Category: Press Release

Webber “NJTEAM Act” Released by Committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A military veteran who attends a public college or university in New Jersey will pay an in-state tuition rate under legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. The Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee released the bill today.

Jay Webber

“Many of our returning service men and women are looking for opportunities to build a career once they leave the military,” said Webber. “One of the avenues to pursue in that quest is continuing their education at a college or university in New Jersey. Offering in-state tuition at a public college can help our veterans acquire the knowledge and skills that today’s employers are seeking at a reasonable price.”

Webber’s bill (A-2622), referred to as the “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act,” amends current law and provides that a veteran will be regarded as a resident of the state for the purpose of determining tuition, regardless of where they live.

“These patriots answered the call to serve our country. Helping them obtain a degree gives them a better chance at obtaining a job,” commented Webber. “This is the least we can do to express our gratitude to those who have contributed to our country’s security and have asked nothing in return.”

Currently, Richard Stockton College and Rowan University offer in-state tuition to all veterans.

The identical Senate version (S-849) was released by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee in January and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

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Schepisi’s “NJ Family Collaborative Law Act” a Better Way

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic, helping families resolve divorces and other legal disputes without resorting to litigation, was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee today. The bill, A-1477, is known as the “New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act.” Similar legislation has already been signed into law in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Holly Schepisi

“This helps reduce the backlog in family courts, saves taxpayers money and reduces costs for the families involved. It is a positive and proven alternative for family members to settle their differences in a non-confrontational way,” said Schepisi. “This is purely voluntary and parties do not give up any of their legal rights in this process. We should give families the tools that can help them work out their differences in good faith and avoid a prolonged settlement in the courts.”

The collaborative process is mostly utilized in family law, where the parties agree to settle their differences through negotiation. Each side can retain a lawyer of their choosing who assists in the process.

The success of the process is contingent on attorneys contractually limiting the scope of their representation to achieving resolution through the non-adversarial processes. Lawyers (and also their firms) enter into an agreement that if adversarial litigation ensues, both parties’ attorneys must withdraw from their representation.

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Brown-Bucco Resolution Protecting McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Picatinny from DOD Cuts Released

Assembly Republican Press Release -

An Assembly resolution sponsored by Assemblymen Chris J. Brown and Anthony M. Bucco urging Congress to exclude the Joint McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst base and Picatinny Arsenal from future defense budget cuts was released by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee today. The U.S. Department Defense (DOD) has indicated that the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRACC) will evaluate and potentially close military bases in 2017.

Chris J. Brown

“The McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst base supplies critical equipment and support that assist our military in defense of our country said Brown, R-Burlington, Atlantic and Camden. “New Jersey has already suffered the effects of a base closing when Ft. Monmouth closed in 2011. This base is a critical component of commerce of the South Jersey economy.

“Thousands of military and civilian jobs were lost and there is no doubt that region was hurt. Local businesses closed and people had to choose between moving to an out-of-state base or finding another job. New Jersey has already paid the price in earning its stripes.”

McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst employs more than 44,000 and contributes approximately $6.9 billion into the region’s economy. Picatinny Arsenal is one of the largest employers in Morris County, with over 3,900 civilians, nearly 100 military personnel and approximately 1,035 contractors.

Anthony M. Bucco

“The weapons research and development taking place at Picatinny Arsenal are vital to our country’s military defense,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “The cutting-edge technology and logistical support Picatinny supplies to our service men and women are invaluable. Many of the weapons developed at Picatinny are in the hands of our military personnel overseas fighting the war on terror. Our region would be devastated by the base’s closing or reduction in budget.”

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DeCroce Resolution Recognizes Aviation’s Role in NJ

Press Release – A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce that designates May of each year as “General Aviation Appreciation Month” today cleared the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

BettyLou DeCroce

“General aviation plays a critical role in the operation of businesses and the transportation of people and goods across the country and around the state,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, a member of the committee. “In New Jersey the aviation industry provides employment to approximately 18,000 residents, with an estimated payroll of more than $620 million, serves 12,000 pilots, and contributes $1.7 billion annually to the state economy. This resolution recognizes the vital role aviation plays in our state’s economy and will help promote public awareness, education, advocacy, safety and technology within the industry.”

The resolution, AJR-62, calls for public officials, private organizations and residents to observe the month with appropriate activities, programs and events.

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Muñoz Bill that Addresses Heroin Crisis Advances

Press Release – The Assembly Judiciary Committee has unanimously passed legislation introduced by Deputy Republican Leader Nancy Muñoz to combat the heroin epidemic facing New Jersey.

Nancy Munoz

“It’s a frightening epidemic that crosses racial, geographic and socioeconomic lines,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “We need to give law enforcement officials the tools they need to prosecute criminals who are spreading heroin in our local communities.”

The bill, A-783/A-2831, implements a recommendation from the July 2013 report from the State Commission on Investigation titled “Scenes from an Epidemic: A Report on the SCI’s Investigation of Prescription Pill and Heroin Abuse.” It increases the penalties for manufacturing, distributing, and dispensing heroin by reducing the amount of heroin necessary to be charged for first, second and third-degree offenses.

A report released in April by the Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by New Jersey’s Youth and Young Adults identified heroin abuse as “the number one health care crisis” confronting the state.

“Heroin is a cheaper but more potent alternative that drug dealers are using to meet the growing demand for opiates and avoid the more serious criminal penalties,” said Muñoz. “If we are going rid our communities of heroin abuse, it’s time we make the punishment fit the crime.”

Current law measures the seriousness of the crime by the weight of the controlled substances involved. Equivalent weights or quantities of heroin and cocaine are treated identically under the law, which ignores the difference between how those two drugs are used. The amounts of heroin consumed by an average user and carried by an average dealer are far lower than those involving cocaine.

Under the bill, the threshold for a first-degree offense would be lowered from five ounces to 2.5 ounces or more of heroin. It carries a prison term of 10 to 20 years, up to a $500,000 fine, or both. In addition, a mandatory minimum term may be imposed, fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed with no eligibility for parole.

For a second-degree offense the threshold quantity would be reduced to 0.17 ounces or more, but less than 2.5 ounces of heroin. It is punishable by imprisonment for five to 10 years, up to a $150,000 fine, or both.

A third-degree offense would require a threshold quantity of less than 0.17 ounces and is punishable by three to five years in prison, up to a $75,000 fine, or both.

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Bucco Bill Honoring Commitment of Residents Attending Military Academies Clears Panel

Anthony M. Bucco

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Anthony M. Bucco that honors state residents enrolled in one of the federal service academies was advanced by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

This bill, A-225, requires the Adjutant General to identify each New Jersey resident who enrolls in the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, or U.S. Air Force Academy, and issue a New Jersey State flag to that individual.

“These are some of New Jersey’s most promising young people. They have demonstrated outstanding academic ability and integrity, and they have chosen the path of military service,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “The flag acknowledges their commitment to our freedoms and the defense of our great Nation.”

The bipartisan measure is also sponsored by Assembly Republican DiAnne C. Gove.

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Fiocchi Resolution That Supports Better Access to Healthcare for Veterans Advances

Press Release – A resolution sponsored by Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi that urges Congress to pass legislation allowing veterans to receive hospital care and medical services at non-VA facilities was approved today by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“The men and women who have served our nation honorably deserve better access to healthcare services,” said Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “They have earned timely, quality care which in far too many cases they aren’t receiving. Tragically, many have actually died waiting for care which is appalling.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“Vets should have the opportunity to decide where they would like to receive that care when the VA cannot provide it,” Fiocchi continued. “Our South Jersey vets have to travel long distances to Delaware for their treatment. That is unreasonable and unacceptable.”

Fiocchi’s measure, ACR-164, is in response to the growing VA healthcare scandal that came to light recently in Arizona and elsewhere. The resolution urges Congress to pass legislation which permits veterans to receive hospital care and medical services at facilities other than the facilities of the VA. If passed by Congress, the bill will establish a pilot program in the Second Congressional District of New Jersey.

Under current law, veterans must utilize U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities to receive hospital care and medical services.

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Simon: It’s Enough to Make Taxpayers Sick

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman Donna Simon today called on the Assembly to end the expensive practice of sick leave payouts for government employees following reports that eight public servants in Bergen and Passaic counties will receive $1.5 million in these special payouts.

Donna Simon

“This is a billion dollar ticking time bomb that must be defused,” said Simon, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “Every day that ticks by, taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars more and this is an easy fix.”

Simon is a sponsor of Assembly Bill A-158, which prohibits the cash payouts to government workers at retirement for unused sick leave. The bill also requires all public employees to provide medical documentation for absences of six or more consecutive days.

“It’s enough to make taxpayers sick,” said Simon. “Too often towns have to borrow money for these costly payouts to retirees, who have already been paid for those work days. None of the people I speak with outside New Jersey government enjoys such an outdated and unaffordable luxury.

Simon stressed enough the legislation does not affect the accrued entitlements of current employees. The provisions of the bill take affect when it is signed into law.

Simon also pointed out that these payouts to government workers, many of whom have taxpayer-funded pensions and health benefits for the rest of their lives, have a real effect on local budgets and taxpayers.

In her district, taxpayers are on the hook for $27 million in accumulated unused days that will be traded in for cash in the future. Statewide the cost is quickly reaching one billion dollars. Ending the practice would save taxpayers $136 billion over the next 30 years.

“It’s time to put an end to this special bonanza for government workers at taxpayer’s expense,” concluded Simon. “If we are going to spare future generations the budget problems we face today, we can’t delay passing this reform.”

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Bramnick: Survey on People Planning to Leave State after Retirement More Evidence now is the Time to Finish Reforms

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, said today’s Fairleigh Dickinson University poll which found that 52 percent of the state’s non-retirees said they plan to spend their retirement years in another state is the latest evidence the Legislature must address the interest arbitration law which expired on March 31 and pass unused sick payout reform.

Jon Bramnick

“The latest poll clearly shows we must finish these reforms now. Binding interest arbitration is a key reform that prevents property taxes from skyrocketing and hurting hard-working families.

“Reforming unused sick leave payouts has been on the table for over three years. Recent news reports show an approved payout of $1.5 million to eight public employees over the last three months in Bergen and Passaic counties. Taxpayers and municipalities cannot afford these burdens.”

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Brown Lauds Military Service Men and Women on 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Chris A. Brown, a decorated veteran who was activated for war on two occasions, acknowledged the heroism of all those who served in the D-Day invasion which occurred in Normandy, France, 70 years ago today. Over 100,000 Allied soldiers participated in the battle which was supported by 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft. More than 10,000 were killed or wounded.

Chris A. Brown

“Everyone should pause and recognize one of the most important battles of World War II that changed the course of the war. The brave patriots who were either wounded or gave their life, along with those who helped breach the German fortification cannot receive enough thanks. I know the perils our military personnel face. They do so willingly and defend the principles of freedom without regard for their safety.

“These heroes overcame insurmountable odds and put themselves in harms way. We must never forget their bravery and courage. Due to their commitment in overtaking this enemy stronghold, the tide of the war changed. We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the Allied forces that played an important role in a battle that changed history.”

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