Category: Press Release

Fiocchi, Business Community and Academia Explore Workforce Development and Career Opportunities

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Bridgeton, NJ – Recognizing the potential career opportunities that vocational training and technical education provide, Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi hosted a Workforce Development Roundtable discussion on Monday with businesses leaders and vocational and technical school administrators to discuss employment opportunities available to people with the proper training. The roundtable was held at the Cumberland County Vo-Tech School.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“With the closing of at least three Atlantic City casinos, many workers who make their livelihood from the industry face an uncertain future,” said Fiocchi. “The good news is that there are opportunities to transition into a new vocation. Career and technical education allows students, regardless of age, the chance to learn the necessary skills that are required. Job recruiters and educators exchanged their ideas on what kinds of jobs are in demand and where people can get the training they need. The roundtable was a great opportunity for everyone to learn.”

In May, Fiocchi introduced a package of workforce development bills designed to provide people with employment opportunities by obtaining skill sets in demand. One measure, A-3197, creates “The Partners for Growth Council,” a cross-section of organized labor, education, business and government working together to identify unfilled job openings. Members will develop training programs that address the educational needs of those seeking employment.

Fiocchi said this legislation is the perfect opportunity to match job seekers with companies that have employment needs in certain technical areas. Vocational and technical schools are the linchpin that matches the supply and demand for labor.

“I want to thank Dina Elliot, Superintendent of the Cumberland County Vo-Tech, for hosting this productive meeting. We will be holding a follow-up meeting in the late fall or winter to discuss advances or ideas that will match workers with jobs,” concluded Fiocchi.

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Rible Aims to Protect Police Officers, Others on New Jersey Roadways

Press Release – Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible said recent car accidents involving police officers illustrates the need to increase awareness of New Jersey’s law requiring motorists to change lanes when approaching emergency vehicles and to expand the law to make our roads safer.

Dave Rible

Rible, who sponsored the 2009 law known as the “Move Over” law, cited recent accidents in which a Waldwick police officer was killed and two Pine Beach officers injured in calling for the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to increase awareness of the law which requires motorists to decrease speed and switch lanes when approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights on.

In a letter to Acting DOT Commissioner Joseph Bertoni, Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, said the accidents highlighted the risk for those who respond to emergencies on the state’s busy highways.

“These incidents are a frightening reminder of the dangers faced by emergency workers on our state’s roadways,” he wrote. “I request that the New Jersey Department of Transportation help to protect our emergency responders by taking urgent action to increase awareness of the “Move Over” law.

Rible also said he will introduce legislation to expand the “Move Over” law to require drivers to slow down and change lanes for any vehicle on the side of the road–not just vehicles utilizing emergency lights.

“Pulling over on our state’s highways can be a dangerous proposition for any motorist,” he said. “In addition to protecting police officers and other emergency workers, expanding the “Move Over” law will make things safer for everyone who uses our roads.”

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See Letter Below:

Hon. Joseph Bertoni, Acting Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ 08625-0600

Dear Acting Commissioner Bertoni:

As the prime sponsor of New Jersey’s “Move Over” law, I am very troubled by recent motor vehicle accidents which have highlighted the danger emergency workers face on our highways and illustrated the need to increase awareness of this critical public safety initiative.

As you are aware, New Jersey’s “Move Over” law, which was enacted in 2009, requires motorists to slow down and change lanes when approaching a vehicle displaying emergency lights. However, the failure of motorists to heed this law has continued to endanger the lives of emergency workers, including police officers.

Moreover, a Waldwick police officer performing traffic safety duty was recently killed when his parked patrol car was rammed by a tractor trailer. In addition, two Pine Beach police officers were injured the next day when their cars were struck while they attended to a pulled over vehicle.

I am sure you would agree that these incidents are a frightening reminder of the dangers faced by emergency workers on our state’s roadways. Therefore, I request that the New Jersey Department of Transportation help to protect our emergency responders by taking urgent action to increase awareness of the “Move Over” law.

Thank you for your attention to this request and please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance in this or any other matter.

Sincerely,

David P. Rible
Assemblyman, 30th Legislative District

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O’Scanlon, Carroll Applaud Hoboken Booting Policy Change

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll today said that Hoboken was doing the right thing in changing its policy concerning the booting of vehicles. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was recently under fire when Hoboken ’s policy to immediately boot vehicles for parking violations was discovered.

Declan O'Scanlon

“Victory – for anyone living in, or visiting, Hoboken – for bipartisanship, and for common human decency,”is how Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) described the recent dramatic change in Hoboken Parking Authority Policy. “No longer will anyone return to what they thought was a legally parked car in the middle of the night only to find a heavy iron boot immobilizing it. We heard from senior citizens and pregnant women as well as inconvenienced business people – all who fell victim to the draconian policy. Apparently our shining a light on this example of the exploitation of motorists was heard by the folks running Hoboken. I could dwell on the fact that our intervention shouldn’t have been necessary, but instead I’ll just applaud them for finally getting it right.”

“Hoboken ’s policy was terrible,” explained Garcia (D- Hudson). “It was plainly unfair to boot a vehicle with no notice. Drivers would be left stranded, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Now the city will give motorists a ticket and 72 hours to move their vehicle before immobilization or towing is an option. Further, the policy was bad for business in the town. I’m happy to see the change after Assemblymen Carroll, O’Scanlon and I brought the situation to the forefront.”

Michael Patrick Carroll

“While I applaud Hoboken’s modest action and its admission of error, it doesn’t go nearly far enough and demonstrates why our bill is necessary,” said Carroll (R-Morris/Somerset). “Towns lack the legal authority to boot cars without a judicial warrant; they should not be effectively taking private property without a fair hearing. We will continue to press for the adoption of this proposal to correct this obvious injustice.”

“The time that elected officials could get away with seeing motorists not as human beings, but as targets whose pockets can be picked at will, needs to come to an end, ” said O’Scanlon. “And this isn’t a partisan concern – legislators on both sides of the aisle are realizing that the siren song of easy money doesn’t justify treating reasonably behaving people like criminals. But this doesn’t change the need for our legislation banning the practice of automatic booting. Drivers need to be protected across the state.”

“The public needs to know that the legislature, Both Democrats and Republicans, won’t tolerate the fleecing or unfair treatment of our residents,” Garcia stated “Fairness knows no political boundaries. Our efforts won’t stop here.”

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Dancer’s Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Wildfires and Protect NJ’s Forest Ecosystems Gets Assembly Approval

Press Release – Assemblyman Ron Dancer is helping to make New Jersey’s forest ecosystems healthier and safer by sponsoring bipartisan legislation that allows the burning of forest and open lands to protect from wildfires. The bill, A-1275, recently received General Assembly approval.

Ron Dancer

“In recent years, wildfires in the Pinelands have burned thousands of acres and forced thousands of people to be evacuated. We can avoid catastrophes and promote a healthier forest environment by expanding the use of safe and controlled burns,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex. “These burns also have a number of secondary ecological benefits, including wildlife habitat management, forest disease and pest control and nutrient management.”

Dancer’s bill establishes a certification program for prescribed burn managers and procedures for conducting prescribed burns. It also permits the Bureau of Forest Fire Management (BFFM), within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to prescribe burns in any area of the state BFFM determines to be in reasonable danger of wildfire. On lands not owned by the state, the service is required to notify local government of the prescribed burn, publish public notice of the burn, and provide notice to the landowner and lessee 30 days before the burn.

Due to New Jersey’s restrictive approach, it lags behind many other states in the use of prescribed burns. The states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania have enacted prescribed burn legislation.

Other bill sponsors include Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Marlene Caride and Celeste Riley.

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Bramnick Supports Mayor Fulop’s Decision to Take Down Memorial to Cop Killer

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, issued the following statement regarding Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s decision to take down the memorial to the person who killed Officer Melvin Santiago which was criticized in a Star Ledger editorial today:

Jon Bramnick

“Despite the Star Ledger’s criticism of Mayor Fulop’s decision to remove a memorial to the Jersey City cop killer, there comes a time that we as a society must respond to actions that violate the basic principles of a civilized society. Mayor Fulop acted as a leader. End of story.”

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Casagrande Bill a Trifecta for Horse Racing, Casinos and Open Space

Press Release – Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande has signed on as a prime sponsor of legislation that will benefit the horseracing and casino industries in New Jersey while providing money for open space.

Caroline Casagrande

“The horse racing and casino industries are equally important to New Jersey,” said Casagrande, R-Monmouth. “This bill will bolster both industries while creating a stable source of funding for open space preservation without raising taxes.”

The measure, A-3194, authorizes slot machine gambling to be conducted at horse racetracks and dedicates a share of the revenues for open space preservation.

It directs the Division of Gaming Enforcement to establish and oversee slot machine gambling operations at horse racetracks. The revenues generated would be equitably distributed to the horse racing industry and casino licensees in accordance with a developed formula. The state’s share of revenues would be dedicated for open space preservation. Voter approval is required for the bill to be implemented.

“Our horseracing industry has been hit hard by competition from our neighboring states that have built elaborate facilities which offer racing as well as slot machines. It is way past time for us to fight back and keep these gaming dollars in New Jersey,” said Casagrande, who noted that the horseracing industry is crucial to the state’s economy.

The Garden State’s horse farms support several other businesses, from tack and feed shops to veterinary practices. A Rutgers Equine Science Center study shows the horse industry contributes $1.1 billion to New Jersey’s economy annually, with nearly 13,000 jobs generated.

Casagrande sponsors the bill with Assembly Republicans Ron Dancer and Declan O’Scanlon.

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Rible Lauds Creation of Student Assessments Study Commission

Press Release – Continuing his efforts to reduce excessive student testing, Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible today called Gov. Christie’s creation of a commission to review the effectiveness of all K-12 student assessments a positive move in the right direction for students and teachers.

Dave Rible

“Excessive testing has taken on a life of its own. We need to allow teachers to spend more time teaching and preparing students for future success instead of teaching them how to take tests,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean. “The key is finding the right balance that will allow our schools to prepare our children for success but, at the same time, lets our kids be kids. This study commission is a positive first step.”

Rible sponsors the following package of bills related to student assessments:

• A-2723 prohibits school districts from administering standardized tests not required by state and federal governments without approval from the Department of Education (DOE).

• A-2724 allows parents to opt out of having their children’s data disclosed. Data is often obtained as part of standardized testing.

• A-3327 requires DOE to approve testing vendors.

• ACS-308 delays the use of data from the PARCC test and creates a task force to study the implementation of Common Core and the impact of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) assessments.

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O’Scanlon bill ends fleecing of NJ drivers by out of state speed and red-light camera programs

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation will prohibit NJ drivers’ information from being shared with private companies for purposes of speed or red-light camera enforcement

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon announced today that he has filed legislation that will not allow New Jersey drivers to be preyed upon by red-light or speed-camera manufacturers that operate in other States. This legislation was modeled after a South Dakota statute that passed both houses and was signed into law by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard this year.

Declan O'Scanlon

“New Jersey’s red light camera program, mercifully, appears to be headed towards certain death this December – and we already wisely ban speed camera enforcement – but these systems continue to operate in neighboring states where our drivers often commute,” O’Scanlon explained. “These systems have proven to be error-ridden and non-effective so we shouldn’t allow our motorists to be preyed upon when they are outside of our borders. By continuing to share this information – now that the evidence is clear that these systems don’t improve safety – New Jersey would essentially become complicit in the scam. And that’s exactly what these systems are – government sanctioned theft. If you set yellow light times and speed limits based on sound engineering criteria you end up with the safest roadways. You also eliminate the profits in these systems.”

The bill will prohibit the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission from sharing residents’ license plate information with the private companies operating these systems for the purposes of speed-camera and red-light camera citations.

Automated enforcement cameras penalize the owner of the vehicle, not the driver, making it harder for the accused to defend themselves in court. This is especially true in out-of-state jurisdictions. Police in NJ and all other jurisdictions will still be able to use the database for traffic violations – with the exception of speed and red light automated enforcement violations.

“I have no problem with police using the databases for legitimate purposes to ensure our highways are safe nationwide. Automated enforcement has been proven not to be a legitimate tool to improve safety, and I won’t let other states pickpocket our residents.” O’Scanlon said. “I have heard and read about the nightmares of the systems in neighboring states like New York, Pennsylvania and the Baltimore-Washington DC corridor.”

Recent reports have shown that with speed and red-light cameras in neighboring states, some systems had error rates of almost 60%, prompting the City of Baltimore to return $2.8 million in wrongly issued citations[1], and neighboring cities have seen accidents actually increase when red light camera systems were enabled[2]. Around the country, the tide is turning against these systems – a 6% drop has been recorded in the number of systems operating nationwide just in the last year and a half. [3] Additionally, last month the US House of Representatives voted to ban federal funding for automated enforcement cameras[4].

[1] http://rt.com/usa/baltimore-return-millions-speed-cameras-104/

[2] http://thenewspaper.com/news/40/4034.asp

[3] http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/27/more-cities-putting-brakes-on-red-light-speeding-traffic-cameras/

[4] http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2014/06/house-votes-to-ban-purchase-of-licenseplate-cameras-190127.html

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Handlin Calls for SCI to Subpoena Jersey City Mayor And Police Chief

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Committee should find out if Jersey City Mayor Fulop ordered checkpoints at Holland Tunnel to bolster his lawsuit against Port Authority

Amy Handlin

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin sent the following letter to the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) Co-chairs Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Sen. Loretta Weinberg asking the committee to issue subpoenas and investigate whether Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop ordered police to snarl traffic outside of the Holland Tunnel the same month he announced plans to sue the Port Authority for $400 million.
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July 14, 2014

Honorable Loretta Weinberg, Co-Chair
Honorable John S. Wisniewski, Co-Chair
New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation
State House Annex
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Co-Chairs Weinberg and Wisniewski:

On November 19, 2013, an article appeared in The Jersey Journal containing allegations of harassment by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop relating to surprise police checkpoints at Port Jersey in Jersey City which led to hours of gridlock at the marine terminal.

On July 12, 2014, an article appeared in The Jersey Journal containing allegations by Jersey City Police Chief Robert Cowan that Mayor Fulop planned to snarl traffic outside of the Holland Tunnel the same month he announced plans to sue the Port Authority for $400 million. Cowan’s attorney, Shelley Stangler, told The Jersey Journal that Mayor Fulop’s plan was “designed solely to cause havoc for the Port Authority.”

As reported by The Jersey Journal, in an eight-page letter Cowan submitted to the city clerk, the chief says that at a November 2013 meeting with Fulop, Cowan was directed to conduct traffic stops “without sufficient reason” that Cowan says would have caused traffic jams “on the streets of New York City and back traffic up into the Holland Tunnel,” the letter reads.

As you know, the mission of the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation is to “investigate all aspects of the finances, operations, and management of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and any other matter raising concerns about abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power including, but not limited to, the reassignment of access lanes in Fort Lee, New Jersey to the George Washington Bridge.”

Because the allegations against Mayor Fulop raise significant concerns about the repeated abuse of government power directly related to the Port Authority, I respectfully ask the committee to investigate this matter including the immediate issuance of subpoenas to Mayor Fulop and Chief Cowan.

I would appreciate a response as expeditiously as circumstances permit.

Respectfully,
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin

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McHose Bill Signed, Declares May as ‘Military Appreciation Month’

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

May is now “Military Appreciation Month” in New Jersey after legislation by Assembly Republican Alison Littell McHose was signed today by Acting Governor Kim Guadagno.

Alison Littell McHose

“We can never lose sight of the sacrifices, burdens, and contributions of our military men and women, and their families,” said McHose, R–Sussex, Warren and Morris. “They shed their blood, sweat and tears for our freedom and security. Designating a month to acknowledge our brave defenders and their families is well-deserved.”

McHose’s bipartisan bill, A-578, designates May as a month to honor the contributions and sacrifices of all military members, past and present. Military families who provide vital support from the home front also will be recognized during “Military Appreciation Month.”

“I know the hardships endured by family members during extended separations. These families deserve recognition, too, for their unwavering support of their loved ones who are serving our country,” said McHose, whose husband Morgan is serving on active military duty in Afghanistan, and has been deployed to Kosovo and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba with the New Jersey Army National Guard.

New Jersey is home to many military installations which perform major functions in the defense of the United States and which bring resources of personnel and equipment to any mission assigned to the U.S. Armed Forces, including Joint Base-McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Picatinny Arsenal, Naval Weapon Station-Earle and multiple U.S. Coast Guard duty stations.

More than 7,000 active duty military personnel live in New Jersey, while more than 400,000 military veterans have chosen to live here after retiring from the military.

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