Author: NJ Assembly Republicans

Bramnick Seeks Hotline for Reporting Cyber Fraud

Source: NJ 101.5 -

If you saw or even suspected cyber fraud, would you know who to call to report it? Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick admits he wouldn’t.

That’s why Bramnick (R-Westfield) said he plans to introduce legislation to require the state to establish and promote a telephone hotline, dedicated solely for residents to report possible cyber fraud.

Jon Bramnick

“There should be one-stop shopping for cyberspace fraud,” Bramnick said. “I say cyberspace includes text messaging, Internet and email. We need one phone number, and we’re going to work with the (Christie) administration and the State Police and the Attorney General’s office to set that up through this legislation.”

Bramnick said the idea for the bill came as a result of a cyber security forum he recently hosted at Kean University. It became clear at the event, he said, that people don’t know where to report cyberspace crimes.

“Every time I go on the Internet there’s some request, some suggestion, some offer that I know — based on the wording — that it’s some sort of fraudulent endeavor, but I don’t know who to call,” he said. “You’re not going to call the local police. I’m not sure anyone knows who to call at the state. I think people really want to turn these wrongdoers in, but they don’t know where to turn.”

Who is the best recipient to filter complaint calls about cyber fraud? That’s still to be determined, Bramnick said.

Currently, residents can log on to the state Office of Consumer Protection‘s website and find a fraud complaint hotline, (973) 504-6200, but the idea behind Bramnick’s proposed measure is to statutorily create a cyber fraud-only hotline. The legislation would also require the state to promote and advertise the hotline.

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Fiocchi Says Paid Sick Leave is Not the Answer to Job Creation

Source: Cape May County Herald -

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi said the Assembly Labor Committee’s approval on Monday of a bill (A-2354) that requires private employers to provide paid sick days is another job-killing government mandate that is costly to small businesses.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“As a job creator who operated successful businesses for nearly 40 years, I know the negative impact that a paid sick mandate will have on employers and the businesses they operate,” said Fiocchi, R- Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “Businesses need the flexibility to manage their company efficiently.

“A successful business expands and creates jobs,” continued Fiocchi. “Mandating a minimum wage with annual increases, Obamacare and telling businesses to provide paid sick days does not create an atmosphere of economic growth. An unintended consequence of this legislation is that fewer jobs will be created as companies adjust to these government directives.”

A survey by the Employment Policies Institute last year revealed that employers in Seattle offset their costs to compensate for mandated paid sick days. Sixteen percent raised their prices, 18 percent reduced hours and staff and 17 percent passed on the increase in benefits to their employees or eliminated benefits they once offered. Surveys in San Francisco and Connecticut (which both mandate paid sick days) revealed similar results.

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Bramnick’s ‘Real Talk’ Tour: Getting the Job Done [video]

Source: Assembly Republican Video -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick takes his “Real Talk Tour” to Livingston to listen to local leaders’ ideas on how Trenton can help improve life for New Jersey residents.

Leader Bramnick was joined by: Livingston Mayor Michael Rieber, North Caldwell Mayor Joe Alessi, Roseland Councilman Richard Leonard and Nutley Commissioner Steven Rogers.

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O’Scanlon: Another strike against red-light cameras

Source: Star-Ledger -

Perhaps you’ve heard some of those radio ads in which an Australian company tries to influence New Jersey legislators to keep its red-light cameras by claiming safety benefits to drivers and pedestrians.

Or you might have seen a video posted online by the Redflex Co. in which Newark traffic-safety official Jack Nata says the following about the cameras:

“They keep the intersections safe. Anyone who uses the intersections is safer and we’re not going to take the cameras down because of that.”

Declan O'Scanlon

No, no, and no, says Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon. The Monmouth County Republican is spearheading what is looking like a successful effort to keep the program from being renewed when a five-year trail period ends Dec. 16.

“Every single peer-reviewed, objective study has shown they don’t improve safety,” said O’Scanlon. “I find it offensive these companies are coming in here lying about their product. Their placing ads still further extends the lie.”

O’Scanlon has documented in great detail all the questionable numbers employed by the company and municipal officials to keep the program running. Here’s one number you never hear them talk about: $61,977,475.

That’s the amount of fines the cameras generated last year.

Here’s another number I came across the other day that debunks another key claim made by the camera defenders: 1,100 percent.

The claim is that the cameras improve pedestrian safety. But it turns out pedestrian accidents have skyrocketed at an intersection in Newark that the company cites as the pride of the program.

I learned that from a couple of concerned citizens who have set up a website to combat traffic cameras. Rick Short of Cherry Hill and George Ford of Lawrenceville set up the StopRoboCops.com site after hearing complaints from neighbors in their respective towns, both of which have those money-making machines posted at key intersections.

Ford, who is retired, devotes his time to downloading state Department of Transportation accident reports. He then creates data bases to counter the claims put out by those who profit from the cameras.

“It takes hours and hours to go through these reports one by one,” said Short.

But it was worth the trouble. One thing they found is that the towns were cherry-picking data to create the impression that dangerous right-angle crashes are reduced by the cameras. But the statistic that really leapt out at them concerned pedestrian safety. That’s a key selling point for the camera companies.

Most of the cameras are posted on suburban highways with little pedestrian presence. But then there’s Newark, a place where there are plenty of walkers.

Ford looked at figures for accidents near the intersections of Broad Street with Market Street and Raymond Boulevard in Newark. He found that the number of pedestrians hit by cars increased each year from just one in 2009, the last year without the cameras, to 12 last year.

I e-mailed city’s spokesman David Lippman to ask whether I could talk with Nata to get some sort of an explanation for that huge jump in the walking wounded. Apparently he only grants interviews to Australians, though. So I asked O’Scanlon what he thought of it.

“If they had a category that showed this much improvement, they’d be bragging about it,” he said “That’s their M.O. They take credit for every benefit and deny any detriment.”

O’Scanlon cited a case in which a number of drivers were ticketed in Newark even though a cop had waved them through the light. It’s that sort of behavior that has sparked the groundswell in public opinion that is causing legislators to shy away from the program, he said.

By the end of the day, Lippman finally got back to me with a statement he attributed to Nata:

“The only intersection at which the pedestrian accidents increased was Broad Street and Market Street. At this intersection all turns are prohibited by vehicles, so all pedestrian accidents occurred when cars made illegal turns, or pedestrians crossed against the signal, or pedestrians jaywalked, none of which has anything to do with red light running and none of which could have been avoided by having red light cameras at this location.”

That explains nothing. I know that intersection well. There were plenty of jaywalkers and bad drivers there back before the cameras were installed in 2009. The only thing that’s changed is the cameras.

I asked Short for his opinion of what’s causing all those accidents. He said he’s learned that some drivers apparently believe they can beat the cameras by either gunning it to get through the intersection or making a quick turn in the hopes of escaping the camera.

Maybe Nata has another explanation, so I again asked to talk with him. But he must have been on the phone to Sydney or something.

So there’s only one way to find out whether the cameras were responsible for that increase in injuries.

Turn them off. The sooner the better.

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Ciattarelli: The real fundamentals of betting on college games in N.J.

Source: The Star-Ledger (Letter-to-the-editor by Jack Ciattarelli) -

Jack Ciattarelli

Last week, New Jersey’s Assembly voted to allow racetrack and casino sports betting on professional and college games. The bill (S-2460) passed 73-4.

Many see sports betting in New Jersey as another lifeline to racetracks and, especially, Atlantic City. There’s no denying Atlantic City needs help, though not this kind. That was not, however, the reason for my ‘no’ vote.

S-2460 does not permit betting on all college games – it prohibits betting on New Jersey college teams and all college games played in New Jersey, regardless of the teams. While the intent of this ‘carve-out’ is to protect New Jersey and visiting student-athletes from the influences of sports betting, what is it saying about college sports betting in general?

Something is fundamentally wrong with betting on college games played by student-athletes, many of whom are teenagers.

The excesses of sports are everywhere. Allowing betting on games played by student-athletes only accelerates the turbo-charge commercialization of college sports. For what purpose and at what expense? Granted, college sports are a multibillion-dollar business. The ‘ka-ching’ of state coffers and cash registers at racetracks and casinos, however, isn’t adequate justification for the ongoing bastardization of collegiate athletics.

Jack M. Ciattarelli, Somerville
Assemblyman, Legislative District #16

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Bramnick pushes ‘fiscal sanity,’ bipartisanship at Livingston conference

Source: The Star-Ledger -

Assembly minority leader Jon Bramnick was in Essex County yesterday for the latest stop on what he says is a tour to “restore fiscal sanity” to the state.

Jon Bramnick

Bramnick (R-Union) held a press conference with local elected officials to tout his idea to set up a bi-partisan strategic long-term planning committee in the Assembly. Bramnick originally proposed the committees in July.

“These (committees) would be think tanks that would work together on the major issues,” Bramnick said in a phone interview after the conference yesterday. “A committee would have, say, four Republicans, four Democrats, and former governors on it.”

The committees, he said, would not address issues or bills as they come up, but would be meant to discuss ongoing issues across the state.

The conference in front of a Livingston shopping center Tuesday comes after several other public stops across the state discussing the idea, including events in Cape May, Atlantic, Middlesex, and Burlington Counties, he said. Bramnick said he is planning his next stop in Newark.

“Four years ago, our (town) council became bipartisan for the first time in 20 years when I was elected,” Republican Livingston Mayor Michael Rieber said yesterday.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of good things here in a bi-partisan way. There is just such pure partisanship in Trenton, that nothing gets done.”

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Fiocchi Says Paid Sick Leave is not the Answer to Job Creation

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi said the Assembly Labor Committee’s approval on Monday of a bill (A-2354) that requires private employers to provide paid sick days is another job-killing government mandate that is costly to small businesses.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“As a job creator who operated successful businesses for nearly 40 years, I know the negative impact that a paid sick mandate will have on employers and the businesses they operate,” said Fiocchi, R- Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “Businesses need the flexibility to manage their company efficiently.

“A successful business expands and creates jobs,” continued Fiocchi. “Mandating a minimum wage with annual increases, Obamacare and telling businesses to provide paid sick days does not create an atmosphere of economic growth. An unintended consequence of this legislation is that fewer jobs will be created as companies adjust to these government directives.”

A survey by the Employment Policies Institute last year revealed that employers in Seattle offset their costs to compensate for mandated paid sick days. Sixteen percent raised their prices, 18 percent reduced hours and staff and 17 percent passed on the increase in benefits to their employees or eliminated benefits they once offered. Surveys in San Francisco and Connecticut (which both mandate paid sick days) revealed similar results.

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Simon: State can Tighten Belt by Reducing Car Fleet

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman Donna Simon believes the state can save taxpayers millions of dollars by reducing the number of state-owned vehicles by 20 percent and implementing cost-control measures that reduce expenses. Simon introduced legislation (A-3844) that reduces the fleet count by five percent, 10 percent and five percent over the next three years, respectively.

The bill also implements an electronic fleet management system similar to successful programs in California and Pennsylvania to ensure state vehicles maximize cost and route efficiencies. Each department will submit an annual usage report of its state vehicle operations to the governor and Legislature and will be made public. The state’s estimated vehicle count for the current fiscal year is 14,700.

Donna Simon

“The cost of a new state car and its maintenance is paid for by taxpayers,” said Simon, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “Effective fleet management and oversight of the state vehicle program will help save millions of dollars. Each department will need to examine whether a job has a legitimate business purpose that requires a state vehicle.”

Under the bill, the state treasurer, a designated staff member from the governor’s office and the commissioner of each state department will comprise a panel that will develop the criteria used that will be used to make such a determination.

According to the Division of Administration, the state’s Central Motor Pool purchased 798 new vehicles in FY 2013 at a cost of $28.4 million. In FY 2012, it bought 1,008 new vehicles for $25 million.

The assemblywoman noted her bill does not include vehicles in the Division of State Police, the Department of Law and Public Safety or equipment used for construction, maintenance, or emergency services purposes.

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Schepisi on reforms to increase Port Authority transparency [video]

Source: NJTV Online -

“Every street, two square miles around here. It was impossible. The worst I’d ever seen,” said Fort Lee resident Ted Allen.

Libertarian Allen recalls the traffic nightmares of September 2013 when an aide to Gov. Chris Christie emailed the Port Authority to tie up traffic in Fort Lee leading to the most traveled bridge in America — the GWB — in an apparent act of political retaliation against this borough’s mayor.

Now, lawmakers in both states have approved bills to make the Port Authority more transparent, opening up its decision-making to the public, mandating a study of the Port Authority every two years and setting up protection for whistleblowing.

Holly Schepisi

“It really starts to implement some of the fundamental changes to the Port Authority that we really wanted to see,” [said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, one of the Republican sponsors of the bills. “Financial disclosure forms — we wanted to be able to know if people have monetary interests.”

There’s no question the Bridgegate scandal and the investigations have given lawmakers the momentum, the impetus to reform the Port Authority. Which raises the question would these reforms have prevented the Bridgegate scandal altogether?

“Nobody can say for sure because we don’t know as to exactly what occurred,” Schepisi said.

Seton Hall law professor Matt Hale says the reforms likely would have made carrying out Bridgegate more difficult. But real reform?

Schepisi appears on the video at 1:09 and 1:45

He said, “At the end of the day you still have to have people within the organization, within whatever agency it is, embrace a culture of openness and transparency.”

Lawmakers says their action is a good start.

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Bramnick and Local Officials Discuss Shared Services, Bipartisan Leadership

Source: The Alternative Press -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick joined elected officials Mayor Michael Rieber, Mayor of North Caldwell Joe Alessi, Commissioner of Nutley Steven Rogers and Roseland Councilman Richard Leonard for a press conference entitled, “Essex County Real Talk to Restore Fiscal Sanity,” on Tuesday at the Livingston Town Center.

Topics discussed included the sharing of services between local townships and bipartisan leadership in the communities.

Bramnick said the bipartisan leadership of the local communities is a “model for the state.”

“It’s about public policy,” said Bramnick. “I hope we can do more consolidation, more shared services and more bipartisanship.”

Leonard, who has served on the Roseland Council for 36 years, thanked Rieber for his idea to work with local administrators to find areas to consolidate services in a cost effective way.

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