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The following op-ed by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) was published by The Bergen Record on Sunday, Aug. 17. Senator O’Toole’s op-ed urges legislative Democrats and Republicans to consider solutions to fix the judicial crisis in Bergen and Essex counties, and to step up for the people by making sure other counties aren’t strapped with empty courtrooms due to partisan politics.
I would like to echo The Record editorial board’s Aug. 11, 2014, piece: “It is time to end the practice of holding up nominees for judgeships and other key positions for undisclosed political reasons.”
The Bergen County court system faces a 25 percent judicial vacancy rate, and Essex County, which I also represent in the state Senate, has an almost 40 percent judicial vacancy rate. By October 2014, Passaic County will have a judicial vacancy rate of over 20 percent. These empty courtrooms caused by the political practice of “senatorial courtesy” add to the backlog of divorce and custody cases, as well as delays in criminal and civil matters.
Pennacchio Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Partner Racetrack and Video Slots, Aid Public Pensions
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) has introduced a constitutional amendment to allow video slot wagering at the New Jersey horse racetracks. SCR134, which would need voter approval, allows the legislature to authorize slot machine wagering at New Jersey’s current four racetracks.
“Allowing slot machine wagering at New Jersey’s race tracks could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to support the pensions system and the revitalization of Atlantic City,” Pennacchio said. “There is an inevitability to racetrack “racinos” in New Jersey. Why not use the moment to strengthen and encourage Atlantic City and its casinos as well as increasing the solvency of our public workers pensions?”
Senator Steven Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) completed Senator Kevin O’Toole’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on the New Jersey State House steps on Monday afternoon and donated to the ALS Association. The challenge raised $30,000.
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40) completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on the New Jersey State House steps with ALS Association Greater New York President and CEO Dorine Gordon. O’Toole raised the stakes by challenging Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senators Steven Oroho and Donald Norcross. His challenge raised $30,000 for ALS.
Today, 16th District legislators Sen. Kip Bateman, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon called on New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to support newly proposed federal regulations for rail tank cars carrying crude oil. It is estimated that seven million gallons of crude oil is shipped daily by rail from North Dakota through New Jersey.
“These trains transporting oil through communities across the 16th District and New Jersey are essentially pipelines on wheels,” said Bateman. “Great concern should be taken in making sure these transports operate with the highest of standards. As experts learn from past mistakes and mechanical and technological advancements are made it’s important that regulations be changed accordingly.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean was nominated to complete the ALS ice bucket challenge by Amanda Woloshen Glass. He responded to the challenge, with the help of his daughters, and nominated New Jersey’s other legislative leaders — Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick — to take the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. Senator Kean will also make a donation to the ALS Association.
Showdown at the State House Steps: O’Toole Issues High Noon Ice Bucket Challenge to Sweeney, Oroho, Norcross
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) challenged Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Cumberland), Senator Stephen Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) and Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden) to join him in taking the ALS Ice Bucket challenge to a new level, at high noon on Monday at the State House steps in Trenton with the ALS Association.
Senator O’Toole, who was challenged by his son, Kevin Jr., is bringing $25,000 to donate to the ALS Association.
“This is Jersey, so I’m raising the stakes,” O’Toole said. “The Senate President and company can’t worry about their suspenders and suits getting wet. They need to saddle up, bring their checkbooks, go big or go home.”
Doherty Legislation Designating Rt. 22 ‘Sergeant William John Cahir Memorial Bridge’ Signed into Law
Legislation (S-2236) sponsored by Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) to name the Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge on Route 22 in honor of fallen Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. William Cahir has been signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
“Many of us in the area knew of Bill Cahir from his service in Hunterdon and Warren counties in New Jersey and Lehigh and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania as a reporter for the Express-Times prior to his enlistment,” said Doherty. “It’s more than fitting that we designate the span linking our communities the ‘Sergeant William John Cahir Memorial Bridge’ in his honor.”
Reaffirming their continuing commitment to government reform, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have reintroduced two legislative initiatives aimed at ensuring convicted corrupt politicians face enhanced monetary penalties for their criminal actions.
The first reform measure (S-206/A-777) introduced by the 9th District delegation would make public officers or employees convicted of crimes touching their office or found at fault in certain civil actions liable for the cost of prosecution and legal representation if received through the expense of public funds. Under the legislation, convicted persons would be subject to pension garnishment to satisfy the liability.
Per the invitation of College officials, 9th Legislative District Senator Christopher J. Connors addressed members of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Student Senate on how his experiences as a student at Stockton shaped his views and approach to public service as a member of the New Jersey State Legislature.
“Stockton will forever have a special place in my heart in light of my tremendous educational experience as not only a student but also as a father of two children who are proud Stockton graduates,” said Senator Connors, who serves as the State Senate representative for Galloway which is part of the 9th Legislative District. “Needless to say, I welcomed the opportunity to visit my Alma mater to speak with the Student Senate on issues of interest to them.”