Senator Christopher (Kip) Bateman, R-District 16, said he is pleased that the Senate unanimously passed his legislation requiring that state agencies release any report resulting from a school district audit within 30 days of completion.
“When taxpayers pay for a study or an audit, they should have the right to see it as soon as it is completed,” Senator Bateman said. “Keeping such information secret only contributes to a growing distrust of government.”
Senator Kip Bateman speaking during the Senate session on December 10, 2009.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Diane Allen, members of the Senate Education Committee, issued the following statement regarding the State Department of Education’s decision to apply for federal “Race to the Top” education grants.
“I am pleased that Commissioner Davy has decided to apply for $200 million to $400 million in federal education grants,” Kean began. “Her initiative in applying for these funds will positively impact student performance for many years to come. Additionally, these funds will be vitally important to property taxpayers over the next several months.”
Connors/Rumpf/Gove Legislation Would Clarify Intent of Emergency Volunteer Personnel Tuition Credit Program
Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have introduced legislation (S-3131/A-4354) to clarify the original intent of the Legislature by closing a loophole used by certain county colleges to deny volunteer emergency personnel tuition assistance under the state’s volunteer tuition credit program.
The volunteer tuition credit program provides a tuition credit benefit of up to $2,400 over four years to active members of a volunteer fire company or volunteer first aid or rescue squad or association and the dependent children and spouse of such members.
Bills Will Make New Jersey Less Affordable for All
Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Labor Committee, said he was stunned that the committee chose to release six pieces of legislation guaranteed to create more unemployment in New Jersey during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
“Prevailing wage laws boost unemployment, especially among the poor and members of minority groups, and increase the tax burden on middle class New Jersey,” Doherty said. “It is disappointing that certain members of this body chose to reward a politically powerful few at the expense of everyone in the state – especially the poor and middle class.
Senator Tom Kean released a video discussing the importance of SCR-60, legislation which would protect the state unemployment insurance funds that workers depend on when they lose a job or fall ill.
The following statement was released by State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Passaic) regarding the government takeover of health care:
“Senator Menendez, rather than showing facts to defend his support of the government takeover of health care chose instead to describe opposition as ‘fearful, partisan tactics.’ The Senator failed to mention that it is within his party’s power, the Democrats, to enact this legislation now. Unlike himself, it is ‘moderate’ members of his own party who are expressing the same concerns with this legislation as have I and countless New Jersey citizens.
Oroho Bill Extending Appraisal for Green Acres and Farmland Preservation Clears Senate Budget Committee
Senator Steve Oroho, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the passage of S-1875 which would extend the expiration date of special appraisal process for Green Acres and farmland preservation programs from 2009 to 2014.
“This is a fundamental issue of fairness. The landowners in the Highlands region were given assurances that they would be fairly compensated for the value of their land that was dramatically reduced in value by the implementation of the 2004 Highlands Act. In many cases, red tape and time delays hampered the ability of property owners from filing for consideration under the dual appraisal provision of the Highlands Act.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Diane Allen, both members of the Senate Education Committee, expressed disappointment that New Jersey is woefully unprepared to apply for federal “Race to the Top” education grants. Published reports indicate that the state Department of Education ceased working on the application in mid-November. The deadline for the grant application is January 19, 2010.
“It is disappointing that the state Department of Education will be unable to complete the grant application by the deadline,” Kean stated. “I believe, especially in our current fiscal situation, it is imperative to make every effort to apply for all of the federal aid for which we are eligible. Remember, New Jersey only gets back 61 cents of every dollar we send to Washington. To refuse to apply for a $200 million to $400 million education grant is simply inexcusable.”
Committee Advances Connors/Rumpf Measure to Establish Stable Funding Source for Island Beach State Program
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors and Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf to establish a dedicated funding source for the interpretive program at Island Beach State Park advanced through the Senate Environment Committee today. The Park’s interpretive program is an educational resource that describes the Island’s natural history through tours and activities.
Senator Diane Allen, R-7, advanced her bill allowing taxpayers to make voluntary contributions to help members of the military and their families. The New Jersey Military Family Relief Fund would be financed with voluntary contributions from taxpayers. Taxpayers would be asked, as they file their tax returns, if they want to include a contribution or dedicate a portion of a refund to help military families in need of assistance.
“This bill makes it easy for good-hearted, patriotic people to help the most deserving families in our state deal with the stresses of overseas deployment and long terms of duty,” Senator Allen said. “It costs taxpayers nothing unless they donate, and it could mean the world to a military family that is making tremendous sacrifices for every American citizen.”