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The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean was published by the Star-Ledger on February 17, 2017:
As the New Jersey Senate debated a pair of symbolic resolutions on immigration last week, a new bill that has the potential to devastate our state budget and cause unbelievable harm to New Jersey taxpayers was introduced by Senate Democrats with little fanfare.
This new legislation, S3007, follows a proposal floated by President Trump to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement efforts.
The president’s proposal has yet to become actual federal policy or law.
Still, Democrats in the state Senate rushed forward with an ill-conceived response which would require the state to reimburse local governments for the loss of any federal funds resulting from their status as a sanctuary jurisdiction.
The Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted to approve legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove which would require the $750 annual compensation to surviving spouses of certain blind or disabled veterans to be payable from the date of the veteran’s death.
Under the 9th District Delegation’s legislation, S-1542, payments to a surviving spouse would be due from April 9, 1985, in the event the veteran’s death occurred prior to that date, or the date of the veteran’s death if the death occurred after April 9, 1985, regardless of the date of the surviving spouse’s application
Connors, Rumpf and Gove issued the following statement on the Committee’s release of their veterans’ initiative:
“Presently, surviving spouses of blind or disabled veterans are eligible to receive the $750 annual compensation benefit from the date of their application under current regulations. This lifetime benefit is statutorily available to a veteran who was blinded or severely disabled as a result of service during any war, including specifically World War II, Korean, or Vietnam.
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) brought Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington to Asbury Park and Long Branch schools this Tuesday. Beck and the Commissioner were joined by Asbury Park Superintendent Dr. Lamont Repollet and Long Branch Superintendent Dr. Michael Salvatore along with principals, teachers, administrators, and other school officials.
Asbury Park School District’s “Building a Brighter Future” initiative has seen measurable success through enhanced literacy growth and graduation rates. Asbury Park continues to expand its academies with the addition of Allied Health, Engineering, and Law and Public Safety through a partnership with Monmouth County Vocational School District.
Legislation introduced by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove to increase the penalty for trespassing offenses committed in a nuclear generating plant from a 4th degree crime to 3rd degree crime was passed by the Assembly.
The 9th District Delegation issued a joint statement following the Assembly’s passage of its legislative initiative (A-3186): “In this age of terrorism, any unauthorized presence in a nuclear generating plant constitutes a serious risk to public safety. Those who would threaten public safety by trespassing at this type of site should face a harsher penalty to reflect the seriousness of the crime.
Oroho & Space Resolution to Raise Awareness to Childhood Cancer Heads to Governor After Legislative Approval
A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space (both R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to promote education and awareness about childhood cancer is headed to the Governor’s desk after it was passed by the New Jersey General Assembly. The bill passed in the state Senate in June 2016.
The resolution was inspired by Nicholas DaSilva, a Hardyston resident who was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma when he was just 5 years old. Since his cancer has gone into remission, he has worked to help other children with the disease. Along with the other members of his family, Nicholas has raised money to help other kids through donations to the Valerie Fund and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) helped honor the Asbury Park Blue Bishops football and boys soccer teams on the Senate floor during the voting session on Feb. 13. Superintendent Dr. Lamont Repollet, along with soccer coach Jean Dortissant, players Fenelson Etienne and Widmaier Beaubrun, football coach Tim Fosque and players Namir Argilagos and Calvin Simmons-Carter were all present to accept the Senate resolution from the Monmouth County legislative delegation.
The Asbury Park Boys Soccer Team won the NJSIAA Central Group I Sectional Title for the first time in 35 years this past fall. Coach Jean Dortissant noted they finished the season with a record of 18-4-1; it was the soccer team’s first title since 1981.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to gift a New Jersey flag to every state resident who enrolls in a federal service academy was advanced by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
“Some of our best and brightest young people attend the service academies and make a commitment to serve this country,” Senator Bucco said. “We couldn’t be prouder of them for their hard work and service.”
Also Block Vote on Beck’s Sick Leave Reform Bill
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) continued her efforts to end the New Jersey Senate’s inaction on issues of importance to the people of New Jersey.
Beck’s attempts to force full Senate votes on bills she sponsors to forfeit the pensions of corrupt public officials (S-1557) and limit payouts for accumulated public employee sick leave (S-2140) were blocked by Senate Democrats.
“For the past two Senate sessions, I’ve attempted to bring up for a vote my bill to forfeit the taxpayer-funded pensions of public officials convicted of corruption,” said Beck. “For the second session in a row, Senate Democrats have blocked a vote on my bill, essentially expressing their support for continued pension payments to corrupt individuals who have violated the public trust. It’s absolutely astounding.”
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Diane Allen to extend opportunities to earn varsity letters to high school students who participate in competitive activities other than athletics has passed the New Jersey Senate.
“Extending varsity letters to kids who compete on stage or in a classroom doesn’t diminish the value of the letter – it enhances it,” Senator Bateman (R-16) said. “Our schools are home to some of the best performing arts programs in the country. I think anyone who has witnessed a standing ovation at a school musical would agree that the kids who participate in these programs deserve varsity letters, too.”
Bill Creates “Task Force on Safety in School Transportation” in Memory of Child Struck and Killed by School Bus
The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Dawn Addiego (R-Burlington, Camden, Atlantic) to establish the “Task Force on Safety in School Transportation.”
Addiego first introduced the bill after a 6-year-old child from her district, Edmond Bock, was struck and killed by a school bus in Waterford.
“Each and every one of the 23 million children who ride school buses every year should be treated with the highest level of care by those who are responsible for getting them to school safely,” Senator Addiego said. “Edmond Bock’s death is a heartbreaking example of what can happen when we do not have the proper safeguards in place. We need to take immediate action at the state level so that no other child is put in harm’s way.”