Category: Press Release

Panel Approves Dancer Bill Targeting High-Tech Peeping Toms

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Ron Dancer expanding the crime of invasion of privacy to include the practice of “upskirting” earned the approval of the Judiciary Committee. Dancer’s legislation (A-156) protects against photographing or videotaping a person’s undergarments or private areas without their knowledge and approval.

Ron Dancer

“Modern technology has enabled a new breed of high-tech perpetrators, ‘Electronic Peeping Toms,’ who are invading the privacy of women as they commute to the office or go about their daily business,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Monmouth and Middlesex. “This bill makes it a crime to record these images or distribute them on the Internet. It is an invasion of privacy that violates every standard of common decency.”

This bill makes it a fourth degree crime to photograph or record a person’s undergarment-clad intimate parts. Sharing or disclosing the images on the Internet or elsewhere is a third degree crime under the bill.

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DeCroce Bill to Study Feasibility of Full-Day Kindergarten Advances

Press Release – An Assembly panel today advanced legislation Assemblywoman Bettylou DeCroce sponsors to create a task force to study the feasibility of full-day kindergarten programs throughout New Jersey.

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

“The building blocks for a successful education begin in kindergarten as children benefit from social interaction and skill building,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Efficient and productive full-day kindergarten programs can be critical in launching students to higher achievement, making them competitive with high-performing students and, in the long term, more competitive in the global marketplace.”

The bill (A-1016), approved by the Assembly Education Committee today, establishes a 21-member task force to study and evaluate issues related to implementing full-time kindergarten. It will review existing research; implementation issues, including staffing needs and facility space availability; funding concerns; and curriculum comparisons between full- and half-day programs.

“Effective early childhood education can provide a rock-solid foundation for later academic and career success,” said DeCroce. “A longer school day and a more ambitious curriculum will expose kindergartners to core verbal and reading principals, and help them develop a solid foundation in mathematics.”

Under current law, a board of education is permitted, but not required to establish a kindergarten program for five-year old students, except in districts in which 40 percent or more of students are considered “at risk.” Each school district determines the date by which a child must attain the age of five years in order to enroll in kindergarten. Districts are also allowed to enroll a child who is not yet five years old.

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Bramnick Praises Attorney General Hoffman

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick issued the following statement on the departure of acting Attorney General John Hoffman:

Jon Bramnick

“Attorney General Hoffman’s integrity, honesty and sincerity is well known in the legal community and throughout New Jersey. As the chief law enforcement official in our state, he is known as a man of principle and courage. We were very fortunate to have a man with his experience and background serve in government.

“We all thank John Hoffman for his service.”

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Bramnick Willing to Attend Town Hall Meetings in Democratic Districts

Jon Bramnick

Press Release – Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said he would like to attend more town hall meetings in Democratic legislative districts after an event today in Bloomfield with Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo.

“Today I joined Assemblyman Caputo in Bloomfield as we honored an outstanding teacher,” said Bramnick. “When we opened the discussion up to students, I received different perspectives on many issues not regularly expressed in my home district.”

“Such meetings could help us hear different perspectives and provide a broader view of New Jersey,” concluded Bramnick. “I will wait for some invitations.”

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Dancer’s Electronic Driver’s License Feasibility Bill Signed by Gov. Christie

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation (S-2695/A-4110) sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer requiring the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to study the advantages, costs and risks of issuing an electronic driver’s license has been signed by Gov. Christie. The report will assess the feasibility of issuing digital licenses through a mobile cell phone (app).

Ron Dancer

“Use of this app will allow MVC to update licenses instantly and reduce the number of trips by motorists to the MVC Offices, while also giving drivers the ability to register their vehicles electronically,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex. “These benefits must be weighed against the cost of implementing the app and ensuring the security and privacy of all drivers. The feasibility study’s cost-benefit analysis will provide useful information to determine if this application makes sense and is worth testing.”

“Today we use our smart phones for online banking and we are more likely to leave home without our wallet than our cell phone. For those who desire the option to have an electronic Driver’s License, a summons for not having a plastic card from the MVC in our possession will be a thing of the past.”

Iowa is the first state to conduct a pilot digital driver’s license test. About 100 employees from the state’s Department of Transportation participated in last year’s trial program.

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DiMaio Bill Improving Computer Science Education Is Signed Into Law

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Gov. Christie has signed legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican John DiMaio to better prepare high school students in the demanding field of computer science.

John DiMaio

“Computer scientists are in high demand, but only a fraction of U.S. high schools offer advanced training on the subject,” said DiMaio. “If you think for a moment about some of the people who have remade our world, people like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. They learned computer science before they graduated from high school.”

DiMaio’s bill (A-2597/S-2161) encourages students to take computer science courses in high school, and allows districts to offer an Advanced placement computer science course to fulfill part of the math or science credit requirements for graduation.

“The rigorous Advanced Placement computer science coursework includes some of the most strenuous mathematical calculations and scientific challenges of any high school course,” said DiMaio. “It just makes sense to count it toward math or science requirements for graduation,” DiMaio added.

An estimated 120,000 new jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree in computer science is expected in the next year alone, and nearly 3.7 million jobs in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math.

“We need to better prepare the next generation of problem-solvers and technology pioneers. These valuable skills will open doors to educational and career opportunities in areas where demand is expected to exponentially grow in the future,” DiMaio said.

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Ciattarelli: State Should Expand Investigation and Evaluate Impact of Abatements, PILOTs and School Funding

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jack Ciattarelli

Assembly Republican Jack Ciattarelli called for increased scrutiny of tax abatement programs and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) in towns being investigated by the State for not properly assessing their tax properties.

In a letter to acting director Dennis Shilling of the Division of Taxation, Ciattarelli urged expanding an ongoing investigation of three municipalities for failing to “uniformly and fairly assess properties” to include analysis of lost revenue attributable to abatements and PILOTs, and why state school aid is increasing in these towns if their taxable properties are growing in number and value.

“The notion of any community not collecting school property taxes on properties when its schools are 50%, 60% or 70% funded by state school aid is dubious if not unacceptable, especially considering that the New Jerseyans providing that aid do, in fact, pay school property taxes. Inadvertent or purposeful, communities sustaining their dependency on state school aid, at a time when we are experiencing extraordinary unfunded liabilities (i.e., teachers’ pensions) requires urgent and robust analysis,” Ciattarelli’s letter stated.

“While PILOTs and tax abatements have their place in certain circumstances (e.g., affordable, senior citizen and veteran housing), it is my contention that widespread use of these programs is an injustice to all New Jerseyans who pay income taxes to subsidize our state’s public school systems. Not only do PILOTs and tax abatements cause property tax inequities from homeowner-to-homeowner within the same community, these programs, in combination with the state’s current school funding formula, create a system whereby municipalities actually sustain their dependency on state school aid (by not collecting school property taxes on certain properties),” Ciattarelli continued.

In November, the Department of Taxation notified the municipal governments of Jersey City, Dunellen and Elizabeth informing them that it will conduct an investigation to determine whether to order a revaluation of properties within their boundaries.

“Given the fact that the Division will be conducting an investigation to determine whether to order a revaluation of properties in Dunellen, Elizabeth and Jersey City, I respectfully request that your investigation in these municipalities be expanded to include an analysis of the properties for which little to no school property taxes are collected as a result of PILOTs and/or tax abatements,” Ciattarelli wrote. In the letter, he asked that the State Department of Education, the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services, and the Department of Community Affairs provide assistance “to determine why 2008 School Funding Reform Act Adjustment Aid is not decreasing in these municipalities if their properties are, in fact, increasing in number and value.”

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Bramnick: “Property Tax Relief Should Also Be Assembly’s Focus”

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said today the Assembly State and Local Government Committee should also be convened to consider property tax reform on Wednesday.

“Republicans look forward to joining that discussion, and we should also address high property taxes to help the middle class,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “For too long middle-class homeowners have struggled living in this state. To get New Jersey’s property taxes under control we need to make this our top priority this session.”

Today, Speaker Vinnie Prieto held a press conference announcing that the Human Services, Housing and Economic and Development, Women and Children, and Transportation and Independent Authorities committees will meet on Jan. 27 to discuss anti-poverty legislation.

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Muñoz Bill to Help People with Addictions Find Treatment Facilities Signed by Governor

Press Release – Legislation Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors to assist people with drug and alcohol addictions who are seeking help at residential treatment centers was signed today by Gov. Christie.

Nancy Munoz

The bill (A-3955/S-2644) requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to maintain a database that can be accessed by the public on the availability of open beds in residential treatment facilities that receive state or county funding.

“With prescription drug abuse a major problem in our state, thousands of adult and adolescents are having a difficult time finding a facility with an available bed. Many have to wait three weeks or longer, which is much too long for someone with a drug or alcohol problem,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “The process can be complicated, because of a lack of a centralized information source. A database will help streamline the process, saving people time and unnecessary frustration.”

A 2013 report by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that of 179,000 people in New Jersey who abuse or were dependent on illicit drugs, only a quarter received treatment.

Under the bill, treatment facilities will be required to submit at least once a day, information on the number of open beds that are available for treatment. The database will include, by county, the address and telephone number of the facility; the type of services provided; the licensed bed capacity, and the number of open beds that are available.

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Gov. Signs Bucco-Phoebus-Muñoz Pontoon Boating Instruction Bill

Press Release – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Anthony M. Bucco, Gail Phoebus and Nancy F. Muñoz to prevent pontoon boat propeller accidents by requiring renters to complete an instruction course was signed today by the governor.

The bill, (A-4863), known as “Christopher’s Law,” is named after 10-year Christopher D’Amico of Mount Arlington who died in a pontoon boat accident on Lake Hopatcong in June 2015.

“Our goal is to educate the boating public in order to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “This legislation makes sure people who rent these recreational water vessels understand the potential dangers involved and receive lifesaving instructions. As a result of this legislation, we hope no other family will have to endure such a tragic loss.”

The measure requires pontoon boat rental business owners to post a metallic sign stating that individuals who rent pontoon boats must complete a pre-rental instruction course. The sign must have a person near a propeller with the universal “No” sign and it must state “Warning: rotating propellers can cause serious injury or death.”

“When boating, common sense dictates that you need to know what to do should an accident occur,” said Phoebus, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “Whether you are the boat’s driver or a passenger, you need to be prepared. Educating boaters about how to respond to an accident will save lives and prevent fun, family outings from turning into tragedy as it did for the D’Amico’s.

“Christopher’s family turned a horrific situation into something positive by donating his organs and saving the lives of eight other children,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “But that wasn’t enough. They want to honor his memory by preventing similar accidents. I hope his family finds solace in knowing this bill will go a long way in accomplishing that.”

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