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Senator Anthony Bucco

Erin’s Law Hits Gov’s Desk: Bucco Bill Would Bring Child Sex Abuse Prevention Education to Every NJ Classroom

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Senate sponsor, survivors, & advocates laud final Legislative passage of bill inspired by child sex abuse survivor & national advocate, Erin Merryn.

The New Jersey General Assembly has passed “Erin’s Law,” legislation long-sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco to require all school districts to incorporate age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention and awareness education into the NJ Student Learning Standards, formerly known as the core curriculum, for students in grades Pre-K through 12. S-1130/A-769 passed the State Senate on March 25, 2019 and now heads to the Governor’s desk for final approval. If signed, Erin’s Law would take effect in the first school year following the date the law is enacted.

Today’s advancement of  the bill follows a years-long effort by Senator Bucco, Erin Merryn – the survivor for whom the bill is named– and a number of other local advocates, who have worked together to ensure every child in New Jersey has the tools they need to recognize and report sexual abuse.

Erin’s Law, sponsored by Sen. Bucco, would require NJ schools to teach kids in grades Pre-k through 12 about sexual assault. The bill is named for Erin Merryn, a survivor and national advocate. (Photo Courtesy of Erin Merryn)

“Every child should understand how to recognize and report sexual abuse. Teaching kids not to talk to strangers isn’t enough when their abuser could be hiding in plain sight. 93 percent of kids know their attacker. They need age-appropriate safe-touch education,” Senator Bucco said. “We have spent years fighting for Erin’s Law, and we won’t stop until every child, in every New Jersey classroom, has access to this lifesaving information. Governor Murphy – please do not let another school year go by without helping us get this signed into law.”

Some private schools in New Jersey are already voluntarily providing safe-touch educational resources that are similar to those that would be mandatory under Senator Bucco’s Erin’s Law. In one New Jersey case, the availability of this critically-important knowledge is already having an impact.

“What makes me feel good about this law getting passed is that other kids, like me, can speak up about what is happening to them by any unsafe adult, or anyone. This law being passed will allow all children in New Jersey to see, and more likely to help them understand the importance of where it is safe & unsafe to touch. This will help kids going through abuse not be afraid to say something about it. Thank you Senator Bucco for helping all New Jersey children,” a child, who after receiving a “safe-touch” lesson at a New Jersey private school subsequently reported her abuser, said. (The child is choosing to remain anonymous in this statement, due to their status as a minor and a survivor of sexual assault.)

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on Port Authority Bus Terminal Expansion Plans

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, a member of the Port Authority Bus Terminal Bi-State Elected Officials Working Group, released the following statement on today’s announcement regarding plans to expand the Port Authority Bus Terminal:

Sen. Tom Kean, a member of the Port Authority Bus Terminal Bi-State Elected Officials Working Group, reacts to news of plans to expand the terminal. (Flickr)

“After years of advocacy, I am relieved to finally see plans for an expansion of the Port Authority Bus Terminal move forward today. It’s the right and essential thing to do for the tens of thousands of commuters who rely on the terminal to get to and from work safely.

“We will continue to fight for the infrastructure upgrades that are critical to keeping our region a beacon of opportunity and a national engine of economic growth, including this long overdue expansion, and the Gateway Tunnel.

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District 9

Connors, Rumpf & Gove: Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge Project is the Remarkable Engineering Achievement that Ocean County Deserves

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Manahawkin: Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove today joined in a celebration of the successful completion of the reconstruction of the Old Causeway Bridge and the rehabilitation of Hilliards Thorofare Bridge – part of the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project, by marking the historic occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony led by NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.

District 9 lawmakers celebrate the completion of the reconstruction of the Old Causeway Bridge and the rehabilitation of Hilliards Thorofare Bridge – part of the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project, at a ribbon cutting ceremony led by NJDOT Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti. (SenateNJ.com)

Connors, Rumpf and Gove made the following remarks regarding the significant announcement:

“This project is a long time coming for many Ocean County residents and tourists, especially those living on Long Beach Island for whom the Causeway is the only means of egress and ingress to and from the mainland.

“More than a decade ago, our Delegation introduced legislation, at the request of a former NJDOT Commissioner, to appropriate $150 million to get the Route 72 Causeway Bridges Project moving. The catastrophic damage caused by Superstorm Sandy underscored, in graphic detail, how the Causeway is a critical infrastructure lifeline, especially in the event that a coastal evacuation order is issued.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

TOMORROW 5/23: Senator Pennacchio to Hold a Fusion Energy Symposium

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Sen. Joe Pennacchio will hold a symposium on fusion energy with leaders from academia and industry TOMORROW, Thursday, May 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the State House Annex, Committee Room 6.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio will hold a symposium on fusion energy with leaders from academia and industry at the State House Annex TOMORROW, May 23. (SenateNJ.com)

Pennacchio is a long-time advocate of the development of fusion as an energy source and has sponsored legislation in the New Jersey State Senate encouraging the support and development of fusion power.

Achieving commercial development of fusion energy would revolutionize the world economy. It would signal a new era of economic and scientific development worldwide. July 20th is the anniversary of the American achievement of landing men on the moon. What better time to assess the needs and funding for a new great achievement – by the United States, and now with other countries around the world?

Who: Senator Joe Pennacchio; experts from national laboratories, businesses, and researchers in the field who will present their work, and share their knowledge of what is being undertaken, and what lies ahead.

What: Fusion Energy Symposium – Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) will sponsor a hearing on the topic: “What are the Prospects and Requirements for the Early Development of Fusion Energy, and what are the Implications for the U.S., New Jersey, and the World?”

Where: State House Annex, Committee Room 6

When: TOMORROW, Thursday, May 23, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Senator Mike Doherty

Doherty: Pharmaceuticals are poisoning NJ’s water supply, putting families at risk. We must act now.

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In response to reports demonstrating that the water supply is awash with pharmaceutical pollutants, Senator Michael Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset) is renewing his call for action on legislation he has long-sponsored to protect families statewide from the harmful effects of consuming contaminated water.

The United States EPA, in a conjunction with Riverkeeper and Cornell University, have confirmed that the Hudson River is heavily-polluted by commonly-prescribed pharmaceuticals such as anti-depressants, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications.

Pharmaceutical pollution is severely impacting all manner of water ecosystems and resources, according to a May 2019 report by The Atlantic. The resulting contamination of marine life also poses a threat to the commercial fishing industry.

Sen. Mike Doherty is calling for action on legislation he has sponsored for more than a decade to combat pharmaceutical water contamination, in response to mounting reports of polluted waterways. (Pixabay)

“Everyone, regardless of where they live, should have the right to clean water,” Senator Doherty (R-23) said. “I’ve sponsored a bill for at least 10 years to study and combat pharmaceutical pollution, and although it passed out of committee last year, it has never reached the Senate floor.

“It is incredibly disappointing that so few environmental groups have joined the effort to remove pharmaceutical pollutants from our water. The consequences for further delays are dire.

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Senator Kristin Corrado

District 40 Lawmakers Fight to Change Mail-in-ballot Laws to Prevent Fraud on Election Day

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In light of new reports that State law enforcement officials are investigating a number of vote-by-mail ballots cast after polls closed in Tuesday’s Cedar Grove municipal election, District 40 lawmakers Senator Kristin Corrado and Assemblymen Kevin Rooney and Christopher DePhillips today announced that they will introduce new legislation to upgrade penalties and bar anyone from filing official and completed absentee ballots after polls close on Election Day.

The legislation, which will be formally introduced in both houses shortly, would correct action taken by Governor Murphy in 2018 that drastically changed the mail-in-ballot process in New Jersey. The new District 40 bill would apply to both primary and general elections statewide.

Following reports that vote-by-mail ballots were cast after polls closed in Tuesday’s Cedar Grove municipal election, District 40 lawmakers will introduce new legislation to upgrade penalties and bar anyone from filing official and completed absentee ballots after polls close on Election Day. (©iStock)

“Anyone who has the audacity to bang on doors at 10:30 p.m. to round up extra votes has no business serving in government. That’s an egregious violation of public trust,” Senator Corrado said. “Until we take corrective action to limit the overreach of these new mail-in-ballot laws, people like Harry Kumburis will continue to exploit the system – and they won’t always be caught on tape. There is no greater threat to our local democracy than a candidate who is so consumed by power that they will do anything to win. Let’s fix this law now, before another election is put in jeopardy.”

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Senator Chris Brown

Brown Bill to Help Lower the Cost of College Now Law

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Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill sponsored by State Senator Chris Brown to achieve savings for middle-class families by requiring New Jersey’s colleges and universities to offer open license and freely available textbooks to students.

Sen. Chris Brown’s legislation to make college more affordable for middle-class families through the use of open source and freely available textbooks has been signed into law. (SenateNJ.com)

“Paying for college is a never ending experience in sticker shock for middle class families,” Brown said. “While the conversation to make college more affordable starts with tuition, we have to include the outrageous cost of textbooks.”

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Senator Bob Singer

Singer’s Bill to Provide Job Protection for NJ’s National Guard Members Advances

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Senator Bob Singer’s (R-30) legislation to ensure New Jersey National Guard members retain their civilian jobs throughout and after a State emergency has passed the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs committee.

Sen. Bob Singer’s legislation to ensure New Jersey National Guard members retain their civilian jobs throughout and after a State emergency unanimously has passed the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs committee. (WikiMedia)

“No employer, especially the State of New Jersey, should discriminate against an employee if they are called to serve during a State emergency,” Singer said. “Our National Guard members should never have to choose between serving their country, and maintaining their civilian career. These heroes should come home to their job, and we should be proud and thankful for their sacrifices.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Seeks to Elevate Conversation with New Medical Cannabis Bill

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) released details of his “wish list” medical marijuana program expansion legislation.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon released details of his “wish list” medical marijuana program expansion legislation. (Pixabay)

“I’ve worked with stakeholders over the last several months on this legislation. I included things I’d love to see in our final bill but realize, now that there is general agreement that we will quickly be moving something forward, that I won’t get everything I want. If this bill does nothing but spur conversation I’m fine with that,” said O’Scanlon “While I do support S-10, this is my wish list for the medical program revision. There are numerous policy changes in my legislation that we should consider now that we have several years of data on our existing program’s strengths and challenges.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman Statement on Princeton Dinky Line Reopening

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Senator Kip Bateman (R-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) released the following statement on the reopening of NJ Transit’s Dinky Line in Princeton.

Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery at a May 14 ceremony marking the reopening of the line.

Sen. Kip Bateman joins fellow local leaders to mark the May 14th reopening of the Dinky Line in Princeton. (SenateNJ.com)

 Hello and thank you for having me. I am so glad to see the Princeton Dinky Line reopen today.

NJ Transit’s three month hiatus should never have turned into an eight month halt. It was incredibly unfair to the people who utilize the Dinky on a daily basis. There is no doubt that this has been a very frustrating time for commuters and travelers in our area.

I commend the “Save the Dinky” group for their advocacy and determination to have the line restored as soon as possible. Please give yourselves a round of applause! My colleagues and I also worked together on a bipartisan basis, alongside your amazing local leaders, to support your efforts to end the shut down and get this train back on track – but we couldn’t have done it without you.

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Kristin Corrado

District 40

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Steven Oroho

District 24

Declan O'Scanlon

District 13

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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