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District 9

A Vet Is a Vet: Those Who Served Are Deserving of Benefits

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When meeting with community groups, our delegation is often asked about the issue of veterans’ benefits. Justifiably, frustration is expressed by veterans who honorably served their country but didn’t serve during wartime and, thus, aren’t eligible for certain state veterans’ benefits.

Ending the disparate treatment shown to veterans living in New Jersey who honorably served their nation and are deserving of our gratitude and respect is an issue that needs to be addressed. (©iStock)

Members of our legislative delegation serve on both the Senate and Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs committees to more effectively serve our constituency which is comprised of a considerable number of veterans. Thankfully, the work by these committees in conducted in a nonpartisan manner, as playing politics with veterans’ issues is beyond the pale, even for Trenton.

Ending the disparate treatment shown to veterans living in New Jersey who honorably served their nation and are deserving of our gratitude and respect is an issue that needs to be addressed. To that end, we sponsored companion legislation, S-258 and A-143, commonly referred to as the “vet is a vet” legislation.

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Senator Diane Allen

Allen Honored for Efforts to Increase Gender Parity in Government

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Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) received the “Making Democracy Work Award” from the New Jersey League of Women Voters on Friday, in recognition of her longstanding, successful efforts to encourage more women to run for elected office.

Senator Diane Allen accepts the “Making Democracy Work” award, one of the highest honors given by the League of Women Voters, at a reception on April 28, 2017 in Monroe Township, New Jersey (LWVNJ)

“Democracy works best when the halls of every Statehouse are filled with legislators who understand the needs of the people they were elected to serve,” Senator Allen said. “Women now make up the majority of the population, but barely 25% of State legislatures. It is in our best interest to encourage more women to stand up and step out to fight for those in need in their communities. This is a cause I care very deeply about and will continue to advocate for long after I retire from elected office.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman Applauds Release of New Statewide Water Supply Plan

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Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon) commended the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for releasing a draft of its first new Statewide Water Supply Plan in more than 20 years and pledged to continue working to protect the state’s water resources.

Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman commended the DEP for releasing a new Statewide Water Supply Plan. (Pixabay)

“Although this was long overdue, I was happy to see this new plan announced,” Senator Bateman said. “The Water Supply Plan is a crucial tool in helping us address drought emergencies. Now that it’s been updated, we can use it as a guide to prepare ourselves for the water demands of the future, plan for development and protect the environment.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Amtrak Needs a Better Plan to Protect New Jersey Commuters

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that Amtrak needs a better plan to protect commuters during a pair of track outages at Penn Station over the summer that would last a combined 44 days under a reported draft engineering proposal.

Rails leaving Penn Station in Manhattan. (Wikimedia Commons)

“I’ve heard from my constituent commuters and they are irate. I’m speaking on their behalf when I say that recent serious disruptions on Amtrak’s rails are unacceptable to fare payers.

“Amtrak’s proposal for additional lengthy service outages at Penn Station, including during weekday commuting hours, should be reconsidered. New Jersey’s commuters deserve a better plan.”

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Senator Jennifer Beck

Beck Again Calls for School Funding Relief for High Enrollment Growth Districts

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Warns of Unintended Consequences of Eliminating Adjustment Aid

Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) continued her call for school funding relief to school districts with large enrollment growth that are underfunded by the State. At the Senate Budget Committee’s hearing today with the Department of Education, Beck also urged caution at the suggestion that all adjustment aid should be eliminated as a potential solution for school funding reform.

Beck noted that 157 of the 181 districts receiving adjustment aid are underfunded by the State and 97 overtax residents locally. The FY 2018 budget proposal includes a recommended appropriation of $566 million for adjustment aid.

Sen. Jennifer Beck with families from Freehold Borough at today’s Senate Budget Committee meeting. Parents and school officials from thirteen underfunded school districts attended the hearing, including: Freehold Borough, Red Bank, Monroe Township, Kingsway Regional, Newton, Chesterfield, Robbinsville, Delran, Paulsboro, Rahway, Swedesboro-Woolwich, Cherry Hill School District, and Deptford Township Public Schools. (

“We have a large number of school districts that already overtax their residents who would be hurt even more by the abrupt removal of adjustment aid as some have suggested we should do,” said Beck. “Those districts would be forced to raise property taxes even higher to absorb such a loss of funding.”

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Senator Jennifer Beck

Beck: Monmouth Taxpayers Deserve Justice

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Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) issued the following statement in light of news reports that the Monmouth County Prosecutor wouldn’t pursue criminal charges after an 18-month long investigation into Monmouth County Tax Board Administrator Matthew Clark.

The investigation reviewed allegations that Clark had a personal relationship with two companies working with Monmouth’s tax program. The Prosecutor’s office has made referrals to various state and county agencies for ethics and administrative review.

Following reports that the Monmouth County Prosecutor won’t pursue criminal charges against Tax Board Administrator Matthew Clark, Sen. Jennifer Beck called on state and county agencies to act swiftly to ensure taxpayers get the justice they deserve. (

“While the FBI and Prosecutor’s office may have decided there is not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against the Tax Administrator, I call on the State and county agencies which have been referred this case to take action swiftly,” Senator Beck said. “Our residents have lost confidence in the Administrator and continue to demand a resolution. They deserve a prompt review into the ethics of his actions. Monmouth County taxpayers have waited long enough, they should not have to wait any longer for justice.”
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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Applauds Comments by Budget Chairman on Special Education Funding

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), vice-chair of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness, applauded comments by the chairman of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee at today’s budget hearing that special education funding needs to be addressed as part of any school funding reforms:

Sen. Joe Pennacchio commended Senate Budget Committee Sarlo for stating that special education funding needs must be addressed in any school funding reforms. (

“During our Select Committee meetings, I discussed the need for the State to assume some of the great cost associated with special education, which greatly impacts local budgets and property tax bills. Having the State fully fund extraordinary special education expenses and fund a greater portion of all special education costs is a critical component of the Senate Republican school funding reform proposal.

“I’m glad to hear that Chairman Sarlo has expressed support for reforming how we fund special education statewide, and I look forward to discussing this and other Senate Republican school funding proposals.”
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Senator Jennifer Beck

Beck Applauds Red Bank RiverCenter on $500K Award

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Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) congratulated the Red Bank RiverCenter for receiving a $500,000 award from the Downtown Business Improvement Zone Loan Fund program. The award was announced by Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles Richman on April 28, 2017.

An aerial view of Red Bank, New Jersey. (

“The RiverCenter continues to serve and enhance our community in Red Bank,” Senator Beck, who represents Red Bank, said. “This $500,000 award will allow for visual and safety improvements to our downtown area. I extend my sincere congratulations to the RiverCenter, for receiving this well-deserved award.”

Commissioner Richman stated in his announcement that the $500,00 award will provide funds to improve visual appeal, safety, and retail cachet of White St. from Broad St. and English Plaza, and English Plaza from White St. to Front St. in Red Bank, improving quality of life for all who frequent downtown Red Bank.

Assemblyman Dave Wolfe
Assemblyman Greg McGuckin
Senator Jim Holzapfel

Now Law: Holzapfel/Wolfe/McGuckin Bill Requiring Use of Native Plants for Roadside Planting

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New Jersey State roadways will now be lined with native plants for landscaping and reforestation purposes due to the efforts of Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin (all R-10). The bill, S-227/A-963, was signed into law on May 1, 2017 by Governor Christie.

Signed by Gov. Christie on May 1, 2017, Sen. Jim Holzapfel’s S-227 requires the use of native vegetation on New Jersey State roadways. (NJDOT)

“During the rebuilding of State Highway 35 on the barrier island following Superstorm Sandy, we worked on this bill to benefit the state both economically and ecologically,” said Senator Holzapfel. “We worked alongside Save Barnegat Bay to craft this important piece of legislation in an effort to restore the bay and prevent pollutants from entering local waterways.”

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Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho & Space Oppose Resolution Seeking to Block Proposed Septic Density Changes for Highlands Region

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Say Proposed Rules Bring More Balance to Highlands Law

Senator Steven Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space (both R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) strongly oppose a resolution approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee that seeks to block septic density changes for the Highlands Region proposed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

Sen. Steven Oroho and Asm. Parker Space opposed a resolution that would block septic density changes in the Highlands region. (Morris County Preservation Trust)

“The NJDEP has proposed reasonable revisions to septic density standards for the Highlands Region that would provide a measure of relief to residents who have been negatively impacted by the Highlands Act,” said Oroho. “This thoughtful proposal would stimulate much needed job creation and economic growth in the region in a manner consistent with the goals of the Highlands Act, while protecting clean water and carefully preserved open space.”

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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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