Category: Press Release

Fiocchi Resolution Would Address Fishing Rules Unfair to New Jersey Recreational Anglers

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

Assemblyman Sam Fioochi has introduced a resolution to ensure that all recreational fishermen are in the same boat when it comes to summer flounder regulations. The resolution, AR-228, urges the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to make the Delaware Bay its own distinct region under the 2016 summer flounder management program.

“You have fishermen from New Jersey and Delaware dropping lines in the same water, but fishing under different rules,” said Fiocchi, R – Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic.

Fiocchi noted that while Delaware anglers can legally keep summer flounder (fluke) over 16 inches long, a legal fish for New Jersey is 18 inches, more than 12 percent larger. In addition, the fluke season in Delaware is year-round, while regs limit New Jersey to a 128-day season.

“There is a lot of confusion about this, and it just isn’t fair to New Jersey,” Fiocchi said. “Recreational fishing is a critical component of the South Jersey economy, and the uneven playing field jeopardizes a valuable portion of our tourism industry. Every fisherman on the bay should be governed by the same regulations.”

The ASMFC is responsible for developing summer flounder fishery regulations to ensure the protection and maintenance of the fish resource. Under a plan adopted in 2014 by ASMFC, New jersey, New York and Connecticut must combine their summer flounder quotas and adopt quotas for recreational fishing. Our state’s anglers were negatively impacted by the new limits.

Fiocchi’s resolution urges the ASMFC to create a separate summer flounder management program, with uniform limits and seasons for all recreational fishers.

“Our fishermen shouldn’t be penalized simply because they live on our side of the bay,” said Fiocchi. “We should establish a management program specific to the Delaware Bay that is fair to the fishery, the bay, and to recreational anglers from both states.”

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Rible Requests Commissioner to Investigate Pearson Monitoring

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Asks Commissioner to determine if student privacy has been compromised

Assemblyman Dave Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, today requested that the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education look into reports that a testing company monitored social media accounts of students taking the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers [PARCC] exam.

Dave Rible

Rible addressed his concerns in a letter to Commissioner David Hespe, in which he wrote, “As you are aware, the implementation of this assessment has become a controversial issue for many parents and teachers across the state and the news that a testing company is monitoring students’ social media accounts has only exacerbated their fears, and rightfully so.”

In his letter, Rible asked the commissioner to investigate the apparent monitoring of students’ social media account by Pearson to determine if the allegations are accurate and whether the privacy of these students has been compromised. In addition, Rible, who sponsors legislation [A-2724] that protects a student’s personal information from being distributed to the federal government, said this recent report has only increased his concerns about the data being collected on students.

“I have expressed my concerns about the ongoing data collection of our students’ information by schools already and the potential that sensitive, personal information could be released. Therefore, you can understand my increasing concerns about data being collected on our students after learning about this recent development regarding PARCC,” Rible wrote.

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Ciattarelli-Schepisi: How Many Crude Oil Derailments Before Safety Becomes a Top Priority?

Assembly Republican Press Release -

With the third crude oil derailment in less than a month, Assembly Republicans Jack Ciattarelli and Holly Schepisi said today they are in full support of the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) call for rail companies to limit the hazards of carrying flammable material on rails by selecting routes that reduce the amount of such materials traveling through populated areas.

Jack Ciattarelli

“The three crude oil derailments involved tankers that actually met the recommended thicker shielding upgrades called for by the NTSB,” stated Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “Increasing the thickness standards beyond the current proposal is a sensible suggestion. I fully support the safety board’s additional call to select safer transportation routes through less populated areas.

“These derailments make safety improvements a top priority,” commented Ciattarelli. “New regulations should be promulgated as quickly as possible. Protecting lives trumps transporting crude oil or ethanol under regulations that are outdated and leave people vulnerable to a derailment.”

A recent federal Department of Transportation (USDOT) report predicted that 10 trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail each year over the next two decades should provide the impetus for the department to act on the upgraded safety standards proposed last July. .

Holly Schepisi

“Bergen County is one of the most densely populated areas of New Jersey, and is on a route through which Bakken oil is transported,” commented Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic. “We will continue to raise legitimate concerns about shipping crude oil so close to homes.

“Telling the public there is a high level of urgency to impose new rules is not enough,” stated Schepisi. “At this rate, the USDOT’s derailment prediction will hit the target sooner than projected. Regulators need to step up and issue new rules, including alternate transportation routes. Explosions and fires from these tankers are frightening. The mere threat of the loss of life should push this issue to the top of the list before the next derailment. The NTSB identified the hazards of oil trains as one of its top 10 safety concerns. That should be more than enough encouragement to immediately improve standards.”

Bakken oil is easily turned into gasoline or jet fuel. Its composition makes the oil more flammable in the event of a crash. Currently, there are no federal rules on what oil producers should do to stabilize the oil before shipping by rail.

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Brown-Supported Atlantic City Recovery Bill Advances

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Chris A. Brown

Legislation Assemblyman Chris A. Brown, R-Atlantic, supports to create an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) in Atlantic City was advanced by the Assembly Appropriations Committee today.

“Small business is the traditional driver for job creation,” said Brown. “Although Economic Development Authority incentive programs like NJ GROW and ERG target larger businesses, there still is a need for incentive programs available to ‘mom and pop’ businesses.

“Atlantic City needs to transition from a gaming resort to a full destination resort as part of the strategy for its economic recovery,” explained Brown, who has been a proponent for a UEZ to help Atlantic City’s economic recovery. “A UEZ will attract a variety of small businesses necessary to help with the transition. With so many families looking for work, a UEZ provides another tool to encourage businesses to hire new employees.”

New Jersey’s UEZ program permits businesses located in the zone to offer a reduced sales tax. It provides additional incentives for businesses to hire and retain people who are unemployed.

Brown said that bringing in new businesses “will also help clean up certain areas of persistent blight in the city.”

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Panel Advances Muñoz Bill to Help People with Addictions

Press Release – An Assembly panel today advanced legislation Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Nancy F. Muñoz sponsors to assist people with drug and alcohol addictions who are seeking help at residential treatment centers.

Nancy Munoz

The bill, A-3955, 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. The Assembly Appropriations Committee today approved the measure.

“Even when someone with an alcohol or drug problem wants help, it can be tough to find,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Thousands of adults and adolescents are being turned away from treatment facilities due to a lack of available space. 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.”

According to a November 2013 media report, at least 30,000 adults and 15,000 adolescents were turned away from treatment in 2009.

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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Panel OKs Wolfe and McHose Bill Establishing ‘Support the Troops’ License Plates

Revenue from the Tags Will Help the Families of N.J. Soldiers Serving Overseas

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Dave Wolfe and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose to lighten the financial burden on the families of New Jersey military personnel serving overseas was approved today by the Appropriations committee. The bill, A-1183, authorizes a “Support the Troops” specialty license plate with the proceeds earmarked for the families of New Jersey military personnel who are serving overseas.

Veterans can apply for grants to help with mortgage or rent payments, food and clothing, heating or utility bills, emergency home repairs, repair or replacement of essential home appliances, vehicle repair, tuition assistance, and other emergent needs.

Dave Wolfe

“The families of deployed soldiers face both emotional and financial hardship,” said Wolfe, R-Ocean and Monmouth. “The monthly expenses still need to be satisfied. However, in most cases, the family income is reduced because the military pay can’t match the weekly pay check from employers at home.”

Alison Littell McHose

“These license plates give residents an easy way of supporting the troops and providing some financial relief,” said McHose, R – Sussex, Warren and Morris. “The special tags create another source of financial assistance to those in need.”

The proceeds from the license tags will support the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom “Yellow Ribbon Grant Program” which is administered by the New Jersey National Guard “Support for Returning Combat Veterans Program.”

The funds will also provide grants for families of New Jersey Army or Air National Guard service members who have been mobilized for more than 90 days and are experiencing financial hardship. Initial cost of the specialty plates will be $50 with a $10 annual renewal fee.

In May, Wolfe and McHose’s bill was unanimously approved by the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

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Fiocchi-Supported “Artist” Bill Clears Committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation originally sponsored by Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic, that establishes 25 Artist Districts in New Jersey won approval today from the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee. The New Jersey State Council on the Arts will develop criteria for a municipality or area to receive an “Artist District” designation. Fiocchi originally introduced “Artist Colony” legislation (A-3103) in May 2014.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“The arts are an important part of the tourism industry and a key contributor to New Jersey’s economy,” said Fiocchi. “Galleries, museums, dance studios, theatres and performance halls support cultural diversity. Receiving the designation as an ‘Artist District’ promotes a municipality’s features and will attract tourists who are interested in taking a trip to see a town’s enriching qualities.

“The arts provide and support other jobs in New Jersey,” continued Fiocchi. “They generate commerce and employ artists, managers, marketers, technicians, teachers, designers, carpenters and workers in a wide variety of other trades and professions.”

The bill, A-4202, also requires the council to adopt standards for an Artist District to advertise, market and promote itself.

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Muñoz Bill Clarifying Immunization Exemptions Wins Committee Approval

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz which limits the exceptions from state-mandated immunizations was released by the Assembly Heath and Senior Services Committee today.

Nancy Munoz

“Vaccinations are effective and have a proven history of preventing serious childhood diseases,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Too many children aren’t being vaccinated, causing the return of some diseases such as the recent measles outbreak. Some parents may have a valid medical or religious reason for not vaccinating their child. This measure respects that decision while protecting the public.”

The bill, A-1931/S-1147, permits an exemption from immunizations in either of the following:
• a written statement to the school by a licensed physician with the reason why the vaccine is medically unnecessary; or
• a statement by the student or parent explaining that a vaccine conflicts with their religious practices.

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Muñoz-Bucco Tourism Bill Promoting NJ’s War Contributions Online Advances

Press Release – In an effort to promote New Jersey’s tourism industry, Assembly Republicans Nancy F. Muñoz and Anthony M. Bucco sponsor legislation that allows people to view online the state’s war efforts from the American Revolution to the Vietnam War. The bill today won Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee approval.

Nancy Munoz

“Many people who plan a vacation start the process with a Google search. New Jersey, and all it has to offer vacationers, needs to be in that queue,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “As one of the original 13 colonies, our state played a significant role in the American Revolution. Several important battles were fought here including the Battle of Trenton, the Battle of Millstone, and the Battles of Monmouth and Princeton. We were also instrumental in supporting many of our nation’s other war efforts. Allowing people to view online these historical events will hopefully entice them to visit our state and these sites in person.”

“New Jersey is famous for its war efforts from the American Revolution to the Civil War and World Wars I and II,” said Bucco, R-Morris. “General Washington set up two winter camps in Morristown where the Ford family also ran a powder mill that supplied needed powder for the early war effort. During World War I, our state was a center of shipbuilding and manufacturing. That continued in World War II as many of our nation’s battleships, aircraft carriers, heavy cruisers and destroyers were built in our shipyards. Promoting tourism by highlighting these places and events via the internet is an opportunity we should take advantage of.”

Anthony M. Bucco

The bill, A-4278, requires the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State, in consultation with the New Jersey Historical Commission, to develop a list and an online historic tour of war battles fought and places of historic significance to the military and war efforts in New Jersey.

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Fiocchi Bill Calls for CRDA to Return Unspent Funds to Atlantic County for Property Tax Relief

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

To provide property tax relief to the hard-hit South Jersey region, Assembly Republican Sam Fiocchi has sponsored legislation to return unexpended grant money from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to Atlantic County.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“It is time to bring this money back home to help balance property tax burdens in the county,” said Fiocchi, R – Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “When casino gaming was introduced, the intent was to help redevelop Atlantic City. Casino economics have changed, and the value of ratable base has crashed along with it. Property taxpayers in the county have been left holding the bag. This money can ease the burden on the taxpayers.”

Fiocchi introduced A-4263 with Assemblyman Chris A. Brown. The bill would require that grants awarded by CRDA before February 2011 that have not been expended or encumbered for projects outside of Atlantic County be returned to be used exclusively for property taxes. It would include more than $16 million for a redevelopment project in Camden County that has been languishing for more than 10 years.

“This area of the state has been hit hard by the long recession,” continued Fiocchi. “Working families and seniors on fixed incomes can’t afford their property taxes because the casinos haven’t lived up to expectations. The CRDA money comes from a tax on casino revenue, and it makes sense to use that money to help stabilize Atlantic County.”

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