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SENATOR TURNER REQUESTS ACTION PLAN TO IMPROVE MINORITY RECRUITMENT AMONG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) released the following statement today in response to the report that the State Police graduated fewer minorities in the 154th graduating class.  According to recent news articles, the 154th graduating class saw a 20 percent drop in minority graduates.

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Allen Announces Legislation, Photo Contest to Save Animals in Need of a Home

Senator Diane Allen, joined by her colleagues Senators Jennifer Beck, Joe Kyrillos, Anthony Bucco, Robert Singer, Dawn Addiego, Joe Pennacchio, Steven Oroho and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr., announced legislation and a photo contest to save animals in need of a home.

In an effort to encourage more residents to consider adopting a sheltered or rescued animal, Senator Allen and her colleagues are sponsoring legislation to recognize the month of September each year as “New Jersey Adopt a Shelter Pet Month.” To coincide with the legislation, Senator Allen (R-7) and Senators Beck (R-11), Kyrillos (R-13), Bucco (R-25), Singer (R-30), Addiego (R-8) and Pennacchio (R-26) are holding a photo competition (details below), highlighting local shelter or rescue animals.

“Shelters and rescue agencies have too many animals without homes and not enough resources to support them,” said Allen. “I hope by designating September as Adopt a Shelter Pet Month it can become a time each year filled with events promoting local shelters and a time where more and more animals find a loving, permanent home.”

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SWEENEY STATEMENT ON LABOR DAY

TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today as New Jersey heads into the Labor Day holiday weekend:

“As we enjoy time with our families during this holiday weekend, it is also important to remember what Labor Day represents. It’s about the struggle of people in this country to have safe working conditions and good wages. It’s about fighting for things in New Jersey like Paid Family Leave and an increase in the minimum wage.

“Organized labor has made significant strides in the last century, which we will proudly recognize during Peter J. McGuire Day.  And we also recognize the contributions of Paterson’s own Matthew Maguire. But there is always more that can be done.  We can ensure equal work for equal pay, raise the minimum wage across the nation - not just in New Jersey - and, we can keep the promise we made to workers that their pensions will be there for them when they retire.  All of these things are not only fair, but will continue to build on the progress already made by working people in this country.

“In the meantime, the barbeques will soon commence and folks will be heading to the shore, so I want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend. Summer went too fast, but the rest of the year holds great promise for New Jersey.”

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Fiocchi, Business Leaders Tackle Red Tape Issues

Fiocchi, Business Leaders Tackle Red Tape Issues

In Vineland today, Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi met with 40 area business owners to discuss way to improve the state’s regulatory environment. Fiocchi was joined by Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana, a member of Gov. Christie’s Red Tape Review Commission (RTRC).

The event, which took place at Cumberland County College, featured several business owners concerned about the burdensome red tape and government mandates that hamper job creation and investment.

“Instead of more bureaucracy and more red tape, we need to create an environment that nurtures businesses to grow and thrive,” said Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “We don’t want to wait for industries to come to us. We want to go to them and stay connected. Our main goal is to create more jobs and grow South Jersey’s economy.”

Fiocchi said he asked Rumana to join him for today’s meeting because as a RTRC member, he will be able to directly share the business owners’ input with the commission. Rumana has had several bills signed into law that eliminate unnecessary red tape and encourages entrepreneurs to create jobs.

“New Jersey’s regulatory culture is changing,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “We continue to make substantial progress in reducing onerous and burdensome red tape. By streamlining business-to-government interaction, we are creating a more hospitable climate for business. We still have more work to do, but as a small business owner, I know Sam understands the business community’s frustrations. They couldn’t ask for a better advocate in Trenton.”

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NJ State PBA and NJFMBA Back Pennacchio’s Plan to Allow Slots at Racetracks

Two of the states largest public sector unions have come out and endorsed SCR-134, a resolution sponsored by New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Essex/Passaic). SCR-134 is a proposed Constitutional amendment giving the Legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at New Jersey’s four racetracks.

The racinos would be run by a consortium of Atlantic City’s existing casinos. Fifty percent of those proceeds would be constitutionally dedicated to New Jersey’s public worker pension system, 40 percent would go to the consortium of Atlantic City casinos running the video slot machines and 10 percent would be provided for infrastructure and entertainment enhancements in Atlantic City.

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Cho: Rutgers study shows need to make Washington work

RUTGERS STUDY SHOWS NEED TO MAKE WASHINGTON WORK; INDICTS GRIDLOCK & DYSFUNCTION AS HURTING ECONOMIC, JOB GROWTH

Ridgewood, NJ -- Roy Cho, candidate for Congress in the 5th District, today pointed to a new study from Rutgers University as proof that Congress's narrow tunnel vision of gridlock and dysfunction has failed to improve the lives of Americans hurt by the recession. Instead, Washington needs to put partisan differences aside and get working to create good paying jobs and help hard working middle class families achieve long-term economic security.

The report from Rutgers’ Heldrich Center for Workforce Development -- "Unhappy, Worried and Pessimistic: Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession” -- surveyed more than 1,150 Americans and found an increasing skepticism in the economy, as most respondents said they continue to be behind where they were before the 2008 meltdown.

Cho pointed to the finding that 78 percent of respondents said they had little to no confidence in the ability of Washington to improve things as proof that Tea Party gridlock and dysfunction itself was imperiling the economic recovery and the American Dream.

“We know that Congress has gone off the rails when Americans see Washington as so detached from reality that it can no longer function to improve the lives of people,” said Cho. “We need a new way of economic thinking in the Capitol, and it has to be a view that neither party holds all the answers, and that our entire economy is interconnected. We need to finally realize that it will take private and public sector reinvestment working together to get things done.”

Cho pointed to long-term investments in public infrastructure as a move that would create good paying jobs, allow businesses to thrive and strengthen networks that commuters and businesses rely on as a strategy that can make a real positive impact on the lives of American families.

“The Tea Party view of any government spending as wasteful is as outdated as the view of some on the left that government has all the answers,” said Cho. “There are critical investments that government must make with the cooperation of the private sector that can create good paying jobs and strengthen the economic security of middle class families.

A total of 59 percent of respondents said they struggle under economic stress. Cho pointed to college loan debt as part of that finding, and the need for Congress to allow students to refinance their loans at lower interest rates and maintaining the federal grant programs that help offset the increasing cost of higher education.

“When we are graduating students from college with debt loads so monstrous that they cannot save and cannot become consumers, we stifle our economy,” said Cho. “We’re very close to having an entire generation of Americans being stuck in a Debtor Class, unable to make headway even in increasingly favorable economic conditions.”

Cho also noted that only 14 percent of those surveyed said they had been positively impacted by recent gains in the stock market, and only 7 percent said they are better off than before the recession hit, despite the fact that employers have been adding jobs at a pace not seen since the 1990s.

“During the last economic expansion, we had Congressional leaders who were able to put partisanship aside to work together to further that momentum and create the only balanced budgets we have seen in our lifetimes,” said Cho. “Today, we see a Congressional leadership has become seemingly content to do nothing and have a recovery that only improves the lives of a few while casting millions aside. That’s a failed way of governing, and I am committed to bringing us back to the political center that ensures everyone can realize their American Dream.”

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AFP: PINELANDS COMMISSION’S POSITION ON YOUTH SOCCER GAMES “ABSURD”

AFP: Pinelands Commission’s Position on Youth Soccer Games “Absurd”

MONMOUTH JUNCTION—Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey state director Daryn Iwicki took aim today at the Pinelands Commission for contending that youth soccer games violate the land’s deed restriction.

“The Pinelands Commission claiming that kids playing soccer violates the land’s deed restriction and would constitute more than ‘low-intensity recreational use’ is absurd beyond belief,” criticized AFP state director Daryn Iwicki.

 

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Fiocchi Says Soccer on Green Grass is Natural, Even in the Pinelands

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi today voiced his support for continuing youth soccer tournaments at farms in the Pinelands. 

“What possibly could be more natural than kids playing on lush fields of dense Kentucky bluegrass? I can’t think of anything better and more in keeping with preservation than recreational sports,” said Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. “Teams will come here and play soccer a couple weekends a year.” 

At a farm in Hammonton, soccer tournaments were recently hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Soccer Showcase League. The Pinelands Commission contends that soccer games violate the farm’s deed restriction, which allows for “low intensity recreational use.” 

“Occasional soccer games have low-impact, or no impact, on the environment,” said Fiocchi, the sponsor of legislation that would classify soccer as one of the recreational activities permitted on agriculture land in the Pinelands. “There’s no reason at all to prohibit these games.” 

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On the Net:
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SWEENEY STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF UNDERWOOD HOSPITAL NURSES RIGHT TO UNIONIZE

TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today in support of the effort by Underwood Hospital nurses in Woodbury to join the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the state’s largest healthcare union:

“A nurse’s life is not easy.  Usually the doctor runs away with all the glory, but it’s the nurses who tend to us everyday when we need care. They pull the all nighters.  So to me, you stand with those trying to create better working conditions and better services for patients.

“The nurses at Underwood are simply trying to make their working situation better – that in turn means better care for patients. I can’t see any legitimate reason to argue against that. As I have done with the nurses from Memorial Hospital in Salem, Underwood nurses will have my full support in their efforts.”

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Rible Lauds PSE&G’s Capital Project Creating Jobs

Rible Lauds PSE&G’s Capital Project Creating Jobs

Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, issued the following statement regarding the results of a Rutgers Study released today that shows PSE&G’s 10-year, $8.1 billion transmission investment program is an economic engine for New Jersey:

“PSE&G’s commitment to upgrading its infrastructure will result in better service and reliability for its customers. At the same time, it’s creating thousands of quality jobs from construction to manufacturing to retail and transportation. The many and varied benefits derived from this program will help to continue to drive economic growth for our state for years to come. I commend PSE&G for its role in helping build a better New Jersey.”

The report concludes that the transmission upgrades are responsible for creating 6,000 jobs annually, resulting in more than $4.3 billion in salary and benefits and more than $640 million in state and local government revenue.

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Dancer Bipartisan Bill Brings Common Sense to Gun Ownership

The legislation was prompted by the case of Shaneen Allen, a singe mother from Pennsylvania facing a possible 3 ½-year prison sentence

When a law-abiding citizen from another state visits New Jersey and that individual is in total compliance with their home state gun laws, under current New Jersey law, that individual faces a mandatory prison term of no less than 3 ½ years if he or she is not in compliance with N.J. law during the time of their visit. 

Assemblyman Ron Dancer wants to give courts sentencing discretion when a resident of another state has a legal gun permit in their home state with no known criminal record, behavior or intent and is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm while visiting in New Jersey, provided certain conditions are met .  

Dancer believes it is unreasonable to expect citizens to know and be aware of all the various nuances of 50 different States' gun laws. Dancer introduced bipartisan legislation, A-3608 on August 4 that permits a judge to consider whether there are mitigating circumstances in such cases before deciding on the appropriate punishment, rather than a mandatory, minimum prison term of no less than 42 months with no possibility of parole or even pre-trial intervention, especially for state visitors with no criminal record. 

“Each case of an illegal gun possession charge should be judged on the particular facts surrounding that case,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington , Monmouth and Middlesex. “The court should be able to consider if an out-of-state resident has a valid legal permit where they live. States have their own firearm laws and a person visiting N.J. may not be totally familiar with every aspect of New Jersey’s law. Judges should be allowed to use their discretion if there was no criminal record or intent.” 

The bipartisan legislation addresses instances such as the New Jersey man who moved back to the state from Colorado in 2009. After being stopped by law enforcement, the search of his car revealed two locked and unloaded handguns in the trunk, both of which were purchased legally in Colorado. He was sentenced to a seven-year prison term which was eventually commuted by Gov. Chris Christie. 

Also, according to National media accounts, a Pennsylvania woman, Shaneen Allen, was recently stopped by New Jersey police and voluntarily told them she had a handgun in her car which was legally purchased and registered in Pennsylvania. Shaneen Allen was quoted as saying she was not aware that her Pennsylvania home state permit was not valid in New Jersey and is now charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Her trial date is October 6. 

Dancer’s bill applies to residents from other states who are visiting N.J. and have a legal permit in their home state to possess the firearm, if required. The legislation applies only to handguns, rifles and shotguns. Under current law, New Jersey courts have no options and must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 42 months in prison with no discretion or consideration of the facts. 

This proposed bipartisan legislation A-3608 gives the court flexibility, depending upon the facts of the case, whether to impose a mandatory sentence or have the defendant enter into a pretrial intervention program if the defendant has no prior criminal record, no association with a criminal street gang and is in compliance with the handgun laws of their home state.

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On the Net:
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Abuse of the ADA Part of a Larger Problem

To attorneys who use the ADA and disabled plaintiffs as pawns in a get rich quick scheme, litigation has become the goal rather than the means to a greater end.

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SWEENEY STATEMENT ON WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY

TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today regarding Women’s Equality Day, a day which celebrates certification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States:

“Today is a day to celebrate the numerous achievements of women in our country and especially New Jersey. I would particularly like to acknowledge our Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, as well as Senators Allen, Addiego, Beck, Greenstein, Turner, Ruiz, Cunningham, Gill, and Pou for their continued contributions to our great state.

“The day also serves as a reminder, however, that true equality continues to elude woman in the United States, as they continue to make less than men for doing the exact same work.  So while we celebrate and reflect, let today also serve as a catalyst for pushing us towards wage equality, both here in New Jersey and across the country.”

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AFP APPLAUDS BI-PARTISAN PUSH TO ROLL BACK NEW JERSEY’S DEATH TAXES

AFP Applauds Bi-Partisan Push to Roll Back New Jersey’s Death Taxes

MONMOUTH JUNCTION—Americans for Prosperity, the state’s leading advocate for taxpayers, is praising the growing chorus of lawmakers who are seeking to roll back New Jersey’s unjust estate and inheritance taxes, or “death taxes”.

“AFP applauds Senator Oroho and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle for recognizing that our death taxes are morally unjust and that the time has come for New Jersey to do something about it,” stated AFP state director Daryn Iwicki.

 

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‘Farm to School’ Bill Package Sponsored by Brown, Fiocchi Signed into Law

Expanding access to nutritious, locally harvested food for school children, a package of five bills sponsored by Assembly Republicans Chris A. Brown and Sam Fiocchi was signed into law today. The bills further strengthen the New Jersey’s successful “Farm to School” program. 

“This is an opportunity to improve nutrition and promote healthy eating in our schools. Students can learn to appreciate the benefits and quality of food grown on local farms,” said Assemblyman Brown, R – Atlantic. “At the same time, the local economy gets a boost and we promote agriculture in the Garden State.” 

“Bringing more farm fresh food into school lunchrooms will benefit the local farmers and the economy. We can put just-picked fruits and vegetables in the hands of young children, and help them develop life-long healthy eating habits,” noted Assemblyman Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. 

The “Farm to School” package includes: 

  • A-2641 provides for voluntary contributions by taxpayers on gross income tax returns to support the “Farm to School” and “School Gardens” programs. 
  • A-2642 allows the Secretary of Agriculture to solicit and accept private and public money to support the state’s “Farm to School” program. 
  • A-2643 establishes the “Best in New Jersey ‘Farm to School’ Awards Program,” to annually recognize the outstanding “Farm to School” programs implemented by a school or school district. 
  • A-2644 creates a website clearinghouse connecting schools, school districts, food banks and farmers. 
  • A-156 requires the Dept. of Agriculture to post on the homepage of its website a hyperlink that provides visitors with direct access to the “New Jersey Farm to School” program. 

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Oroho Bills to Grow "Farm to School" Program Signed Into Law

Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho boosting New Jersey’s “Farm to School” program was signed into law today by Acting Governor Kim Guadagno.

The package of bills will raise the profile of the “Farm to School” program by increasing the program’s presence on the state’s website and foster expansion of the “Farm to School” program to more schools by allowing for private investment into the program and by recognizing successful programs established by schools.

“The ‘Farm to School’ program provides students with healthy, nutritious meals while at the same time giving a boost to the local farmers in our communities who grow these crops,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “By better promoting the program and allowing outside investment we can hopefully get even more ‘Jersey Fresh’ produce into cafeterias across the state. Bringing attention to and expanding this valuable program will give more students access to healthy lunch choices and help foster a deeper appreciation and knowledge of New Jersey’s important agriculture industry.”

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Students to Enjoy Farm Fresh Meals Courtesy of Dancer-Space-McHose Law

Students to Enjoy Farm Fresh Meals Courtesy
of Dancer-Space-McHose Law

A multi-bill package that gives children access to healthy school breakfasts and lunches from Jersey grown products was signed into law today. Assembly Republicans Ron Dancer, Parker Space and Alison McHose sponsored the bills that enhance the state’s successful “Farm to School” program. The program is administered by the Dept. of Agriculture and benefits students, food banks and New Jersey’s farmers.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... 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

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

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