Following the defeat of a ballot measure by New Jersey voters which would have allowed for the establishment of casinos in North Jersey, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) renewed his call for the limited expansion of gaming at horse racetracks in the state.
Pennachio’s proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-16, would permit slot machine gambling at those venues.
“I’ve said for a number of years that the establishment of North Jersey casinos would cannibalize the existing casino industry in Atlantic City, putting the struggling city in further financial jeopardy,” said Pennacchio. “The defeat of Public Question #1 was the public’s response. It’s time that the Legislature consider the establishment of racinos, as I have proposed, to bolster our casino industry, stabilize our pension systems, aid in the financial recovery of Atlantic City, and provide the support our horse racing industry needs to survive.”
Following the signing of legislation to fund improvements through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R- Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex) announced a $5.2 million project to make repairs and ensure the residents of Somerset County have clean water.
“Through our legislation, we were able to streamline the process of getting this kind of important environmental project approved and financed,” Senator Bateman said. “These improvements will help keep the water in Somerset County Safe, and this project is just one of many set to begin across the state.”
Senator Jennifer Beck’s (R-Monmouth) bill to create foreclosure protections for Superstorm Sandy victims has passed the Senate Budget Committee.
“Although four years have passed since Superstorm Sandy,” Senator Beck said. “We still have 3,200 homeowners eager to complete elevating and rebuilding projects, including some that have just begun. They don’t have the ability to fund a mortgage and a rent.”
Kean Bipartisan Bill Creating Ombudsman for Developmentally Disabled Individuals Passes Budget Committee
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to create an ombudsman to serve as an advocate for individuals with intellectual or developmentally disabilities has passed the Senate Budget Committee. The independent office would serve as a one-stop resource to help improve access to vital protections and state services.
“New Jersey offers a number of support channels for individuals with developmental disabilities – so many, that it has become increasingly difficult for families to understand where they need to go, or who they need to talk to access these services,” Senator Kean explained. “Creating a central point of contact will ensure families can secure the resources they need to help their disabled loved ones thrive.”
Following the signing of the legislation to fund improvements through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, Senator Robert Singer (R- Monmouth, Ocean) announced a $1.8 million project to repair infrastructure and protect clean water in Manasquan Borough.
“The stormwater management systems being addressed by this project were severely damaged in Superstorm Sandy,” Senator Singer said. “Improvements to these pumping stations and bulkheads are vital to ensuring that Manasquan is shielded from future flooding. I’m glad we could secure NJEIT funding to will help protect clean water for our residents.”
Pennacchio-Turner Bill Mandating Criminal Background Checks for All Day Care Providers Clears Committee
Legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Shirley Turner mandating state and federal criminal background checks for all current and prospective family day care providers has cleared the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
“A child abuse record check is simply not sufficient enough to prevent dangerous criminals from putting our children at risk,” Senator Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic) said. “It is unconscionable that family day cares are not held to the same ironclad safety standards as other facilities, simply because they serve a smaller number of children. They should be held to the same justifiable standard.”
Connors-Rumpf-Gove Supported Measure Requiring South Jersey Representation on Turnpike Authority Advances
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by the 9th District legislative delegation requiring at least one member of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to be from South Jersey was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.
The measure, S-1674, sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, would require at least one member of the Turnpike Authority be a resident of Ocean, Atlantic, or Cape May County. Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are prime sponsors of the identical companion measure, A-3817, which is awaiting action by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.
Healthcare providers would now be able to practice telemedicine in New Jersey under legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) and advanced by the Senate Budget Committee.
“Telemedicine is a safe, convenient and cost-efficient way to provide millions of new patients with access to quality healthcare,” Senator Allen said. “People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, can use telemedicine to proactively manage their condition at home, preventing hospitalizations and costly emergency room visits. This is critical for those who are homebound or live in rural regions of our state where doctor shortages are common.”
Expiration dates on driver’s licenses would be staggered based on individual birthdays rather than the standard last day of the month
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset) to reduce wait times at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission locations was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“When every license expires at the end of the month, it can lead to a nightmare situation at MVC offices if a lot of people decide to wait until the last minute to renew,” Senator Bucco said. “This measure looks to alleviate some of that congestion.”
Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) responded to a hearing held today by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on the Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed changes to septic system density standards for the Highlands Region:
“The proposed revisions to the septic density standards will provide some measure of relief to the present regulations that stifle economic growth in the Highlands Region,” said Oroho. “No matter how much overzealous environmentalists scream, no, the sky isn’t falling, but a little bit of sun is shining through.”
In a recent editorial, Oroho highlighted how some have misrepresented the goals of the Highlands Act to suggest that economic growth in the Highlands Region is not a primary designated purpose of the law.