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Senator Jim Holzapfel

Holzapfel Bill Addressing Mental Health Concerns Related to Firearms Purchasers Advances

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) addressing firearms purchases by those with histories of mental health issues has been approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Sen. Holzapfel’s bill would allow judges to hear from law enforcement when a person applies to have a mental health record expunged to become eligible to purchase a firearm. (©iStock)

The bill, S-2360/A-3593, requires law enforcement officials to be notified when a person applies to the court to have their mental health record expunged for the purposes of purchasing a firearm.

“Law enforcement officials are not currently involved in the determination of whether the mental health record of a prospective firearm purchaser should be expunged,” said Holzapfel. “This bill will ensure that police officers have the opportunity to inform judges of pending charges, criminal histories or abnormal behavior that may be relevant to determining whether it is safe for the applicant to own a firearm.”

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Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho: Gaming Should Be Expanded Statewide

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Senator Steven Oroho issued the following statement saying any referendum to expand gaming beyond Atlantic City should open the opportunity up to the whole state, not just specifically designated locations:

Sen. Steven Oroho said that any referendum to expand gaming beyond Atlantic City should open the opportunity up to the whole state. (Flickr)

“If gaming is going to be expanded beyond Atlantic City the opportunity should be opened up for the whole state so that entrepreneurs and industry experts can create successful ventures wherever the market will best allow,” said Oroho. “Specifying that any expansion has to occur in one or two specific locations will leave other successful opportunities, revenue and jobs off the table. While I support the idea of a full-scale casino at the Meadowlands, we should also expand gaming opportunities statewide. By creating more opportunities, we will help bring additional needed revenue and jobs to New Jersey while boosting equine, racetrack and tourism industries in communities across New Jersey, and provide additional funding to support essential state services.

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Senator Bob Singer
Senator Jim Holzapfel

Singer, Holzapfel Call for Public Hearings on Casino Expansion, Including Hearing for Monmouth and Ocean Counties

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Senate Republicans Robert Singer and Jim Holzapfel called for a series of public hearings across the state, including in Monmouth and Ocean counties, about the possible authorization of a casino outside of Atlantic City. To expand gambling beyond Atlantic City voters would need to approve a ballot question authorizing the expansion.

Sens. Singer and Holzapfel have called for a series of public hearings to discuss the possibility of expanding casino gaming beyond Atlantic City. (Flickr)

“Before this matter is put on a ballot for a vote or any gaming expansion is limited to one specific location we need to make sure residents across the state are given the opportunity to weigh in and hear how expanded gaming could benefit or impact their community,” said Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “One of those hearings should take place in Monmouth or Ocean counties, where I believe the addition of a casino would not only bring jobs to the local community but would add to the array of attractions that are already here and increase the appeal of the collective shore region.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman, Ciattarelli & Simon Pleased Manville Benefits from Blue Acres Buyout Program

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Sen. Kip Bateman, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon, all R-Somerset, Morris, Mercer and Middlesex, lauded Wednesday’s announcement by Gov. Christie that Manville is now a beneficiary of the Blue Acres Buyout Program. The program, which is overseen by the Department of Environmental Protection, allows willing homeowners to sell their houses at pre-Sandy market value. The home purchased in Manville is the 300th property acquisition since the program’s inception two years ago.

Manville will benefit from the Blue Acres Buyout Program, through which frequently flooded homes are purchased, razed and converted to open space. (Google Maps)

“This marks a fresh start for Manville residents, who now have the opportunity to live and raise families without the fear, stress and anxiety of bracing for the next natural disaster to destroy their homes,” Bateman said. “The Blue Acres Buyout Program gives homeowners here who have suffered through flood after flood a chance to sell their homes at a fair price. Converting some of these properties into open space will also go a long way to creating a natural buffer to protect against future flooding.”

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Senator Sam Thompson

Thompson: Senate GOP Seeking Analysis of Tax Policies

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The following editorial by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, was published by the Asbury Park Press:

Legislators and the Asbury Park Press in recent weeks have called for a greater transparent comparative analysis of the success of New Jersey’s tax incentive and economic development programs. I agree that there is a fiscal responsibility to review the cost and success of the state’s economic and business development programs and believe it’s equally important that there be greater analysis of how New Jersey’s incentives, taxes and business policies stack up against competing states.

Sen. Sam Thompson discusses Senate Republican efforts to analyze state tax policy in this editorial published by the Asbury Park Press. (SenateNJ.com)

The Legislature has the opportunity to achieve these goals by passing Senate Republican solutions to ensure proper scrutiny and analysis of New Jersey’s tax policies, incentive programs and overall business climate.

The Senate Republican leadership team recently culminated the rollout of a 36-bill economic growth and job creation bill package, including a series of bills to increase the employment and economic development data that’s available to state policy makers. None of these bills will cost taxpayers any extra money.

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Senator Kip Bateman
Senator Tom Kean

Editorial: A Senate Commitment to Widespread Recycling in NJ

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The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, ranking Republican member of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, on their legislation to urge expanded recycling efforts by government entities was published by the Star-Ledger on May 22, 2015:

Sen. Bateman (left) and Sen. Kean (right) visited TerraCycle’s Trenton facility on May 14, 2015, inspiring SR-130 which urges the implementation of recycling programs to keep commonly un-recycled and difficult-to-recycle items out of landfills and incinerators. (SenateNJ.com)

Every year in New Jersey, tens of millions of tons of solid waste are incinerated or deposited into landfills, posing a serious threat to the environment, public health and safety.

New Jersey’s growing landfills release toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater. Incinerated waste emits dangerous toxins and air pollutants.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Introduces Trio of Bills to Expand Opportunities for Craft Breweries in NJ

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean has introduced a trio of bills to expand opportunities for craft breweries, microbreweries and brew pubs to open, grow and succeed in New Jersey.

A flight of craft beer (Wikimedia).

Senator Kean’s S-2910 creates a state permit for local breweries to sell their products at community farm markets in municipalities that do not prohibit alcoholic beverages. Permits would be valid for one full year and issuance and renewal can be no more than $75.

“With warm-weather seasons upon us, this legislation provides countless and timely opportunities to help grow the state’s agriculture and tourism economies,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “It will draw more people to our attractions and eliminate prohibitions that limit how local breweries can develop and expand.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Senate Passes Kean’s Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Anti-Semitism & Rejecting Attempts to Justify Anti-Jewish Hatred

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A resolution sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr., Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg  and Senate President Steve Sweeney that condemns anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent attacks as acceptable expressions of disapproval over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere, was approved today by the Senate.

Child survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp upon their liberation in January 1945. (Wikimedia)

“With the rise of anti-Semitism, it is imperative we solidify a united front across political party lines and geographic borders that any acts of hatred and threats against Judaism will not be tolerated,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “The sponsors of this legislation and I are proud to set a strong tone for New Jersey and look forward to working with leaders in other states and nations to make sure we are helping to protect and empower victims of this religious persecution.”

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Senator Bob Singer

Senate Committee Clears Singer Bill Prohibiting Standardized Testing for Kindergarten Through Second Grade

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The Senate Education Committee advanced a bill sponsored by Senator Robert Singer to prohibit commercial standardized testing for students in kindergarten through second grade.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Robert Singer would prohibit commercial standardized testing for students in kindergarten through second grade. (Flickr)

The bill, S-2766, will protect New Jersey’s youngest students from being subjected to identical standardized assessments that are developed and scored by a commercial entity under contract with a board of education.

“While it is vital that teachers and administrators have the resources they need to track a child’s progress and ensure that students are ready for college and careers, many have expressed concern that children are being subjected to rigid, commercial standardized assessments at far too young an age,” said Senator Singer. “By passing legislation that prohibits schools from administering these assessments to students in this age group, we are ensuring that children can learn and grow in a nurturing environment, monitored and organized by the teachers and staff familiar with their individual needs.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Senate Advances Kean Bill to Criminalize Dog Fighting, Punish Ring Leaders

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The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Kean to create criminal offenses for dog fighting and leading dog fighting networks, and amend the RICO statute to include dog fighting.

Sen. Tom Kean’s legislation would create criminal offenses for dog fighting and leading dog fighting networks, and amend RICO statutes to include dog fighting. (SenateNJ.com)

“As authorities have attested, dog fighting is a barbaric crime that often extends far beyond animal murder or cruelty,” said Senator Kean. “Weapons and narcotics are frequently found at the scene of a fight, posing a threat to the safety and security of the community at large. Amending current racketeering laws to include dog fighting will give law enforcement the tools they need to combat this pervasive underground industry, where dangerous individuals bet tens of thousands of dollars on a single fight, as innocent animals suffer, starve and die in horrifyingly inhuman conditions.”

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony M. Bucco

District 25

Chris Connors

District 9

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

Holly Schepisi

District 39

Robert Singer

District 30

Michael Testa

District 1

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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