Category: Press Release

CASAGRANDE SAYS CLOSING OF ANOTHER HORSE FARM SHOULD SOUND A WARNING BELL TO LAWMAKERS

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Caroline Casagrande

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande said the recent announcement of the planned closing of Showplace Farms should serve as a wakeup call to Trenton. The Millstone-based Standardbred farm is home to 425 horses, a first class training center and a swimming pool for rehabilitation.

“The horseracing industry has been warning us for years that it is getting increasingly difficult to compete with neighboring states that offer higher purses fueled by racinos,” said Casagrande, R-Monmouth County. “The closure of Showplace Farms is further proof that New Jersey must act now to protect this vital industry.”

“Horseracing is a billion dollar industry that provides close to 12 thousand jobs,” explains Casagrande. “Losing those jobs would be devastating to the Monmouth County Economy, and would trickle down to veterinarians, tack shops and the pleasure-riding community.

“Our beautiful horse farms are also an important part of open space preservation,” the Assemblywoman points out. “Every farm lost is a loss for the environment.”

Casagrande is a strong advocate for slot machines at the Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park.

“The state needs to do more to create a climate where higher purses can attract quality horses to all our tracks,” said Casagrande. “The popularity of Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah and excitement for the Haskell Invitational is drawing national attention and shows there is still great interest in horseracing in New Jersey.”

New Jersey already lost Perretti Farms, and Showplace Farms will close in October, explained Casagrande. “There is bipartisan support for expanding gaming in New Jersey. The Legislature needs to act now, before another horse farm closes for good and the future of this critical industry is further jeopardized.”

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Holzapfel-Wolfe-McGuckin Bill Eases Beach Access for Veterans’ Families

Source: Press Release -

Gregory P. McGuckin

Dave Wolfe

In recognition of the many sacrifices made by the families of the men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces, Jersey Shore legislators Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin, all R-Ocean, sponsor legislation (S-3130) to allow shore municipalities to provide the spouses and dependent children of veterans free or reduced cost access to beaches.

“This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the spouses and children – the unsung heroes – who silently provided the most support and bore the biggest burden helping our veterans when they were on active duty,” said Holzapfel, who recently introduced the bill in the Senate. “It’s our honor to provide them with an opportunity to enjoy the Jersey Shore’s treasured coastline with time at our beaches.”

Wolfe and McGuckin will introduce an identical bill as soon as the General Assembly reconvenes. New Jersey is home to more than 400,000 veterans and their families.

“Few people realize how difficult it is for the families of those who served our country,” Wolfe. “It wasn’t easy packing up and moving each time their spouse was reassigned or left behind when their loved one was deployed. Giving these families easier access to our beautiful beaches may seem like a small gesture, but it’s a way to show them we appreciate their sacrifice.”

“This is an effort to allow those who selflessly supported our men and women who served with honor to enjoy some of the best beaches along the East Coast,” said McGuckin. “Military life is very stressful for the spouses and children of our soldiers and we want to make sure they know their sacrifices are appreciated.”

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Ciattarelli: Jersey City Tax Abatements Manipulate School Funding System and Unfair to New Jersey Taxpayers

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jack Ciattarelli

Assembly Republican Jack Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex, said Jersey City losing $80 million in property taxes due to tax abatements is a prime example of how the school funding system is manipulated. A recent news report revealed the lost property taxes.

Jersey City’s abatements or payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) are long-term tax breaks given to developers, allowing them to pay a fixed amount instead of the normal property tax rate. The city shares five percent of the PILOT revenue with the county. Most times, the school district receives very little or nothing.

“This report reveals the tip of an iceberg that is vast and mostly underwater,” said Ciattarelli. “Short-term property tax abatements, under very special circumstances, may have their place. What’s happening in Jersey City and elsewhere is crony capitalism at its worst and an injustice to all New Jersey taxpayers.

“Jersey City can afford to siphon property tax revenues from their schools because the state provides such large subsidies,” stated Ciattarelli. “In Jersey City, the state contributes 60 percent of its school funding. This subsidy is so overly generous that local taxpayers pay only 15 cents on the dollar for their schools.

“At a time when the state is experiencing a painful squeeze on its budget and can’t afford to make the full teachers’ pension payment, the abatements exploit the state school funding formula,” explained Ciattarelli. “If communities want to provide tax abatements to encourage development, they should fund them from municipal and county taxes, not school property taxes.”

Ciattarelli noted two parts of his comprehensive proposal for pension reform that address the area of school funding and abatements:

• No community is allowed to fund less than 25 percent of their school budget through the local tax levy (some communities fund less than 15 percent of their school budget, while others fund more than 90 percent); and

• No community whose local school budget is funded more than 50 percent by federal and state aid can abate school property taxes on new development.

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DeCroce Bill to Prevent Gas Shortages During Emergencies Headed to Governor’s Desk

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican BettyLou DeCroce to prevent gas shortages during declared states of emergency. The bill, a response to a lesson learned from Super Storm Sandy, cleared the Assembly in June and is now moves to Gov. Christie’s desk to await action.

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

“This measure will help make more fuel available to motorists during an emergency by allowing fuel dealers to sell higher grade fuel at the lower grade price,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Gasoline became scarce in some parts of the state after Super Storm Sandy. People waited for hours in line to buy gas for their vehicles and generators, and many stations ran out. In an emergency, we don’t want people stranded and left in the cold.”

Under current law, fuel must be sold at its posted price which cannot be changed more than once during a 24 hour period. DeCroce’s bill, A-1733, allows a retailer to sell higher grade fuel at a lower price during an energy emergency when the dealer runs out of lower grade fuel.

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Bucco Bill Establishes Protections for Peacekeepers During Civil Unrest

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

To prevent the chaos and lawlessness that erupted in Baltimore from being duplicated in New Jersey, Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco introduced legislation creating criminal penalties for interfering with law enforcement officers and emergency service personnel in the line of duty.

Anthony M. Bucco

“The public is guaranteed the right to peaceful protest by our Constitution, but what happened in Baltimore was a complete breakdown of law and order,” said Bucco, R – Morris and Somerset. “Out of control rioters created a dangerous situation and we were lucky no lives were lost. To protect the public from similar turmoil, my measure provides safeguards so that police, firefighters and EMS personnel can perform their jobs safely.”

Bucco’s bill, A-4566, also makes it a crime to misuse emergency equipment, or to damage that equipment.

“Rocks and bricks rained down from rooftops, injuring first responders and damaging equipment,” Bucco noted. “Vandals ripped into a fire hose with a knife to stop the water needed to extinguish the fires that had been started. Under my bill, we will not tolerate these reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous actions, and the penalties will be severe.”

Bucco’s legislation intends to safeguard law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency services personnel who are called on to protect citizens and save lives.

The bill establishes:

  • a third-degree crime for interfering or obstructing a public safety employee with the intent to injure, or damaging or impairing emergency equipment for the purpose of causing injury. The offense rises to second degree is it results in serious injury.
  • a fourth degree crime for interfering or obstructing a public safety employee or damaging or impairing emergency equipment. If the offense causes injury, it increases to third degree.
  • a fourth degree crime for the unlawful control of equipment in possession of a law enforcement officer, increasing to a third degree if there are threats to use the equipment as a weapon against the officer.
  • a fourth degree crime for the unlawful control of equipment in possession of emergency service personnel. The offense is increased to third degree if there are threats to use the equipment as a weapon.

A crime of the second degree is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000. A third degree offense is punishable by 3 to 5 years behind bars, and a $15,000 fine. A crime of the fourth degree can mean up to 18 months in prison, and a fine of $10,000.

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Kean, Bramnick, Munoz demand meeting about Amtrak service delays

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

After four consecutive days of major delays for New Jersey commuters, Sen. Tom Kean, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz are demanding answers. The legislators are insisting on a meeting with officials from Amtrak.

“After the series of delays this week, commuters deserve a detailed explanation as to what’s going on as well as what is going to be done to prevent these issues from reoccurring,” said Kean. “Delays of this nature wreak havoc on commuters’ schedules and their work obligations. It is simply unacceptable.”

Jon Bramnick

“People need to get to work, but every day this week there has been trouble. It is aggravating and unacceptable,” said Bramnick. “It costs money and productivity when hard-working New Jersey residents can’t get to their jobs. Commuters want to know what’s happening and why it is happening. We’re not getting what we’ve paid for, and we’re looking for answers.”

Nancy Munoz

“We want to get answers for the commuters who are paying the price for shoddy maintenance and poor customer service,” said Munoz. “The frustration of these long delays makes it almost impossible to have any confidence in Amtrak’s reliability.”

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Senate OKs Handlin Bill Allowing Crowdfunding to Fuel Economic Growth and Job Creation

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Amy Handlin to provide small business with a new, cost-effective source of funding has cleared the Senate. A-2073, approved by the General Assembly in March, paves the way private businesses in the state to solicit and acquire investment money through “crowdfunding” on the Internet. The bill now awaits action on Gov. Christie’s desk.

Amy Handlin

“In this economy, it can be difficult or impossible for businesses to get funding through conventional sources,” said Handlin, R – Monmouth. “Under this bill, New Jersey companies can locate intra-state investors who are willing to fund a local venture without the burdensome regulation associated with traditional equity investments.”

Web sites like Kickstarter and Peerbackers introduced crowdfunding to the market, but those donation-based sites are inadequate for raising funds for an ambitious business project. In other states, including Georgia and Kansas, state-sponsored equity crowdfunding initiatives have proven successful.

“Without sufficient capital, even the most innovative company will struggle to compete in the changing marketplace. The funding option opened by this bill will help businesses thrive, expand, and create jobs for New Jersey.”

Handlin’s legislation is a complement to the federal Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), which was signed into law in 2012 but has yet to be implemented.

The legislation provides exemptions from registration with the Bureau of Securities for companies organized in New Jersey that offer intrastate crowdfunding investment opportunities. The total investment cannot exceed $1 million, and the investment from any single purchaser is capped at $5,000.

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Addiego & Rodriguez-Gregg Bill Allowing Amusement Games in Bars and Restaurants Clears Senate

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Maria Rodriguez-Gregg

Maria Rodriguez-Gregg

Senator Dawn Marie Addiego and Assembly Republican Maria Rodriguez-Gregg’s bill to allow Dave & Buster’s-style restaurant and entertainment venues in New Jersey earned the approval of the Senate today. The measure (A-4143), which passed the General Assembly last month, permits issuing an amusement game license to qualifying bars and restaurants.

“We’re finally leveling the playing field,” said Addiego, R — Burlington, Atlantic and Camden. “Competing states have been enjoying a monopoly on this entertainment. Allowing food, drink and amusements in the same building will provide an economic boost for New Jersey.”

To qualify under the bill, a licensed establishment must offer a minimum of 100 amusement games and the premises must total at least 20,000 square feet.

“Welcoming these specialty venues will create new business, new jobs, and renewed excitement in destinations like Atlantic City, our Shore towns, and downtown areas dependant on restaurant and nightlife traffic,” said Rodriguez-Gregg, R – Burlington, Atlantic and Camden. “This has proven to be a profitable niche in other states and it can help energize New Jersey’s economy.”

Addiego and Rodriguez-Gregg’s bill is now headed to Gov. Christie’s desk to await action.

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Rumana Bill Allowing NJ Alcohol Licensees to Add Amusement Game License Passes Senate

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Senate today approved legislation (A-4143/S-2514) sponsored by Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana to allow amusement game licenses to establishments authorized to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption. The concept for this business model is a recommendation of the Red Tape Review Commission.

Scott Rumana

“This model has been very successful in other states, including Pennsylvania and New York. These states are capitalizing on the recipe of combining amusements, food and drink under one roof,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “It just makes sense for New Jersey to allow this popular entertainment format. Opening the door for these specialty venues will create new business, new jobs, and renewed excitement in destinations such as New Jersey’s restaurants and nightlife traffic.”

In order to obtain the amusement games permit, the licensee must occupy 20,000 sq. ft. and offer at least 100 amusement games. The current ban is part of a 1959 law that regulates games of skill or chance, including skee-balls, cranes, rotaries, pushers, sports games and other familiar redemption machines that offer rewards. Rewards can be a prize won at a machine or tickets dispensed that can be exchanged for merchandise at a redemption counter.

“If we are serious about creating jobs, we have to change this antiquated law that’s blocking a successful business model,” said Rumana, a member of the commission. “We’re one of the only states in the country that bans combining games, drinks and prizes in the same business.”

Rumana’s bill cleared the Assembly in June, and now awaits action by Gov. Christie.

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Senate OKs Muñoz Resolution Establishing ALS Awareness Day

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

A resolution sponsored by Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz to increase public awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is headed for the Governor’s desk after clearing the Senate today. ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Nancy Munoz

“ALS takes a physical and emotional toll on those who suffer from the disease,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “While there still is no cure for ALS, we want people who are diagnosed today and their families to know research and improved medical care allows many patients to live longer, more productive lives.”

Muñoz’s resolution, AJR-67/SJR-51, designates the third Wednesday in May as ALS Awareness Day, and the month of May as ALS Awareness Month in New Jersey. The annual Walk to Defeat ALS, the ALS Association’s national signature event, will be held at various locations in the state during the month of May.

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