Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Jim Beach, Senator Dawn Addiego, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg, officials running the Vets4Warriors program at Rutgers and the Burlington County Military Affairs Committee met on Wednesday to highlight the use of $8 million in special funding added to the state budget for veterans’ services, including money that will keep the Vets4Warriors program operating.
The Legislature and the governor worked together to fund the suicide prevention program operated by Rutgers when federal government announced it was going to discontinue its support by Friday. The special funding provides the money needed to keep Vets4Warriors operating and for other veterans’ services, including health care.
“For veterans struggling with the return to civilian life, having a strong and accessible peer support network can be the difference between life and death,” said Senator Addiego. “The Vets4Warriors program ensures that our returning heroes are never alone in their times of need.”
Bucco Bill Easing Process to Receive Special Veteran Designation on Driver’s License Signed Into Law
Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco simplifying the process for veterans to receive a veteran designation on their driver’s license was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
“Having a license or county ID card proving veteran status is more than just a convenience – it is a special designation that recognizes the heroic sacrifices made by the thousands of brave service men and women across New Jersey,” Senator Bucco said.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco to save the lives of newborn infants was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie. The Senator’s bill, S-122, expands the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act,” to include the premises of fire stations and ambulance, first aid, and rescue squads that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Senator Bucco is also a proud sponsor of the original Safe Haven law, enacted in the 2000-2001 legislative session.
“This lifesaving legislation is a crucial expansion that will undoubtedly increase the number of newborns rescued across our state,” said Senator Bucco. “By signing this bill into law, we are preventing countless cases of illegal abandonment, giving struggling parents the opportunity to surrender a child safely and anonymously, without having to travel far from home.”
Allen, Bateman Bill Increasing Penalties for Assaults Against Certain Law Enforcement Officers Signed Into Law
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Diane Allen and Christopher “Kip” Bateman to increase penalties for assaulting a corrections officer, sheriff’s officer and other law enforcement personnel because of their job status was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
“These law enforcement officers have some of the most difficult and dangerous jobs that there are,” said Allen (R-Burlington). Unfortunately, the risk carries over into their personal lives when they are most vulnerable. These upgraded penalties now adequately reflect the seriousness of this type of crime and will hopefully help deter these types of violent attacks.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole that would toughen the eligibility rules for pre-trial intervention in cases of domestic violence was signed into law today. Pre-trial intervention, or PTI, is a diversionary program that allows offenders to avoid jail time under certain conditions.
“Victims of domestic violence are often attacked again and again by the same offender, yet too often a first offense isn’t treated as seriously as this abhorrent crime warrants,” said Senator O’Toole. “With today’s bill signing New Jersey laws are now strengthened to make sure incidents of domestic violence are treated seriously from the first incident on and that attackers are held responsible for each and every offense.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho that creates an annual New Jersey “Fishing Buddy License” and amends current law for all around sportsman and fishing licenses was signed into law.
The law, S-2567, allows residents and nonresidents 16 years or older to apply for a fishing buddy license when an application for a fishing license is made at the same time by another person, resident or nonresident, who has not bought a New Jersey fishing license since 2010. The buddy license authorizes its holder to fish only, and costs half the regular fee of a fishing license. The legislation is also sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney.
“This is an exciting effort to introduce more residents, visitors and their families to the many fantastic year-round fishing opportunities that exist across New Jersey,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Generating more interest in fishing through these incentives will also provide a boost to businesses supporting the industry in communities across the state.”
Oroho Legislation Simplifying Process of Adding a Veteran’s Status on Driver’s License Signed Into Law
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho simplifying the process for veterans to receive a veteran designation on their driver’s license was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
“For the thousands of veterans that have already gone through the process of receiving an ID card from their county this legislation will now simplify the process of adding their status as a veteran to their license,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “This special designation on a driver’s license is a well-deserved symbol of a veteran’s life of patriotism, heroism and sacrifice. Now that this legislation has been signed into law I hope more veterans will seek out this worthy distinction on their license and be able to receive the recognition and appreciation they have earned.”
Gov. Chris Christie signed into law bipartisan legislation sponsored Senator Tom Kean to create criminal offenses for dog fighting and leading dog fighting networks, and amend the RICO statute to include dog fighting.
“As authorities have attested and recent cases have shown, dog fighting is a barbaric crime that often extends far beyond animal murder or cruelty,” said Senator Kean. “Weapons and narcotics are frequently found at the scene of a fight, posing a threat to the safety and security of the community at large. Amending current racketeering laws to include dog fighting will give law enforcement the tools they need to combat this pervasive underground industry, where dangerous individuals bet tens of thousands of dollars on a single fight, as innocent animals suffer, starve and die in horrifyingly inhuman conditions.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following about the unfortunate news of Kathy Crotty’s passing:
“On behalf of the Senate Republicans, I want to express my sincerest condolences to Kathy Crotty’s family and friends in their time of grief. Kathy was an integral part of the legislature for many years and was greatly respected not only for being the first woman to hold the role of executive director in the Senate Democrats’ office, but for being a hardworking and ethical public servant. I have fond memories of Kathy from our time working together, which I will cherish as I pray for her and her loved ones.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) reestablishing certain driving privileges for teenagers working on a farm in New Jersey was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
Under the legislation, A-535/S-2547, 16-year-olds working on a farm will again be eligible to obtain a special agricultural driver’s license allowing them to drive by themselves during daylight hours while operating a farm vehicle and doing farm-related business. To be eligible the teen would need to complete an approved behind-the-wheel driver training course.
“Teenagers growing up on a farm are often heavily involved in the family business from an early age and their ability to operate farm equipment and vehicles is a key part of the farming operation,” said Oroho. “Today’s bill signing reinstates important driving privileges that for decades were a great benefit to many farm families. Allowing 16-year-olds to again be able to operate a farm vehicle by themselves to drive from one field to another or deliver produce or pick up supplies will increase the role they can play on the farm and the productivity of the business as a whole.”