Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) to streamline the local approval process to make it easier for homeowners to install automatic standby generators to provide electricity during power outages was approved by the New Jersey Senate in a 40-0 vote.
The bill, S-204, was prompted by a number of long-term outages in recent years that have increased demand from homeowners for the installation of emergency power sources.
“Homeowners who suffered days or weeks without power following Superstorm Sandy learned how fragile our electric grid really is,” said Kyrillos. “Many didn’t realize until then just how dependent we’ve become on technology that doesn’t work when the power is out. Too many who have sought to install standby generators on their homes since Sandy to minimize future disruptions have been blocked by unnecessary government red tape.”
The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) and Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) to mandate ethics training for all elected officials. Government officials who fail to complete the training would face a $5,000 fine.
“Unfortunately, you don’t have to dig deep to find examples of political corruption in New Jersey,” Senator Bucco said. “Widely publicized investigations into kickback schemes and recent exploitation of state funds have exposed a critical need for the ethics training mandated under my bill,” Senator Bucco said. “New Jerseyans are already coping with a nation-high tax burden. We cannot allow elected leaders to squander a single public dollar for political gain.”
Will Introduce Legislation To Provide Safety Standards, Consumer Protections for Transportation Network Companies
Senator Paul Sarlo and Senator Joe Kyrillos announced legislation that will establish statewide standards for the burgeoning ride-sharing business, or transportation network companies, such as Uber, Lyft and Gett in order to provide safety standards and consumer protections. The bipartisan bill will be introduced in the Senate on Monday, May 9th.
“These Transportation Network Companies that provide a digital platform to connect riders with drivers often cross municipal and county boundaries so the best way to allow them to provide services and protect customers is with statewide standards,” said Senator Kyrillos. “These companies have already become an extremely important part of our transit system, addressing a real need for people, creating jobs and motivating the economy.”
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) will hold a health fair, with lead testing, at Park Avenue Elementary School on Saturday, May 7th from 12-2 PM.
Beck will be joined by the following health service providers offering free lead testing, prevention services and blood pressure screenings: Monmouth Medical Center, CentraState Medical Center, American Cancer Society, Freehold Health Department, Paul M. McGuire Family Health Center, Freehold Municipal Alliance to End Substance Abuse and the Monmouth County Health Department.
Governor Chris Christie has signed into law a bill sponsored by Senators Tom Kean (Union, Somerset, Morris) and Kevin O’Toole (Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) to prohibit “upskirting” by adding the offense to the state’s invasion of privacy statutes.
“Upskirting” occurs when a person is filmed or photographed underneath their clothing without their consent and when they would not expect to be exposed in that fashion.
“Handheld digital devices have made it possible to violate people’s privacy in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago,” said Kean. “A voyeur can snap a cell phone picture of an unsuspecting victim in seconds and share it online to the entire world. This new law will provide a strong deterrent to prevent this abhorrent activity.”
“We’ve read too many reports of upskirting pictures being traded online like baseball cards,” said O’Toole. “Once a victim’s picture is posted online, it can be nearly impossible to have it removed from all of the sites that share it. I applaud the Governor for supporting our effort to put a stop to upskirting.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) to permit counties to conduct a study replacing traditional paper polling records with electronic poll books during the 2017 election cycle has cleared the Senate State Government Committee.
“This commonsense move to modernize New Jersey’s voting system will give voters a faster, more efficient way to do their civic duty,” Senator Bateman said. “Most importantly, electronic poll books limit voter fraud by signaling an electronic notification of a registered voter’s mail-in ballot and Election Day voting record. With a number of high-profile elections fast approaching, it is critical that we do everything we can to prevent this crime.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to extend death benefits to surviving children of all deceased New Jersey State Troopers, local law enforcement and firefighters has cleared the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
“Every day, thousands of New Jersey state troopers, police and firefighters willingly risk their lives to keep their communities safe from harm,” Senator Allen said. “Inevitably, some of these public servants will lose their lives, leaving innocent children behind. It is unconscionable to give benefits to some, but not to all, simply because of marital status. The cost of implementing this legislation is diminutive, but the impact it will have on the families our fallen heroes leave behind is truly boundless.”
The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee advanced four bills sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) that focus on supporting veterans, preparing New Jersey’s workforce for jobs in high tech industries, and protecting and promoting the state’s military installations which are an important source of jobs in the state.
“The military, along with the private industries that support it, has long been a steady source of high-paying jobs in New Jersey,” Senator Allen said. “We need to promote New Jersey as a military-friendly state with a skilled supporting workforce, welcoming local communities, and educational opportunities for those who serve.”
The Senate Economic Growth Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) aimed at helping small businesses grow by giving them a chance to compete for state and federal contracts.
The legislation, S-123, would establish a “Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program” through the Economic Development Authority, which would provide support to small businesses and help them meet surety bonding requirements so that they can qualify for government contracts.
“There are countless small businesses in our state that have difficulty competing for government contracts because their size can cause problems qualifying for certain requirements, like bonding,” Senator Pennacchio said. “This legislation will help small business meet those requirements and help them compete.”
The recent proposal for a Jersey Central Power and Light rate hike has raised the concerns of the 10th District legislators who oppose this increase to its customers. Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin expressed their concerns over the crippling effects this increase will have on their constituents, particularly senior citizens.
“Many of the constituents in our district, primarily senior citizens, who live on fixed incomes will feel the devastating effects of this proposed rate hike,” said Holzapfel. “This will create another unnecessary financial burden for those struggling to make ends meet.”