Category: Press Release

Committee Approves Angelini Measure Improving Mental Health and Drug Treatment in Prisons

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini improving the quality of mental health and substance abuse treatment for inmates was approved by the Assembly Human Services committee today. Angelini’s bill (A-3722) requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Corrections (DOC) to share the authority over prison-based treatment centers.

Mary Pat Angelini

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

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

During the meeting, held at Fairleigh Dickinson University, the committee heard from invited experts on opioid addiction.

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ICYMI: New Jersey Worst in Nation for Taxes…Again

Press Release – TRENTON, N.J. – In response to the Tax Foundation’s annual report released today that shows New Jersey again has the highest tax burden in the nation, Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, issued this statement:

Jay Webber

“New Jersey’s toxic combination of sky-high property taxes, income taxes, corporate taxes, death tax, and sales tax earned the state the dubious distinction of being dead last in the nation – 50th out of 50. This dismal news confirms what New Jerseyans already know: the state’s worst-in-the-nation tax burden drags down our families and businesses and drives them out of New Jersey.

“New Jersey’s miserable tax structure also should squelch any more talk of further increasing the tax burden on the already-overtaxed people of our great Garden State. Instead, New Jersey’s lawmakers must focus on the most important task at hand: giving residents a chance to succeed again by giving them the overdue tax relief they deserve.”

According to the report, New Jersey is the big loser again because the state “suffers from some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, is one of just two states to levy both an inheritance and an estate tax, and maintains some of the worst structured individual income taxes in the country.”

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O’Scanlon: On the Two-Year Anniversary of Sandy

We’ve come a long way, but there is still much to do.

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon today issued the following statement concerning the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

Declan O'Scanlon

“Two years ago today the lives of far too many New Jerseyans were changed forever. The worst storm in this state’s history hit the Jersey Shore and it taught us just how unprepared we were for an event of that magnitude. My district was one of the hardest regions hit and my office immediately became a command center for fielding questions and handling storm related issues in real time. My staff and I helped with Fort Monmouth emergency housing, we worked with homeowners through the difficult HMGP and REM programs, we addressed new power meter laws and we listened to the many terrible stories of the Sandy aftermath from those who just needed an ear. The issues haven’t stopped coming, and we haven’t stopped helping.

“Since Sandy, we have worked tirelessly to help constituents rebuild and get back in their homes. Thankfully, many homeowners and families have moved past the storm, but there are still those struggling to rebuild and work through the layers of red tape associated with the process. We cannot forget about those folks and I will continue to work with them and vocally advocate on their behalf.”

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Handlin-McHose-Schepisi Bills Requiring Increased Transparency at Port Authority Advance from Committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Bipartisan legislation co-prime sponsored by Assembly Republicans Amy Handlin, Alison McHose and Holly Schepisi that increases transparency and accountability at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) won approval today from the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

Amy Handlin

“Transparency and accountability at this secretive agency is one step closer,” said Handlin, R-Monmouth, who has been a staunch critic of the authority. “These reforms are long overdue and help ensure the shenanigans that occurred at the George Washington Bridge are not repeated.

“These bills are a good first start,” continued Handlin. “I am committed to continuing a comprehensive bipartisan effort that reforms the Port Authority.”

One measure, A-3350, subjects the Port Authority to the New York Freedom of Information Law and the New Jersey Open Public Records Act. The second bill, A-3417, requires the authority to adopt a code of ethics for employees, puts into place policies to protect employees who disclose wrongdoing at the agency, and gives the authority’s board of commissioners direct oversight of the chief executive.

Alison Littell McHose

“Opening up records under the laws of both states will end the Port Authority’s operational secrecy,” said McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “One of the best ways to make sure the authority is fulfilling its mission and is answerable to commuters is to give the public access. These records need to be open for review, just like any other governmental agency.”

 

Holly Schepisi

“Reports about the lack of cooperation at the Port Authority create a negative work environment,” said Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic. “Structural and operational changes need to be made. This alone won’t solve the authority’s problems, but it will help change the culture and at an agency which spends hundreds of millions of dollars of the public’s money.”

In addition to Handlin, McHose and Schepisi, Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Vincent Prieto, Lou Greenwald, Gordon Johnson, Tim Eustace, Joseph Lagana and Carmelo Garcia also sponsor the bipartisan legislation.

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Ciattarelli Bill Stopping Automatic Government Pay Raises Earns Approval from Panel

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

An Assembly panel today approved a measure by Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli overturning an obsolete 1947 law giving county and municipal health officers and environmental health specialists the maximum salaries for their positions after just five years on the job.

Jack Ciattarelli

“Many times, local government officials are caught off guard by the antiquated law,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “The particular 1947 law had its time and place. In modern times, however, the notion of any professional automatically receiving the maximum salary for their position just because they’ve reached their five year employment anniversary is ludicrous. That being the case, this bill represents much needed statute modernization.”

Under Ciattarelli’s bill, A-2798, counties and municipalities can establish salary ranges that require persons appointed as licensed health officers and registered environmental health specialists to serve in those roles for longer periods to reach the top salary grade. The bill would apply to specific officers or specialists employed by a board of health, municipality or a group of municipalities.

The Senate version of Ciattarelli’s legislation, S-2037, was approved by the Senate in June, by a vote of 35-0.

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Rible Bill Protecting Law Enforcement Officers’ Personal Information Clears Assembly Panel

Press Release – TRENTON, N.J. – An Assembly panel today advanced legislation Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible sponsors to protect the personal information of law enforcement officers and their families.

Dave Rible

“Posting the addresses and/or phone numbers of law enforcement officers puts them and their family members at great risk,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, a former police officer. “Releasing their private information would make them and their families targets for criminals, particularly offenders who may have been arrested in the past by those officers. These men and women do a tremendous job of protecting the public. The least we can do is provide them and their spouses and children with common sense protections.”

The bill, A-2829, prohibits individuals, state and local agencies and businesses from posting the home address and unlisted home telephone number of current and retired law enforcement officers on the internet. It also prohibits persons, businesses and associations from selling or trading a law enforcement officer’s or retired law enforcement officer’s address and telephone information on the Internet with the intent to cause harm to that officer.

Some states, including California, Colorado, and Idaho have enacted similar protections.

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Space-McHose Bill to Protect Farmers’ Right to Sell Firewood Advances

Parker Space

Press Release – TRENTON, N.J. – To support farmers who sell firewood to supplement their incomes, Assembly Republicans Parker Space and Alison Littell McHose sponsor legislation clarifying the state’s farming law so that such farms cannot be considered industrial lumberyards. The bill, A-2765, today won Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approval.

“Farming has evolved through the years, and farmers have had to adapt to those changes by expanding their sources of income,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “We shouldn’t penalize farmers for selling firewood on their farms regardless of whether they grew the trees themselves. Now that enforcement officials are imposing lumberyard regulations on these family farms, we need to clarify that law.”

The measure allows a farm, a farm stand or any other agricultural operation to sell firewood obtained from property other than the sellers without being considered a lumber yard under municipal land use regulations or for other regulatory purposes.

Alison Littell McHose

“New Jersey is known as the ‘Garden State’ for a reason,” said McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “Farming is a vital industry for our state, and we should not be doing anything to make an already challenging job more difficult. It’s absurd that our hard-working farmers have to be concerned about receiving a citation for selling firewood on their farms.”

The bill was prompted by a Mount Olive farmer who received a zoning violation for selling wood obtained off-site. His family had been doing so for decades, but the town’s zoning officer determined it was a logging operation and lumberyard.

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Assembly Panel Advances DiMaio/Ciattarelli Bill Protecting Farmers from Nuisance Lawsuits

Press Release – TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman John DiMaio and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli that protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits was released today by the Assembly Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.

John DiMaio

“New Jersey commercial farms are unique. Since many are located near residential areas, neighboring residents often complain about noise and odors,” said DiMaio, R-Warren, Hunterdon and Somerset. “Years ago, these farms were virtually isolated. As more people moved into areas in and around the farms, residents not only began complaining, they also started filing nuisance lawsuits that are time consuming and costly to defend. Farmers today face many challenges. Having to contend with harassing lawsuits shouldn’t be one of them.”

The bill, A-552, allows farmers whose commercial farms are in compliance with the state’s “Right to Farm Act” to be reimbursed for reasonable costs and attorney fees if a complaint filed against them has been brought in bad faith.

Jack Ciattarelli

“Unfortunately, we are seeing more groundless lawsuits against farmers,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “While people should never be dissuaded from exercising their legal right to file a lawsuit, this bill is about striking the right balance and ensuring fairness. If a lawsuit is truly frivolous, the farmer shouldn’t be required to pay all the fees associated with the case.”

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Bramnick Homeowner Wildlife Bill Benefits Environment

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Establishes “Native Habitat Certification Program”

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick that encourages homeowners to expand and protect the natural habitats of birds, plants and other wildlife passed the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee today.

Jon Bramnick

“This program encourages homeowners to take an active role in protecting our environment,” said Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Altering a property to comply with standards established by the DEP will help wildlife return to its natural habitat. Everyone has a responsibility to conserve and care for all our natural resources.”

Bramnick’s bill (A-3133) establishes a private wildlife habitat certification program overseen by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP will authorize qualified organizations to inspect and certify properties that meet established standards. Once a property is certified, the owner cannot be held liable for violating a municipal nuisance ordinance.

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Space: Paid Sick Leave is Bad Medicine for Workers and Job Seekers

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Labor Committee member Parker Space said today’s panel approval of a bill (A-2354) that requires private employers to provide paid sick days is another job-killing government mandate that is costly to small businesses.

Several municipalities have enacted earned sick leave ordinances including East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton.

Parker Space

We can’t keep piling on the already high cost of doing business in the state and wonder why nearly 300,000 people are out of work,” stated Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris, who owns his own business. “Small businesses need flexibility in order to do what they do best – create jobs.

“Every time the state imposes another mandate, companies react by raising prices, reducing benefits or cutting jobs,” stated Space. “This bill is another intrusion by the government into private sector decision making. Mandates like annual minimum wage increases and Obamacare already make it expensive to run a business.”

A survey by the Employment Policies Institute last year revealed that employers in Seattle offset their costs to compensate for mandated paid sick days. Sixteen percent raised their prices, 18 percent reduced hours and staff and 17 percent passed on the increase in benefits to their employees or eliminated benefits they once offered. Surveys in San Francisco and Connecticut (which both mandate paid sick days) revealed similar results.

Previously, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) noted several concerns with the bill, including the overlap and conflict with several existing leave laws.

BIA stated that the bill allows workers to take sick leave for the treatment and recovery of the employee’s own physical or mental illness, or that of a family member, both of which are acceptable uses of the New Jersey Family Leave Act and/or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The bill also provides leave for victims of domestic violence which is already covered by the recently enacted New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE Act).

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