Bill expands “Joan’s Law” to mandate life without parole for murder of a child under age 18 during a sex crime.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Dawn Addiego and Anthony Bucco to eliminate the possibility of parole for anyone convicted of the murder of a minor in the course of a sex crime.
Since 1997, “Joan’s Law” has mandated “no release” in cases involving a minor under age 14. S-607 extends Joan’s Law to protect victims between the ages of 14 and 18.
“The monster who brutally raped and murdered little Joan D’Alessandro has been up for parole four times,” Senator Addiego (R-Burlington) said. “Anyone who is evil enough to commit such a heinous crime once will have no qualms about victimizing another child, no matter how long they have been in jail. No parent should have to stand up in front of a judge over, and over again trying to convince them of this fact. We will keep fighting on their behalf until every minor receives equal protections under the law.”
Senator Addiego and Joan’s mother, Rosemarie D’Alessandro, both testified in support of the bill at the March 13 Judiciary Committee hearing in Trenton.
“My sons Michael, John and I are filled with joy today,” Rosemarie D’Alessandro said. “This shows how the unity of all those involved through their actions and voices makes a huge difference in the fight for more justice for young, vulnerable victims and their families. Now families will not be burdened by the thought of when the next parole date will be, or having to testify. Joan’s legacy is filled with positive energy. The vote today truly brings hope to New Jersey.”
Veterans’ legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that will expand housing opportunities for veterans has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
The 9th District Delegation’s veterans’ initiative, S-260/A-452/A-984, will require that a portion of the tenant-based rental assistance vouchers under the State rental assistance program (SRAP) for grants be reserved for veterans. The provisions of the new law will take effect immediately.
Following the signing of their legislation, Connors, Rumpf and Gove issued the following joint statement:
“For those veterans falling on hard times and in need of housing that they can afford, we are elated that the State’s rental assistance program will now prioritize their needs. From the outset, we sought to build upon the state’s existing veterans’ housing programs, such as ‘Veterans Haven,’ to provide additional housing opportunities for those who have served our nation.
A trio of bills sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington), Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon) and Senator Sam Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth) aimed at reducing waste by encouraging more donation and recycling of food were advanced by the Senate Environment Committee.
“Unfortunately, there are still many in New Jersey that struggle to find the next meal for their families,” Senator Allen said. “We hope that by cutting back on waste at our schools and other institutions we can get more food to people who need it.”
Pennacchio: Preventing Animal Cruelty Is Important, So Is Preventing Cruel Treatment of Unborn Children
Calls for Legislature to Apply Same Compassion to People That’s Applied to Pets
With planned Senate action on yet another bill that would further bolster the state’s already extensive animal cruelty statutes, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) again blasted the Legislature’s continued inaction on legislation that would protect unborn children from the cruel and excruciating pain caused by abortion.
“Preventing animal cruelty is important, but so is preventing the cruel treatment of unborn children,” said Pennacchio. “The Legislature’s continued inaction on S-2026 sends the message that we care more about animals than people. It’s time to re-balance our priorities, and we can start by passing the NJ Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”
Following recent news reports that PSE&G plans to sell its share in the proposed PennEast Pipeline and abandon its involvement in the controversial project, Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman urged others involved with the pipeline to reconsider their support as well.
“I think this decision by PSE&G can be traced directly back to the overwhelming opposition by local residents who don’t want this pipeline cutting through their communities and damaging the environment,” Senator Bateman said. “It’s time for the other companies involved to realize that this project is unneeded and unwelcome.”
The following editorial on healthcare policy by Senator Robert Singer was published by the Asbury Park Press on March 9, 2017:
With much discussion focused on possible federal changes to the Affordable Care Act, it’s critical for state policymakers and residents to be aware of several other potential issues that could impact the quality, cost or access to health care for New Jersey residents.
Here are three to watch:
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) voted against legislation (S-3075) in the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee which would give the Governor and Legislature another year to form a political pork panel that would have the ability to manipulate billions of dollars in state transportation spending. Her refusal to help legitimize the panel follows the receipt of a legal opinion from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services that deemed the “Capital Program Approval Committee” unconstitutional.
Under previously approved legislation, the Capital Program Approval Committee is to be a panel of four individuals, including political appointees, who would have power over the state’s Annual Transportation Capital Program. The objection of any single member of the committee would explicitly prevent the Legislature from funding any transportation projects in that year.
“We have an opinion from OLS that this panel unconstitutionally usurps the authority of the Legislature to appropriate funds,” said Beck. “A single member of this pork panel who doesn’t believe they are getting their fair share for their pet projects could effectively hold hostage all state transportation spending. I cannot support any legislation that would further legitimize this committee that clearly is designed to waste the gas taxes paid by millions of drivers for political purposes.”
Oroho’s Transportation Bills Providing Substantive Property Tax Relief Passed by Senate Budget Committee
A pair of transportation-related bills sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) that would substantively reduce the burden on property taxpayers has been approved by the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee.
The first bill, S-3076, appropriates $400 million from the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) to pay for immediate road and bridge repair projects across the state in all 21 counties.
“The tax reform plan that we approved last year has made it possible for the state to pay for many critical transportation projects in communities across New Jersey,” said Oroho. “Our new legislation builds on that effort by having the state augment its share of funding for local road and bridge repairs that would otherwise have been borne by residents through increased property taxes.”
Following through on their constitutional obligations to uphold the law, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove announced that they will oppose legislation that would provide state taxpayer dollars to sanctuary cities that lose federal funding in connection with White House executive orders.
Legislation (S-3007), which has been introduced and was scheduled to be voted on by the full Senate, would require the Department of Community Affairs Commissioner to establish a program to provide grant funding to a county or municipality that has had its federal grant funding denied or reduced based upon its status as a sanctuary jurisdiction.
The Assembly Transportation Committee has passed “Michael Massey’s Law,” legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) to expand the “Move Over Law” to sanitation vehicles. The bill is named for Michael Massey, a 39-year-old Freehold man who was tragically killed when he was hit by a car while loading a sanitation vehicle as part of his public works duties in Ocean Township.
“Michael was a life-long Monmouth County resident and hardworking young man,” Senator Beck said. “When we learned of his death we were shocked and saddened. This tragic event was a wake-up call that we need to do more to slow down traffic in order to reduce injuries and fatalities on the job. While this legislation of course cannot alter the great loss that the Massey family has experienced, we are hopeful that such a common sense change to our law will prevent other public works employees from being injured.”