Author: NJ Assembly Republicans

O’Scanlon: Christie’s Position on Red-Light Cameras is Spot-On

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Declan O'Scanlon

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon today said that Governor Chris Christie’s comments on the NJ101.5 segment “Ask the Governor” last night concerning the future of red-light cameras in this state were “on the money”. The Governor said he was “disturbed” that there were indications that the program appeared to have become “an opportunity for municipalities to grab money” and he had concerns about the appearance that the program was not “fairly and uniformly administered.” Christie indicated that he is leaning against extending or expanding the program.

“The Governor’s statements last night are a relief for all motorists on New Jersey roads,” said O’Scanlon (R- Monmouth). “He’s 100 percent right, these cameras are nothing but a money grab, a revenue creating scheme by the camera companies that lure unsuspecting municipalities in with the promise of easy money and improving safety. But that’s only half true – they have NOTHING to do with safety.”

The five year red-light camera program is set to expire this December 16th.

“That date can’t come soon enough,” O’Scanlon explained. “All you have to do is look at the past 20 years of data from camera equipped intersections around the country and you will see that they are not doing what the promise. Every objective, competent study done proves that these devices do not improve safety. In fact, New Jersey’s own data shows that safety has improved more slowly at camera equipped intersections than at those without cameras. If normal fluctuation in accident rates and trends are greater than the effect this equipment is having, it is absolute proof that the equipment is having no, or a potentially negative, effect. I couldn’t be happier than I am with the Governor’s statements. … OK, I could be happier but that won’t be until December 16th!”

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Bramnick to Hold Cyberspace Discussion with Homeland Security on Oct. 20

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Event open to public at Kean University

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick will hold a public discussion on cyberspace security with state Homeland Security officials on Monday, Oct. 20, at Kean University, in the STEM Auditorium, Room 221. The event will begin at 1:00 p.m.

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 experienced similar security breaches. Bramnick will lead the discussion on what the public can do to protect itself from cyberspace theft with experts on the subject.

If you would like to attend the event, please contact Glen Beebe in the Assembly Republican Office at 609-847-3400.

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70 N.J. Assembly members ‘present’ in an empty chamber? Webber says ‘that’s wrong,’ has a solution

Source: The Star-Ledger -

Assemblyman Jay Webber wants to let his colleagues phone it in — literally.

Here’s why:

On a Friday evening in July, just one Assembly member – Reid Gusciora (D-Mercer) — was in the chamber. But 70 members were recorded as present by staffers who walked around the room and pushed the buttons on their desks. The so-called quorum was constitutionally mandated to start the clock ticking on a mandatory 20-day waiting period for a proposed constitutional amendment to allow judges to deny bail to some defendants.

Jay Webber

“I had several constituents who called and emailed me and said it’s not right, and quite frankly I agree with them,” Webber (R-Morris) told The Auditor, who added that he understands that such maneuvers have been done before and he’s “not blaming anybody.”

But he wants to do something to change it. Under a resolution Webber introduced on Monday, Assembly rules would no longer require members to actually be in the Statehouse to ring in for a quorum on non-voting days. Instead, they could check in by phone, video or any another type of electronic communication device.

That would enable them to conduct “routine business” such as introducing bills and resolutions, and lay proposed constitutional amendments on members’ desks for 20 days as the constitution requires, without actually going to the Statehouse. But they would still need to give their consent to be recorded, and they’d have to actually show up to begin voting sessions.

To establish a quorum, 41 members must be present.

“When you have a citizen Legislature and need to do routine things like introduce bills so committees can hear them and debate them, it just seems like an anachronism to bring everybody down there and have a quorum,” Webber said. “Let’s all just consent, either in person or by telephone, and they can go about their routine business.”

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), who will decide whether or not to put up Webber’s proposal for a vote, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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Gove, Rumpf Opposes Establishment of Casinos Outside Atlantic City

Source: The SandPaper -

Brian Rumpf

DiAnne Gove

In a proactive initiative directed at protecting the regional economy of Atlantic City, and its workers, Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove of the 9th District have started an online petition to thwart any legislative effort that would allow casinos to operate at sites in the state other than Atlantic City.

The petition titled “Sign Connors, Rumpf & Gove’s Petition for the State to Honor Its Commitment to Atlantic City” is posted on the delegation’s official legislative website, senatenj.com/saveac.

“Our Delegation, unequivocally, opposes permitting casinos in state sites other than Atlantic City,” the legislators said in a joint statement. “For constituents with an active interest in protecting the Atlantic City gaming industry, our Delegation wanted to provide a forum to actively engage in this legislative issue. The time is now for residents to have their voices heard for if and when the Legislature takes up the issue of permitting casinos to be established outside Atlantic City, including in North Jersey.”

As they also pointed out, the 9th District includes parts of Atlantic and Southern Ocean counties, and “this effort was undertaken in representing the interests of our constituency, a considerable number of whom work in Atlantic City.”

“Atlantic City’s economic recovery efforts must be prioritized, given the severity of the current economic situation,” they added. “Without question, these recovery efforts would be undermined, if not completely derailed, in the event casinos are permitted to be established in other parts of the state.”

The representatives’ petition reads as follows: “Senator Chris Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove of the 9th Legislative District have called on the New Jersey Legislature to reject any proposal for casinos beyond Atlantic City. With the closing of several casinos recently, thousands of Atlantic City jobs have already been lost, at great cost to local families and the region’s economy. Should gaming be allowed elsewhere – such as North Jersey – many more workers would lose their jobs, at even greater expense.”

It continues, “By signing this petition, I agree that the Legislature must protect Atlantic City’s casino industry and the tens of thousands of casino-related jobs that would be threatened if gaming were approved elsewhere. Too many families and South Jersey communities depend on casino gaming in Atlantic City for the state to walk away from its long-standing commitments.”

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Bramnick bill would ban GPS tracking devices on cars

Star Ledger -

A bill introduced Thursday by the Assembly’s top Republican would make it a crime to put a GPS tracking device on a car without the owner’s consent.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said he only recently learned that it’s not a crime when he got a call from a constituent who said his ex-wife had placed a tracking device on his car.

Jon Bramnick

“He called the prosecutor, the police. They said it’s not a crime,” Bramnick said in a phone interview “That’s no different than wiretrapping someone’s phone. “

Bramnick said he’s working on exceptions in the bill, such as allowing parents to track where there children drive.

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Rible 911! Bill would require emergency call centers be ready to receive text messages

Star Ledger -

A bill that would require facilities that handle 911 calls to accept emergency text messages was approved by the state Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee this morning.

Sponsors said the legislation (A3461) said it will help those with “communication disabilities,” as well as people in emergency situations that require them to be discrete.

The push mirrors one at the federal level. The Federal Communication Program is promoting a program called “Text-to-911,” but according to its website, the service is not yet available in New Jersey. The commission adopted a rule in August to require all cell phone companies enable Text-to-911.

Dave Rible

“There are times when it’s not possible, or even dangerous to make a phone call,” said Assemblyman David Rible (R-Monmouth), another sponsor. “If an intruder is in your house, texting for help is probably the safest means of notifying emergency personnel of your situation.”

Rible said the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management’s new 911 call center is equipped to receive texts, though it hasn’t begun to yet. He wasn’t sure if any other centers in the state had the technology.

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Bramnick says partisan legislative panel needs to stop acting as if governor involved in bridge closing

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick issued the following statement regarding the Bridgegate investigation:

“NBC New York reports governor Christie is not involved. Now it’s time for the panel that prejudged the governor to end its relentless attacks.”

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Bramnick Bill Prevents Vehicle Tracking Devices Without Owner’s Consent

Assembly Republican Press Release -

In New Jersey, it is not illegal if someone such as an ex-husband or ex-wife attaches a tracking device to their former spouse’s car without their knowledge or consent. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick believes that is wrong and introduced legislation (A-3747) on Thursday that makes such an act a fourth degree crime.

Jon Bramnick

“Tracking someone in their car without their consent is like eavesdropping,” said Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “A person who places a tracking device into a vehicle without the owner’s approval is invading their privacy. That act should be illegal. If there’s no family relationship between the parties, that clearly should be a violation of the criminal law.”

A fourth degree crime is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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Handlin urges Port Authority reform during N.J. Senate hearing

Bergen Record -

Legislators pushed for structural reforms to the Port Authority Thursday, targeting an agency that has seen several of its executives resign over the past year in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge scandal.

The reforms are aimed at making the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey more transparent and accountable to the public. On Thursday, reform legislation took its first step towards passage in New Jersey with unanimous approval from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

Amy Handlin

“We have no way of knowing what lies ahead,” said Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, R-Monmouth, before the Senate committee. “What we know for sure from our experience on the bridgegate investigative committee, it is our fundamental responsibility to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that Bridgegate-like shenanigans can never happen again.”

Handlin praised the current Port Authority board of commissioners for making some steps towards transparency — such as posting publicly a comprehensive meeting agenda — but added that a new law was necessary to make sure reforms did not fade with time.

The reform package includes measures forcing the authority to issue an audit every year and create an office of inspector general. In addition, instead of the public having limited access to the Port Authority’s public meetings, this bill would require them to adhere to basic public meetings laws. These requirements include keeping comprehensive minutes and allowing the public to comment during meetings of their governing board except in exceptional circumstances.

The bill was released on a unanimous 5-0 vote.

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Handlin Expresses Support for Senate Port Authority Transparency Bill

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Bill is just the beginning of the reform process

Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Amy Handlin testified today regarding a Port Authority bill that increases transparency and accountability at the agency. Also joining Handlin in support of the bipartisan, bicameral, bi-state legislation was New York Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D-Brooklyn), Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Bergen), Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). The legislation, S-2181, won approval from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

Amy Handlin

“Reforming the Port Authority begins today. It is outrageous that a public agency spending nearly $23 million per day has been able to escape basic operational and financial discipline. How can any citizen trust a governmental body which has no code of ethics? The translation is: ‘anything goes, including the closure of lanes for no reason.’

“Our fundamental responsibility is to take steps to ensure Bridgegate shenanigans do not occur again. I have repeatedly characterized the Port Authority as a circus, replete with clownish acts and high-wire risk-taking. Until we provide protection for whistleblowers, people will be fearful of being thrown to the lions and won’t come forward. There are many more changes needed to fix this dysfunctional agency, but this legislation is an important start.”

Handlin is a sponsor of the identical Assembly bill (A-3417). It gives the authority’s board of commissioners direct oversight of the chief executive, adopts a code of ethics for employees, and puts into place policies to protect employees who disclose acts of wrongdoing at the agency. In addition, the authority’s senior leadership is required to appear before the New Jersey and New York Legislatures to provide periodic updates on the agency’s accomplishments and goals.

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