Category: Press Release

Space and Phoebus bill supporting New Jersey farmers is advanced from committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus to help New Jersey farms be more competitive and profitable was advanced today by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The bill (A3732) authorizes the establishment of food hubs – or food incubators – where farmers can collectively promote their sales, marketing, branding and profitability.

Parker Space

“It can be difficult for these hard-working farmers to sustain any kind of profitability. Food hubs will help small and mid-size farms that we have in this state,” said Space (R—Sussex). “Competition is fierce, and large farms have a distinct advantage. The food hub can help them reduce costs by sourcing materials more efficiently, and maximize revenue with superior marketing and branding.”

Gail Phoebus

Gail Phoebus

“This legislation creates a more productive business model that will retain farmers and attract a new generation of young farmers,” said Phoebus (R—Sussex). “Food hubs will help bring Jersey Fresh, farm-grown products that fetch a higher price to market. For farmers who can’t bake and sell food in New Jersey without access to a costly commercial facility, this opens opportunity for new profits.”

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Dancer bills boosting agricultural and natural tourism advanced by Assembly committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Two bills sponsored by Ronald Dancer aiming to increase tourism for ecological and agricultural attractions passed the Assembly Agricultural Committee today.

Ron Dancer

“Our natural resources provide us with tremendous opportunity to simultaneously conserve our environment and grow our economy,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “We can create good-paying jobs without paving over farmlands or wetlands. That protects the land and helps New Jersey families.”

Dancer’s bill (A3125) establishes a 13-member state Eco-Ag Tourism Council to develop the industry and help farmers and stewards of natural areas to make use of these opportunities.

“This includes everything from apple picking, hayrides and harvest festivals on working farms to managed tours to the marshes, back bays and coves on our coastline,” explained Dancer.

According to the state Agriculture Department, 36 percent of farms involved in ag-tourism earned 100 percent of their income through that endeavor, while 52 percent of those earn half their income from ag-tourism. A 2006 state survey by the state showed the direct benefit of ag-tourism in New Jersey totaled $57 million, with the indirect effect totaling $33 million.

New Jersey ranks first in the nation for percentage of income earned from ag-tourism.
Dancer’s other bill (A3283) implements reporting requirements and appoints a task force to make recommendations for the agricultural tourism pilot program for special events at New Jersey wineries on preserved farms established in 2014.

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Dancer bill protecting domestic violence victims is advanced by committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s “Lisa’s Law” bill protecting domestic violence victims earned approval from the Judiciary Committee today. The bill (A315) establishes a pilot program for electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders.

Ron Dancer

“We need to do everything in our power to protect these victims from the long-term physical and emotional effect of violence,” said Dancer (R—Ocean). “Technology allows us to establish a safe zone around victims that we can monitor. Minimizing the risk is a welcome relief for women who live with constant fear of attack.”

Under the bill, an offender released on bail is required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet. If the technology detects the offender approaching the victim’s safe zone, an alarm is sounded through her cell phone.

Dancer’s bill is named for Letizia “Lisa” Zindell, a Toms River resident who was strangled to death by her ex-fiance in 2009. Her killer had been released from custody a day earlier, despite his repeated violation of a protective order.

“This was a successful young woman who worked with children, and she did everything she could to protect herself. But the system failed her,” said Dancer. “It is time to start this pilot program, and begin using today’s technology to protect victims and prevent more tragedies tomorrow.”

The bill establishes a four-year pilot program in Ocean County for electronic monitoring of offenders convicted of contempt of a domestic violence order.

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Webber Bill Creates Exemption for Prisoners of War and Spouses

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A bill exempting prisoners of war and their spouses from motor vehicle commission fees was advanced today. The legislation (A3546), sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber, passed unanimously in the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The bill also expands usage of P.O.W. license plates to more than one car registration per person. New York already provides the exemption for prisoners of war and their spouses.

Jay Webber

“I believe strongly that our veterans, especially prisoners of war, deserve the upmost respect for their service,” said Webber (R-Morris). “There is no reason a P.O.W. or their spouse should have to pay to be proud of how they fought for our country.”

Only one third of more than 142,000 Americans captured and interned as POWs since World War I are still living, according to Military.com. More than 90 percent were captured and interned during World War II. In 2013, there were 424 New Jersey POWs registered with the American Ex-Prisoners of War.

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Auth-Schepisi-Brown-DeCroce bill providing assistance to servicemen approved in Assembly committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Members of the military will have an easier time balancing school and their military duties. The Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee approved a bill (A375) today that requires colleges and universities to accommodate students with military obligations that interfere with class work.

Robert Auth

Robert Auth

“Members of our military have responsibilities that often interfere with school work and due dates,” said Auth (R-Bergen). “They shouldn’t be penalized for serving our country. Education is vital to a career after the military, and we want to see our vets doing well.”

The bill directs colleges and universities to develop policies that will help a student who is an active member of the military, National Guard or reserve member to complete their coursework without worrying of losing credit. Professors and students will work together on a modified curriculum that allows for coursework to be completed and military obligations satisfied.

Holly Schepisi

Holly Schepisi

“Military members put their lives on the line day in and day out in order for us to enjoy the liberties we often times take for granted,” said Schepisi (R-Bergen). “The least we can do is provide them with the tools to receive a full education.”

The bill applies to students who cannot complete coursework because of monthly drills, annual training, or active duty whether it is voluntary or involuntary. It also allows a college or university to provide 30 credits for military experience to the student’s degree program, as suggested by the American Council on Education.

Chris A. Brown

Assemblyman Brown, who was activated for war on two occasions as an officer in the Army Reserve, left his third year of law school to serve in Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

“America is a great nation because we have young men and women who honor their oath to protect and defend our country by choosing to serve rather than to defer their military obligation because of school,” said Brown (R-Atlantic). “Just as we show our gratitude to them by protecting their civilian jobs while they’re on military duty, we should also safeguard their education opportunities for the very same reasons.”

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

“Participating in military training should not restrict a student from earning their degree,” concluded DeCroce (R-Morris). “Students work for college credits all the time and military service is just as valuable, if not more so, an experience as working in any other profession.”

In 2012, approximately 10,000 Students in military service will be notified by the school of their rights and benefits, as well as be provided five days to complete the work from missing one class. The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs will enforce the policy.

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Bramnick: Pension Amendment will only make pension problem worse

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick commented on the Democrats’ push in the Assembly Judiciary Committee today for a constitutional amendment mandating contributions to New Jersey’s public pension system on the ballot in November.

Jon Bramnick

“If we are going to fix our pension problems, this is not the answer,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “It ties our hands and jeopardizes school aid and property tax relief by removing our ability to balance all priorities against available revenues. Without meaningful structural changes that make pensions affordable, our pension obligations will grow and the state’s credit rating will continue to fall. The non-partisan pension study commission put forward an alternative that would avoid this calamity for our state and this injustice for our taxpayers.”

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Dancer/Clifton bill honors those killed in action by designating state flag

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Military members who were killed in action could soon be recognized statewide. The Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved a bill (A3225) designating the killed in action flag as an official state flag sponsored by Assemblymen Ronald Dancer and Rob Clifton.

Ron Dancer

“Honoring members of the military who lost their lives in defense of us all deserve that recognition,” said Dancer (R-Monmouth). “It is important to remember who died for our country.”

The bill doesn’t replace the current state flag, but the killed in action flag would be flown alongside it. The flag will be displayed at the Statehouse in Trenton, the principal municipal building in each municipality, and the principal county building in each county seat.

Rob Clifton

“As a state we do all we can for veterans,” said Clifton (R-Monmouth). “Remembering the brave who died for us to be free is the least we can do for those who lost their lives. I am humbled every time the flag is flown.”

Over 1.3 million Americans were killed in action since the Revolutionary War, according to The American War Library.

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Ciattarelli expands opportunity to earn varsity letters beyond the athletic field

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Jack M. Ciattarelli introduced legislation that would lead to more varsity letters at New Jersey high schools. The bill (A3879) mandates school districts with high school grades to establish criteria for awarding varsity letters for participating in all extracurricular activities that include competitions with students from other schools.

Jack Ciattarelli

“There is a long tradition of high schools awarding athletes with varsity letters. At many schools, marching band and jazz band members also earn letters. Why stop there?” asked Ciattarelli (R—Somerset). “There are other competitive activities that require the same level of commitment, dedication, teamwork, and school pride. Because varsity letters symbolize sacrifice and accomplishment, they should not be limited to mostly athletes in traditional sports.”

Under Ciattarelli’s bill, students will be eligible to earn varsity letters for participating in, for example, robotics, debate teams, chess clubs, and any other school sanctioned activity that competes with other high schools.

“Awarding a varsity letter to everyone who distinguishes themselves and their high school in interscholastic competitions is only fair and right,” said Ciattarelli.

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Assembly committee advances measure allowing more retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms

The bill is sponsored by Assembly Republicans Rible, Dancer, O’Scanlon, Space and Phoebus

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation expanding the list of retired law enforcement officers who are eligible to receive a permit to carry a handgun – sponsored by Assembly Republicans Dave Rible, Ron Dancer, Declan O’Scanlon, Parker Space and Gail Phoebus – was advanced today by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

The bill (A2690) adds retired law enforcement officers from state parks, the Division of Taxation, Human Services, N.J. Transit, and campus police to the eligibility list to carry weapons until they turn 75 years old.

Dave Rible

“There was some confusion in the way the law was written allowing retired officers to carry. We had a number of frustrated lawmen come to the district office who had been denied a permit after long careers of public service with a gun and a badge,” said Rible (R—Monmouth). “With no choice but to follow the existing law, the State Police suggested the Legislature may want to clear up the confusion. That’s what this bill will do.”

In 1997, Gov. Christine Todd Whitman signed a law allowing retired police officers to carry concealed weapons in response to the murder of a retired policeman who attempted to stop a car-jacking at a Newark cemetery.

Ron Dancer

“These are men and women who have spent their careers fighting crime and keeping people safe,” said Dancer (R—Ocean). “They understand the law, they know how to handle the weapons, and it makes sense to allow them to continue to carry a firearm.”

Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon (R—Monmouth) said, “This is a common sense reform that will only add to the qualified people prepared to defend and protect us if, God forbid, the need ever arises. We have seen tragedies – mass shootings at public places – that would certainly be curtailed if a police officer, retired or otherwise, were present and armed. Expanding the number of these folks amongst us will only help make us safer.”

Parker Space

“A cop is a cop. They may have retired from their jobs, but not their commitment to ‘protect and serve’,” said Space (R—Sussex). “This legislation makes New Jersey more compliant with the federal retired law enforcement concealed carry law commonly known as HR 218 and will make our neighborhoods safer and more comfortable for everybody except criminals.”

Gail Phoebus

Gail Phoebus

“Not only will this bill allow retired officers to carry a handgun, it will allow the public to feel more secure,” said Phoebus (R—Sussex). “We have done a great job fighting crime in New Jersey, and the statistics prove it. But a single incident of violent crime is one too many for the victim. A retired officer with a gun may be able to prevent it from happening.”

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DeCroce, Phoebus, Space bill modernizing state professional boards’ application and renewal processes clears Assembly committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen BettyLou DeCroce, Gail Phoebus and Assemblyman Parker Space, requiring state professional boards to process license applications and renewals online, was passed by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee today.

The bill (A1133) modernizes the application and renewal procedures, making it easier to file and process required documents.

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

“The public must use an application and renewal process that is short on efficiency and convenience,” said DeCroce (R—Morris). “Technology exists to immediately improve certification by licensing boards. Our bill will ensure boards make that commitment.”

Gail Phoebus

Gail Phoebus

“With almost 50 professional boards, it is imperative we make getting or renewing professional licenses in line with the times,” said Phoebus (R—Sussex). “Applicants should be able to complete the entire process online, and submit their documentation electronically. If the state is still using only paper, we’re doing something wrong.”

Parker Space

“Some professional boards seem to be dragging their feet when it comes to technology,” said Space (R—Sussex). “People can log on their computers and file their state and federal income tax returns, and conduct motor vehicle transactions. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to renew their professional certification the same way.”

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