Category: Press Release

Fiocchi, Business Leaders Tackle Red Tape Issues

Press Release – In Vineland today, Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi met with 40 area business owners to discuss way to improve the state’s regulatory environment. Fiocchi was joined by Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana, a member of Gov. Christie’s Red Tape Review Commission (RTRC).

The event, which took place at Cumberland County College, featured several business owners concerned about the burdensome red tape and government mandates that hamper job creation and investment.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“Instead of more bureaucracy and more red tape, we need to create an environment that nurtures businesses to grow and thrive,” said Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “We don’t want to wait for industries to come to us. We want to go to them and stay connected. Our main goal is to create more jobs and grow South Jersey’s economy.”

Fiocchi said he asked Rumana to join him for today’s meeting because as a RTRC member, he will be able to directly share the business owners’ input with the commission. Rumana has had several bills signed into law that eliminate unnecessary red tape and encourages entrepreneurs to create jobs.

“New Jersey’s regulatory culture is changing,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “We continue to make substantial progress in reducing onerous and burdensome red tape. By streamlining business-to-government interaction, we are creating a more hospitable climate for business. We still have more work to do, but as a small business owner, I know Sam understands the business community’s frustrations. They couldn’t ask for a better advocate in Trenton.”

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Singer, Kean, Rible Statement on Passing of Aaron Sofer

Source: Press Release -

Senator Robert Singer and Assemblymen Sean Kean and David Rible (R-30) issued the following statement today regarding the death of Lakewood’s Aaron Sofer.

“Our thoughts and prayers today are with the Sofer family. Aaron’s tragic death is an unthinkable loss for his family, peers and the entire Lakewood community. Aaron’s dedication to his faith and family should serve as an example to us all. We thank those in the community, across the state and the country who offered their support and prayers for Aaron and his family during these recent difficult days.”

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Fiocchi Says Soccer on Green Grass is Natural, Even in the Pinelands

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi today voiced his support for continuing youth soccer tournaments at farms in the Pinelands.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“What possibly could be more natural than kids playing on lush fields of dense Kentucky bluegrass? I can’t think of anything better and more in keeping with preservation than weekend recreational sports,” said Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. “Teams will come here and play soccer a couple weekends a year.”

At a farm in Hammonton, soccer tournaments were recently hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Soccer Showcase League. The Pinelands Commission contends that soccer games violate the farm’s deed restriction, which allows for “low intensity recreational use.”

“Occasional soccer games have low-impact, or no impact, on the environment,” said Fiocchi, the sponsor of legislation that would classify soccer as one of the recreational activities permitted on agriculture land in the Pinelands. “There’s no reason at all to prohibit these games.”

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O’Scanlon: Collaborative Victory on Electric Meters Demonstrates that Sometimes the System Does Work

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon praised the process that led to the comprehensive and sensible solution to the placement of electric meters in flood zones.

Declan O'Scanlon

“As hard as it is to accept, conflicting concerns will mean we sometimes encounter frustrating rules and regulations” said O’Scanlon. “Sometimes those enshrined rules and regulations can be exceedingly difficult to alter, even in the face of drastically altered conditions. So when we came across the meter height issue a few weeks ago, I was very concerned.”

O’Scanlon was contacted by a constituent, along with local Sea Bright officials regarding the conflicting guidance pertaining to the placement of her electric meter.

“The original guidance directed her to place the meter above the base flood elevation level, which she did. The problem arose when JCP&L representatives showed up and informed the homeowner to move the meter down to 5.5 feet above ground level, well below the future flood level. We almost simultaneously encountered the issue during an inspection of rebuilt neighborhoods in Union Beach. I immediately contacted JCP&L and the Governor’s Office of Rebuilding and Recovery. Everyone’s attitude was immediately open-minded. The JCP&L folks explained the reasoning behind their rules – they must have easy access to meters in case of fire or other emergencies – but understood that a better solution was needed for these flood prone areas and they committed to finding one,” said O’Scanlon

Working with the BPU, and the Governor’s Office of Rebuilding and Recovery, they came up with not just one potential solution but a set of options that provide flexibility for different situations. Meters can now be placed well above likely flood waters, provided there is a permanent, fixed platform with stairs leading to it. Front and rear porches can potentially qualify and the option of a separate platform exists as well. Customers should work with JCP&L to arrive at the best option for their situation and must get approval from JCP&L for potential placements.

Some folks who have already placed their meters will have the added expense of moving them if they want to take advantage of this option, but at least now they have the choice. Those many folks still working on rebuilding will be able to take advantage of these options immediately. We are now helping get this revised guidance out to residents and municipal officials.

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Rible Lauds PSE&G’s Capital Project Creating Jobs

Press Release – Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, issued the following statement regarding the results of a Rutgers Study released today that shows PSE&G’s 10-year, $8.1 billion transmission investment program is an economic engine for New Jersey:

Dave Rible

“PSE&G’s commitment to upgrading its infrastructure will result in better service and reliability for its customers. At the same time, it’s creating thousands of quality jobs from construction to manufacturing to retail and transportation. The many and varied benefits derived from this program will help to continue to drive economic growth for our state for years to come. I commend PSE&G for its role in helping build a better New Jersey.”

The report concludes that the transmission upgrades are responsible for creating 6,000 jobs annually, resulting in more than $4.3 billion in salary and benefits and more than $640 million in state and local government revenue.

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Dancer Bipartisan Bill Brings Common Sense to Gun Ownership

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

The legislation was prompted by the case of Shaneen Allen, a singe mother from Pennsylvania facing a possible 3 ½-year prison sentence

When a law-abiding citizen from another state visits New Jersey and that individual is in total compliance with their home state gun laws, under current New Jersey law, that individual faces a mandatory prison term of no less than 3 ½ years if he or she is not in compliance with N.J. law during the time of their visit.

Ron Dancer

Assemblyman Ron Dancer wants to give courts sentencing discretion when a resident of another state has a legal gun permit in their home state with no known criminal record, behavior or intent and is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm while visiting in New Jersey, provided certain conditions are met .

Dancer believes it is unreasonable to expect citizens to know and be aware of all the various nuances of 50 different States’ gun laws. Dancer introduced bipartisan legislation, A-3608 on August 4 that permits a judge to consider whether there are mitigating circumstances in such cases before deciding on the appropriate punishment, rather than a mandatory, minimum prison term of no less than 42 months with no possibility of parole or even pre-trial intervention, especially for state visitors with no criminal record.

“Each case of an illegal gun possession charge should be judged on the particular facts surrounding that case,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington , Monmouth and Middlesex. “The court should be able to consider if an out-of-state resident has a valid legal permit where they live. States have their own firearm laws and a person visiting N.J. may not be totally familiar with every aspect of New Jersey’s law. Judges should be allowed to use their discretion if there was no criminal record or intent.”

The bipartisan legislation addresses instances such as the New Jersey man who moved back to the state from Colorado in 2009. After being stopped by law enforcement, the search of his car revealed two locked and unloaded handguns in the trunk, both of which were purchased legally in Colorado. He was sentenced to a seven-year prison term which was eventually commuted by Gov. Chris Christie.

Also, according to National media accounts, a Pennsylvania woman, Shaneen Allen, was recently stopped by New Jersey police and voluntarily told them she had a handgun in her car which was legally purchased and registered in Pennsylvania. Shaneen Allen was quoted as saying she was not aware that her Pennsylvania home state permit was not valid in New Jersey and is now charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Her trial date is October 6.

Dancer’s bill applies to residents from other states who are visiting N.J. and have a legal permit in their home state to possess the firearm, if required. The legislation applies only to handguns, rifles and shotguns. Under current law, New Jersey courts have no options and must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 42 months in prison with no discretion or consideration of the facts.

This proposed bipartisan legislation A-3608 gives the court flexibility, depending upon the facts of the case, whether to impose a mandatory sentence or have the defendant enter into a pretrial intervention program if the defendant has no prior criminal record, no association with a criminal street gang and is in compliance with the handgun laws of their home state.

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Students to Enjoy Farm Fresh Meals Courtesy of Dancer-Space-McHose Law

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A multi-bill package that gives children access to healthy school breakfasts and lunches from Jersey grown products was signed into law today. Assembly Republicans Ron Dancer, Parker Space and Alison McHose sponsored the bills that enhance the state’s successful “Farm to School” program. The program is administered by the Dept. of Agriculture and benefits students, food banks and New Jersey’s farmers.

Ron Dancer

“We are proud of our farmers and the fresh food they produce. This helps local schools and farmers find each other,” said Dancer. “Working with schools is a real boost for local farms and we love seeing kids eat fresh fruit and vegetables. We should make every possible effort to maximize nutritious, locally produced foods for students and improve the bottom line of our farmers.”

 

Parker Space

“‘Farm to School’ helps grow the local economy and preserve farmland,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “It helps schools offer more fresh fruits and vegetables in their cafeterias and students to appreciate eating fresh, New Jersey grown produce. I hope schools will seriously consider the value of our home-grown products.”

Alison Littell McHose

“New Jersey farmers supply the best quality products in the country,” said McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “Good nutrition is a key to academic success. This program will also help address another issue concerning our youth which is childhood obesity.”


The “Farm to School” package signed today:

• A-2641 provides for voluntary contributions by taxpayers on gross income tax returns to support the “Farm to School” and “School Gardens” programs.

• A-2642 allows the Secretary of Agriculture to solicit and accept private and public money to support the state’s “Farm to School” program.

• A-2643 establishes the “Best in New Jersey ‘Farm to School’ Awards Program,” to annually recognize the outstanding “Farm to School” programs implemented by a school or school district.

• A-2644 creates a website clearinghouse connecting schools, school districts, food banks and farmers.

• A-156 requires the Dept. of Agriculture to post on the homepage of its website a hyperlink that provides visitors with direct access to the “New Jersey Farm to School” program.

Additional sponsors of the bipartisan legislation include: Assembly Democrats Robert Andrzeczak, Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, and Celeste Riley.

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‘Farm to School’ Bill Package Sponsored by Brown, Fiocchi Signed into Law

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Expanding access to nutritious, locally harvested food for school children, a package of five bills sponsored by Assembly Republicans Chris A. Brown and Sam Fiocchi was signed into law today. The bills further strengthen the New Jersey’s successful “Farm to School” program.

Chris A. Brown

“This is an opportunity to improve nutrition and promote healthy eating in our schools. Students can learn to appreciate the benefits and quality of food grown on local farms,” said Assemblyman Brown, R – Atlantic. “At the same time, the local economy gets a boost and we promote agriculture in the Garden State.”

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“Bringing more farm fresh food into school lunchrooms will benefit the local farmers and the economy. We can put just-picked fruits and vegetables in the hands of young children, and help them develop life-long healthy eating habits,” noted Assemblyman Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland.

The “Farm to School” package includes:

  • A-156 requires the Dept. of Agriculture to post on the homepage of its website a hyperlink that provides visitors with direct access to the “New Jersey Farm to School” program.
  • A-2641 provides for voluntary contributions by taxpayers on gross income tax returns to support the “Farm to School” and “School Gardens” programs.
  • A-2642 allows the Secretary of Agriculture to solicit and accept private and public money to support the state’s “Farm to School” program.
  • A-2643 establishes the “Best in New Jersey ‘Farm to School’ Awards Program,” to annually recognize the outstanding “Farm to School” programs implemented by a school or school district.
  • A-2644 creates a website clearinghouse connecting schools, school districts, food banks and farmers.

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DeCroce Says She Cannot Support Amendment Using Corporate Business Tax For Open Space Purchases

Lawmaker Says Highlands Property Owners Deserve Compensation From State

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

BettyLou DeCroce

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce said she cannot support an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that would allocate state business tax funds to pay for open space and recreation because the legislation is ill-defined, redundant and fails to reimburse property owners in the Highlands region for the loss of their property values.

DeCroce (R-Morris, Essex Passaic) says the legislation behind the amendment dedicating 4 percent of the corporate business tax to an open space fund, saddles corporations with an ongoing tax to fund, not only open space acquisition, but environmental cleanup and a host of other obligations that have nothing to do with business incentives or job creation.

“It is not the responsibility of business to pay a tax that will finance historic preservation, open space purchases and environmental remediation in perpetuity ” said DeCroce, noting that the CBT dedicated to open space and allied programs will increase to 6 percent in 2019 under the proposed amendment approved by the legislature this month. For the amendment to become law voters must approve a referendum that will appear on the November ballot.

“When state legislative leaders wonder how come New Jersey has such a poor business reputation it is precisely because of legislation such as this which stifles business investment in our state,” added DeCroce, a small business owner.

With a corporate tax rate of 9 percent on most corporations, New Jersey has the fourth highest corporate tax in the nation.

DeCroce said while she supports open space preservation, the state already taxes property owners on local and county levels for open space purchases .She said hundreds of millions of dollars are taken from taxpayers under the name of open space preservation only to find the funds being used for a variety of purposes that have nothing to do with buying undeveloped land.

“Paying for the construction of tennis courts and artificial turf football fields is not how most people imagine their open space tax money being used,” said DeCroce. “And with this new amendment, the public is again being fooled into thinking that the corporate tax will be used primarily for open space preservation, when in fact, that is not the case.”

PROPERTY CONFISCATION

The assemblywoman said she is particularly disturbed that in the decade since the Highlands Act became law –and more than 1,343 square miles of the state were put under severe development restrictions — there has been no action from Trenton to reimburse property owners for the devaluation of their property. The act has severely crippled the economy of many rural communities such as West Milford.

“The Highlands Act spawned the largest taking of private property rights in the state’s history without fair compensation for land owners,” said DeCroce, whose district includes several Highlands Communities.

“If the state deems it good public policy to preserve vast areas of open space by enacting extremely strict development prohibitions that make people’s land practically worthless, then it has an obligation to pay the owners for the land,” said DeCroce.

“I encourage voters to vote against the misleading and unnecessary referendum that will be placed before them on the November ballot, said DeCroce.

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O’Scanlon: Massive Ticket Meltdown!

Statewide Red-Light Camera Ticketing Glitch Pandemic Uncovered

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon today said that ATS red-light cameras experienced technical issues from May 28, 2014 through June 30, 2014 resulting in the infractions being recorded and vehicle owners identified – but apparently never notified of the potential charge. Consequently, potential defendants never received notice of these violations.

Declan O'Scanlon

“This wasn’t 5 or 10 or even a couple of hundred instances – this total breakdown affected almost 17,000 motorists!” said O’Scanlon. “These companies incessantly tout the supposed accuracy and consistency of their systems – when the only thing consistent about the camera company representatives is their blatant misrepresentation of what the equipment does and how accurately it does it.”

The courts overseeing these jurisdictions were instructed to dismiss the nearly 17,000 tickets statewide.

“This is but another of many nails in the coffin of the credibility of these systems and the companies that operate them. In the same week we have multiple examples of red-light camera companies’ inability to run their ‘businesses’,” said O’Scanlon. “Redflex has a high level executive indicted for bribery and now ATS’ cameras have suffered a complete meltdown. This ticketing issue evidences a massive breakdown in ATS’ violation generating process. “

“Thank goodness that the New Jersey Judiciary is treating this matter with its due importance,” O’Scanlon explained. “I applaud the Judiciary – they have gotten right on top of this mess and are going to help the municipalities deal with the cleanup.”

“The next issue is dealing with the cost,” said O’Scanlon. “It has been rumored that ATS is considering paying the towns back for costs associated with this mess. I am hereby demanding that they do so. At the very least, towns should refuse to pay ATS – which gets around $20,000 per month per intersection – for the month the system failed to operate. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a service that isn’t being provided. Further, the towns still relying on red-light cameras for revenue need to realize that these cameras are not reliable and the money will not always be there, especially come December 16th when the pilot program comes to a – merciful – end.

“This is just another example of the mess that these programs have become,” stated O’Scanlon. “When you get a ticket from a police officer you know it – and know what you did wrong on the spot. When you receive an infraction in the mail – two weeks to over two months after-the-fact – by these automated systems, you can’t be expected to remember the circumstances – or even who might have been driving your car!”

“I introduced my bill, A527, that prohibits submission of New Jersey license plate information to national photo ticketing system to protect New Jersey motorists from these obviously flawed programs at home and around the country,” O’Scanlon said.

Problems with red-light camera programs have been reported throughout the US. In Maryland over 10% of photo-enforcement tickets were issued in error, and 26% were deemed “questionable” according to a Baltimore City audit. In Philadelphia problems with the camera’s timing caused the refunding or dismissal of over 4,000 tickets. In D.C. issues with inclement weather caused false positives by the camera resulting in over 400 refunds to DC drivers. In New York City – soon to be overrun by these systems – they have virtually no engineering standards for yellow light timing.

“These issues are systemic and well documented,” O’Scanlon said. “It’s bad enough the philosophy that these cameras are premised upon is fatally flawed – they do not improve safety – but now we’re seeing that the technology is significantly glitchy. I guess none of this matters if all you care about is revenue, but aren’t fairness and justice supposed to enter the equation … somewhere?”

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