Category: Press Release

Peterson: Guadagno Right On Question 2

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Erik Peterson released the following statement in response to Gov. Chris Christie ridiculing Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for her opposition to the gas tax and ballot question #2, claiming that she “misunderstood” the policy proposals.

Erik Peterson

“I am confident that the lieutenant governor fully understands the consequences of this tax increase and the accompanying ballot question. Which is exactly why she, like several of my colleagues, have vocally opposed this scheme.

“The only person that is enabling ‘future wasteful spending by Democrat legislators’ is the governor himself. He must have misunderstood the voters of Hunterdon, Somerset, and Warren counties when they voted for him, because they didn’t expect more taxes and wasteful spending.

“The only reason the governor and Democratic leadership are pushing the ballot question is to enable borrowing against the new tax increases, which will exhaust all of the new revenue in eight short years and will require future tax increases.”

State ballot question #2 would dedicate all future gas tax revenues to the Transportation Trust Fund.

Peterson has consistently opposed these measures, citing concerns over the cost for construction and the need for reforms before moving forward.

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Dancer introduces measure encouraging worry-free gleaning of healthy food for New Jersey families

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced legislation to encourage more nonprofit organizations to help stock food pantries for the hungry by gleaning donated crops from New Jersey farmers. The bill (A4236) provides immunity from civil liability for volunteers groups working on farms to harvest or collect crops that have been donated.

Ron Dancer

“Gleaning has been utilized in New Jersey for a long time, and it is an effective means to stock food pantries with fresh, healthy produce that otherwise may have been left to rot in the fields to decay,” said Dancer (R—Ocean). “Some organizations and volunteers, however, are reluctant to participate in gleaning for fear of legal liability in case of an accident or injury.”

Dancer notes that farmers are already immune from liability for injuries that occur on their land during gleanings.

“The dedicated folks who invest their time and energy to gather food for those who are less fortunate should not have to worry about legal problems if someone trips in the field,” said Dancer. “This legislation incentivizes gleaning efforts by lifting this concern for organizations and their volunteers.”

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Panel clears Webber bill exposing impact of unfunded mandates on taxpayers

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber to track the financial burden of unfunded state and federal mandates on counties and towns was released today by the Appropriations Committee. The bill (A1034) requires the Department of Community Affairs to compile a list, updated annually, of all unfunded mandates on local and county governments, including the estimated cost.

Jay Webber

“Taxpayers deserve to know the costs of programs and regulations that are forced upon municipalities but paid for through local property taxes,” said Webber (R—Morris). “This measure increases transparency on these expenses that municipal and county governments cannot control.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that Congress shifted at least $131 billion in costs to states between 2004 and 2008. A study by the Congressional Budget Office in 2014 reported that of the 539 bills analyzed, 47 contained intergovernmental mandates.

“Too often, federal and state government passes the buck to local government, directing the implementation of costly laws or policies without consideration of how the directive will be funded,” Webber said. “The cost of these mandates lands directly on the shoulders of property taxpayers who already struggle under the highest tax bills in the country.”

In March, Webber’s bill was unanimously supported by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

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Panel clears Webber and O’Scanlon bill increasing transparency of asset seizures by police departments

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee advanced legislation today sponsored by Assemblymen Jay Webber and Declan O’Scanlon that increases transparency for seized assets connected with criminal activity. Nationally, law enforcement agencies have been criticized for relying on forfeiture funds to bolster their budgets.

Jay Webber

“The best way to gain the public’s confidence is to open the books,” said Webber (R-Morris). “Homes, cars, money, and other property worth millions of dollars are seized every year from the war on drugs and from crimes like money laundering and racketeering. If property is used in a crime, law enforcement should be able to seize it. But for everyone’s sake – law enforcement, the public, and criminal suspects – the process of forfeiture should be transparent and accountable.”

State agencies are not statutorily required to track or report forfeitures, however, the official policy of the Division of Criminal Justice is that county district attorneys and local police departments report all forfeitures to the attorney general on a quarterly basis. The Webber-O’Scanlon bill (A2771) requires the attorney general annually report to the Legislature how those assets are collected and used

Declan O'Scanlon

“For anyone trying to study it, one of the most aggravating aspects of civil asset forfeiture is just how little information is public about the amount of property police departments seize, who they seize it from, and where all that revenue goes,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “Accountability is only possible with accurate information from the prosecutors who are confiscating and disposing of assets in their pursuit of criminals.”

State law prohibits police departments from paying salaries and operational expenses using forfeiture money or considering it when drafting budgets. But they can use forfeiture funds to make equipment upgrades, provide additional training for their officers or pay for community programs.

County prosecutors across the state collected $72 million in forfeiture proceeds from 2009 to 2013, including more than $57 million in cash and $9 million for vehicles, according to a 2015 report by the Institute for Justice. That total did not include forfeitures by municipalities and the state.

The attorney general’s office used $2.5 million from forfeiture to fund body cameras for local police departments in 2015, and in the past has used such funds to pay for gun buyback programs in cities around the state.

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Space measure securing job-creation grants earned by employers clears Appropriations Committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Parker Space

The Appropriations Committee today cleared Assemblyman Parker Space’s bill enabling qualifying businesses to get a refund for the excess portion of their Business Employment Incentive Program tax credit.

Currently, a business paying the corporation business tax can convert their Business Employment Incentive Program grants to tax credits and get refunds if the tax credit exceeds their tax liability, while businesses paying the Insurance Premium Tax cannot get that refund. Space’s legislation (A4083) would treat insurance premium tax-paying businesses the same as CBT-paying businesses, with both able to get refunds.

“These are grants earned by companies for creating jobs and putting New Jersey residents to work,” said Space (R—Sussex). “If they are meeting their expectations and hiring new employees, they should benefit from all of the money they have earned through BEIP. They can invest the refund in more new jobs and growth.”

Earlier this month, the Assembly commerce committee voted 12-0 to recommend Space’s legislation.

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Muñoz bill to further protect domestic violence victims continues to advance

Nancy Munoz

Press Release – Legislation Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors to further protect domestic violence victims continues to advance.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee today approved the bill (A-4126/S-2483) which prevents a person convicted of a domestic violence crime or who is under a domestic violence restraining order from possessing or purchasing firearms and to immediately surrender any firearms along with purchaser identification cards and handgun permits.

“Guns are the weapon of choice for those who kill their spouse or partner,” said Muñoz (R-Union). “All too often threats are made and court orders are ignored leaving innocent victims vulnerable to attack. Abused victims have a legitimate fear for their safety. Immediately disarming their abusers will afford them additional protections.”

The measure also requires stringent mandatory minimum prison terms, including parole ineligibility based on the crime’s severity for offenders who commit physically violent acts.

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Muñoz bill banning the sale of unsafe supplemental baby mattresses clears Assembly panel

Press Release – Child safety legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz today cleared the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee. The bill (A-1139) prohibits the sale of unsafe supplemental mattresses designed for children’s products. The extra mattresses, sold for cribs, play pens and play yards, often present a risk for injury and death to babies.

Nancy Munoz

“Federal standards don’t adequately address the unreasonable risk of injury or death from these dangerous mattresses,” said Muñoz, R-Union. “While the federal government wastes time thinking about banning them, small children continue to get hurt, or worse, die. These injuries and deaths are preventable. We can’t sit around and wait for Washington to do something. We need to ban these products in New Jersey now.”

A supplemental mattress is sold separately from any other children’s product. Since 2000, 15 deaths have been attributed to these mattresses which may create a gap, causing a child to become trapped.

Under the bill, supplemental mattresses marketed for and intended to be used with cribs, play pens and play yards with non-rigid sides, are considered unsafe unless the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determines they are safe for children.

Toy R Us, Babies R Us, Sears, Kmart, Buy Buy Baby and Wayfair stopped selling the mattresses last year, but they can still be purchased on Amazon. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports banning the mattresses.

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O’Scanlon bill bolstering organ donation clears panel

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon encouraging more residents to register as organ and tissue donors was advanced by the financial institutions committee today. The bill (A4230) requires health insurance carriers to notify subscribers about organ donations.

Declan O'Scanlon

“Organ donations save lives. The more people we can get to register, the more lives we can save,” said O’Scanlon (R—Monmouth). “Awareness and education are essential to increasing the number of registered residents in New Jersey. 95% of adults support organ donation but only 48% actually sign up. People lead busy lives, the will to register is usually there, but the time always is not. This bill ensures that residents will get a friendly reminder about the importance of organ donation, and also explain the various ways a person may register.”

O’Scanlon’s bill directs insurance carriers to provide written information about the importance of donation and how to register as a designated organ donor at every contract renewal. The material is intended to serve as a reminder about the importance of organ donation and provide an easy explanation as to how to register. Federally designated organ procurement organizations such as the New Jersey Sharing Network and South Jersey’s Gift of life donor program will create the relevant content in the insurance renewal contract. This will ensure that accurate and up to date information about organ donation is in each renewal.

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Dancer introduces Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness resolution

Ron Dancer

Press Release – Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced a joint resolution (AJR-124) designating September 7 to 13 as “Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Week.”

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder affecting nearly one in 3,500 boys worldwide. Its symptoms include progressive muscle degeneration and weakness and begin as early as age three. By the early teen years it begins to affect critical organs such as the heart and lungs.

“Educating parents and health care professionals about the condition will help improve early diagnosis and treatment of the disease which can improve the quality of life for everyone affected,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “It can also help encourage further research into treatments for the condition.”

September 7 is World Duchenne Day. September 13 is the date on which Jamesy Raffone was diagnosed with the disorder. As a result, his parents founded JAR of Hope, a New Jersey charity focused on Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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Bramnick thanks Kyrillos for his 30-years of public service

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) released this statement following the announcement Tuesday evening by Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) that he will retire after serving thirty years in the N.J. Legislature.

“Senator Kyrillos represented the civility and respect that is desperately needed in politics today. I thank him for his service to our state and to our party and wish him only the best.”

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