Author: NJ Assembly Republicans

shepisi participates in Youth Goverment meeting

Source: Pascack Valley Community Life

For a second year, Pascack Valley High School students took to the dais of council chambers to participate in a student government night with local officials. The annual meeting was held Tuesday, May 12. Students had the opportunity to mirror not only council members, but also the borough’s professionals, department heads and other officials. The evening also featured several special guests, including Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, Assemblyman Robert Auth and Bergen County Clerk John Hogan.

Holly Schepisi

“This could be the start of a very long career and future in politics and I commend you for being here,” said Schepisi. “I urge you to stay involved because you are our future leaders and we desperately need future leaders.”

“I just want to let each and every one of you know how important it is that you are interested in what goes on in your local government,” said Schepisi.

Schepisi and Auth presented each of the participating students with certificates.

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Russo thanks Gov. Christie for signing bill honoring fallen police officer

Source: Waldwick Suburban News -

A bill introduced to rename a section of Route 17 in memory of fallen Police Officer Christopher Goodell was signed into law May 11 by Governor Christie.

The law will see the renaming of the borough’s portions of the thoroughfare to the Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway, a tribute and solemn reminder of Goodell, who died in July when his patrol car was struck by a tractor trailer while he was on radar patrol.

“I came up with the idea after the awful event,” Sen. Kevin O’Toole of the 40th legislative district said of the renaming. “We have to respect and commemorate his passing.”

For O’Toole, the effort was personal, too, as his own sister is a police officer.

“This is very special to me. This is important that the officer and family get recognized,” he said. “The police have always been close to me. I think it’s important to remember their sacrifice every day.”

Along with the support of Assemblymen David Russo and Scott Rumana as sponsors, the bill was introduced to the 216th legislature on Sept. 11, 2014, just two months after Goodell’s death. The bill ultimately saw unanimous bipartisan support as it went to the senate.

Dave Russo

“We were very pleased that the governor signed the legislation,” said Russo. “Both houses passed it unanimously. We did it as a tribute. It’s very rare that you get a situation that the governor does change signage like this. It’s a very high honor. It had to be done here on a bipartisan basis to honor a young man this way.”

Currently, there are no plans in place for a dedication ceremony or a timeline for signage installation. Mayor Thomas Giordano said that the borough will sit down with O’Toole and begin the process of completing the dedication.

As part of the law’s stipulations, no state or public funds can be used for signage, a problem that Giordano claims O’Toole has graciously offered to fix.

“He [O’Toole] will be personally paying for the sign to get up on the highway,” said Giordano. “He’s done a lot for Waldwick and we’re grateful.”

“We do want to thank the governor,” said Russo. “We also extend all our thanks to the Waldwick borough officials and the police force.”

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Bramnick: NJ Must Help AC Before Allowing Other Casinos [video]

Jon Bramnick

NJTV[video]  -

We have word that a Hard Rock casino could be headed for the Meadowlands. Hard Rock and Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment are pushing hard to get it on the November ballot. Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural promised the casino could create 10,000 jobs. And the state could make some $400 million a year from more than 50 percent tax on winnings. Lowering property taxes is a selling point aimed squarely at seniors, who vote. And telling Atlantic City voters it could fund their rebuilding efforts could take the sting out of ending Atlantic City’s casino monopoly in the state.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that lawmakers must help Atlantic City before deciding to open casinos in other parts of New Jersey.

Bramnick said there’s no bill or proposal on the table currently regarding allowing casinos in places other than Atlantic City. “What we do have to do is help Atlantic City. And Assemblyman Chris Brown down there is leading the effort. And what he’s doing is he’s making sure that we bring back Atlantic City to some place that it can survive. And that’s gotta be the energy,” Bramnick said.

Instead of siphoning money from Atlantic City, Bramnick said the state has to try to help the city. “We cannot let Atlantic City simply die and move on without facing the issues we have in Atlantic City. And that’s what the governor’s doing and that’s what Assemblyman Chris Brown is doing,” he said.

Those proposing the change say some of the tax money collected could go toward rebuilding Atlantic City. While Bramnick said that he likes that idea, he pointed out that there is nothing for legislators to review at this time.

Bramnick applauded Gov. Chris Christie’s efforts to make changes by appointing a manager to start making cuts to the city’s budget. “There’s been expenditures by the city of Atlantic City, before the new Mayor Don Guardian came in. It was out of control. Don Guardian came in, worked really hard, tremendous mayor. Let’s give Atlantic City at least a chance before we write it off,” he said.

Another area of contention in the state is the pension system. Bramnick said the Assembly is behind going toward a 401K style retirement plan in place of the current pension system. “That’s the way every private sector business is going, that’s the way that states have to go in the future,” he said, adding, “That does not mean that we’re not going to keep our promise to people in the pension program and that’s why we have to continue to look at reforms.”

When asked what will happen if the state Supreme Court decides New Jersey has to adhere to the deal cut in 2011, Bramnick said, “Well the state Supreme Court’s going to have to tell us where to get the money. And I have to tell you it’s not gonna be easy in two weeks in a budget session to find billions of dollars.”

Bramnick said the current budget has no new taxes thanks to Christie and many members of the Legislature. “We are giving more money to schools, education, than we’ve ever done. And we’re giving $1.3 billion to the pension. That’s good bipartisan work. I think it’s an excellent program,” he said.

He also said there is enough money to cover everything in the budget “as long as everybody acts reasonably” and that he believes the state is “on goal” with projections.

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Muñoz Hosts Kean University Roundtable Discussion on Domestic Violence

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Nancy Munoz

Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, led a panel discussion today on domestic violence hosted by Kean University’s Center for History, Politics, & Policy. Muñoz organized the roundtable which included leading nursing organizations, practitioners and professors. The group discussed the education and role of nurses in dealing with domestic violence.

“I am committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence and its far reaching effects on our society. I understand the unique and important position nurses occupy in our health system,” said Muñoz. “I want victims of domestic violence to know that they can openly discuss this issue with any nurse. The exchange of information and approaches used in counseling victims is a tremendous benefit for both nurses and those they treat.”

The roundtable included the following organizations: New Jersey League of Nursing; New Jersey State Nurses Association; Society of Psychiatric APN’s; New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault; New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women; New Jersey State School Nurses Association; Kean University School of Nursing; Rutgers University School of Nursing; Barnabas Health; and St. Joseph’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center.

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Carroll hits breaks on drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants

Source: NJ Advance Media -

The Dover Board of Aldermen has passed a resolution saying immigrants in the country illegally should have access to driver’s licenses.

The resolution urges the state Legislature to adopt a similar measure so that it could be signed into a state law by Gov. Chris Christie.

Michael Patrick Carroll

State Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) is one local legislator who definitely won’t be supporting the resolution.

“New Jersey should not be in the business of undermining federal law,” Carroll said.

The message to immigrants here illegally, Carroll added, should be “go home,” not “you can have driver’s licenses.”

Carroll said he has met many of the immigrants and “They are very nice folks. They’re good people. We just don’t have a place for them. They’re undercutting our jobs and wages.”

Mayor James Dodd, a supporter of the measure, called it a “win-win” for everyone in Dover, where more than 70 percent of the population is Hispanic.

“It’s a mechanism for us to give them proper identification,” Dodd pointed out. “They’re here working and paying taxes, so we might as well know where they live.”

Dodd said having driver’s licenses will help the immigrants with their “quality of life.” It will enable them to get to work legally and drive their children to school legally, he said.

Dover officially is listed as having about 20,000 residents, “but we all know it’s a lot more than that,” Dodd added.

He added that other communities with many immigrants, including Elizabeth, have passed similar resolutions.

Dodd acknowledged that some immigrants in the country illegally have international driver’s licenses they were issued in other countries, but to get a New Jersey license, one must be either a U.S. citizen or a legal resident of the United States.

 

 

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Rodriguez-Gregg, Brown introduce bill to increase transparency in propane sales

Source: Burlington County Times -

Chris J. Brown

Maria Rodriguez-Gregg

Maria Rodriguez-Gregg

Three Burlington County lawmakers want to make sure backyard grillers are not burned by misleading labels for propane sales.

Legislation introduced by state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego and Assembly members Chris J. Brown and Maria Rodriguez-Gregg, all of the 8th District, would require retailers that sell propane for tanks or cylinders to display both the price per cylinder and the price per pound for the propane gas.

Retailers who do not comply or who charge consumers more than the displayed price per pound would be subject to a $100 fine for a first offense and up to $500 fine for a second or subsequent offense.

The three Republican lawmakers said the bill is intended to increase transparency surrounding propane sales to make sure consumers aren’t short-changed in the exchanges. They cited Federal Trade Commission actions brought against two of the country’s largest propane tank exchange companies — Blue Rhino and AmeriGas — for price fixing and colluding to lower the amounts of propane sold in each tank from 17 to 15 pounds without informing consumers.

“This legislation acts as an important consumer protection. It allows those purchasing propane to make a more informed decision,” Addiego said.

“The last thing families planning a barbecue should have to worry about is whether or not they are being duped into paying more money for less.”

Brown and Rodriguez-Gregg said that the increased use of propane canisters for cooking warrants more transparency, and that constituents in the district, which includes Evesham, Medford, Pemberton Township and most of southern and eastern Burlington County, have complained about the sales.

“We have heard the calls of our constituents to address this issue, and we are moving forward with a common-sense solution,” Brown said.

Rodriguez-Gregg said the bill would force retailers to give their customers a “clearer picture of what they are getting per dollar, similar to the way gas prices are advertised.”

The requirements would go into effect six months after the measure becomes law.

To become law, the bill must be approved by the Assembly and Senate and be signed by the governor.

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Bramnick on Memorial Day: Honor and Remember

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, issued the following statement commemorating Memorial Day:

“Memorial Day is a time to thank our American heroes who made the greatest sacrifice to keep us safe and free. We honor their lives, salute their service and remember that we owe them gratitude for many of the liberties we enjoy. Our nation is stronger because of the brave patriots who paid the ultimate price for our country.”

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Fiocchi Statement on Memorial Day: Remember The Lives Lost For Our Freedom

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R – Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic, issued the following statement about Memorial Day.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“Each year on Memorial Day, we honor and remember the brave heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for our freedom. The selfless dedication and patriotism these warriors demonstrated on the field of battle must never be forgotten.

“In wars fought across the globe, the promising lives of too many young people have been lost in defense of America, our flag, and our way of life. We honor these brave warriors and mourn their loss as we cherish and protect the liberties they fought to preserve.”

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O’Scanlon calls coalition’s safety warning ‘bogus’

Declan O'Scanlon

NJ 101.5 -

A group called the National Coalition for Safer Roads has a warning for New Jersey drivers: as more people hit the road this summer, the risk of traffic collisions from drivers running red light will increase.

The coalition claims it’s helping to save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light “safety” cameras can “improve driver behavior.”
New Jersey’s anti red-light camera crusader, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) calls the group and the warning bogus.

“The National Coalition for Safer Roads is wholly owned and controlled by the red light camera companies,” he said. “They create these front organizations with official sounding names to make it appear as if there is an organic group of residents who is for red light cameras and speed cameras — nothing could be further from the truth.”

O’Scanlon is convinced after New Jersey’s red light camera pilot program was discontinued at the end of last year, the red light camera companies have been looking for ways to re-gain a foothold in the Garden State.

“The messages being put forth by these companies are bogus because they are suggesting that we are all homicidal and suicidal maniacs without them to look after us, and as soon as the cameras are gone, we’re all blatantly running red lights,” O’Scanlon said. “it’s absolute garbage.”

He said it’s been repeatedly proven in many towns that, where red light cameras have been removed, unless you fraudulently misrepresent the data there is no increase in accidents.

“It’s just as we predicted, there will be more of this nonsense it to come, because they want to figure out a way to get their hands back in our pockets, they were stealing close to $40 million to $50 million a year when the program was up,” O’Scanlon said.

According to the coalition’s Twitter page, “3.7 million drivers in the United States ran a red light in 2014.” A large percentage of these violations “occurred during the peak summer travel weekends of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day,” the organization’s website states.

O’Scanlon said red light camera companies would like to expand their coverage to virtually every intersection in New Jersey, which would mean hundreds of millions of dollars in additional profits every year.

“If we permit them back in here, you’ll be ripped off. It’s absolutely bogus, it’s just sleazy, the whole thing, and it is completely fraudulent,” the assemblyman said. “Any hint that these companies represent a real organic grassroots group of individuals here in New Jersey or anywhere is absolute garbage.”

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O’Scanlon Statement on Impact of Volatility on State Budget

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, released this statement after discussions during today’s Assembly Budget Hearing regarding the volatility of the state’s gross income tax (GIT) and its impact on the state budget:

Declan O'Scanlon

“New Jersey already relies too heavily on the extremely volatile gross income tax. The GIT accounts for a large part of the state budget, making New Jersey’s revenue stream susceptible to an economic downturn. Volatility is further increased by the GIT’s progressive structure, one of the most aggressive tax formats in the country.

“Volatility in a budget is not a good thing. The people most impacted are the folks who are the beneficiaries of New Jersey state services, property taxpayers, and anyone with school-age children. The Democrat legislative leadership has once again proposed a tax on the “wealthy” which will increase our budget volatility even more.”

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