Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) was honored with an Oak Leaf Award by The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey for his years of work to protect the environment, preserve open space and farmland, and other important environmental initiatives.
“Preserving open space and working for clean water, air and land are initiatives that benefit everyone,” said Bateman. “Organizations like The Nature Conservancy do so much directly and in support of these important environmental efforts, making their recognition a true honor.”
Senate Committee Approves “Kimmie’s Law” to Establish Zero Tolerance for Driving Under the Influence of Inhalants
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) making it illegal to drive under the influence of any amount of a prohibited inhalant, such as glue or aerosol, has been approved the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.
The bill, S-358, is designated as “Kimmie’s Law” in recognition of Kimberly Goupil, a 16-year-old Hampton Township teen who died on August 11, 2007 from injuries sustained in a car crash a day earlier. Police alleged that the driver of the car in which she was riding was under the influence of inhalants.
“Kimberly’s death is a reminder that impairment caused by the inhalation of household chemicals can be just as dangerous for drivers as that caused by the consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs,” said Oroho. “This legislation makes clear that we have zero tolerance for those who would abuse inhalants and get behind the wheel.”
Assembly Gives Final Legislative Approval to Measure Removing Prohibitions on Sports Betting at Racetracks & Casinos
Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), prime sponsors of Senate legislation that would explicitly remove language in state law that prohibits wagering on sporting events, applauded the New Jersey General Assembly’s approval of the legislation (A-3711/S-2460) and urged Governor Chris Christie to sign the bill into law.
“We are a short step away from getting this done and a lot closer to bringing sports betting to New Jersey,” said Lesniak. “It’s been a long, tough effort and we’ve gone up against powerful interests, but now there is an urgency because sports gaming will be a lifeline to the Atlantic City casino industry at a critical time. It will produce jobs, generate economic activity and be a long-term benefit to New Jersey. I urge the governor to sign it into law as fast as he can.”
“Sports betting can assist New Jersey’s struggling casino industry and with our challenges at Monmouth Park Racetrack,” said Kyrillos. “Both houses of the Legislature acted quickly to approve this critical measure, and I am confident Governor Christie will join our efforts to help protect Atlantic City and Monmouth Park jobs by signing the bill into law.”
Thompson & Rice Renew Call for Legislative Select Committee Investigation of Abuses at Newark Watershed
Report Indicates Active Federal Investigation
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) and Senator Ron Rice (D-28) renewed their call for the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) to launch an inquiry into abuses of government power and cover-ups at the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC).
An attorney for the NWCDC has confirmed in a published report that the watershed corporation, formerly chaired by current United States Senator Cory Booker, has provided documents to a federal grand jury and has been “assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office with their investigation.”
“The report by the State Comptroller into wrongdoing that occurred at the Newark Watershed while Cory Booker was Chairman detailed the likely abuse of millions of dollars of taxpayer and ratepayer funds,” said Thompson. “While the federal investigation looks into the possible violation of federal law, it is imperative that the Legislature use its investigatory powers to determine how we can strengthen state law to prevent abuses.”
Measure Would Clear Legal Obstacles
Acting to remove legal obstacles in the effort to bring sports betting to New Jersey, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) and Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) that would explicitly remove language in state law that currently prohibits wagering on sporting events.
The move would reinforce the state attorney general’s attempt to lift the court injunction preventing the state from moving forward on plans to allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting.
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) appeared on Comcast Newsmakers with host Jill Horner to talk about dozens of arrests of NFL players related to domestic violence in recent years and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s long inaction on the issue.
Video: Allen Talks About “Right to Try Act” and Allowing Terminally Ill Patients Access to Experimental Drugs
Senator Diane Allen (R-7) appeared on Comcast Newsmakers with host Jill Horner to discuss the “Right to Try Act,” which would allow terminally ill patients access to certain experimental drugs and treatments while they are still undergoing clinical trials. Allen is the primary sponsor of the legislation, S-2186.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean toured the Murray Hill headquarters of Bell Labs with company President Marcus Weldon and unveiled new legislation to create jobs by fostering innovation in New Jersey.
“Bell Labs is a tremendously successful asset for New Jersey and its economy, and I am proud to stand with Marcus and have his support as we seek to increase opportunities and create high-paying jobs with this new set of bills to foster innovation,” Kean said. “This legislation will help expand research and development efforts, as well as create greater avenues for success by linking higher education and business communities. These bills can open doors to help impressive employers like Bell Labs grow here and attract more job creators by showing that New Jersey is devoted to staying a force for innovation.”
“Bell Labs is a key innovation engine driving the global communications industry,” said Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs. “This initiative aims to ensure that New Jersey continues to be a leading player on the global stage and that our heritage of invention continues at Bell Labs.”
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) has introduced “Shyanne’s Law,” which amends the state’s animal cruelty laws to require convicted animal abusers to receive mental health evaluations.
“I can think of few things more vile then when a human would bring violence upon an innocent animal,” said Beck. “Often incidents of animal cruelty will be quietly swept beneath the carpet or overlooked altogether. Those who would intentionally injure an animal must know that we do not take these crimes lightly. It is also in our community’s interest to identify the abuser and try to get them help.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) and Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36) that would help to maintain water infrastructure and the quality of drinking water in New Jersey was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
The “Water Infrastructure Protection Act,” S-2412, streamlines the process through which municipalities and municipal, county and regional utility authorities could transfer, sell or lease their water or wastewater assets to private entities.
“New Jersey’s ability to maintain our water infrastructure is critical to the health of our state’s residents, our economy and the environment,” said Kyrillos. “The challenges of maintaining and replacing aging water infrastructure can escalate quickly beyond the technical and financial means of government entities and taxpayers. Despite this, current law makes it nearly impossible to let those with sufficient resources and know-how to take over these systems and effectively address emergent conditions.”