Category: Press Release

Dancer Bill Package Strengthens Sex Offender Laws

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced a series of bills that strengthens the state’s sex offender laws. Dancer’s legislation addresses sex offenses committed in another country, custody restrictions for convicted sex offenders, name change requests and Internet usage

Ron Dancer

“This bill package toughens existing laws, whether the crime occurs in this country or on foreign soil,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Monmouth and Middlesex. “Loopholes in certain statutes need to be closed so that law enforcement and the public are aware of a sex offender’s presence.

“While it is inconceivable that sex offenders have the potential for custody or visitation rights to a child, the possibility does exist if it can be demonstrated it is in the child’s best interest,” stated Dancer. “It is difficult to imagine a situation where there is ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that a sex offender should be granted these rights. We need to do everything we can to keep our children safe.”

Dancer’s bills expand the offenses which bar a sex offender from obtaining or custody or visitation rights, and requires a convicted sex offender who commits the crime in a foreign country to register under the provisions of Megan’s Law. A sex offender is also prohibited from obtaining a name change. Offenders who do change their names will be required to inform law enforcement. According to a 2010 Government Accountability Office report, at least 4,500 U.S. passports went to registered sex offenders between 2008/09.

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Ciattarelli Bill Encouraging Municipal Consolidations Wins Committee Approval

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation (A-1739) sponsored by Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli that provides towns with flexibility as they examine the potential for consolidation was released by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee today. This bill reforms the 2007 “Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act,” which is designed to encourage municipal mergers in an effort to control property taxes, but has led to only one consolidation in seven years.

Jack Ciattarelli

“New Jersey’s property taxes are the highest in the country and consolidation is an opportunity for towns to do something about that,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “This bill gives towns latitude to overcome obstacles and seriously examine what is best for taxpayers. Flexibility and fairness are necessary in order to get past the conceptual stage of a merger.”

Courage to Connect NJ, a non-partisan organization that looks for answers to New Jersey’s property tax crisis, played an important role in developing the legislation. Its mission is to help develop short and long-term strategies for local consolidation.

“Consolidations shouldn’t be forced, but we can nurture the idea by removing barriers that prevent discussion,” continued Ciattarelli. “New Jersey’s property tax issue has been talked about for years. This bill helps get us past the ‘talking’ phase.”

The Senate unanimously approved the identical bill (S-316) in October 2014.

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Fiocchi Pleased Federal Legislation to Prevent Military and Veteran Suicides Signed Into Law

Press Release – Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, who sponsors New Jersey bill AR-214, urging President Obama to sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, was pleased to learn the bill was signed into law today. President Obama signed H.R. 5059 in the White House on Thursday afternoon.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

The legislation, named after a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran who took his life in 2011, after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, calls for external audits of suicide prevention programs in the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) to determine treatment and programs that are successful. The bill creates a centralized website detailing mental healthcare services available from the VA. More than 8,000 veterans commit suicide every year, according to VA estimates.

“The death of Clay Hunt is tragic because it could have been prevented,” said Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “Like so many other soldiers, this young man returned from war psychologically wounded. He proactively sought treatment, but his government failed him. Mr. Hunt’s story reflects the urgency in addressing the many issues our injured armed services members face. I am pleased the commander-in-chief of the United States signed into law a program that addresses Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is an illness we cannot ignore and those who served our country deserve treatment to deal with this illness.”

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Panel Approves DeCroce Bill Preventing Standardized Testing in Grades K to 2

Assembly Republican Press Release -

BettyLou DeCroce

Assembly Republican BettyLou DeCroce sponsors legislation, approved today by the Assembly Education Committee, to exempt young school children from the rigors of standardized testing. The bill, A-3079, prohibits schools from administering standardized assessments from Kindergarten to 2nd Grade.

“The early grades are crucial for forming the foundation of future education,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Children should spend class time learning the basics of math, reading and social skills.”

The bill prohibits commercially developed standardized tests, but DeCroce noted that the bill does not ban all testing in grades K to 2. Evaluations can be administered and scored by a teacher or school board.

“I think it is important to allow kids to be kids and not data collection tools,” DeCroce continued.

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Bucco Legislation Eliminates Taxing Realty Transfer Fees

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco, who sponsors legislation to make New Jersey more affordable by repealing a series of realty transfer taxes, again urges his legislative colleagues to consider his bill (A-389), which eliminates three realty transfer fees.

Anthony M. Bucco

“Realty transfer fees are taxes that are piled on the backs of taxpayers, adding to the already excessive tax burden making New Jersey one of the most unaffordable states to live in,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “As a result, many of our neighbors have either moved or are planning to move out of the state. It is time to abolish the taxes that make it impossible for families to live here. These burdensome transfer fees must be eliminated.”

Bucco’s bill eliminates three fees: the supplemental fee, the general purpose fee, and the “mansion” fee, which applies an additional 1 percent tax on residential property exceeding $1,000,000.

“The ‘Exit Tax,’ as the realty transfer tax has been called, is unreasonable and unnecessary,” noted Bucco. “It is no surprise that in New Jersey 101.5’s poll, more than 98 percent of the participants support elimination of these taxes, and the Governor agrees.”

Bucco’s bill was first introduced in January 2014.

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DeCroce Asks Speaker to Post Vote on Resolution Demanding More Money from Washington

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

BettyLou DeCroce

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R- Morris, Essex, Passaic) is strongly urging that the Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto post a resolution (for a vote that calls for the state’s Congressional delegation to fight harder for a more equitable return of tax revenue that New Jersey taxpayers send to the federal government in Washington D.C.

Her resolution (AR50) – which has strong bipartisan support. notes “that that for every dollar New Jersey sends in taxes to the federal government, the State receives only 61 cents in return. This disparity needs to be diminished.”

The legislation which focuses on a greater need for federal transportation for the state, is supported by Democrat Assembly members John Wisniewski, chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto who are both co-sponsors of the legislation; and former Speaker Sheila Oliver, who is a primary sponsor of the legislation.

She said with a more equitable return of its tax dollars New Jersey would be able to reduce taxes and make the state attractive to businesses looking to invest in the Garden State. DeCroce is a member of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee and the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

“With just a 61 percent return on our federal tax dollar we are subsidizing other states that are competing with us for jobs,” said DeCroce, who spoke with U.S. Senator Cory Booker about the legislation and offered to go to Washington to testify in support of the state’s need for more federal funding.

Citing a report in the March 2014 edition of The Atlantic Magazine – New Jersey ranks 40th out of 50 state in return of federal tax dollars

The authors of the study Wallet Hub Analysts, noted that: “It’s not just that some states are getting way more in return for their federal tax dollars, but the disproportionate amount of federal aid that some states receive allows them to keep their own taxes artificially low.”

Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, states that New Jersey is competing with to retain or attract business, all rate higher in return of federal tax dollars.

The Assemblywoman said companies such as Mercedes Benz of Montvale, and Sealed Air Corp. of Elmwood Park are moving to states that get a better return of their tax dollar from the federal government. Georgia for example got $270 million more in federal highway funds in 2014 than New Jersey did.

DeCroce pointed out that New Jersey last year saw a drop of almost 20 percent ($231 million) in its federal highway allocation from Washington. That $231 million, she said, would be extremely helpful as the state battles to deal with funding to upgrade its infrastructure.

“It’s time for us in the state legislature to rattle the cage of our congressional delegation and tell them they need to do a better job for the taxpayers of New Jersey,” said DeCroce. “I hope the Speaker will agree with me.”

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Assembly Panel Approves McHose-Space Measure Establishing Distinctive License Plates for Honorably Discharged Veterans

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation by Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose and Assemblyman Parker Space to commemorate the contributions of the veterans of the United State armed forces was approved today by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Under the bill, A-1485, special license plates will be available for honorably discharged veterans.

Alison Littell McHose

“The brave men and women who serve our country are proud of their contributions,” said McHose, R – Sussex, Warren and Morris. “These exclusive plates will give them a well-earned opportunity to display their patriotism and pride. We have more than 400,000 veterans in New Jersey, including more than 30,000 women. I’m hopeful that soon we will see many of these plates on our roads and highways.”

According to veterans’ organizations, New Jersey is the only state which does not offer special license plates for those who have honorably served their country.

Parker Space

“The liberty we enjoy is because of the veterans who answered the call to serve,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “Anyone who puts his or her life at risk deserves our appreciation. A special license plate is a prominent way to acknowledge and respect those who defend our country.”

In December, A-1485 unanimously passed the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

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Angelini Bill to Improve Mental Health & Drug Treatment In Prisons is Signed Into Law by Gov. Christie

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Mary Pat Angelini

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini to improve the quality of mental health and substance abuse treatment for inmates was signed today by Gov. Christ Christie.

“Mental health issues and drugs are huge contributors to violence and crime in our neighborhoods,” said Angelini, R – Monmouth. “Inmates suffering from addiction or mental health issues will eventually serve their time and return to society. Better treatment can help prepare inmates for a crime-free life and make our streets safer.”

The bill, A-3722, requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to share the authority over prison-based treatment centers.

The measure, by establishing interagency oversight in the prisons, ensures that treatment standards and protocols are consistent so when prisoners get out, their treatment can continue on the same path, noted Angelini, R – Monmouth.

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Governor Signs Muñoz-O’Scanlon Bill Allowing More Responders, Healthcare Professionals to Give Overdose Antidotes

Press Release – To save lives in cases of a heroin overdose, Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon sponsor legislation that allows more first responders and other healthcare professionals to administer drug overdose antidotes and protects them from liability. The bill was signed into law today by Gov. Christie.

Nancy Munoz

“Heroin overdoses can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to turn deadly. Every second counts when reacting to an overdose situation,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, who is a registered nurse. “Allowing more first responders and other professionals to administer this critical first aid without fear of legal repercussions will help prevent more unnecessary tragedies.”

Under the current “Overdose Prevention Act,” healthcare practitioners and pharmacists are protected from liability when prescribing, dispensing, or administering an opioid overdose antidote. This bill, S-2378/A-3720, expands the list of people authorized to administer an opioid antidote and provides them immunity from liability, including sterile syringe access program employees, law enforcement officials, emergency medical technicians, and other emergency responders. In addition to heroin, opioids include drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine.

Declan O'Scanlon

“Our first responders will now have the necessary tools to save lives when time is of the essence,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “They no longer will need to worry about liability when someone’s life is on the line. This law allows them to treat those in need without second guessing themselves and risking catastrophe.”

The measure also authorizes needle exchange programs to obtain a standing order permitting their employees to carry/dispense opioid antidotes, and provide overdose prevention information to clients.

A recent national trend of rising heroin overdose deaths across demographic groups has been reflected in New Jersey. Last year, more than 500 residents died from heroin overdoses – nearly double the number reported in 2010.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have implemented laws making it easier for responders to give life saving antidotes to reverse overdoses.

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Russo-Rumana Bill on Good Faith Emergency Epinephrine Injections Signed

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation (A-304/S-801) sponsored by Assembly Republicans Dave Russo and Scott Rumana permitting a school nurse or trained designee to administer an epinephrine injection to a student in an emergency was signed into law by Gov. Christie today. Senate Republican Kevin O’Toole, who represents the same district as Russo and Rumana, is the Senate sponsor.

Dave Russo

“Allergic reactions are not uncommon and often occur unexpectedly,” said Russo, R-Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic. “The amount of time it takes to respond to such an attack can save a life. Trained school administrators and staff need to act decisively and quickly in these situations.”

The prior law required a student’s parent or guardian to provide written authorization to the school to administer the injection.

Scott Rumana

“This bill will save lives because it allows qualified people to exercise common sense and utilize their training,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “There are unforeseen circumstances when school officials and staff need to react instantly. The days when allergic reactions to bee stings, peanut butter or milk can be taken lightly are over. They can be life-threatening reactions which need immediate attention.”

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