Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following in response to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling regarding state pension payments:
“It is time to move forward. I will work to ensure that the state continues to make the largest responsible pension payment and to develop reforms to make the system solvent while protecting vital services, such as health and education, for all New Jerseyans.
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck to allow sexual assault victims to seek protective orders against their offenders was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
The bill, S-2686, known as the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015, would permit victims of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, or attempts of such acts to apply for a temporary protective order with the Superior Court. This bill would specifically apply to cases in which the victim does not have a domestic relationship with the perpetrator and if he or she decides not to file a criminal complaint.
“Sexual assault survivors who feel that they are in danger of being re-victimized deserve immediate, responsive protection and assistance from the courts,” Senator Beck said (R-Monmouth). “As a former rape crisis advocate, I must say that this issue and the many impacted people cannot be ignored. Between 75 percent and 80 percent of sexual assault survivors know their perpetrator — they are friends, neighbors and colleagues. The same type of interpersonal dynamic exists in domestic violence cases, and restraining orders have served as an important protection for those survivors. All survivors need the opportunity to obtain a protective order.”
The Senate Commerce Committee advanced bipartisan legislation originally introduced in 2013 by Senator Joe Kyrillos to allow New Jersey residents to invest in New Jersey-based companies, startups, innovators and entrepreneurs.
The bill, S-712/A-2073, would allow people to engage in online crowdfunding within the state of New Jersey.
“At a time when conventional sources of financing are scarce, this legislation will help New Jersey’s innovators seek private capital from the investing public to develop their products or services right here in our state,” Kyrillos said. “Crowdfunding will level the playing field for future employers, giving those without access to Wall Street a chance to gain startup capital quickly and grow their business with the support of the community.”
Bucco’s Bills on Service Animals, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) & Enforcing Municipal Fire Codes Advance
Senate Committees advanced a trio of bills sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to guarantee full housing for disabled persons and their retired service dogs, expand the definition of all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s), and strengthen efforts to ensure municipalities adhere to fire codes.
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee passed S-2838, sponsored by Senator Bucco, to guarantee full and equal access housing to all disabled persons who choose to keep their service or guide dog as a pet after the animal has retired. This bill amends the Law Against Discrimination to ensure that any disabled person wishing to remain with their retired service animal could do so even if a rental or lease agreement prohibits pets on the premises.
“All too often, those in need face unfair and unthinkable rules that force them to say goodbye to their loving service animal simply because the time has come for the animal to retire,” said Senator Bucco. “This turn of events is stressful not only for the dog, who would lose its longtime home and companion, but also for the disabled person who has grown to love and care for a faithful, four-legged friend that has become family. By passing this bill, we are ensuring that the disabled can continue to love and care for their loyal service dog as a pet, without the fear of losing their home or being unable to find adequate housing.”
The Senate Transportation Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Jennifer Beck and Christopher “Kip” Bateman to help prevent fuel shortages during a State of Emergency.
“This legislation will help assure that we never again experience such a devastating and crippling fuel shortage as we did during and in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “Fuel merchants in other states will be aware that they can immediately distribute fuel in our state when we are vulnerable and need it most.”
After Bowne Murder, Addiego, Allen & Beck Announce Legislation to Prioritize Gun Permits for the Most Vulnerable
Senate Republicans Dawn Addiego, Diane Allen and Jennifer Beck announced they will introduce legislation to prioritize firearms permit applications for residents protected by a current restraining order. According to a Courier-Post report, a Berlin Township woman who was killed in an apparent domestic attack on Wednesday night was waiting for the approval of a firearms permit. According to the report the application was submitted in April but the review process had not yet been completed.
“The tragic murder of Carol Bowne shows that there are sensible changes we should make to public safety laws to help people protect themselves,” said Addiego (R-Burlington, Camden, Atlantic). “This legislation will make sure that those who need protection the most are given priority when it comes to the lengthy process of applying for a firearms permit.”
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Essex/Passaic) issued the following statement regarding casinos in the State of New Jersey:
“As the conversation heats up about expanding casino gambling in New Jersey, I encourage the legislature to pause and think of its implications. Expanding gambling casinos statewide would be the death knell for Atlantic City. The casinos that have managed to survive in Atlantic City would find their competition increase and profits decrease. This does not seem fair to casinos which have struggled and somehow managed to succeed in this trying market.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) addressing firearms purchases by those with histories of mental health issues has been approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
The bill, S-2360/A-3593, requires law enforcement officials to be notified when a person applies to the court to have their mental health record expunged for the purposes of purchasing a firearm.
“Law enforcement officials are not currently involved in the determination of whether the mental health record of a prospective firearm purchaser should be expunged,” said Holzapfel. “This bill will ensure that police officers have the opportunity to inform judges of pending charges, criminal histories or abnormal behavior that may be relevant to determining whether it is safe for the applicant to own a firearm.”
Beck & O’Scanlon: Any Constitutional Amendment for Gaming Expansion Must Dedicate Revenues to Horse Racing Industry
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) offered the following statement reacting to news of a constitutional amendment to expand gaming in the State of New Jersey:
“Upon news that the Legislature will be hearing proposals for a constitutional amendment, we cannot offer any support to a gaming expansion proposal that does not dedicate a portion of revenues to the horse racing industry. The horse racing industry is an important part of gaming in New Jersey, and we must fight to make sure it remains so.”
Senator Steven Oroho issued the following statement saying any referendum to expand gaming beyond Atlantic City should open the opportunity up to the whole state, not just specifically designated locations:
“If gaming is going to be expanded beyond Atlantic City the opportunity should be opened up for the whole state so that entrepreneurs and industry experts can create successful ventures wherever the market will best allow,” said Oroho. “Specifying that any expansion has to occur in one or two specific locations will leave other successful opportunities, revenue and jobs off the table. While I support the idea of a full-scale casino at the Meadowlands, we should also expand gaming opportunities statewide. By creating more opportunities, we will help bring additional needed revenue and jobs to New Jersey while boosting equine, racetrack and tourism industries in communities across New Jersey, and provide additional funding to support essential state services.