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The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to strengthen local government accountability and ethics, in part, by transferring oversight at the municipal and county levels to the State Ethics Commission.
“New Jersey municipal and county officials must be more accountable to the people, as they control $15 billion taxpayer dollars each year,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “This overdue measure holds local representatives to the highest and most efficient ethical standards. Without it, absent or fragmented oversight will continue to be a recipe for local government to violate the public trust.”
Senator Kean introduced the original version of this bill, S-342, in June 2012. Shortly thereafter, then-New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer published a case-in-point investigative report about a Chesterfield Township Committeeman exploiting his position to reap a $200,000 windfall on the sale of development rights on his property.
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R—Morris, Passaic) issued the following statement today after Senate Democrats voted in favor of dead-end reforms for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, while continuing to ignore bipartisan, bi-state reforms for the equally troubled Delaware River Port Authority.
“Senate Democrats showed again today they are more interested in playing political games than securing real reforms for the taxpayers and commuters of New Jersey,” said Pennacchio. “Rather than acting on substantive reforms that New York’s legislature passed and its Democrat Governor signed, Democrats here continue to waste significant time and resources on a dead-end bill.
Senator Jim Holzapfel’s (R-10) legislation to increase penalties for leaving a loaded firearm within easy access of a minor resulting in injury or death was approved by the New Jersey Senate in a 32-0 vote.
This bill was prompted by the tragic death of 6-year-old Brandon Holt, who was shot and killed by a 4-year-old friend with a gun that was left unsecured and accessible to the children in the house.
“As a former prosecutor, gun owner and supporter of the Second Amendment, I find it unconscionable that some gun owners could be so irresponsible,” said Holzapfel. “This legislation balances the rights of responsible gun owners with the public interest of reducing preventable deaths from planned and accidental shootings by children.”
Senate Democrats voted again to block the passage of bipartisan legislation to reform the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
During Thursday’s Senate session, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean proposed amending dead-end legislation, S-708, to be identical to New York’s Port Authority reform law that Kean sponsors, S-355. In order for any Port Authority reform legislation to be initiated, both states have to pass identical legislation and New York is not doing S-708.
“Shameless Senate Democrat politicians have again denied the people of New Jersey the only piece of legislation that can reform the Port Authority,” Kean said. “New York’s legislature and governor, on a bipartisan basis, have enacted S-355, and their Senate and Democrat governor are not doing anything else for the foreseeable future. They did their jobs.
“As media outlets have opined, it’s time for New Jersey Democrats to pass S-355,” Kean said. “No more excuses. No more delays. No more trying to mislead the public. No more prioritizing union demands that have nothing to do with reforming the Port Authority for the people of this state.
The Senate passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to include the domestic or civil union partner of a homicide victim among those eligible to receive compensation, as well as certain protections and rights from the criminal justice system.
The legislation, S-180, revises the definition of “victim” under the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights” to be more consistent with the definition of “victim” in the New Jersey Constitution. Under the legislation, “victim” will now include the spouse, parent, legal guardian, grandparent, child or sibling of the decedent in the case of a criminal homicide or act of juvenile delinquency that would constitute criminal homicide if committed by an adult.
Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) issued the following statement reiterating her commitment to continue working to protect Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst from President Obama’s latest closure attempt and to enhance its economic and operational vitality.
“I have whiplash considering that just a year after visiting McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, looking the many dedicated service members in the eye and thanking them for putting their lives on the line, President Obama has resurrected a proposal that could close this joint base and put our state and military families at risk,” said Allen, a member of the Council on Armed Forces and Veterans’ Affairs. “We simply can’t allow this to happen. This President can’t be allowed to continue weakening our military and hurting our economy.”
Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) stated the following regarding the Democrats proposal to again constitutionally mandate minimum wage increases:
“Enshrining wage increases into the constitution is a dangerous policy that doesn’t take economic realities into consideration, and that fact is proven by the last Democrat minimum-wage constitutional amendment that they now admit was a failure.
“New Jersey’s constitution shouldn’t be used as a tool to execute a national Democrat socialist agenda. We should instead have a thorough discussion about increasing the minimum wage it should be done in a collaborative manner by elected officials. That’s our job.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean stated the following on New Jersey Democrats’ hypocritical plans to raise job-killing taxes and costs on New Jerseyans:
“Every day in New Jersey, Democrats publicize ways to take more of the people’s money and to kill the very jobs people need to earn money. They try to secretly obstruct Senate Republican tax cuts, even the ones with bipartisan support.
“Yesterday’s Democrat proposal to constitutionally raise the minimum wage by 79 percent after just raising it after the recession, and tomorrow’s Democrat push to mandate paid sick leave at the expense of jobs, employee wage increases and more flexible leave and benefit options are completely wrong for New Jersey. Their ideas would just make life more unaffordable for everyone in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Senate will hold a voting session on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. in the New Jersey State House to consider the following bills:
|S86||Sch. security-estab class three officers||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S92||Overseas Resid Absentee Voting-revise||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S96||Gubernatorial election campaigns-finan.||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S180||Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights-revises||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S218||Firearm w/in access to minor-incr. penal||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S342||Loc. officials-trans. to St. Ethics Comm||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S708||PANYNJ Transparency Acct. Act||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S799||Sick leave, earned-concerns||2RS||1/12/2016|
|S816||Handguns, personalized-sell by retailers||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S976||Clinical labs.-reg. rules, qual control||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S984||Solar Roof Installation Warranty Prog.||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S987||St Oceanographer-estab. position||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S988||Wind energy proj., qual.-BPU approval||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S992||Women-concerns equal pay||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S993||Suppl. Nutrition Assist. Prog-time limit||2RS||2/4/2016|
|S995||Uniform Interstate Family Support Act||2RS||2/8/2016|
|SCR38||Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act||2RS||2/4/2016|
|SCR47||Suppl. Nutrition Assist Prog-time limits||2RS||2/4/2016|
|SJR11||Elections Tech. Study-13 memb task force||2RS||2/4/2016|
|SR19||Career and Tech Ed Mo.-desig. Feb. 2016||2RS||2/4/2016|
Holzapfel, McGuckin & Wolfe Combat Rise in Fentanyl Deaths, Upping Penalties for Manufacturing, Dealing the Opioid
Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean) has introduced legislation to increase criminal penalties for unlawfully manufacturing, distributing or dispensing fentanyl – a prescription opioid found to be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. The lifesaving measure has received support in the Assembly, with fellow District 10 legislators Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe sponsoring the Assembly version of the bill.
“The evidence is undeniable – fentanyl is so dangerously potent that even one use can be an instant death sentence,” Holzapfel, a former Ocean County Prosecutor, said. “As we continue to wage war against this crisis, we must ensure that those who unlawfully place this deadly drug in the hands of our loved ones and neighbors face the same criminal penalties as those who manufacture or dispense heroin.”