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TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), along with a bi-partisan group of women legislators from the Senate and Assembly, held a press conference at the Meadowlands Sports Complex today to call for stronger action in response to the recent cases of domestic violence in the National Football League and the failure of the league to appropriately respond.

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Cho: Garrett silent when needed after Sandy, silent on questions now

Garrett Hiding From Media & Constituents as Unfounded Sandy Claims Come Home to Roost

Ridgewood, NJ -- After four days of growing criticism regarding a misleading campaign mail piece in which he outlandishly crowned himself a “leader” in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, Tea Party incumbent Scott Garrett is still in hiding, leaving an aide to answer questions that only further highlight his failure to help northern New Jersey constituents in the wake of the storm.

“Scott Garrett needs to come out of hiding and explain to all the families affected by the most destructive storm to ever hit our state how his inaction and refusal to support relief until the very last minute qualifies as 'leading the effort,'" said Cho. "When our families needed him most Garrett could not be found. If New Jersey families really are his priority, why won't he answer their questions now?”

“He hasn’t directly responded to criticism about his disingenuous mailers or his misleading TV ad. He won’t debate. Perhaps he’ll come out of hiding now that it’s obvious that the public isn’t buying his outlandish claims regarding Hurricane Sandy. It’s time to face the music about his extremist, out-of-touch record and be directly accountable,” said Cho.

A story in The Record notes that Garrett remained silent and left other representatives to argue the case when Speaker Boehner delayed a vote on the Sandy aid package.

A bill Garrett sponsored concerning flood insurance claims represented only 16 percent of the $60 billion in damage done by Hurricane Sandy. The legislation only benefited holders of flood insurance policies but did nothing for the many home and business owners who suffered significant losses and either did not have, or were ineligible for, coverage. Further, the flood insurance program did not cover the damage to public infrastructure -- buckled roads, washed-out bridges, and compromised sewer, gas, and water lines -- wrecked by the floodwaters.

According to The Record, Garrett also was the only representative from New Jersey, New York or Connecticut who did not sign a letter immediately following the storm to House leadership saying additional aid might be needed and asking for "strong bipartisan support." The report also says Garrett "was not sure if he would support" the final relief bill "as late as the day before" the bill was passed by the House.

Cho said it would be irresponsible for a “leader” to leave thousands of constituents on the brink of financial ruin to make repairs to their homes and businesses, and then to make property taxpayers pick up the costs for local infrastructure repairs.

“If Scott Garrett thinks that simply ignoring this campaign will make it -- or me – go away, he’s very mistaken,” said Cho. “His continued silence only proves how out of touch his extreme, Tea Party views are with the people of northern New Jersey he purportedly represents. But then again, that’s probably why he refuses to respond to anyone or debate me. Hiding may seem to be the best way to keep people from knowing the truth, but in Scott Garrett’s case his absence of public interaction is more telling than anything else. He’s afraid of facing the voters -- and me.”

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Reserve Your Spot Now for Bramnick Cyber Security Discussion with Homeland Security on Oct. 20

Reserve Your Spot Now for Bramnick Cyber Security Discussion with Homeland Security on Oct. 20
Event open to public at Kean University

(Trenton, NJ) - Members of the public are encouraged to make a reservation now for a public discussion Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick will hold on cyber security with state Homeland Security officials on Monday, Oct. 20, at Kean University.

Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, will lead the discussion with experts on how the public and corporations can protect themselves from cyber security theft.

The 1 p.m. event will be held in the STEM Auditorium, Room 221. To reserve a seat today, please call Glen Beebe in the Assembly Republican Office at 609-847-3400 or email GBeebe@njleg.org.

The summit is in response to recent security breaches at major stores that have affected millions of credit and debit cardholders. Home Depot reported a data breach earlier this month that involved 56 million credit and debit cards in the U.S. and Canada. Other stores, including Target and PF Changs, have experienced similar security breaches.

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Lesniak and Kyrillos Announce Fast Track Sports Betting Legislation

TRENTON – Countering the latest attempt by the professional sports leagues to prevent New Jersey from allowing sports betting, Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) announced on Tuesday the planned introduction of legislation that will bolster the state’s legal position.

 The bill, which will be officially introduced at the Senate’s next session, would explicitly abolish language in state law that prohibits sports betting, a move that would reinforce the state attorney general’s effort to lift the injunction preventing the state from moving forward on plans to allow casinos and racetracks to accept wagers on sporting events. The measure would also prohibit the transport of sports-betting equipment across state lines and set an age requirement of 21 years old.

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Dancer Bipartisan Bill Secures Funds to Educate Children of Military Families

Assemblyman Ron Dancer is securing millions of dollars in federal money for the education of military members’ children in New Jersey under a bipartisan bill he sponsors that was approved today by the General Assembly. 

The bill, A-1286, would allow school districts to establish a special account using federal dollars to offset the loss of property taxes from federal property. Under the bill, the state would be prevented from reducing education aid because of the federal funds. 

“This will benefit property taxpayers and communities that host military bases,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “It is the right thing to do from a moral and economic standpoint,” said Dancer. “It protects millions of dollars of educational funding for the children whose families are fighting to keep us safe. New Jersey will set a national example by committing to use these funds for what they are intended – educating the children of our brave men and women in the armed forces,” Dancer continued. 

According to the Office of Legislative Services, approximately 16 of 21 New Jersey counties have school districts that receive the federal funds. 

“We need to act quickly and make sure our schools serving these military families don’t lose these federal dollars,” said Dancer, adding that the legislation is critical because the federal government would be more likely to preserve funding in states that ensure the dollars would go toward educational costs of military families, rather than balancing state budgets. 

Dancer’s legislative district includes several school districts that receive federal impact aid. 

The bipartisan bill is also sponsored by Bob Andrejczak and Troy Singleton.

School Districts Receiving Federal Impact Aid in FY 2012 & FY 2013




Impact Aid (FY 2012)

Impact Aid (FY 2013)






Atlantic City




Allendale Bor.




New Hanover Twp.




North Hanover Twp.




Northern Burlington Regional




Pemberton Twp.




Camden City



Cape May

Cape May City




Hoboken City




Trenton City




Robbinsville Twp.




Edison Twp.




Colts Neck Twp.




Eatontown Bor.




Long Branch City




Monmouth Regional




Tinton Falls




Morris School District




Rockaway Twp.




Lakehurst Bor.




Plumsted Twp.




Little Falls Twp.




Salem City




Watchung Hills Regional




Kittatinny Regional




Montague Twp.




Sandyston-Walpack Twp.




Phillipsburg Town



Information provided by OLS using data from the Department of Education


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Farmers to Benefit from DiMaio-McHose Measure

Farmers to Benefit from DiMaio-McHose Measure

(Trenton, NJ) - Legislation Assemblyman John DiMaio and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose sponsor, that allows 16-year-olds with agricultural driver’s licenses to operate farm vehicles without adult supervision, today won General Assembly approval.

“Farming is very much a family business and often, in this economy, everyone needs to help,” said DiMaio, R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset. “These limited use driver’s licenses allow teenaged family members to provide assistance that is vital to the farm’s operations.”

The graduated driver license program, established in 2001, significantly changed the driving privileges of permit holders and new licensees. The changes undermine the purpose and value of an agricultural driver’s license by requiring 16-year-old permit holders to be supervised by a licensed driver over the age of 21.

The DiMaio-McHose bill, A-535, exempts teens with agricultural driver’s licenses from the restriction, but requires they complete an approved minimum six-hour behind-the-wheel driver training course and display a special lerner’s permit decal on their license plate.

“This restriction makes the agricultural driver’s license for teens virtually useless,” stated McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “Many of our farmers rely on their family members to help work their farms. Lifting this restriction for this very specific population will help ease an undue burden on our farmers.”

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Rible-Auth Bill Changes Response Rate for Firefighters to Receive Death Benefit

Rible-Auth Bill Changes Response Rate for Firefighters
to Receive Death Benefit

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Dave Rible and Robert Auth changing the percentage of responses needed to be made by paid and volunteer firefighters in order to receive a death benefit provided by the State Fireman’s Association was approved by the Assembly today. 

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Rible-Sponsored Resolution Supporting Israel Passes Assembly

Rible-Sponsored Resolution Supporting Israel Passes Assembly

Trenton, NJ - Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, who is a primary sponsor of Assembly Resolution 154, which expresses support for the State of Israel in defending itself against attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization, said he was pleased the bill received unanimous approval in the Assembly today.





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Brown Resolution Supporting Israel’s Right to Defend Itself Passes Assembly

Brown Resolution Supporting Israel’s Right
to Defend Itself Passes Assembly 

With overwhelming bi-partisan support, a resolution introduced by Assemblyman Chris Brown expressing support for the state of Israel’s right to defend itself terrorism passed the Assembly today. 

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Kean Disappointed with Court Decision Releasing State Trooper Murderer

Kean Disappointed with Court Decision Releasing
State Trooper Murderer

Assemblyman Sean Kean said he is extremely disappointed with an Appellate Court decision today releasing Sundiata Acoli (a.k.a. Clark Edward Squire) on parole. Acoli was convicted in the 1973 slaying of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Joanne Chesimard, who was also convicted in the killing, escaped to Cuba where she is now in hiding.

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Assembly Approves Muñoz Bill to Reduce Hospital Re-admissions

Assembly Approves Muñoz Bill to Reduce Hospital Re-admissions

To reduce costly hospital re-admissions, Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors legislation that encourages patients to designate a caregiver for their post hospital care. The measure won approval today from the General Assembly.

“Nationwide, we spend $17 billion in Medicare funds annually on unnecessary hospital re-admissions. In New Jersey, we have a surging population of older adults and others who require long-term assistance and services,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “This measure will enhance patient care by enabling caregivers to provide better support to their loved ones at home and avoid costly hospital readmissions.”

The bill, A-2955, requires hospitals to provide patients and their legal guardians with an opportunity to designate a caregiver following the patient’s entry into the hospital and prior to discharge or transfer to the patient’s residence. A named caregiver is not obligated to perform any after-care assistance for the patient.

According to the AARP:

• 69 percent of care recipients did not have a home visit by a health care professional after discharge from the hospital;

• 46 percent of family caregivers perform medical/nursing tasks for loved ones with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions; and

• most family caregivers report that they receive little or no training to perform their tasks.

Under the bill, hospitals will be required to provide caregivers with instructions in all after-care assistance tasks as per the discharge plan, including a live or recorded demonstration of the tasks performed by an individual designated by the hospital and opportunity for the caregiver to ask questions about the tasks.

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First Public ‘Recovery High School’ In NJ To Open

Union – The first public “Recovery High School” in New Jersey will open on Tuesday in Union County with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the new facility that will provide an environment where “education and recovery go hand in hand,” according to Senator Raymond Lesniak, who worked with the Prevention Links advocacy group to establish the school.

 “This will be a school where students with alcohol or drug problems receive the help and support they need to stay in recovery and be free of the peer pressure to drink or to use drugs again,” said Senator Lesniak, who will participate in the school opening. “More than 80 percent of students with substance abuse problems do not graduate if they remain in the same environment. Without a safe haven, they will end up in our prisons or worse.”

 The school – which Senator Lesniak believes could be a model for the state - will be part of the Union County Vocational School system, located in a facility provided by Kean University.


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The NJFMBA: Saving Lives For Minimal Costs

The public has been misinformed that firefighters are the core of high property taxes, but in reality we are such a minimal portion of the tax bill. Our new campaign provides the eye-opening facts,” said Ed Donnelly, President of the NJFMBA.

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Ridgewood NJ -- Roy Cho, candidate for Congress in the 5th District, today blasted Tea Party incumbent Scott Garrett for having the audacity to send Bergen County residents a campaign mailpiece which rewrites his record on Hurricane Sandy to deceive voters.

The mailpiece, which landed in local mailboxes yesterday, claims Garrett was “leading the effort in Washington” for Sandy relief and “speeded recovery money to residents.” In reality, Garrett had to be dragged, nearly kicking and screaming, to support relief for Sandy victims while other New Jersey representatives actually did the hard work.

“Scott Garrett really must think his constituents have short memories to forget his foot-dragging and silence in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,” said Cho. “When our state needed leaders, Scott Garrett was nowhere to be found. It’s beyond incomprehensible that Scott Garrett would actually have the nerve to send political mail to constituents who were displaced from their homes in hopes they will forget he laid down on the job when they needed his help.”

Garrett was the only New Jersey representative to fail to sign a letter urging the House leadership to take bipartisan action to help storm victims. He told CNN “I have a problem" with Sandy aid, and, when interviewed by CNBC he alluded that federal aid for storm victims was “wasteful spending."

More than two full months after Sandy hit our shores, Garrett said he was "still looking" at whether to support the Sandy aid package while other area representatives were highly vocal in criticizing Speaker John Boehner for pushing back a vote which further delayed releasing aid to victims. Garrett only voted in favor of federal disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy after the intervention of fellow New Jersey Republicans.

The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran wrote that “Garrett seems to have lost sight of the fact that his job during a crisis like this is to help his constituents recover.”

“Just when you think Scott Garrett has reached the height of hypocrisy, he goes ahead and raises the bar,” said Cho. “He has gone to tremendous lengths to cover over his record of failing seniors, women, and veterans as one of the country's leading Tea Party extremists, but his efforts to take credit for providing Sandy relief when he had to be shamed into grudgingly helping his constituents are simply appalling.”

“It’s no wonder he doesn’t want to debate the issues as it will expose him as the ideological Tea Party extremist he is,” said Cho. “The truth is that Scott Garrett has spent his entire political career putting partisanship before people, choosing to hurt his own constituents to improve his standing within the Tea Party. He is simply not telling the truth about the choices he has made and their impact on voters as Election Day gets closer.”

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Bramnick Pleased Shaneen Allen Allowed to enter Pre-Trial Intervention

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick issued the following statement on the compromise reached by Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain and Shaneen Allen that allows her to be admitted into the county’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program.

“I am pleased that an agreement was reached by the Atlantic County prosecutor and Shaneen Allen. New Jerseyans are fair people and I am convinced there will be wide-ranging support for the compromise.”


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TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement on Thursday in response to the release of the report by the administration’s Pension Study Commission:

 “The reforms that the governor so frequently praised in the past for restoring the fiscal stability of the pension system were built on the commitment we made and that he is now trying to abandon. As I have said repeatedly, the answer to the problem is to keep our commitment to a full payment.

 “This report adds nothing new to what we know about the system and why Governor Christie should live up to his promise to make his required contribution. The employees are paying their share, he should do the same.”

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Rumana: Fixing the TTF Will Require Stable Funding Sources

Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana, the ranking member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said it’s encouraging that a wide cross-section of like-minded individuals and groups are now ready to address reforming the state’s transportation funding system. Rumana made his comments following Wednesday’s special Assembly Transportation Committee meeting on transportation funding at Montclair University. 

“Yesterday’s hearing was a good first step to come together to find a way to solve our state’s transportation needs,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Morris and Somerset. “Rebuilding our roads and bridges and maintaining our transit system must be a priority. It’s not only a matter of public safety, but it’s also vital to the future economic growth of our state. I look forward to working with my colleagues and others in meeting this challenge.” 

Rumana said the ability to move goods efficiently is directly tied to the state’s economic competitiveness. 

“The economic benefits of fixing our transportation network will reverberate throughout our economy,” continued Rumana. “It will have a direct and positive impact on several important industries, including manufacturing, retail and tourism.” 

The next hearing will be held Tuesday, October 16 at Rutgers University. 


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Pennacchio: Stop Treating South Jersey Residents Like Second-Class Citizens

Senator Bashes Double-Standard for Port Authority Reform Legislation

Senate Transportation Committeeman Joe Pennacchio said the New Jersey legislature must stop neglecting its responsibility to serve all residents and start passing legislation to ensure accountable and transparent port authorities at both ends of the state.

“The escalating turmoil and troubles at the Delaware River Port Authority clearly show the need for New Jersey’s Senate to join Pennsylvania’s in unanimously passing bipartisan-supported reform bill S-2013,” Pennacchio said. “It’s mind boggling that we could come together here in New Jersey to unanimously pass needed reforms for the similarly troubled Port Authority of New York and New Jersey yet completely fail to act on legislation to bring the same level of accountability and trust to the DRPA.”

The Pennsylvania Senate approved an identical version of Senator Pennacchio’s legislation, S-2013, by a vote of 50-0 on Wednesday.

Continue Reading…

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AFP Urges Legislature to Stand for Debt Accountability

TRENTON – Americans for Prosperity, the state’s leading advocate for taxpayers, is urging members of the Legislature to override Gov. Christie’s absolute veto of a measure aimed at providing policymakers and the public with a detailed analysis of the state’s indebtedness.

AFP state director Daryn Iwicki has issued the following statement:

“Rare is the time in Trenton when members of both parties agree in unanimous fashion on common sense legislation. The passage of A961/S1739, requiring an annual ‘State debt affordability analysis’, is such an instance.


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Cho calls for immediate lowering of speed limit for 'oil trains,' incentives for hauling industry to swiftly replace, upgrade cars

Ridgewood NJ -- Roy Cho, candidate for Congress in the 5th District, today joined with state and local officials committed to mitigating the danger to local communities posed by outdated rail tanker cars full of highly explosive Bakken crude oil by calling for an immediate lowering of the speed limit trains hauling the volatile fuel can travel in highly populated areas.

Cho called on the federal Department of Transportation to implement an immediate 25 miles per hour limit on all trains pulling the DOT-111 tanker cars through residential areas or within 1500 feet of a housing development. Under currently proposed regulations, the current cars would be limited to 40 miles per hour, a speed Cho said is better left for the updated, secure tankers.

Cho also called for financial incentives for haulers to retrofit or replace the current fleet of T-111s before the expiration of any regulatory deadline to do so. Under the proposed federal regulation, the current iteration of DOT-111s -- which are outdated -- would be phased out entirely and replaced by more secure tankers within two years.

Currently, the trains travel through the communities of Bogota, Bergenfield, Closter, Dumont, Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, and Teaneck on their way to refineries located in Central Jersey and south.

Cho made the following statement:

“From Quebec to Virginia, we have seen the extreme damage that trains loaded with Bakken crude carried in outdated tankers can inflict on communities when something goes wrong on the rails. We cannot wait another two years for these tanker cars -- the railroad equivalent of the Chevy Corvair and Ford Pinto combined -- to be retired and for our communities to be able to live and sleep with confidence. We need strong, immediate action to make our communities safer.

“Federal officials are calling for a speed limit of 40 miles per hour for these tanker cars through populated areas. That’s still too fast, especially when we know that speed can be an influencing factor in the severity of accidents linked to the current tankers. We must do better by our residents by lowering the speed limit through urban and highly populated suburbs to no more than 25 miles per hour.

“Further, we must incentivize the retirement of these cars on a timetable much quicker than the one envisioned by federal transportation officials and regulators. We cannot allow haulers to wait out any phase-out to save a few bucks while keeping our communities at risk from these outdated takers. We should provide a corporate tax incentive to haulers for every DOT-111 newly retired or retrofitted prior to six months before the regulatory deadline.

“Together, these proposals can protect our communities and ensure the continued economic viability of our state’s refining industries. They are the type of common sense solutions that are so lacking in Washington today, and which I hope to bring to the Capitol as a member of Congress.”

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 30th

Dems fail to pry sufficient number from abstemious GOP caucus to pass debt report bill TRENTON - The Assembly this afternoon could not summon the necessary votes to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of A961, as Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) prevented Democrats - some of them outraged...


Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >


In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).



Which of these "Mount Rushmore of Corruption" states deserves the centerpiece?:


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