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Senator Bob Singer

Singer Bill to Add Student Loan Instruction to High School Graduation Requirements Advances

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All high school students would receive instruction on available State and federal student loans, as well as student loan debt under legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) and advanced by the Senate Budget Committee.

Sen. Robert Singer’s bill would add instruction on student loans, including how to pay them back, as a high school graduation requirement. (SenateNJ.com)

“No one should rush into signing a contract that could cost them tens of thousands of dollars without fully understanding the repercussions of making such an enormous decision,” Senator Singer said. “High school students statewide are already required to take a financial literacy course in order to graduate. Without a doubt, learning how to get a student loan and more importantly, how to pay it back, is essential to understanding how to manage money in today’s world.”

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Senator Steve Oroho

Advanced: Oroho Bill to Help Fight Hunger

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to fight hunger by providing a tax credit to farmers that donate produce to food banks was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho to help fight hunger was advanced by a Senate committee. (Wikimedia Commons)

“A lot of people count on these food banks to feed their families, and they do a great job giving help to people in need,” Senator Oroho said. “But they often rely on canned food, which is good, but it can’t match the nutrition or health benefits of fresh produce.”

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Senator Diane Allen

Allen Bill to Improve Child Abuse Protections at Religious Institutions Passes Committee

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The Senate Health Committee has passed Sen. Diane Allen’s bill to close a loophole that blocks the Department of Children and Families (DCF) from informing a religious institution that substantiated allegations of child abuse have been made against an employee or volunteer.

Current law prohibits DCF from informing a religious institution that substantiated allegations of child abuse have been made against an employee or volunteer. Sen. Diane Allen’s bill closes that loophole. (Flickr)

“Because of a flawed statute, a father who DCF believes sexually abused his own children was able to apply for a job as a youth pastor,” Senator Allen  (R-Burlington) said. “That court case made one thing absolutely clear – State law is tying the hands of those who are desperately trying to keep children in religious programs safe from child abusers.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman Bill to Improve Water Safety Passes Committee

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) to improve the safety of the State’s drinking water and hold public water systems accountable for making improvements has cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

Sen. Kip Bateman’s bill would ensure the safety of NJ’s drinking water by holding all public water systems accountable for making infrastructure improvements. (Pixabay)

The bill would require all public water systems to establish a cyber-security program, as well as an asset management plan designed to inspect, maintain, and repair water infrastructure. S-2834 would establish specific safety standards for testing fire hydrants.

“Our legislative task force recently learned that nearly two dozen school districts in our state have elevated levels of lead,” Senator Bateman said. “Protecting our drinking water from contaminants must be a top priority. All public water systems must be held accountable for making water infrastructure inspections and improvements. We simply cannot take chances when it comes to protecting the health and safety of our residents.”

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Senator Diane Allen

Allen to Lead National Committee on Policy

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Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) announced that she will serve as Policy Chair of a national committee tasked with developing legislative solutions to help women and families across the United States.

Sen. Diane Allen speaks to a Senate committee in support of her “Antwan’s Law” bill to make roads safer for students, on Jan. 9, 2017, in Trenton.  (SenateNJ.com)

“The challenges we are facing in this legislature, such as securing equal pay, are not unique to New Jersey,” Senator Allen said. “As Policy Chair, I will work with other elected women leaders from across the nation to charter a course for passing the kind of meaningful legislation that the people of New Jersey, and the country, deserve.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman: NJ Dems Must Stop Running From Affordable Housing Reform

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Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) issued the following statement after the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today passed SJR-16, which designates September as “Affordable Housing Awareness Month.”

Sen. Kip Bateman is the sponsor of S-2216, which would deliver comprehensive affordable housing reform to all New Jersey municipalities. (SenateNJ.com)

“I am appalled that Senate Democrats would fast track a meaningless resolution before even considering my bipartisan affordable housing reform bill. This is a slap in the face to the countless constituents who are begging for their elected leaders to act.

“The courts have given us a golden opportunity to develop a new affordable housing policy. Creating an ‘Awareness Month’ does nothing to solve this problem.

“If we continue to do nothing, there will be serious consequences in every legislative district. Property taxes will skyrocket. Open space will be destroyed. Worst of all, the people who truly need affordable housing will continue to struggle to find it.

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Senator Kip Bateman

Advanced: Bateman Bill to Ensure Power for Critical Facilities During Emergencies

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon) to protect critical facilities against power loss during emergencies was advanced by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kip Bateman to protect critical facilities against power failure was advanced by a Senate Panel. (Flickr)

“There are certain facilities throughout the state that provide crucial services and can’t afford to experience a power outage during an emergency,” Senator Bateman said. “This will allow them to continue operations and perform their duties even if the rest of the area has gone dark.”

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District 9

Connors, Rumpf & Gove: We Don’t Need a Study Commission to Tell Us What’s Wrong With the State’s School Funding Formula

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Dueling Senate and Assembly committees have convened to study the issue of school funding. But for taxpayers in underfunded school districts, including those in our legislative district, there is no need to study how the school funding formula is broken.

Connors, Rumpf and Gove call for a fair school funding formula that serves all school districts, not just a select few. (©iStock)

All you have to do is look at your property tax bill to know that you’re not only paying for the students in your local school district, but the students in other districts as well.

Special needs districts, more commonly known as Abbott districts, which are mostly located in urban areas receive the lion’s share of school funding. Essentially, the school funding formula is a cash cow that is milked for every drop by Abbott districts. Why not? Most of their funding is your tax dollars.

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Senator Tom Kean

Editorial: N.J. Taxpayers Shouldn’t Be Punished Because of Sanctuary Cities

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The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean was published by the Star-Ledger on February 17, 2017:

Sen. Tom Kean said that towns that declare themselves sanctuaries from federal immigration law enforcement should bear the financial consequences of their actions. (Wikimedia Commons)

As the New Jersey Senate debated a pair of symbolic resolutions on immigration last week, a new bill that has the potential to devastate our state budget and cause unbelievable harm to New Jersey taxpayers was introduced by Senate Democrats with little fanfare.

This new legislation, S3007, follows a proposal floated by President Trump to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement efforts.

The president’s proposal has yet to become actual federal policy or law.

Still, Democrats in the state Senate rushed forward with an ill-conceived response which would require the state to reimburse local governments for the loss of any federal funds resulting from their status as a sanctuary jurisdiction.

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District 9

Connors-Rumpf-Gove Veterans’ Surviving Spouse Benefit Bill Advances

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The Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted to approve legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove which would  require the $750 annual compensation to surviving spouses of certain blind or disabled veterans to be payable from the date of the veteran’s death.

Legislation sponsored by the 9th District Delegation to support surviving spouses of veterans was advanced by a senate panel. (©iStock)

Under the 9th District Delegation’s legislation, S-1542, payments to a surviving spouse would be due from April 9, 1985, in the event the veteran’s death occurred prior to that date, or the date of the veteran’s death if the death occurred after April 9, 1985, regardless of the date of the surviving spouse’s application

Connors, Rumpf and Gove issued the following statement on the Committee’s release of their veterans’ initiative:

“Presently, surviving spouses of blind or disabled veterans are eligible to receive the $750 annual compensation benefit from the date of their application under current regulations.  This lifetime benefit is statutorily available to a veteran who was blinded or severely disabled as a result of service during any war, including specifically World War II, Korean, or Vietnam.

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Diane Allen

District 7

Kip Bateman

District 16

Jennifer Beck

District 11

Anthony Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Joe Kyrillos

District 13

Kevin O'Toole

District 40

Steven Oroho

District 24

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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