The state Senate advanced a trio of bills sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to protect natural disaster victims, guarantee full housing for disabled persons and their retired service dogs and legalize new all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in New Jersey.
The Senate passed bipartisan S-1090 that would prohibit municipalities from charging interest on unpaid property taxes for 30 days after payment is due following hurricane or other catastrophic weather event.
“Natural disaster victims have much more important things to worry about and address than taxes,” Bucco said. “Government needs to be reasonable and flexible, and this bill will protect people trying to scrap together pieces of their lives, in their toughest times, by providing them additional time to pay property taxes without penalty.”
The Senate voted to pass “Michael Massey’s Law,” a bill sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck to help prevent sanitation workers from being injured or killed in automobile accidents. Senator Beck’s District 11 colleagues Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande sponsor identical legislation in the Assembly.
The bill, S-951, was named for 39-year-old Michael Massey, a Freehold Township man who was killed after being hit by a vehicle while he was loading a garbage truck as part of his public works duties in Ocean Township.
“Michael Massey’s death is a tragic reminder of the risks that sanitation workers face as a part of their daily duties,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “Requiring motorists to slow down and move over when approaching sanitation vehicles will help to create a safety buffer for workers. I think we are all aware of the need to give extra space when approaching an emergency vehicle along the road. This legislation will make sure that same type of precaution is taken when approaching a sanitation vehicle.”
Senate Advances Kean Anti-Bullying Bill Urging Publishers to Include ‘Upstander’ Definition In Dictionaries
The New Jersey Senate passed Senator Tom Kean’s resolution urging Merriam-Webster Inc. and the Oxford University Press to include the word “upstander” in the dictionary. According to Pulitzer-Prize winner Samantha Power, who coined the term in 2002, an upstander is a person who chooses to take positive action in the face of injustice.
Senator Kean’s bill (SR-105) applies this definition to the robust anti-bullying efforts across the state. In Watchung Borough, students such as Watchung Hills High School graduates Monica Mahal and Sarah Decker have committed to fighting bullying in their school district and around the world by encouraging their peers to be upstanders and working to raise awareness by joining Senator Kean’s effort to add “upstander” to the dictionary.
“The students I met with in Watchung have shown me what a powerful difference upstanders can make in the face of bullying in the classroom and on the web,” said Senator Kean. “We live in a world where 71 percent of students witness bullying in their schools, with one in three identifying as a victim of bullying. By passing this resolution, we are bringing national attention to this issue and giving countless New Jersey students the information and motivation they need to become allies for their peers instead of bystanders to bullying.”
The Senate voted to adopt legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) creating a business advisory council to recommend job-creating ideas to the state Economic Development Authority, the legislature and the governor.
“The diverse 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). “By involving representatives from across a spectrum of economic sectors the council will be able to help identify the needs of various kinds of businesses and detect different issues that impact the attraction and retention of employers.”
The following are Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco’s remarks as prepared for delivery during today’s Senate session vote on the Democrats’ tax-raising Fiscal Year 2016 New Jersey budget proposal:
“Good afternoon. I’d like to start by thanking all of my colleagues on the budget committee, Chairman Sarlo and our staff members for the shared dedication and effort we put in to this state budget. While we all may want different things, and not everyone gets exactly what they want in a multibillion dollar budget, we did find some common ground on a lot of top priorities, such as record-high funding for education and significant investments in health care.
“However, there are serious problems with this proposed budget that we are being asked to vote on today. Foremost, the Senate Republican caucus and I don’t support the proposals in this budget to raise income taxes and employer taxes on New Jersey’s over-taxed, hard-working residents and small businesses.
Senate Republican Budget Committee Member Jennifer Beck stated the following before voting today against the Democrats’ tax-raising Fiscal Year 2016 New Jersey budget proposal:
“I voted against the Democrats’ state budget proposal, because increasing taxes only makes New Jersey a less affordable place to live and work. This is a partisan document by Democrats who chose to forge their own path against overtaxed residents, instead of working towards a bipartisan solution to benefit as many hardworking New Jerseyans as possible and excel job growth.
Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) commented after voting against the Democrats’ proposed state budget for FY 2016 and supporting legislation that would increase state income and business taxes:
“Today, I voted against the FY ’16 budget and its tax increases for small businesses, job providers and those already paying the most, as these taxes repeat the mistakes of the past. These job-killing tax increases will repeat what happened in 2004 when taxes on top earners and businesses were raised and over the next years tens of billions of dollars in capital and taxable income that could have been used to fund schools, healthcare or the pension system left the state.
The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) to help create jobs and grow the economy in Atlantic City.
The bill, S-366, creates a pilot program modifying certain requirements for licenses issued under small-scale and staged casino facilities, permitting such casinos to be located in renovated or newly constructed buildings located within the Atlantic City Boardwalk zone.
“Nearly 8,000 hardworking New Jerseyans lost their jobs when four larger casinos closed last year,” said Senator Kyrillos. “Now, more than ever, it is essential that we bolster our efforts to get Atlantic City back on its feet and restore the city’s reputation as a worldwide resort, tourist and convention destination. This legislation will create jobs and grow the city’s economy by making it easier for new businesses to set up shop and help revitalize Atlantic City’s tourism industry.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer that would make it more affordable for patients to get the treatment they need by allowing pharmacists to substitute biologic medications for biosimilar, or generic, forms won approval by the full Senate.
Biologics are an increasingly relied on form of medication created from living cells and used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, MS and other debilitating diseases. Within the industry, a generic version of a biologic is referred to as a biosimilar.
“Biologics are an important tool in treating severe diseases but they can be very costly as well,” said Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “Allowing pharmacists to substitute for an approved biosimilar will present a more affordable alternative and allow more patients to get the treatment they need.”
The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to create a State contract set-aside program for disabled veterans to help them grow their businesses.
The Senator’s bill, S-1353, requires contracting agencies to establish a goal of setting aside at least 3 percent of their contracts for disabled veterans who independently own at least 51 percent of a business operating in New Jersey. This includes bidding for contracts to complete construction projects, provide goods, equipment or various services.
“According to an April 2015 report, 6.5 percent of New Jersey veterans are unemployed – that’s higher than the national average,” said Senator Bucco. “We need to do everything we can to empower veterans to succeed on and off the battlefield. By passing this bill to create economic opportunities for disabled veterans, we are recognizing their service and sacrifice while helping them contribute to our state’s growing economy and enhance innovation in New Jersey.”