L customers some much needed relief,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “Customers could see these cuts in the immediate reduction of their monthly bills. Household costs across the board have continued to rise, so this will offer folks some savings.”
The following Op-Ed by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) calling into question partisan maneuvering by the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation was published in the Asbury Park Press on Feb. 1.
The full text of the of Op-Ed can be read below:
The New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation is ironically perpetuating the very malfeasance that necessitated its formation.
My Senate colleagues and I unanimously voted to establish this committee to seek facts surrounding George Washington Bridge lane alterations. But legislative Democrats who publicly vowed to conduct themselves in a transparent and bipartisan fashion are now taking this committee down a purely partisan path marred by secrecy.
Two measures sponsored by Senator Diane Allen that will help to better protect students are now closer to becoming law after being advanced by the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.
The committee unanimously advanced Senator Allen’s S441 to require school districts to adopt policies concerning electronic communications between employees and students. The policies must include provisions designed to prevent improper communications between school employees and students made via e-mail, cell phones and social networking websites.
“It’s important teachers be able to engage students through the most effective means possible but it is critical those interactions take place within the bounds of standards that protect both students and educators,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “By requiring districts to put standards in place there will be an established context for when it is appropriate or not for teachers to use email or online messages to communicate with students. While every teacher should already know there are lines not to be crossed, this will help to eliminate any gray areas that might lead to even perceived improprieties.”
Bateman, Ciattarelli & Simon: BPU Recommendation for Lower JCP&L Rates Is Great News for Beleaguered Rate-Payers
JCP&L Asked for a $31M Increase; BPU Calls for a $200M Cut
Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon today commended the Board of Public Utilities’ strong recommendation for a substantial reduction in the Jersey Central Power & Lights’ electricity rates.
BPU is calling for more than a $200 million cut in the rates charged to the power company’s customers, mirroring a similar opinion issued by the Division of Rate Counsel, New Jersey’s ratepayer advocate.
“I want to applaud BPU and Rate Counsel for their due diligence in uncovering the facts and representing the best interest of the ratepayer who deserve a reprieve from high electric rates,” said Bateman, R-Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex.”
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Steven Oroho and Paul Sarlo to facilitate charitable contributions for the development of northern New Jersey’s first veterans cemetery was advanced today by the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
The Senators’ bipartisan measure, S361, would give taxpayers the option on their tax return to contribute a portion of their tax refund to support the development and operation of the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery. The planned 66-acre parcel in Sussex County would be the first cemetery dedicated to veterans in the northern part of the state.
The Senate Education Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen to expand access and student participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.
Senator Allen’s S225 establishes a competitive grant program for school districts to support non-traditional and alternative STEM education programs and instruction.
“We have to do more to make sure New Jersey students have the skills they need to pursue and attain jobs in these high-paying and expanding fields,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “Studies show more and more of these jobs are coming into demand right here in New Jersey each year. Setting students here on the path toward these careers will help make New Jersey a place of innovation and further boost the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and defense industries vital to our state’s economy.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove which would require the $750 annual compensation to surviving spouses of certain blind or disabled veterans to be payable from the date of the veteran’s death was advanced today from the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Under the 9th District delegation’s legislation (S-907), payments to a surviving spouse would be due from April 9, 1985, in the event the veteran’s death occurred prior to that date, or the date of the veteran’s death if the death occurred after April 9, 1985, regardless of the date of the surviving spouse’s application.
Board of Public Utilities Now Calling for $200 Million Rate Decrease
After fighting for a year in opposition to a $31 million rate increase proposed by JCP&L, Senator Jim Holzapfel, Assemblyman Dave Wolfe and Assemblyman Greg McGuckin said that it now appears likely that the increase will be denied and rates may even be lowered for the utility’s customers throughout New Jersey.
“We opposed JCP&L’s rate increase proposal on principle,” said Holzapfel. “There were serious charges from state regulators that the utility had been earning more than was permitted. At the same time, the utility had demonstrated serious failures in responding to hurricanes Irene and Sandy and numerous other storms. It was clear JCP&L was both charging customers too much and not investing in preventative maintenance and upgrades that would prevent outages. Given these inconsistencies, we continue to believe JCP&L doesn’t deserve an extra cent of ratepayers’ money.”
9th District Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove hailed the advancement of the Jessica Lunsford Act (S-215) by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
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.
All three members of the 9th District Delegation have been co-sponsors and vocal advocates of the Jessica Lunsford Act for several legislative sessions.
Panel Advances Allen, Kean, Oroho Sponsored “Lunsford Act” to Increase Minimum Sentences for Child Predators
The primary sponsors of the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” Senators Diane Allen, Tom Kean Jr., and Steve Oroho, released the following about its passage today by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee:
“We’ve waited far too long to put these child protection measures into law here in New Jersey,” said Allen (R- Burlington), who started this initiative in 2005 and testified today for its passage. “There is little as heinous as the sexual assault of a child and it’s time we send a message that those types of monstrous actions are going to be punished severely. Those vile enough to commit this type of a crime once should never be afforded an opportunity to put a second child and family through a similar tragedy.”