The following editorial by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman on a state constitutional amendment that would give Democrat legislators lifelong tenure in elected office, even when they fail constituents or when voters want a change in representation, was published in the Asbury Park Press on January 8, 2015:
I introduce, vote and debate policies in Trenton, conscious of every constituency I represent in the diverse 16th legislative district. Being a public servant for such a competitive voting district is a healthy challenge, reflecting the strong will for democracy that created America.
As our country grew, so too did the quest for equal voting rights. Legendary leaders, such as Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr., dedicated their lives to the cause of securing equal voting rights for minority citizen populations.
Unconscionably, New Jersey Democrats are fast-tracking a constitutional amendment that would severely undermine those historic democratic and civil rights successes.
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic, Essex) issued the following statement regarding the Democrat-sponsored SCR-188:
“Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was asked what type of government was given the people. ‘A Republic, if you can keep it,’ answered Franklin.
“Our founding fathers knew that representative government could only be defeated by internal not external forces. Self-interest, especially by political parties, could cannibalize this precious experiment called democracy.
Dems’ SCR-188/ACR-4 Means Taxation without Representation for at Least 75% of NJ
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Ranking Republican Senator Gerald Cardinale stood with dozens of experts, residents and organizations who at Thursday’s State Government hearing unanimously opposed and pushed to stop the Democrats’ election rigging scheme, SCR-188.
“This Democrat political scheme would give lifelong tenure to at least 90 of New Jersey’s 120 legislators,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “It would give at least 75 percent of the legislature a free pass to fail their constituents, as voters would no longer have a basic democratic ability to hold them accountable in elections. This Democrat attempt to rig elections is anti-American, and that’s why no other U.S. state has required non-competitive legislative districts in their constitutions or statutes.”
As stated by political scientist Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, the Democrats’ SCR-188 “fails miserably” and is a “bald-faced attempt to pull the wool over voters’ eyes; making them complicit in a process that will only serve to increase their cynicism about politics.”
The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to allow “Class Three” law enforcement officers to provide security in public and nonpublic schools.
Senator Bucco’s bipartisan S-2983 creates “Class Three” special law enforcement officers comprised of retired-in-good-standing, former full-time New Jersey law enforcement officers younger than 65 years old, who would be authorized to provide security in this state’s public and nonpublic schools.
“This legislation is a win-win-win to improve public safety in communities across the state,” Bucco said. “It creates an avenue for boards of education across New Jersey to better and more efficiently protect children, teachers, staff members and facilities in this era when violent acts at schools are far too prevalent. It allows local police departments to assign more of their current full-time officers to protect and serve in areas surrounding schools and in all corners of their jurisdiction. It enriches communities by allowing many of New Jersey’s outstanding law enforcement officers to stay and give more to the public after they retire, in a cost-effective manner for taxpayers.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to ensure school nurses meet certain training and education requirements was passed by the full Senate and now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval.
“School nurses have a difficult and demanding job and must be able to address a wide spectrum of student health issues largely on their own,” said Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer). “To ensure students receive the highest level of care it’s important to make certain school nurses have the requisite education, training and experience to handle the complexity of the job.”
Abigail’s Law Requires Sensors to Alert School Bus Drivers of Children in Blind Spots
Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) to improve the safety of children near school buses was approved by the New Jersey Senate in a 38-0 vote. The measure requires that new school buses be equipped with sensors to alert the bus driver when children walk in front of or behind the school bus.
The legislation, S-2011, is named “Abigail’s Law” in honor of Abigail Kuberiet, a toddler struck and killed by a school bus as it pulled away from a bus stop in South Plainfield in 2003. The bus driver didn’t see Abigail in front of the bus and didn’t know the accident had happened until contacted by radio after traveling several blocks.
“If a small child walks too closely in front of a large school bus, or stops to tie a shoe or pick up a dropped item while crossing, the bus driver may not be able to see them with tragic results,” said Holzapfel. “Safety sensor technology that could protect children’s lives is now available, affordable, and should be employed in school buses just as it is in many newer passenger cars.”
The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, to significantly expand recycling efforts by requiring electronic manufactures to provide convenient collection of covered electronics in municipalities and at statewide entities across New Jersey.
Senator Bateman’s bill, S-2973, updates existing electronic recycling law that currently requires manufacturers to provide a free and convenient electronic waste recycling program for covered electronics. The bill would extend the recycling program to statewide entities, such as school districts, with electronic manufacturers covering the cost of collecting and recycling their market share of covered products.
“In our most densely populated state, it is imperative that we fearlessly face the mounting challenge to reduce the tens of millions of tons of solid waste discarded in New Jersey each year,” Senator Bateman said. “This updated legislation will generate significant cost savings at a local level, by ensuring that electronic manufacturers stay committed to providing free and convenient opportunities for recycling in communities across the state.”
The Assembly Transportation Committee passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to require the state Motor Vehicle Commission to study and make recommendations within one year about implementing electronic driver’s licenses and mobile applications.
Senator Kean said that the ideal e-driver’s license program in New Jersey, resulting from S-2695, would allow people to still use traditional plastic licenses if they want. He added that it would make one of the most-used government services more efficient and less costly.
“Whenever possible, people should be able to access and use government services and information in a convenient and efficient manner, whether that’s via social media or mobile apps,” Kean said. “People are literally attached to their phones and devices, with many of us opting for mobile forms of payment, banking, credit and flight boarding passes, for example. New Jersey should be at the forefront of new technology and innovation in the safest way possible. “We still have an opportunity to be ahead of the curve and learn from Iowa, which has implemented an e-driver’s license pilot test, and Delaware, which has been pursuing the implementation of e-driver’s licenses.”
The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and Senate Budget Appropriations Committee advanced bills sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to expand support for military personnel deployed during a time of war, as well as veterans living across New Jersey.
The first of the bills, S-1325, would ensure that New Jersey residents currently enlisted in any branch of the armed services can defer property tax payments that become due during a period of deployment for active duty service.
“New Jersey is home to thousands of brave men and women who are making tremendous sacrifices to serve our country, often leaving behind families who struggle to make ends meet,” Senator Bucco said. “While we have taken great strides to demonstrate our unwavering support for America’s troops, we must do more to support their loved ones here at home. Easing this financial burden will ensure that those who support our nation’s heroes receive the relief, care and assistance they deserve.”
Kean Won’t Let Democrats Run & Hide; Will Force Reform Vote on Thursday
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that Senate Democrat Leaders’ continued obstruction of PANYNJ reform is leaving the multibillion-dollar public agency in a state of flux without the ability to properly serve commuters and taxpayers, as the search for a CEO drags on. Senator Kean noted that he has learned the Majority Leader’s smokescreen legislative proposal, S-3066, could prevent the creation of the Gateway Development Corporation.
“Trenton Democrat politicians will not be allowed a free pass to be the lone obstructers of bipartisan Port Authority reform that has already been signed into law by New York’s Democrat governor and would be signed by New Jersey’s governor,” Kean said. “During tomorrow’s Senate session, I will be forcing a vote on the bi-state bill, S-3048, I have sponsored to make the Port Authority efficiently operate at full capacity, now, when the people need it most.