Tag: Jay Webber

Webber Down Syndrome Information Bill Released by Committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Assembly Women and Children Committee today passed Assemblyman Jay Webber’s Down Syndrome Information bill, which is modeled after legislation supported by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). It requires health care workers provide parents accurate, professionally-recognized materials with referrals to local support organizations when delivering a positive prenatal or postnatal test result for Down syndrome.

Jay Webber

“This bill allows more parents to plan and educate themselves on the essentials of raising a special needs child,” said Assemblyman Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “People with Down syndrome lead lives worth living and are loved by their families, friends, and communities. This bill helps welcome them into the world from the very beginning.”

The legislation (A-3233) directs the New Jersey Department of Health to create an information sheet that includes all of the following:
•A description of Down syndrome, including its effects on development, education and physical outcomes, and life expectancy;
•Options for treatment and therapy;
•Contact information for local, state, and national organizations that provide Down syndrome educational and support services and programs.

“By providing family support and the latest medical information, parents will have a more accurate idea of what to expect, and how to get ready to bring the newest member of their family home,” said Assemblyman Webber.

Other states that have recently passed similar legislation include: Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

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Route 53 dedicated as Alex DeCroce Memorial Highway

Daily Record -

Want to get from Denville to Morris Plains? Just hop on the DeCroce.

Nearly two years after Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill to rename Route 53 after the late Assemblyman from Parsippany, several New Jersey legislators and other dignitaries attended a ceremony Tuesday to formally dedicate the state highway as “Alex DeCroce Memorial Highway.”

A bill approving the name change was unanimously passed by the state legislature in 2013, and signed by Gov Chris Christie in January 2014.

The ceremony took place during a cloudy, rainy morning outside of Verdi restaurant, followed by a celebration luncheon at the eatery on Route 53 in the Mount Tabor section of Parsippany.

DeCroce, the Assembly’s Republican leader from 2003 until his death on Jan. 9, 2012, was a longtime Parsippany resident and businessman who represented the 26th District from 1989 until he died after collapsing in the Statehouse. He was 75.

DeCroce, who partnered with the late U.S. Rep. Dean Gallo in a Parsippany real estate office, also served as a Morris County freeholder from 1984 until 1989, when he was appointed to fill a vacant Assembly seat. He was elected in 1989 and re-elected 11 times, and was scheduled to be sworn in for his next Assembly term the day after his death.

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

His widow, BettyLou DeCroce, was appointed to succeed him and last week was elected to a second full term in the Assembly.

 “It was an honor for our entire family to see the kind of respect people had for him, and still do,” she said. “I said when the bill was passed that Alex would have pitched a fit over this because he was not one to flaunt his accomplishments. He just wanted to get the job done for the people of his district and the state. Alex was a huge supporter of transportation issues. To have Route 53, which runs through his hometown and district, named for him is truly a great honor to his legacy. And as a former freeholder, it was so very appropriate.”

DeCroce added people at the ceremony were jokingly attributing the inclement weather to her late husband because everyone was making such a fuss over him.

“He was a modest man,” she said. “He didn’t live by his title, but for the people of New Jersey.”

Jay Webber, who also represents the 26th in Trenton, joined DeCroce at the ceremony, along with Assemblyman Anthony Bucco from the 25th. Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who represents Chatham and Long Hill in the Morris County portion of the 21st District, also attended, as did Assembly GOP leader John Bramnick.

Christie, who postponed his State of the State address after DeCroce’s sudden passing, praised his friend, who he described at the time in remarks to the legislature as a “close friend and mentor for almost 20 years.”

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Bucco, Carroll, Webber welcome opening of AFP Community Center

Source: Daily Record -

Offering to “help every American, no matter their walk of life, to live a truly prosperous life,” Americans for Prosperity Foundation President Tim Phillips joined several Morris County Republican leaders for the official opening of its first New Jersey community center.

Michael Patrick Carroll


“AFP has been around for nine years now. I went to the very first organizational meeting. I was the only elected official there…It’s good to have its presence in New Jersey and sure as hell good to have it in Morris County.” – Asm. Michael Patrick Carroll


Jay Webber

“I think it’s a great idea, with a lot of excellent services they plan on providing. Just a center for folks to use, meet and talk about important things like how to pay for college, how to save on your family budget, all positive and productive things.” – Asm. Jay Webber


The center, located at 550 W. Main St. at the crossroads of Mountain Lakes and Boonton Township, will serve as the headquarters for the foundation, frequently described as the educational arm of the AFP, a grassroots political organization known for advocating economic freedom and individual liberty.

“We seek to put forward policies that will bring those two foundational aspects of a prosperous life into being,” Philipps said. “That’s what we do, literally from Arizona to New Jersey and from Florida to Wisconsin, and everywhere in between. Here in New Jersey, we’re committed to those goals as well, and we’re going to be active here for a long time.”

The center will be part of the influential conservative organization with 34 state chapters and affiliates, and reporting to have 2.3 million members, with more than 100,000 in New Jersey making contributions either to the AFP or its foundation.

The event drew some of the highest profile Republicans in Morris County, including Sens. Joseph Pennacchio and Anthony R. Bucco, Assemblymen Anthony M. Bucco, Michael Patrick Carroll and Jay Webber, Freeholders John Krickus and Douglas Cabana and Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi. Boonton Mayor Cyril Wekilsky and Mountain Lakes Mayor Doug McWilliams also attended.

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Republicans react to surprise pension resolution in Assembly

PolitickerNJ -

Launching lawmakers into last-minute debate prior to the close of an otherwise subdued budget season, Assembly Democrats introduced and voted up a resolution at their voting session today urging Gov. Chris Christie to make a an upfront $1.3 billion pension payment at the start of the coming fiscal year.

Leaders in the Senate and Assembly authored the surprise concurrent resolution this morning, announcing the measure in a press release prior to voting sessions in both houses. The measure calls on Christie to use the state’s line of credit to make that payment sooner than later — in July of this year rather than June of next year — in order to save some $90 million in additional investment income for the pension system.

At their 11 a.m. hearing, which was expected to see little more than the passage of a modified increase on the state Earned Income Tax Credit, the resolution fueled 11th hour debate over the budget, focusing largely on the $1.3 billion pension payment included in the $33.8 billion budget Christie signed last week. Lawmakers argued over the fiscal and economic merits of making that payment sooner, which would force the state to borrow more money now, rather than later, as is custom.

The debate also offered certain glimpses into the overall divisions among Republican and Democrats on the state’s fiscal future, with members of the former party opting for fiscal restraint and responsibility.

Caroline Casagrande

“Once again we’re here sticking our finger in a dam, when there is water already coming over the barricades,” said Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-11), lamenting the legislature’s failure to come together on a long-term solution to the pension system.

Democratic sponsors of the bill, including Prieto but also Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), say that the upfront payment would help assuage the retirement fund’s fiscal squeeze, which involves some $80 billion in unfunded liabilities. They say tapping the state’s line of credit to make the $1.3 billion pension payment early next month rather than waiting until next June is simply an extension of normal state Treasury practices — and that each year, the state borrows about $2.5 billion in July to cover an annual cash flow shortfall, and the cost of the interest payments is included in each year’s budget.

But Republicans in the Assembly today expressed skepticism over the veracity of those estimates, wondering aloud whether an upfront payment might cost the state more than it saves. Some argued that it would be more fiscally prudent to wait for projected taxes revenues to come in before funding the payment, while others slammed the surprise nature of the measure’s introduction, which they said was dropped by Democrats prior to the voting session with little notice.

Several Republicans at one point motioned to table the measure in favor of gleaning more information from the State Treasurer, though the Democratic majority easily defeated the move.

Jon Bramnick

“Keep in mind that this resolution did not come through a committee,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21), who sparred with Assembly Budget Officer Gary Schaer (D-36) over what savings an upfront payment might have. “This was, I am assuming, a last minute idea to borrow money. We did not ask to have this rushed through on the morning or afternoon of the budget.”

Still, others supported the potential to shore up the system and save taxpayer money in the short term — but stressed that such efforts must also be coupled with other, long-term reforms to the system. Republicans want Democrats to join them in working on a second overhaul to the fund, incorporating recommendations put forth by the governor’s bi-partisan pension commission.

Jay Webber

“This has to be part of a larger solution. Not how do we get to FY2016, but how are we going to do this for our kids,” added Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26), who said he would abstain from a vote on the issue.

Declan O'Scanlon

“One thing that should have been embarrassingly clear from today’s debate is that the Democrats didn’t do their homework on this idea,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) in a statement following the vote. “The fact that the Democrats didn’t reach out to the treasurer to discuss the dynamics and ramifications of such a move make it abundantly clear that this is all about politics and nothing at all to do with thoughtful policy. It is outrageously irresponsible not to have done that essential homework.”

Ultimately, the resolution passed 45-6-18 in the Assembly; it later passed in the Senate as well.

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O’Scanlon, Webber on Democrat budget destined for reality-check by Governor

Source: Bergen Record -

The Democratic-controlled Legislature sent Governor Christie a $35.3 billion budget for the coming fiscal year on Thursday, along with some familiar tax increases that seemed destined for his veto pen.

Christie, a Republican, had proposed a leaner, $33.8 billion plan earlier in the year. Instead of going along, Democratic legislators included an extra $1.5 billion in spending that would be financed mostly through higher taxes on businesses and millionaires.

The Senate approved the budget by a 24-16 vote, with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans against. The Assembly vote was 47-31, also along party lines. The budget would take effect Wednesday.

Declan O'Scanlon

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, called the Democratic plan a “phony, unsustainable, economy-killing budget” built on one-shot sources of revenue. At one point, he compared the $35.3 billion plan to his cuff links. “They don’t do a damn thing, but they’re really cool, just like this budget,” he said.

Jay Webber

Not to be outdone, Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, said Democrats have known for years that there was no way Christie would sign off on tax increases. He called them “phony-baloney tax increases” and a “fake promise” to public workers worried about their pensions.”

Under the Democratic plan, almost all the extra money would go to the state’s distressed pension system for public workers, and nearly $200 million would be spread out among public schools, higher-education investments and a few pet projects for Democrats’ political allies and hometowns.

The last word on the budget, however, belongs to Christie, who vowed to slash spending with his line-item veto before signing the budget into law, which is expected today. The final product, Christie predicted, would be a budget below $34 billion.

For the fifth year since Christie took office, Democrats and Republicans spent the day debating the pros and cons of raising taxes — making the same arguments, quoting the same academic studies and passing the same bills in the same party-line votes.

The Democrats’ $35.3 billion budget plan is 8.9 percent larger than the one Christie signed last year. It includes a pension contribution of more than twice what Christie has proposed.

Business groups complained that even talk of raising taxes has a chilling effect on economic growth. Environmental and commuter groups complained that the Democrats’ plan kicked the can down the road on funding for roads, bridges and mass transit.


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Christie vows to veto tax increases, Webber talks about cutting spending in New Jersey’s 2016 budget

Associated Press -

Gov. Chris Christie is poised to bring New Jersey’s budget drama to its conclusion.

The nearly $34 billion budget Christie is expected to sign on Friday would keep school funding flat, cut out Democratic tax increases on millionaires and businesses and make a $1.3 billion payment to the state’s public pension.

The expected action comes ahead of a deadline for enacting the budget on Tuesday, the same day he is expected to announce a run for the Republican nomination for president, according to several people familiar with his political plans. They spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to pre-empt Christie’s announcement.

The Democrat-led Legislature sent Christie a $35.3 billion budget on Thursday. Democrats have included a tax on income over $1 million as well as a 15 percent surcharge on the corporate business tax to close raise revenue and make the $3.1 billion payment required by a 2011 law, which Christie had signed.

Christie said on his monthly radio show Thursday he would veto the tax increases and review the rest of the Democrats’ changes. Lawmakers said they expect Christie to use his line-item veto to remove the Democrats’ changes to his budget proposal.

“I think it’s safe to say that they have spent a lot of money that we don’t have and that we’re not going to be able to spend,” Christie said.

The 2016 fiscal year budget advanced Thursday by a 24-16 vote in the Senate and by a 47-31 vote in the Assembly; the debate surrounding it fell along party lines. Republican lawmakers argued the budget would drive business out of the state and did not truly solve the state’s pension funding problem. They called on Democrats to sit down with Christie to redraft a pension solution.

Jay Webber

“If you want to truly get something done, let’s talk about spending cuts,” said Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber.

Democrats said their budget fulfilled a promise to state workers made in the 2011 law that set pension payments.

Neither Christie nor the Democrats’ budget addresses the state’s transportation trust fund, which is headed for insolvency in the next fiscal year.

The budget’s passage likely caps the Legislature’s busy season as the Assembly, which is at the top of the ticket in November, looks ahead to the fall election and as Christie prepares his campaign plans.

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Webber Bill Expanding Safe Haven Locations Passes Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Operation Safe Haven offers alternative for unwanted babies

A bill co-sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber that increases the “Safe Haven” locations where at-risk newborns may be placed won approval from the General Assembly today. Under the current “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act,” safe haven options are limited to emergency departments of general hospitals and state, county and municipal police stations. Webber’s bill, A-4149, expands the locations to include fire stations, ambulance, first aid and rescue squad sites that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Jay Webber

“The Safe Haven program is an alternative for parents who think they have no place to turn because they can’t care for their newborn,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “New Jersey is a leader in offering compassionate outlets for parents, and this legislation builds on that success by expanding the number of facilities where precious infants can receive the hope of leading normal and productive lives.”

Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Donna Simon are also sponsors of the bill.

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O’Scanlon, Webber and Brown on quarterly pension payments

Source: NJ Spotlight -

Democrats, who control the Legislature, and Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican considering a run for president, are stuck in gridlock on the public-employee pension issue.

But if the impasse eventually breaks – or Christie ends up moving on — the first glimpse of a possible compromise may have come earlier this week when budget committees in both the Assembly and Senate advanced a measure that would change the way the state makes contributions into the pension system.

The measure is sponsored by four Democrats shifting the state’s pension-payment schedule from annual to quarterly won praise this week from some Republicans and even earned one of their votes in committee on Tuesday.

Chris J. Brown

Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-Burlington), though he raised some concerns, voted for the bill as it advanced out of the Assembly Budget Committee. Two other Republicans abstained, but suggested they could also end up voting for the measure when it comes before the full Assembly today.

Declan O'Scanlon

“I like this concept,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “I’m going to abstain right now, (but) I’m sympathetic to it.”

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) also promised to take a closer look before today’s floor vote.

Jay Webber

“I’m going to spend a couple days and try to get some analysis on the numbers,” Webber said. “I might very well be a ‘yes’ when it comes to the floor.”

That there’s any hint of bipartisanship on the pension-funding issue is remarkable given the high-profile feud between Christie and Democratic legislative leaders that’s now lasted for well over a year.

Democrats favor tax hikes to raise the money needed to shore up the chronically underfunded pension system, while Christie wants to enact sweeping changes to cut costs.

Neither side can get what it wants without cooperation from the other party – something that seems unlikely at the moment. Democrats are refusing to entertain Christie’s proposed reforms and instead are preparing later today to send him a new budget that would increase spending on pensions. But Christie is expected to use his constitutional line-item veto authority to remove that spending, just as he did under similar circumstances last year.


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Republicans push back on Dems budget [video]

Source: NJTV News [video] -

Strict partisan lines were drawn today as the Assembly Budget Committee approved several tax hikes in order to make a full pension payment.

Republicans said hiking the millionaires tax and slapping a 15 percent surcharge on the corporate business tax will kill jobs.

Jay Webber

“Every time there’s a hard choice to be made in this state, the majority party just raises taxes and they call that a hard choice,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber.

Business lobbyists warned that hiking taxes on those who create jobs will make New Jersey less competitive than neighboring states.

“I don’t have to tell any of you that competition is fierce. I live in South Jersey and see commercials for New York, and they are chomping at the bit trying to steal away our businesses,” said New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Government Relations Michael Egenton.

Back in February, Gov. Chris Christie proposed a $33.8 billion budget with a pension contribution of $1.3 billion.

“You can tax everybody as much as you want but I’ll tell you right now it’s not a $3 billion problem. I think we have to start being honest. It’s an $82 billion problem,” said Assemblyman Christopher J. Brown.

Chris J. Brown

Republicans want to revise the pension system to make it less expensive.

Democrats ignore that and press ahead.

Republicans say Democrats, knowing that Christie will veto the tax hikes and additional pension payment, are simply posturing.

“The majority knows very well this is not gonna become law, that the governor will veto this bill as soon as it hits his desk. It is passed for political reasons apparently,” Webber said.

Anthony M. Bucco

“The only good thing about this bill is that it’ll be dead on arrival on the governor’s desk,” said Assemblyman Anthony Bucco.

The Assembly committee vote was 8 to 4 along party lines.

Two hours later, the Senate Budget Committee repeated the exercise, approving the budget and related tax hikes 8 to 5.


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Webber-Sponsored Bill Helps Find Home for Infants at Safe Haven Locations

 Operation Safe Haven offers alternative for unwanted babies

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jay Webber

A bill co-sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber that increases the “Safe Haven” locations where at-risk newborns may be placed won approval from the Assembly Women and Children Committee today. Under the current “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act,” safe haven options are limited to emergency departments of general hospitals and state, county and municipal police stations. Webber’s bill, A-4149, expands Safe Haven locations to include fire stations, ambulance, first aid and rescue squad sites that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The Safe Haven program is an alternative for parents who think they have no place to turn because they can’t care for their newborn,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “New Jersey has been a leader in offering this compassionate outlet for parents, and this legislation builds on that success by expanding the number of facilities where precious infants can receive the hope of leading normal and productive lives.”

Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Donna Simon are also sponsors of the bill.

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