Tag: Caroline Casagrande

Applicants sought for Casagrande’s Fourth ‘Young Women’s Leadership Institute’

Source: Asbury Park Press -

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth, is accepting applications for the Fourth Young Women’s Leadership Institute — a program that mentors and guides young women to be leaders.

“Everyone in public life has an obligation to help the next generation take control of their own future in an effort to make themselves and our society a better place.” – Asw. Caroline Casagrande

The nonpartisan program, which runs through next spring, is open to 10 high school junior girls in the 11th Legislative District. They will be mentored by a female leader and develop a community service project.

Caroline Casagrande

“This program is a great way to prepare young women in New Jersey to be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Casagrande. “Everyone in public life has an obligation to help the next generation take control of their own future in an effort to make themselves and our society a better place.”

Applications must be submitted by May 2 and include an essay of less than 1,000 words about the topic “What Would I Like to Accomplish as a Future Leader?” two letters of recommendation and a list of extracurricular activities.

Applications should be sent to Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, 35 W. Main St., Freehold, NJ 07728 or emailed to AswCasagrande@njleg.org.

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Webber-Casagrande-Simon spend a night for homeless youth and raise $25K for Covenant House

Source: PolitickerNJ -

Camped under the stars outside the Statehouse last night, New Jersey lawmakers raised over $25,000 for homeless youth in Covenant House’s first ever legislative sleep-out.

Jay Webber

“It was a worthwhile night; a notable and meaningful event,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26), co-chair with state Sen. Joe Vitale (D-19). “There was a lot of learning and sharing going on, and for those of us participating on the legislative side, we came away with an appreciation for these kids.”

Founded in New York City in 1972, Covenant House is the largest privately funded charity in the Americas providing services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth. The state’s largest service-provider to homeless and at risk adolescents under 22, Covenant House New Jersey provides healthcare, educational and vocational services, counseling, drug abuse treatment and prevention programs and transitional living programs.

Caroline Casagrande

“Covenant House is always there, when no one else is, to help homeless, at risk adolescents,” said Casagrande. “I was moved to get involved by the stories of those whose lives have been changed by this remarkable organization. It is my hope that my participation in this ‘Legislative Sleep Out’ will bring attention to the work of Covenant House and encourage others to get involved.”.

Early Friday evening, the bipartisan gathering of 16 legislators broke into groups inside the Statehouse to hear the testimonials of young people between the ages of 18-22.

The following lawmakers participated: Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-11), state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11), Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-8), Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-15), Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15, Assemblywoman Celeste Riley (D-3), Assemblywoman Grace Spencer (D-29), Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-16), state Senator Pete Barnes (D-18), state Sen. Nellie Pou (D-35), state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29), Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35), Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38), and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37).

The group of legislators and youth took their sleeping bags, pillows and ponchos and trooped outside around 11 p.m. Friday night, to the grass in front of the Statehouse Annex facing West State Street.

After a conversation and song, some impromptu Evita and Carole King, most people nodded off around 1 to 2 a.m. in a night without rain.

“It was uncomfortable,” Webber said of sleeping on the ground. “But we were so much more comfortable than the homeless youth we were trying to help. We had access to restroom, we were with our colleagues, we had a patch of grass, and we were safe. A lot of these kids don’t have that. The experience doesn’t compare to what they go through, but it was a good reminder to us of their challenges out there. We were fortunate to raise awareness and keep them in our consciousness.”



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Bramnick attends League press conference on deadline for the 2% Cap on Interest Arbitration

Source: New Jersey State League of Municipalities Press Release -

On Thursday, the New Jersey League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Association of Counties (NJAC) held a joint press conference to urge Governor Chris Christie and the State Legislature to enact legislation to permanently extend the 2 percent cap on interest arbitration awards, which will expire on April 1st.

League President and Stone Harbor Mayor Suzanne Walters, League 1st Vice President and Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo and Ewing Township Administrator Jim McManimon joined NJAC President and Monmouth County Clerk Claire French and Passaic County Freeholder Director Pat Lepore in urging the Legislature and Governor to quickly enact a permanent extension on the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick unexpectedly joined the press conference, complimenting municipal and county officials for focusing on the need to make the cap a permanent fixture. Assemblyman Bramnick pledged his support.
On Thursday, Assemblyman O’Scanlon, Assemblywomen Schepisi, Casagrande, and Rodriguez-Gregg introduced A-2987 which will make the 2 percent cap on interest arbitration awards permanent and remove the “one bite at the apple provision.” With only 12 days left until the sunset of April 1, it is imperative that you reach out to your State Senator and Assembly representatives asking them to support A-2987.


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Lawmaker wants end of NJ ban on commercial deer hunting

Source: Gannett News -

A Monmouth County lawmaker wants the state to lift its ban on commercial deer hunting.

New Jersey is not unique among states with restrictions on sales of wild game meat. Republican Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande says she’s introducing a bill this week that directs the state Division of Fish and Wildlife to develop and establish requirements for the commercial harvesting of deer.

Only licensed meat processing facilities would be able to sell and distribute deer meat for commercial sale, Casagrande said.

Caroline Casagrande

Casagrande admits the proposal “will probably get a lot of people talking. But we should have the discussion because in New Jersey we have a deer population problem.’’

New Jersey currently permits processing of donated deer to butchers under a quasi-volunteer program and it’s OK to donate venison to food kitchens.  Commercial deer hunting is not OK.

“This will be controversial but the Wall Street Journal had an article that said 85 percent of the venison sold in restaurants and at meat counters is imported from farms in New Zealand. It’s insane we’re importing it from New Zealand,’’ Casagrande says. “Meanwhile, we’re overrun with deer. I live in Colts Neck where deer are everywhere. I hold my breath every time I get on the road. Instances of Lyme disease are a major problem.’’

The bill will undergo an Assembly committee public hearing on a date to be determined.


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Law bans specific type of bonus

Source: Allentown Examiner -

Legislation sponsored by state assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Amy Handlin (both R-Monmouth) that bans bonuses from being given to school superintendents based on reducing the number of special needs students who are placed in out-of-the-district educational facilities was recently signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie.


Caroline Casagrande

“It is inappropriate to ever tie a superintendent’s compensation to where a child attends school,” Casagrande said. “I am proud that New Jersey is taking a stand on behalf of our special needs students and their families.”

The bill, A-3997 (S-3076), was introduced after officials in some school districts had begun awarding bonuses for reducing the number of students being placed in out of district facilities. The bill received unanimous support in the Assembly on June 20, 2013, according to a press release.

Amy Handlin

“Exploring constructive and achievable approaches to educating youngsters with special needs should be what motivates an educator, not figuring out a way to obtain an additional perk,” Handlin said.

The legislation bars bonuses to school superintendents for reducing the number of special education students who are enrolled in out-of-district programs.

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Casagrande Denounces Settlement Allowing JCP&L to Recoup Storm Costs on the Backs of Their Customers

Caroline Casagrande

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release –

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande denounced a tentative settlement that would pass a repair bill of $736 million down to JCP&L ratepayers.

“This is a tough one to take,” said Casagrande, R-Monmouth. “After the storms, our communities were left in the dark, in large part due to JCP&L’s operational dysfunction. Furthermore, the power remained off for far too long in many neighborhoods.

“It is outrageous that the company that couldn’t turn the lights back on is getting the OK to jack up rates on the very customers they failed,” Casagrande continued. “This is the worst kind of bail out, levied on the ratepayers.”

Casagrande said the tentative settlement was especially disappointing when only a month ago the BPU said JCP&L, should cut rates by $200 million. The company was cited for earning a profit in excess of its state-approved level. “We just found out that JCP&L has spent years overcharging their customers while neglecting to upgrade and improve their infrastructure,” added the Assemblywoman.

“This substantial rate increase is unacceptable, in light of JCP&L’s past performance. These repair costs should be borne by the company shareholders who have been reaping the rewards of excessive profits,” said Casagrande. “Trimming trees, fixing poles and wires, and maintaining the distribution system is a ‘cost of doing business’ when you are charging customers for power.”

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Service agencies name Casagrande “Child Advocate of the Year”

Caroline Casagrande

Source: NJ.com -

A Monmouth County assemblywoman has been recognized for her work to save a local school for disabled and at-risk youth from a fiscal crisis.

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth) was named “Child Advocate of the Year” by the New Jersey Alliance for Children, Youth & Families (NJACYF) on Tuesday (February 11).

“I am humbled and honored by this recognition,” said Casagrande. “All the NJACYF members should be acknowledged for their tireless efforts, working in the trenches, and fighting to make our society a better place for our children and families. Too often, their work goes unnoticed.”

Casagrande was nominated by NJACYF member Collier Youth Services, located in the Wickatunk portion of Marlboro Township for her advocacy on their behalf.

“They had difficulties sustaining their budget,” Casagrande said. “They had not had a cost of living adjustment in many, many years, the last one was in 2007. They said ‘Listen, we’re doing our best, but we literally cannot make these bills anymore.’”

Collier Youth Services invited Casagrande to tour their school, camp and residential facilities.

“I was really touched by not only the kindness that they operate that facility with but the humanity,” Casagrande said. “Collier takes students what are not finding success in our traditional Monmouth county public high schools for whatever reason and give them a chance to grow to their potential.”

Casagrande took Collier’s case to the governor’s office, eventually securing a cost of living adjustment for all private human services contractors across the board.

NJACYF assists children, families and individuals facing emotional, behavioral, or developmental disabilities as well as those with substance abuse disorders. Its member organizations are committed to providing services that give stability and comfort to all people experiencing these challenges.

“Assemblywoman Casagrande has been very supportive of Collier’s mission and services,” Paul DeSantis, Director of Residential Programs at Collier, said in a Tuesday press release. “She gets it!”

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Casagrande Receives 2014 Child Advocate of the Year Award from NJ Alliance for Children, Youth & Families

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assistant Republican Leader Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth, was honored today by the New Jersey Alliance for Children, Youth & Families (NJACYF) as its “Child Advocate of the Year.” “Casagrande was nominated by NJACYF member Collier Youth Services, located in Wickatunk, NJ for her advocacy on their behalf.

Caroline Casagrande

“I am humbled and honored by this recognition,” said Casagrande at today’s event in Trenton, where she received the prestigious award. “All the NJACYF members should be acknowledged for their tireless efforts, working in the trenches, and fighting to make our society a better place for our children and families. Too often, their work goes unnoticed.

“Each child we reach at an early age reaps measureable benefits down the road for every New Jersey resident” continued Casagrande. “I am proud to advocate on behalf of organizations like Collier who are on the front lines of saving our kids.”

NJACYF is an advocacy and support organization that assists children, families and individuals who are facing emotional, behavioral, or developmental disabilities as well as those with substance abuse disorders. Its member organizations are committed to providing services that give stability and comfort to all people experiencing these challenges.

“Assemblywoman Casagrande has been very supportive of Collier’s mission and services,” said Paul DeSantis, Director of Residential Programs at Collier. “She gets it!” Their facilities include a middle school, high school and group homes for teenage and young women.

The NJACF says Casagrande is “truly a champion for women and children.”

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande with the 2014 Child Advocate of the Year Award from the New Jersey Alliance for Children, Youth and Families.

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O’Scanlon: Power to the people with initiative and referendum

Source: The Times of Trenton -

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) wants to persuade the New Jersey Legislature to do something it never has done and has demonstrated no desire to do.

He wants it to transfer a small portion of its power to the people.

O’Scanlon is a prime sponsor of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 67, a constitutional amendment that would allow voters to initiate laws and amendments by petition and enact them by referendum, or repeal existing laws the same way.

He knows it’s not going to pass anytime soon, especially in a Legislature controlled by Democrats, who are even more hostile than his fellow Republicans to the idea of initiative and referendum.

He believes it would take an as-yet invisible “public groundswell” just to get his bill out of committee and onto the Assembly floor for a vote.

Declan O'Scanlon

“But sometimes there are events we don’t see coming” that animate the public, he told me. “I want to be ready if that occurs.”

Besides being an optimist, O’Scanlon is a bit of an independent spirit.

He was one of only three Assembly Republicans who announced their intention to defy party policy by voting to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of the same-sex marriage bill, before the New Jersey courts made the issue academic by finding marriage equality to be a state constitutional guarantee.

Twenty-four other states have I&R in some form, and their voters have used it to bypass their elected lawmakers and establish new public policies on many issues.

New Jersey can’t do that, and never has come within hailing distance of allowing it.

Promises have been made and broken, though.

In 1991, Republicans who pledged to enact I&R were swept into control of the Legislature when the voters rebelled against Gov. Jim Florio’s tax hikes. Once in command, the party had second thoughts and reneged.

Gov. Christie, in his first campaign for governor in 2009, spoke eloquently in favor of I&R and vowed to make its enactment “a top priority” if he was elected. He was, but he didn’t.

It’s a weakness of self-government in New Jersey that many things shown by polls to be favored by a majority of the people never get done because there’s no incentive for the Legislature and governor to do them.

They’re strongly opposed by influential special interests, or they would eliminate perks enjoyed by the legislators themselves, or they simply seem too risky politically. And lawmakers know that voters, as a rule, are disinclined to replace their representatives because they disagree with them on one or two or even a dozen specific issues.

With I&R unavailable, the lawmaking process is a closed loop, with no way for ordinary citizens to break in. It’s a kind of Catch-22: The citizens will continue to be excluded until there’s a change in the constitution — but the constitution can’t be changed unless the Legislature acts to change it.

ACR67, co-sponsored by Assembly members Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth) and Donna Simon (R-Somerset), who represents Princeton, is a vehicle for that change.

It would give citizens advocating a new law or the repeal of an existing law at least one year to obtain petition signatures of registered voters equal to at least 6 percent of the number of votes cast statewide for governor in the last gubernatorial election.

For a constitutional amendment, the requirement would be 10 percent. These percentage thresholds would also have to be met in four defined regions: northwest, northeast, central and southern New Jersey.

Once the petitions were certified as valid, the Legislature and governor would have up to two months to approve the proposed law or erase the statute that was targeted for repeal. If they failed to act, the proposal would be put to a statewide referendum as written.

ACR67 would allow New Jersey voters to weigh in on a variety of policy proposals that the Legislature won’t touch. Among the possibilities, they could overhaul a tax system under which the property tax funds one-half the costs of government, far more than the national average.

Or ban pay-to-play public contracting at the local government level, where state law presently doesn’t apply.

Or require the Senate to confirm or reject nominations by the governor within a reasonable time, putting an end to senatorial courtesy, under which a lone senator can keep a nominee in limbo forever.

Or implement a badly needed code of ethics for officials and employees of local governments.

Or prohibit the “wheeling” of political campaign funds from one county to another by parties to avoid local contribution limits.

Or establish a truly nonpartisan method of redrawing legislative and congressional districts after every federal census, so that voters can choose their representatives, rather than the other way around.

Or rewrite the laws on marijuana possession by decriminalizing it or, as Colorado and Washington voters have done, legalizing it outright.

Or provide a “death with dignity” law that gives terminally ill patients the option of assisted suicide, as happened through I&R in Oregon and, again, Washington.

Opportunities such as those don’t exist here today. They’ll have to wait for that groundswell Assemblyman O’Scanlon is hoping to see.

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Handlin & Casagrande Laud BPU Staff Recommendation that JCP&L Lower Rates

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republicans Amy Handlin and Caroline Casagrande (both R-Monmouth), who have staunchly opposed a 4.5 percent rate hike proposal by JCP&L, applauded Wednesday’s recommendation by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) staff that the utility company lower its rates by $207 million because the company earned a profit above its approved amount. The rate case request is not officially complete as the four BPU commissioners will make the final decision.

Last spring, Handlin and Casagrande initiated a grass roots petition drive that gave ratepayers an opportunity to express their displeasure with the proposed hike because of the unanswered allegation by the Division of Rate Counsel that JCP&L earned more in profits than legally allowed while allowing its infrastructure to deteriorate. In April, Casagrande and Handlin submitted a petition with 1,500 signatures at a BPU public hearing in Freehold. The legislators are most appreciative of all who took time to sign the petition.

Amy Handlin

“The BPU staff recommendation sends a clear message that JCP&L is accountable to ratepayers for the service they provide and profits they earn,” said Handlin. “The lack of reliable service by this utility is well-chronicled. Customers have every reason to expect improvements and that routine maintenance is conducted to protect this valuable commodity. Ratepayers are just as important as shareholders.”

Caroline Casagrande

“As we were the first to point out to anyone who would listen, JCP&L was overcharging its customers and sending profits to its corporate headquarters” stated Casagrande. “This BPU recommendation is clear vindication of our efforts on behalf of JCP&L customers, many of whom were without power for weeks following Superstorm Sandy. We must continue to keep the pressure on to ensure that the BPU implements the staff’s recommendations.”

If approved, ratepayers will actually see lower monthly bills as opposed to the estimated $7 per month increase proposed by the utility.

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