Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following about Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40 Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) announcing today that this is his final Senate term:
“On behalf of the Senate Republican caucus, I would like to thank Kevin for his friendship, inspiring leadership and dedication to representing our constituents in the legislature for 22 years and in public office over the course of four decades.
“The Senator has always come to Trenton with enthusiasm and tenacity to do whatever it takes to accomplish the needs of New Jerseyans and the 40th legislative district. I know he will continue serving the remainder of his term with that same outstanding vigor and success that has endeared him to the people, his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, local officials and community leaders.
State Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40 Bergen, Essex, Morris, and Passaic Counties) has announced that he will not be running for re-election in 2017. Senator O’Toole will finish his current term and retire from the Legislature in January of 2018; culminating a 22 year career that included 11 years in the General Assembly and 11 years in the State Senate.
Senator O’Toole is a former three-term Mayor in his hometown of Cedar Grove, where he voluntarily stepped down after 7 years when elected to the General Assembly. O’Toole also served as Chairman of the Essex County Republican Committee for 12 years before retiring from that position in 2011.
O’Toole said, “It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve the people of New Jersey, I can never repay the debt of gratitude I owe the voters and constituents for having entrusted me to represent them.” O’Toole continued, “When I first ran for office in 1989, at age 24, I never dared dream that I would be fortunate enough to serve the public for 29 years – when my term ends. It’s now time for me to move on and experience new and exciting opportunities that life has to offer. As when I voluntarily left the Cedar Grove Town Council after 7 years, the party Chairmanship after 12 years, and now 22 years in the Legislature, I believe it is time to create opportunities for the next – younger – generation of dedicated public servants to have their chance to make a difference.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following after Senate Democrat leaders at a Senate State Government Committee hearing decided to continue blocking bi-state, bipartisan legislation (S-355) to reform the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
“On behalf of constituents and commuters across New Jersey, I am dismayed that New Jersey Senate Democrats continue to waste time and resources on smokescreen bills. Their obstruction leaves commuters and taxpayers vulnerable, without S-355 in place to prevent the Port Authority from ever again wasting or wantonly increasing the billions of dollars the public agency takes each year from hard-working commuters and taxpayers.
“New York’s legislature and governor have acted to make S-355 law in that state, and they have said they are not going to pass a different New Jersey Democrat version. New York did its job. Now, New Jersey’s legislature should not waste any more public time and resources on bills that are dead on arrival.
Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove stated their profound disappointment with the 11th hour deal cut to move forward with a ballot referendum on North Jersey casinos.
The 9th District delegation issued the following statement:
“From the outset, our delegation has vehemently opposed allowing casinos to operate outside of Atlantic City, as doing so would have a devastating and lasting impact on Atlantic County’s already struggling economy. Needless to say, we are extremely disappointed that the way is being paved for casinos in north Jersey.
Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) issued the following statement supporting Governor Christie’s challenge to the legislature to eliminate New Jersey’s estate tax this year. Senator Oroho is a sponsor of legislation to phase out the state’s estate tax.
“New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation ‘death taxes’ continue to take a heavy toll on families, business owners and the state’s economy as a whole as retirees are leaving the state and taking their wealth with them in order to be able to pass on an inheritance to their children,” said Oroho. “Data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that New Jersey has consistently lost income every year for many years, to the tune of $19 billion dollars lost since 2004.
Health Database Will Improve Health Care Quality, Reduce Costs
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to create an integrated data system was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
S-3220, will establish the Integrated Population Health Database at Rutgers University’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research to collect a wide range of information that would be used to improve health care delivery. It will develop an effective means for improving the health, safety, security, and well-being of high-risk residents and reduce the overall cost-efficiency of programs that address their medical needs.
“Layers of laws and bureaucratic hurdles significantly impede health data access and connections, while increasing costs,” O’Toole said. “Residents, especially those facing complex medical and social issues and those incurring the highest costs, rely on multiple public systems and services. Linking different datasets that already exist within these systems and programs is essential for a holistic understanding of patient needs.”
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer that would have nonprofit hospitals with for-profit facilities make payments to host municipalities to compensate for blanket tax exemptions on their property was approved by the Senate today. The bill, S-3299, also sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Joe Vitale, would update tax laws that date back to 1913, would have acute-care hospitals make payments to their home communities to offset the cost of local services.
“In the wake of the tax ruling against Morristown Medical Center we are on the precipice of seeing non-profit hospitals across this state hit with significant tax bills that will certainly lead to layoffs and even hospital closures,” said Senator Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “We can’t afford to let this happen to an industry we rely on both for quality community care and as a local economic engine that employs approximately 140,000 workers. This community payment plan establishes a clear and predictable system by which hospitals can retain their tax-exempt status and have the stability needed in order to plan for long term investments in our communities while fairly paying for their share of the local services they rely on.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) ensuring all boaters have the knowledge and training to safely operate pontoons on New Jersey waterways has cleared the New Jersey Senate and now heads to the Governor’s desk for final approval. The bill, known as “Christopher’s Law,” was named in honor of 10-year-old Christopher D’Amico, of Mount Arlington, who was tragically killed in a pontoon boating accident on Lake Hopatcong in June of 2015.
“Today we took a strong step forward to ensure every pontoon renter has the lifesaving instruction they need to keep their families safe as they enjoy our state’s beautiful waterways,” Senator Bucco said. “Christopher’s bright smile and kind spirit continue to inspire acts of kindness and generosity in communities across the nation. I am proud to have had the opportunity to support Christopher’s familyand supporters near and far, as we work together to honor his memory by enacting this lifesaving bill.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho to enhance the economic viability of family farms operating on certain parcels of preserved farmland was passed by the Senate today.
The legislation, S-2620, would allow farmers who did not apply for easements at the time they entered their land into the state’s farmland preservation program and are therefore unable to conduct any non-farming business on the property to apply to the state for a permit to conduct limited rural microenterprise activities on a small portion of the land, such as wood working or farm equipment repair services.
“Farming is a tough, uncertain industry and with no ability to conduct any other business activities on their land some of these farmers in the state’s preservation program are relegated to hoping each year’s crop is a profitable one.” said Oroho, (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Allowing these limited business activities will give farmers who sold their entire farms into the state’s preservation program a means to earn additional income to support their families and farming operation in a way that continues to protect the integrity of the land.”
Doherty Legislation Designating Rt. 173 Between Clinton & Phillipsburg as “173rd Airborne Brigade Highway” Signed Into Law
Legislation (S-650) sponsored by Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) designating Route 173 between Clinton in Hunterdon County and Phillipsburg in Warren County as the “173rd Airborne Brigade Highway” in honor of the brigade’s many years of heroism and sacrifice in defense of our country’s freedom has been signed into law.
“From service in France during World War I to recent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ‘Sky Soldiers’ of the 173rd Airborne Brigade have distinguished themselves for nearly a century,” said Doherty. “It is fitting that New Jersey honor the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s service and sacrifice by naming part of Rt. 173 in their honor.”