Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer) renewed his call for the legislature to take up legislation reforming the state’s affordable housing laws, after the state Supreme Court ruled that trial judges would begin deciding housing laws on a town-by-town basis.
“This issue should have never gotten to this point,” Bateman said. “Senate Republicans have had sensible solutions on the table for years and it’s the legislature’s responsibility to get this done. The legislature does not have to subject the public to this costly Supreme Court ruling. We can fulfill our obligation to implement a reasonable plan that has the best interest of New Jersey’s diverse communities, property owners and residents.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris) proposing a roadside memorial program for fallen police, fire, and rescue workers was advanced by the Senate Transportation Committee.
Under the bill, S-1567, the Department of Transportation would be directed to establish the memorial program to build signs honoring fallen police officers, sheriffs, EMS workers and firefighters.
“I am proud to sponsor legislation that pays tribute to the dedicated men and women who put their lives at risk protecting and serving our communities,” Senator Bucco said. “Men and women like Patrolman Joseph Wargo who are killed in the line of duty should never be forgotten. By advancing this legislation, we are honoring the legacy left behind by local heroes who kept us safe and were the first to arrive in our time of need.”
The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean on the Opportunity Scholarship Act was published in The Record on March 10, 2015:
Governor Christie’s recently announced Fiscal Year 2016 budget justly includes $2 million to save students trapped in and deprived by failing schools. That funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Act gives families who otherwise don’t have the resources a chance to obtain a successful future for their children by enrolling them in one of New Jersey’s outstanding public, charter or private schools.
OSA ensures that students in all ZIP codes and of all socioeconomic levels will receive a top-notch education, and it will help directly improve and eliminate failing schools by creating healthy competition.
State Senator Kevin O’Toole and Assemblymen Dave Russo and Scott Rumana introduced the “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act” and a companion awareness act. A native of Allendale within the legislators’ district, Madison Holleran committed suicide in January 2014 while attending the University of Pennsylvania.
“Madison still lives in the hearts of her family, friends, classmates and community,” O’Toole said. “We must make sure that she didn’t die in vain; that her tragedy will save others. In her name, and knowing how difficult it is as parents to know the depths of our children’s feelings and emotions, we are working to immediately pass legislation to create powerful suicide prevention and awareness programs.”
Suicide has become the second leading cause of death on college campuses and accounts for more deaths among college students than all medical illnesses combined.
Two bills in the Senate Republican’s new jobs package were passed today by Senate committees.
The Budget and Appropriations Committee passed Senator Beck’s S-2709 to create the “New Jersey Business Advisory Council” comprised of volunteer business representatives from throughout the state and various economic sectors to offer solutions to help improve New Jersey’s competitiveness and job climate. S-2709 advances to the full Senate for consideration.
“The diverse Business Advisory Council will provide unique insights about New Jersey’s business climate and what employers need to locate, grow and expand here,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “This legislation along with other bills in our new jobs package will provide state leaders with a complete picture and the answers necessary to correct the actual root causes of job loss and, in turn, make New Jersey more attractive to job creators who will hire more people in our top-notch workforce.”
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40) introduced legislation with the end goal of consolidating into one entity the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation; the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission; and the Passaic Valley Water Commission.
“This measure will help eliminate redundant entities and directly cut costs for ratepayers in the immediate future,” O’Toole said. “It’s nonsensical to have three separate public entities providing water services at different rates to a block of communities in one region of the state. Their pipes literally cross beneath the surface. This bill will help create a more efficient, sustainable and overall stronger commission for generations to come.”
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee unanimously passed a pair of Superstorm Sandy recovery bills sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco.
The Senator’s S-1002 prohibits municipalities from charging residential development fees on reconstruction after natural disasters.
“There are so many prohibitive costs and regulations in this state that hurt vulnerable victims and stymie disaster recovery,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “Families still trying to restore normalcy after Sandy and others who will be victims of future storms need this common-sense measure to reduce cost burdens.”
Legislation Blocks Local Ordinances that Restrict Ability of Kids to Offer Snow Shoveling Services
Legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) that blocks municipal ordinances from preventing the ability of kids to offer snow shoveling services within 24 hours of an expected snowstorm was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.
“I agree with many who believe it is ridiculous that we need legislation to explicitly state that kids can legally offer to shovel sidewalks and driveways,” said Doherty. “It is a sign of how overbearing government regulation has become that kids risk running afoul of the law for offering to shovel snow.”
Senator Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris) received the 2015 Robert B. Meyner Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) on Monday, March 9, 2015 in a presentation at the New Jersey State House.
Senator Bucco was selected to receive the award in particular recognition of his sponsorship of legislation signed into law to reform New Jersey’s alimony laws to eliminate lifetime awards and establish guidelines for the amount and duration of awards.
“It is a tremendous privilege and honor to be a recipient of the Robert B. Meyner Award, especially given that the award recognizes alimony legislation that reforms the state’s outdated laws,” Bucco said. “This legislation ensures that spouses will be treated fairly and no longer condemned to financially support their former spouse for eternity. I thank the State Bar Association for their support of these important reforms.”
Committee Advances Connors-Rumpf-Gove Bill to Protect Veteran Property Tax Exemption Status Following Natural Disasters
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would continue the tax exempt status of property owned by a 100 percent disabled veteran whose home has been destroyed by flood, storm event, natural cause, or other act of God was advanced by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.
Under current law, 100 percent disabled veterans of this State may claim a full local property tax exemption on their dwelling homes and the ground upon which the respective dwellings are located. In the event of a natural disaster, such as a storm or flood that destroys the dwelling, the property becomes taxable because it is no longer useable as the owner’s residence.