Category: Press Release

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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Fiocchi Offers Praise and Thanks on 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic, voiced his appreciation today for those who served in the military during the D-Day invasion which occurred in Normandy, France. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the battle in which over 100,000 Allied soldiers participated. The landing was supported by 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft. More than 10,000 were either killed or wounded in the historic battle.

“Words cannot adequately describe the thanks and appreciation which need to be expressed to the brave men and women who participated in the D-Day invasion. This victory was not only important because it breached the enemy’s beachfront fortifications, but it also broke their spirit.

“Over 10,000 Allied troops were casualties on the beaches during this battle and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. We also salute these patriots who fought and helped turn the tide of the war in Europe. Many people around the world owe their freedom to those who engaged in one of World War II’s most important battles. The landscape of the beaches at Normandy is much different 70 years later, but our appreciation for the heroism of those who served in combat on that day will never change or be forgotten.”

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Dancer’s Slot Machine Bill Helps Racetracks, Casino’s and Pays for Open Space Preservation

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced legislation that will help bolster the state’s horse racing and casino industries while creating a new and sustainable source of funding for open space preservation without raising taxes or diverting existing revenues.

Dancer’s bill, A-3194, authorizes slot machine gambling to be conducted at horse racetracks in a mutually beneficial agreement with the casinos (racinos) that dedicates the state’s share of revenues for open space preservation.

Ron Dancer

“This is hitting the Trifecta with three winners: tracks, casinos and open space,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth.

“Slot machines at the state’s racetracks will capture the flow of people leaving New Jersey for the neighboring racinos in NY, PA, and Delaware and increase revenues for the tracks and casinos,” said Dancer. “On top of that, the slots will provide a much-needed source of funds from the state’s share to protect open space from development, while providing funds to develop parks.”

Implementation of the bill will require an amendment to the State Constitution, and Asm. Dancer has introduced ACR-152 that proposes the amendment allowing the Legislative action specified in A-3194.

“The horse racing and casino industry have been fighting declining revenues and attendance for years, and the state needs sustainable funding for open space preservation. The extension of casino slots to the tracks is a painless way to stabilize the economics of our racetracks, casinos and conserve New Jersey’s dwindling supply of undeveloped land, without placing a burden on taxpayers.”

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