Category: Press Release

Ciattarelli-Simon Laud Achievement by District 16′s Public Schools

Assembly Republican Press Release -

According to the latest school rankings by Niche, six of the top 100 schools in New Jersey are located in Legislative District 16. Senator Kip Bateman and Assembly Republicans Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon today lauded the students, teachers and administrators at those schools for their outstanding achievement. Niche is an organization founded by Carnegie Mellon University students in 2002 whose mission is to help people find their niche in society.

The District 16 schools include: Princeton High School (15); Montgomery High School (20); Hunterdon Central High School (22); South Brunswick High School (40); Hillsborough High School (58) and Somerville High School (71).

“New Jersey has some of the best schools in the nation thanks to the quality of our educators and their dedication to their students,” said Bateman. “As these rankings show, that commitment to excellence is exemplified by the students, teachers and administrators of the schools in District 16. I’m extremely proud of what these schools have accomplished and am excited to see the way these students shape the future of our state and country.”

“Students, their families, teachers, and administrators deserve recognition for outstanding achievement in the field of public education,” said Ciattarelli. “Students’ efforts to fully develop their skills, challenge themselves to attain a level of excellence, and the commitment of all who influence students must be commended. Transitioning from the lower grades to high school is a big adjustment both academically and socially. These schools are proof that dedication and commitment is worth the effort.”

“These outstanding schools are to be highly commended and recognized for promoting an atmosphere where learning and nurturing academic excellence is a top priority,” said Simon. “These accomplishments take a strong partnership between the students, school, top shelf teachers, and parents. I congratulate them on becoming a model of education in New Jersey. We are proud to boast of your success.”

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Rible: Report Shows Need To Study Impact of Standardized Tests

Press Release – Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible said he is pleased with the recommendations made in an interim report recently released by a commission tasked with reviewing student assessments.

“The Study Commission has recommended that school districts throughout the state review the standardized tests being administered to their students to make sure each one is effective and used to improve student learning,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean. “We need to stop increasing the amount of standardized tests our students are taking and make sure the testing is, in fact, in the best interest of the students.”

Dave Rible

Rible sponsors legislation, A-2723, that will prohibit the administration of standardized assessments not required under state or federal law. School districts that wish to administer a standardized test which is not required under state or federal law would have to receive permission from the New Jersey Department of Education and prove that data from the test could not be compiled from other assessments already being administered.

“We as parents, educators and legislators must closely monitor the state of standardized testing in our school districts to make sure our students are receiving the most effective instruction in their classroom,” Rible said. “Over testing is forcing our educators to ‘teach to the test’ instead of providing a well-rounded education which our students deserve.”

The Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey was created through Executive Order No. 159, issued by Gov. Chris Christie in July 2014. It is tasked with reviewing and making recommendations on the quality and effectiveness of student assessments administered to K-12 students in New Jersey. Its final report must be submitted to the governor no later than July 31, 2015.

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Rumana Bill Places Moratorium on Approvals, Construction of Multi-Family Developments in Light of Edgewater Fire

Press Release – To prevent another inferno like the recent Avalon Bay at Edgewater fire that displaced more than 1,000 residents, Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana is having legislation drafted that will place a moratorium, of up to two years, on the approval for and/or construction of multi-family housing developments until the state’s building code is revised and adopted.

Scott Rumana

“The lightweight wood construction used to build the Edgewater complex is the reason the fire raced through the luxury apartment development so quickly,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “Buildings constructed with such highly flammable materials are virtual tinderboxes.

“The Edgewater inferno makes it clear that we need new and improved building standards in New Jersey in order to protect residents and first responders,” he continued. “Until those new standards are in place, a moratorium on new building is urgent. We need to ensure that better construction standards, designed to save lives, are in place before any new multi-family housing is built.”

Rumana noted that had the fire occurred during the middle of the night, the loss of life would have been “unimaginable.” He said he plans to introduce the bill next week and hopes it will receive an immediate committee hearing.

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Assembly Approves Dancer Bipartisan Bill Package Regulating the Dispersal of Military Weapons to Police Agencies

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Two bipartisan measures sponsored by Assembly Republican Ron Dancer increasing controls on the acquisition and deployment of military surplus equipment by law enforcement agencies were approved today by the General Assembly. The bills, A-3754/S-2365 and A-3901/S-2364, enhance oversight over the federal 1033 program authorizing the transfer of armored vehicles, weapons and other equipment from the Department of Defense (DOD) to state, county and local police departments.

Dancer’s first bill, A-3754/S-2365, requires the Attorney General’s oversight of the transfer of equipment to local law enforcement agencies. A-3901/S-2364, the second bill of the package, prevents police departments from applying for such equipment without first getting the local governing body’s approval.

Ron Dancer

Dancer, R – Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth, state, “It’s critical to ensure that all the equipment re-assigned is properly suited for the mission. Are grenade launchers and armored personnel carriers appropriate for a small local police department? How much is too much? We need to maintain the right balance to preserve the effectiveness of our police officers and the trust and confidence of our residents.”

The distribution of excess DOD equipment to federal and state agencies is authorized by Congress. The military gear is intended to assist officers in their mission, with an emphasis on counter-drug and counter-terrorism efforts.

“We want local government police departments and their elected representatives to jointly make the decision to acquire Federal Department of Defense war-like equipment, as well as, the Attorney General to sign off on it and, in so doing, provide the towns and their taxpayers with another layer of liability protection,” said Dancer.

Identical versions of both bills passed the Senate unanimously in December.

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Assembly Approves Dancer Bipartisan Bill Promoting Native Plants in State Landscape Projects

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Ron Dancer

Legislation requiring state entities to purchase native plants for land management and restoration projects, sponsored by Assembly Republican Ron Dancer, won approval of the General Assembly today. Dancer’s bill, A-1305, promotes the use of trees, shrubs and grasses that are indigenous to the state for all landscaping projects under the direction of state agencies, departments, authorities or colleges.

“Native plants have a better chance to survive and thrive,” said Dancer, R – Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “With the installation of plants that are perfectly suited to the environment and soils of New Jersey, we can reduce costs for maintenance and replacement of failed plantings. They complement the state’s natural wildlife and insects, providing shelter and food.”

Dancer’s bipartisan bill also helps New Jersey workers by directing state entities to give preference to Garden State-based nurseries, plant dealers, landscape architects and construction professionals.

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Rible Bill Protecting Access to Student Personal Info Passes Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible that protects a student’s personal information from being distributed to the federal government was approved by the Assembly today.

Under the bill, A-2724, the Dept. of Education is required to annually notify parents and guardians they have the option to remove a student’s personal records from the data base sent to any agency of the federal government.

Dave Rible

“Data breaches into personal or proprietary information are not rare or isolated,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean. “A parent or guardian should decide if they will grant permission allowing a child’s personal data to be distributed. Hacking into a business, illegally accessing sensitive government plans and stealing someone’s private information are unlawful, but it happens all too frequently. Collecting sensitive information, especially about our children, could cause irreparable damage.”

Last fall, a report by the state attorney general showed that New Jersey faces more than a million hacking attempts per month which increases the need to safeguard information collected on New Jersey students.

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Assembly Advances Muñoz Bill to Protect Stalking Victims

Press Release – To protect stalking victims, repeat offenders face increased jail time under legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors. The bill, A-3841, today received General Assembly approval.

Nancy Munoz

“Restraining orders often aren’t enough of a deterrent for stalkers. Regardless of their motivation, the goal is the same – to instill constant fear in their victims,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “They are also at an increased risk of being attacked or killed. In addition to the threat of physical harm, the psychological trauma is devastating. Repeat offenders continue to harass their victim with terrifying consequences. These criminals will no longer receive a slap on the wrist. Instead they’re going to face several years in prison.”

The measure increases prison time and fines for persons convicted of subsequent stalking offenses. Under current law, repeat offenders face up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. Under Muñoz’ bill, such an offense is upgraded from a fourth degree crime to a third degree which carries a 3 to 5-year prison term and a fine up to $15,000.

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Gove Named VFW Legislator of the Year

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

DiAnne Gove

9th District Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove was honored by the Department of New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) as Legislator of the Year during the Voice of Democracy/Legislative Dinner event held in Somerset, New Jersey on January 24 of this year.

Upon being elected to serve in the Assembly in 2010, Assemblywoman Gove has served on the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The Assemblywoman also served on the New Jersey Veterans’ Hospital Task Force. Prior to serving in the State Legislature, Assemblywoman Gove taught American history and government at Southern Regional High School for 32 years.

Assemblywoman Gove issued the following statement upon receiving the VFW’s Legislator of the Year award:

“It is an absolutely tremendous honor to be named Legislator of the Year by such a distinguished and respected organization that has dedicated itself fully to improving the lives of our veterans as well as their families.

“Teaching American history and government to our youth for 32 years allowed me to have an even greater respect for veterans and a tremendous sense of pride in our Armed Forces. My respect for veterans began at an early age with my father, who was everything to me, who served in the Navy on a destroyer fighting in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

“Upon graduating high school, a number of my students joined the Armed Forces, some of whom served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and all went where they were needed most. My thoughts are often with these students, whom I remain very proud of for their service in these troubling times.”

“Against this personal background, veterans’ issues have played an extremely important role in my decision to serve in the Legislature. Serving on the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee has allowed me the privilege of working with the VFW and other veterans’ organizations in advancing the shared goal of improving the quality of life for our veterans and their families.

“Increasing access to quality health care and expanding employment opportunities for our veterans remain issues that I, along with my 9th Legislative District colleagues, Senator Chris Connors and Assemblyman Brian Rumpf, will continue to forcefully advocate for in the Legislature. Elected officials have a sacred obligation to ensure that the veterans who safeguard us from harm and protect our very way of life are afforded every opportunity to live a fulfilled life and be given the respect they’ve earned through service, sacrifice and perseverance.”

In representing the 9th Legislative District, Assemblywoman Gove has remained at the forefront of developing veteran’s policies on a broad array of issues. Assemblywoman Gove authored the 2011 law known as the “Veteran-Owned Business Assistance Act,” that requires the state to develop strategies to expand the number of veteran-owned businesses interested in and eligible to secure State contracts.

Additionally, the Assemblywoman authored the state’s landmark 2013 law to protect servicemembers’ parental rights by prohibiting the courts from entering into an order changing the custody arrangement for active military duty personnel.

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Fiocchi Tourism Plan is a ‘Natural’ for Job Creation, Economic Growth

Ecotourism and Agritourism Preserve Natural Resources and Provide Work Opportunities

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

CAPE MAY, N.J. – To stimulate job creation and economic growth in South Jersey, Assembly Republican Sam Fiocchi today hosted a summit to promote ecotourism and agritourism in the region. More than 60 stake-holders attended to event where they discussed the economic and job-creating potential of new tourism niche projects focused on ecology and agriculture.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“Tourism is critical to southern New Jersey, and we can build on the popularity and strength of the industry by expanding into unique new opportunities,” said Fiocchi, who recently introduced a comprehensive seven-bill package to encourage the development of eco- and agritourism destinations.

“The natural resources of South Jersey provide us with tremendous opportunity to simultaneously conserve our environmental assets and grow our economy,” continued Fiocchi. “We create good-paying jobs without paving over farmlands or wetlands. We can protect the land and protect New Jersey families at the same time.”

Agritourism is rural tourism that focuses on agriculture, including apple picking, hayrides and harvest festivals on a working farm, and opportunities to spend a vacation working side-by-side with farmhands. Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas while preserving the area and improving the well-being of local residents. Managed tours to the marshes, back bays, and coves of the coastline can help protect and strengthen these delicate environments. Both strategies create badly needed job and business opportunities for residents.

Fiocchi’s legislative package includes:

  • A-3991: Establishes the New jersey Eco-Ag Tourism Council to develop ways for farmers and others to utilize ecotourism and agritourism.
  • A-3992: Requires the Department of Transportation to provide directional signage to natural attractions and farms offering agritoursim.
  • A-3993: Makes it easier for local governments or tax-exempt organization to receive Green Acres Program funding for recreation and conservation.
  • A-3994: Establishes an annual photography competition to support and promote New Jersey’s ecological and agricultural sights.
  • A-3995: Requires the Division of Travel and Tourism to establish a web page on the division’s web site advertising ecological and agricultural tourist attractions in the state.
  • AR-199: Urges the federal government to renew the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route.
  • AR-201: Urges the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to designate space in each of its airports for the promotion of local ecotourism destinations.

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Dancer Moves to Protect Cell Phone Records

Press Release – The state of New Jersey says it should be able to view a person’s cell phone billing records without a warrant. Assemblyman Ron Dancer says not so fast – “New Jersey citizens have a fundamental privacy right against unlawful search and seizure. Justice prevails when the scales are balanced between one’s constitutional right and government’s need to know.”

Ron Dancer

As a result, the lawmaker has introduced legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant before accessing a telecommunications subscriber’s personal information.

Recently, without a warrant, the state attempted to obtain the call-detail records of people who had contact with an Asbury Park Press man who was arrested on cocaine distribution charges. The state argued it should be permitted to bypass the warrant process and instead obtain a grand jury subpoena which is more expedient. A Monmouth County Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled that a warrant is required to access cell phone records. It’s likely the case will go before the state Supreme Court.

“Certainly we should arm law enforcement with every appropriate tool for pursuing alleged criminals, while safeguarding the constitutional privacy rights of our citizens,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex. “It is important to note that, under current law, law enforcement agencies can have communication service providers preserve all records for up to six months with a simple request, until a search warrant is issued.”

The bill revises the “New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act” by requiring law enforcement to obtain a search warrant, rather than a grand jury or trial subpoena, prior to accessing a person’s telecommunications personal information.

“This legislation places into state law a 1982 State Supreme Court decision (State v. Hunt) that individuals have privacy interests in their telephone billing records,” said Dancer.

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