Category: Press Release

Rumana: $15 Minimum wage hurts the middle class

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana today argued why a minimum wage hike would hurt the middle class during the legislative debate on A-15.

Scott Rumana

“This bill kills the middle class,” said Rumana (R-Passaic). “A 70 percent rise in labor costs is going to do only one thing – force every small business to raise prices on those who buy their goods and services. It impacts the middle class because the middle class aren’t going to get a raise with this. They are going to be at the same salary but paying more.”

The Office of Legislative Services estimated that raising the minimum wage to $15 will cost New Jersey school districts $170 million.

“It’s going to hit property taxes across the board, again the middle class are going to get walloped with that,” concluded Rumana.

Watch Rumana’s floor speech here: https://youtu.be/D1EtKtLDExs

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Rible Seeks ‘Training Wage’ to Protect Small Business under Minimum Wage

Assembly Republican Press Release -

During the legislative debate to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Assemblyman Dave Rible today called for a committee substitute establishing a training wage for new employees.

Dave Rible

“As a former small business owner, I have seen firsthand how difficult it is to run a business in New Jersey,” said Rible (R-Monmouth). “Raising the minimum wage to $15 for all employees will only add to that burden and force business to hire fewer employees, reduce hours or close their doors.”

Members of the business community had advocated for a training wage as a way to allow employers to train and evaluate new employees who otherwise may not get the opportunity with higher labor costs.

Rible’s bill (A1318) would establish a 90-day training wage of 85 percent of the minimum wage for an employee between the ages of 15 and 21. If a $15 minimum wage is enacted, the training wage would be set at $12.75.

“This would allow businesses to pay younger employees a training wage and throw many seasonal tourism businesses that hire many young people a lifeline,” he said. “I remain committed to working with my colleagues to advance legislation to enact a training wage or a similar initiative that offers reasonable exemptions from the $15 minimum wage that will devastate small businesses.”

Watch Rible’s floor speech here: https://youtu.be/jeEhEnQEsLo

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Peterson bill creating task force to track stolen valuables earns Assembly approval

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Erik Peterson creating a task force to help law enforcement crack down on criminals and return stolen jewelry and other valuables to the rightful owners. The secondhand valuables transaction reporting task force established by the bill (A2224), the will make recommendations regarding an industry-wide program to be utilized by retail businesses and police departments to monitor and prevent the sale of stolen goods.

Erik Peterson

“Common criminals have been striking gold, as a matter of speaking, stealing valuable coins and jewelry from homes and selling them to jewelers who have the precious items melted down, destroying evidence and family treasures,” said Peterson (R—Hunterdon). “When its recommendations are completed, the task force will provide a more effective means of tracking the sales of potentially stolen items. Often, the stolen goods have more sentimental value than monetary worth, and the goal is to prevent the destruction of the items and get them back to the owners.”

The 11-member task force will include designees from the Attorney General’s office and the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, three county prosecutors, three municipal law enforcement officers, and three public members. The bill directs the task force to issue a report of its findings within six months of the initial meeting.

“We want to stop the burglars from turning great grandmom’s wedding ring into a gold tooth,” said Peterson. “Using technology and establishing an interactive network between law enforcement and secondhand jewelers and pawn brokers, one-of-a-kind pieces and family heirlooms can be identified and saved for future generations to enjoy. This is going to take some of the profit out of breaking-and-entering.”

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Dancer-Space-Phoebus resolution recognizing role of Future Farmers of America Association passes Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The General Assembly today passed a resolution (AR59) sponsored by Assembly Republicans Ron Dancer, Parker Space and Gail Phoebus that recognizes and supports the New Jersey Future Farmers of America Association (FFA) and its statewide role in agricultural education.

Ron Dancer

“Agriculture is a vital economic and environmental resource as the third largest industry in our state,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “While growth and development continues to consume open space and farmland, the influence of the Future Farmers of America has become even more critical. This organization is instrumental in helping prepare young people for careers in agriculture.”

Parker Space

“The formula is simple: No farmers, no food,” said Space (R-Sussex). “For nearly 90 years, the FFA has worked to cultivate the next generation of farmers. Agricultural education graduates the Garden State’s future providers of fresh, local and nutritious food.”

In 2012, the state’s 9,071 farms generated $1.14 billion in sales. With 715,057 acres of farmland, the Garden State produces more than 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables sold globally.

Gail Phoebus

Gail Phoebus

“The FFA’s agricultural education emphasizes leadership development and personal traits to help young farmers compete and thrive in a farming landscape that is becoming dominated by technology and innovations,” said Phoebus (R-Sussex). “These educational initiatives ensure that we will have talented and qualified farmers to feed our state and beyond for decades to come.”

The resolution also recognizes that 2014 marked the 40th anniversary of the FFA electing the first African-American to a national FFA office and the 45th anniversary of the FFA opening membership to high school girls.

Founded in 1928, FFA is a national educational organization comprising 7,665 chapters with 610,000 members. New Jersey has 37 chapters with more than 2,600 members engaging in personal, career and leadership development activities that challenge members to excel as they develop agricultural skills. The national FFA’s first president was Leslie Applegate, a New Jersey resident.

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Bucco bill shielding identity of violent crime victims approved by Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation protecting the identities of violent crime victims and witnesses, sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, earned the approval of the General Assembly today. The bill (A3626) prohibits the release of identifying personal information in response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request.

Anthony M. Bucco

“Protecting the privacy and safety of the victims, now and in the future, should be a paramount concern of the state. This bill protects victim identities and shields them from the fear of additional harm,” said Bucco (R—Morris). “Violent crime can have a life-long impact on the victims and witnesses of such acts as well.”

The name, address and age of any victim of crime are public records under current law. Bucco’s bill revises the law so all personal information of violent crime victims and witnesses are kept confidential.

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Muñoz/Bucco bill increasing penalties for vehicular homicide earns approval of General Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz and Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco’s legislation increasing vehicular homicide penalties passed the General Assembly today. The bill (A3686), designated as “Ralph and David’s Law,” establishes the crime of strict liability vehicular homicide and removes the presumption of non-imprisonment for first-time offenders convicted of the new third-degree crime.

Nancy Munoz

“Too frequently people come to my office with heartbreaking stories about innocent people who have lost their lives because of irresponsible drivers,” said Muñoz (R—Union). “Harsher penalties will not bring those people back, but they will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

The measure is named in honor of Ralph Politi Jr. and David Heim. Politi, a business owner and community activist, was struck and killed by a drunk driver who swerved out of her lane as he stood by his truck. She was later acquitted of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and second-degree vehicular homicide. Heim was only 13 when a drunk driver in Sussex County took his life. That driver served only 30 days in prison.

Anthony M. Bucco

“Drivers must realize that when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are assuming a tremendous responsibility,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “If they drive in an impaired state, the consequences can be life-changing. Hopefully, this bill will make people think twice before getting behind the wheel and risking their own lives and most importantly, the lives of innocent victims.”

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Webber bill extending tax checkoff program to benefit autism programs clears Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The General Assembly today passed legislation by Assemblyman Jay Webber to help taxpayers contribute to autism programs on their state income tax returns.

Jay Webber

“We’re seeing a lot more children diagnosed with autism, and New Jerseyans are looking for a way to help them,” said Webber (R—Morris). “This legislation will help us raise funds to expand programs that help families and extend our reach to the people who need it most.”

The bill (A3267) establishes an “autism programs fund” in the Department of the Treasury, into which taxpayers may deposit a portion of their tax refunds as donations. It requires the Legislature to appropriate all the funds to the Department of Health for distribution to autism programs throughout the state.

“It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s voluntary,” Webber continued. “Check-off programs have generated millions of dollars to support meaningful services without adding taxes or fees. I hope taxpayers keep in mind the need to help families dealing with autism when filing their state income tax return.”

One in 41 children is diagnosed with autism in New Jersey – the state has the highest rate in the nation, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Assembly approves Dancer and Space bill to feed the hungry with excess food from school cafeterias

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Parker Space to increase the amount of food available at soup kitchens and food banks. The measure (A3056) encourages schools and colleges to donate excess food to feed the poor through nonprofit organizations.

Ron Dancer

“It’s a waste to throw good food in the dumpster when people who are hungry need a nutritious meal,” said Dancer (R—Ocean). “This is a common-sense solution. On one side you have surplus food that is going to waste, and on the other side there is a scarcity of food for people on fixed incomes, or families that have fallen on hard times.”

Under the bill, the Department of Agriculture will develop guidelines to encourage school districts and institutes of higher education to contribute surplus food to food banks, and work with nonprofit organizations to facilitate cost-effective, safe, and sanitary means for donation.

Parker Space

“We can prevent meals from going to waste and people from going hungry by establishing a framework for packing and shipping this food to places where it will feed families,” said Space (R—Sussex). “School cafeterias often have considerable food left over, and it has been going to waste because, until now, there has been no other viable option.”

In addition, the bill expands the “Food Bank Good Samaritan Act,” providing legal immunity to school districts that donate food.

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Space and Phoebus Shared Services Bill Approved By Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The General Assembly approved a bill today that allows for shared services between county and local governments and school districts and local federal military bases. The bill is a 2015 recommendation by the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force and sponsored by Assembly Republicans Parker Space and Gail Phoebus.

Gail Phoebus

Gail Phoebus

“The task force report concluded that sharing services with (take out local) military installations is an area ripe for savings on the local level,” said Phoebus (R-Sussex). “The most important thing we can do in the Legislature is find ways to cut property taxes to make New Jersey more affordable. ”

In 2013, Congress passed a law allowing for military installations to enter agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share basic services such as fire safety and garbage pick-up. To enable the federal law, the bill (A2514) changes the definition of “local unit” to include a federal military base.

Parker Space

“We hope that this is the start of more legislation being passed to combat high property taxes,” said Space (R-Sussex). ”We will do our share to fight for our taxpayers, like fighting for a special session of the Legislature for property tax relief and reform, and our fair school funding plan.”

For example, Rockaway Township has a close working relationship with Picatinny Arsenal that has proven beneficial to both parties in recent years. It is the intention of Space and Phoebus that the County of Morris and local governments and school districts in the vicinity can also take advantage of this and work with the Picatinny Arsenal on ideas for mutual cost sharing. In addition, by allowing Picatinny Arsenal more integration into the region, it will be another avenue to protect the facility if future waves of base closing hearings occur.

“Picatinny is a large employer in the district and has wide support from businesses,” continued Space.

“The local relationship to Picatinny has improved the local economy,” concluded Phoebus. “Opportunities like this should be taken advantage of across the state.”

In addition to this bill, the Assembly today also passed two other bills sponsored by Space and Phoebus concerning property taxes. A-3466 revises the application deadline for the homestead property tax reimbursement program (commonly known as “senior freeze”). A longer application period also provides more time for senior citizens and disabled persons who may be eligible to participate in this property tax relief program to apply to participate in it.

A-544 which requires annual notice of assessment on property to contain bolded notice of the filing deadline to make a tax appeal. Since the notice of assessment does not require any immediate action by a property taxpayer, such as writing a check to the tax collector, the consequences of the notice of assessment on the amount of subsequent tax bills often passes largely unnoticed until well after the appeal deadline of April 1st. The bolded notice is intended to remind property taxpayers of the quickly approaching filing deadline for appeals so that they don’t lose their opportunity to file an appeal before the property tax appeal deadline.

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Assembly Advances Muñoz Bill to Protect Health Care Personnel Who Work With Chemo Drugs

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Republican Deputy Conference Leader Nancy F. Muñoz, the “Hazardous Drug Safe Handling Act,” received General Assembly approval today.

The bill (A837) requires the state Commissioner of Health and the Director of Consumer Affairs to establish rules and regulations for the safe handling of chemotherapy drugs by health care personnel in a health care setting, including pharmacies and veterinary facilities.

Nancy Munoz

“The development and use of chemotherapy has exploded since it was first used in the 1940s. Treatment often consists of a combination of chemo drugs, which are very potent,” said Muñoz, (R-Union, Morris and Somerset). “These powerful drugs may expose workers to a number of serious short-term and chronic effects. While providing potentially lifesaving medicine and comfort to cancer patients is very rewarding, it can be emotionally stressful. Health care professionals don’t need the added burden of worrying about adverse effects from the drugs they are administering. They deserve a safe work environment.”

The regulations will provide guidelines on necessary precautions and controls to eliminate or minimize exposure; use of protective equipment; safe handling practices, including handling, receiving, storage, preparing, administering, waste handling, cleaning, housekeeping, labeling and signage, and spill control and response procedures. Employers will also be required to provide hazardous drug training to all employees who have or are likely to have occupational exposure to hazardous drugs.

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