Tag: Holly Schepisi

Schepisi School Defibrillator Training Bill Wins Assembly Approval

Assembly Republican Press Release -

School staffs will learn how to save lives by correctly using an automated external defibrillator (AED) under Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi’s legislation which was passed by the General Assembly today. Schepisi’s bill, A-1264, requires that school districts adopt policies to train designated staff on the use of defibrillators.

Holly Schepisi

“Life-saving equipment should be more than just a fixture,” said Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic. “Learning how to respond to a cardiac arrest is just as important as following the guidelines during a fire drill. Response time is critically important when a cardiac episode strikes. With proper training and access to a defibrillator, tragedies can be prevented.”

Schepisi cited an instance last spring where an athlete’s heart stopped during track practice at Pascack Hills High School. While a coach administered CPR, the athletic trainer used a portable defibrillator which restarted the athlete’s heart and saved his life.

Under “Janet’s Law,” which was signed in September 2012, public school districts and nonpublic schools must ensure that an AED is available in an unlocked location on school property. The AED must be accessible during the day and any time a school-sponsored athletic event or team practice is taking place.

read more

Assembly Approves Schepisi & Auth Measure to Fix Dams, Prevent Flooding

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Holly Schepisi and Robert Auth that appropriates more than $21 million for the restoration of 14 dams across the state was approved today by the General Assembly.

Holly Schepisi

“Making these dams more resilient to storms helps control water levels, prevent flooding and avert the damage that is inevitable when a dam fails. These projects ensure safer communities,” said Schepisi, R – Bergen.

Projects listed in A-3229 access existing monies made available in the Dam, Lake and Stream Project Revolving Loan Fund. These funds are a self-replenishing pool of money, where principal and interest payments from old loans are used to issue new ones. Local governments or private associations and owners of private dams that are co-applicants with local government units are eligible for loans.

Robert Auth

Robert Auth

“This is ready money that won’t cost taxpayers a dime,” said Auth, R – Bergen, “These are necessary projects, but they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to finance through private lenders. In the future, more dams will be repaired as more money is paid back into the fund.”

According to the American Society of Civil Engineer’s 2013 report card, New Jersey is particularly vulnerable. It is in the top 10 states with dams in need of repair with 217 high-hazard dams.

read more

Schepisi & Auth Bill Fixing Dam Problems Advances

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republicans Holly Schepisi and Robert Auth’s legislation appropriating more than $21 million to make 14 dams across the state more resilient to storms and help control flooding passed out of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Thursday.

Holly Schepisi

“So many things can happen when a huge wall of water is released,” said Schepisi, R – Bergen. “It’s totally uncontrollable and without the maintenance of our dams, the risk of catastrophic failure grows. These projects will overhaul existing dams across the State, helping to control water levels, prevent flooding and ultimately ensure safer communities.”

According to the American Society of Civil Engineer’s 2013 report card, New Jersey is particularly vulnerable. It is in the top 10 states with dams in need of repair with 217 high-hazard dams.

Robert Auth

Robert Auth

“It is work that needs to be done to prevent flooding and property loss,” said Auth, R-Bergen. “Projects to secure the integrity of dams are costly and virtually impossible to finance through private channels. This money is available and won’t cost taxpayers any thing. In the future, more money will return and additional dam problems can be addressed.”

Projects listed in A-3229 access existing monies made available in the Dam, Lake and Stream Project Revolving Loan Fund. These funds are a self-replenishing pool of money, where principal and interest payments from old loans are used to issue new ones. Local governments or private associations and owners of private dams that are co-applicants with local government units are eligible for loans.

The following projects will be funded from the money appropriated by this bill:

Boonton Reservoir Dam / Jersey City MUA / $1,616,000
Split Rock Dam / Jersey City MUA / $3,792,188
Bass Lake Dam / Princeton-Blairstown Center, Inc. / $ 700,000
Lake Gerard Dam Lake Gerard, LLC $1,746,323
Stony Brook #14 (Honey Lake) Dam /Honey Lake Association /$1,250,000
High Crest Lake Dam / High Crest Lake Lodge, Inc. / $ 575,000
Heaters Pond Dam / Borough of Ogdensburg / $ 660,000
Lake Winona Dam / Lake Winona Civic Association / $ 708,773
Preakness Hills Country Club, Dam No. 1 / Preakness Hills Country Club / $ 650,000
Country Lakes #1 Dam / Township of Pemberton / $3,731,248
Lake Erskine Dam / Erskine Lakes Prop. Owners Assn. / $ 668,000
Lake Shawnee Dam / Lake Shawnee Club, Inc. / $2,000,000
Henion Pond Dam / Vacamas Programs for Youth /  $1,165,000
Country Lakes #3 Dam / Township of Pemberton / $2,139,272

read more

Schepisi’s ‘Family Collaborative Law Act’ a Better Way to Settle Disagreements Signed into Law

Source: 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 signed into law on Wednesday by Gov. Christie. 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. Collaborative Law 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.

read more

Schepisi, Carroll question Bridgegate cellphone subpoena

Source: New Jersey Law Journal -

Lawyers representing the committee of the New Jersey Legislature investigating last September’s closure of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were to spend Tuesday huddling with lawyers for AT&T to discuss whether the telecommunications company would comply with the committee’s request for cellphone records of Regina Egea, the chief of the Authorities Unit in the administration of Gov. Chris Christie.

But attorneys outside the matter who are familiar with how telecommunications companies operate questioned the enforceability of the subpoena, given that the committee is not a law enforcement agency.

Holly Schepisi

 

“It’s an exercise in silliness at this point. I hope this is not just another mechanism to keep this alive in the newspapers.” – Asw. Holly Schepisi

 

The Legislative Select Committee on Investigation issued a subpoena to AT&T on Aug. 25 demanding the records for Egea’s state-issued cellphone for December 2013. The committee co-chair, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, said the committee is looking for information about text messages allegedly sent by Egea to Christie about the closures and to determine whether he responded.

Michael Patrick Carroll

 

“What’s the point? The whole point of the committee was to investigate abuses of power. What is this going to show? It’s likely to be another dry hole, the same as before.” – Asm. Michael Patrick Carroll

 

Egea testified that she sent Christie a text during a December hearing of the Assembly Transportation Committee, which was looking into the Sept. 9-13 closures, but deleted it. Christie has said he does not recall receiving a text message from Egea about the hearing.
The phone was scanned by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, the law firm hired Christie to conduct an internal investigation of the closures, but Wisniewski, who runs a firm in Sayreville, N.J., said lawyers at the firm told the committee it could not produce the information being sought.

It remained unclear Tuesday as to how AT&T would respond to the subpoena.

When asked to comment as to whether AT&T would comply, company spokesman Marty Richter issued a statement: “AT&T takes its obligation to assist law enforcement very seriously. We’re also committed to protecting our customers’ privacy. When presented with a request from law enforcement for call records or to otherwise assist with a criminal investigation, we require the requesting party to comply with all applicable laws—e.g., present us with a valid search warrant or court order.”

The subpoena is neither a search warrant nor a court order, and Richter declined to address further questions.

Defense attorneys told the Law Journal that the committee may have to do more than just issue a subpoena if it wants to obtain those cellphone records if either Egea or the administration objects.

John Furlong, a litigator with Furlong & Krasny in Ewing, N.J., said the committee may have to ask Mercer County Assignment Judge Mary Jacobson, who has been presiding over some of the committee’s legal entanglements, to ask for a communications data warrant.

“The legislative committee is no different than any other civil litigant,” Furlong said. “It is not a prosecutorial agency of any sort.”

Darren Gelber, who focuses on criminal law at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in Woodbridge, N.J., said AT&T may take the position that it needs more than a legislative subpoena.

“AT&T is saying they’re happy to comply, as long as there’s a search warrant or a court order,” Gelber said. AT&T is not saying that it will comply with a subpoena from a committee of the Legislature, he added.

Wisniewski said the committee’s counsel, Reid Schar, of Jenner & Block in Chicago, was to discuss the issue with AT&T’s lawyers on Tuesday, and that he did not foresee a problem since Egea indicated during the July hearing that she did not object to the committee obtaining the records.
Wisniewski said the committee was not prepared at present to subpoena Christie’s cellphone records.

“An incremental approach is the best approach,” he said. “This is not necessarily our last step. This is a very deliberative process.”

The subpoena is demanding records of any incoming or outgoing calls from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013, the time, date and duration of the calls, and the sending and receiving numbers. The subpoena also demands the same information about income and outgoing text messages for the same period and the contents of any of those messages.

Nine months after the Transportation Committee’s hearing, it remains uncertain as to how much information AT&T has retained.

How much information is retained and for how long varies from carrier to carrier, both Furlong and Gelber said, adding that it is unlikely that the carrier would still have copies of any text messages Egea might have sent to Christie, or that Egea may have received from Christie.

Both Furling and Gelber said it is probable AT&T would at least have records of text messages being sent and the parties involved.

“If a text message was involved, it might be possible for the carrier to give the number of characters,” Furlong said.

Wisniewski said the uncertainties are why a subpoena was necessary. “We won’t know unless we ask, so we ask,” he said.

If AT&T refuses to comply with the subpoena, or if Egea decides to object, the committee will have to demonstrate to Jacobson or another judge assigned to hear communications data warrant cases that there are compelling reasons to issue an order demanding that the records be released, Furlong said.

“There is a question of expectation of privacy,” Furlong said.
But, the fact that a state-issued cellphone was used would “make the committee’s case stronger,” according to Furlong.

Furlong said the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed that issue before in the 2010 case Ontario v. Quon. There, the court ruled that the city of Ontario, Calif., could audit text messages among a group of the city’s police officers using department-issued pagers without violating the officers’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“The carriers say they only keep information for 90 or 180 days, but in reality they keep the information much longer,” Furlong said.

Republican members of the committee questioned the necessity of issuing a subpoena for the records.

“What’s the point?” said Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris. At most, the committee might learn that Egea sent a text message to Christie, he said.

“The whole point of the committee was to investigate abuses of power. What is this going to show? It’s likely to be another dry hole, the same as before,” said Carroll, a Morristown, N.J., solo.

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen, agreed. “It’s an exercise in silliness at this point,” she said. “I hope this is not just another mechanism to keep this alive in the newspapers.”

Schepisi said she and the other three Republicans on the committee had no advance knowledge of the decision to issue the subpoena to AT&T. “We’re very much out of the loop as to what is transpiring,” she said.

Gibson Dunn has cleared Christie and most of his administration of any wrongdoing, and have instead pinned the blame on a former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Christie fired Kelly and forced Wildstein to resign.

Wildstein initially said the closures were part of a traffic study, but that story has since been debunked. It is claimed that Kelly and Wildstein ordered the closures as retribution against Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who would not endorse Christie for re-election.

Egea is set to become Christie’s next chief of staff if the person currently holding the job, Kevin O’Dowd, is appointed attorney general. Christie has said he wants to nominate O’Dowd for the position, but has made no moves to do so.

Egea’s attorney, Michael Martinez, of the New York office of Mayer Brown, did not return a phone call.

Kevin Roberts, a Christie spokesman, declined to comment on the committee’s subpoena.

read more

Handlin, Carroll on the direction of Bridgegate investigation

Source: New Jersey Law Journal -

With more than three weeks having passed since its last meeting and with at least a month to go before its next, questions are starting to arise over whether the New Jersey legislative committee investigating last September’s closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge continues to have any relevance and, if it does, whether it needs to shift its focus.

Amy Handlin

Handlin said the lack of ability on the part of the committee to call key witnesses is why the committee should change course and start looking at reform legislation.

“We pretty much know who did it,” she said. “The witnesses that are left to us are not important enough to the [grand jury] investigation, so why should we call them? At best it’s beating a dead horse.”

Republicans who make up the minority of the Legislative Select Committee on Investigation have been saying recently that the committee, even if its creation was questionable from the start, should now be looking at enacting legislation aimed at reforming the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge and where an appointee of Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is said to have hatched the scheme.

But the committee’s co-chair, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, disagrees. Wisniewski said it makes no sense to start talking about reform legislation until there is a complete understanding of what occurred within the administration and the Port Authority before the Sept. 9-13 lane closures, how people reacted afterward and why.

The committee’s work has been hamstrung somewhat by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, whose office is leading a grand jury investigation into the closures. At his request, the committee has agreed to not call key witnesses who could provide detailed information, including Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, an appointee of New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

Foye wrote an angry email Sept. 13 saying he was opening up the lanes. He questioned the motivations for the closures and suggested that state and federal laws may have been violated.

The committee has agreed to not call other witnesses.

Some of those witnesses who are off-limits include Christie’s former chief counsel, Charles McKenna; Christie’s top political strategist, Michael DuHaime; the Port Authority; Foye’s deputy, Deborah Gramiccioni; Phillip Kwon, Port Authority deputy general counsel and former state Supreme Court nominee; and Nicole Crifo, an attorney in the Authorities Unit in the governor’s office.

“We’re now colliding with the federal investigation,” said Sen. Kevin O’Toole, R-Passaic, a committee member who is with O’Toole Fernandez Weiner Van Lieu in Verona, N.J. “We should be looking at legislative reforms now.”

That sentiment was echoed by two other Republicans on the committee, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin of Monmouth County and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll of Morris County.

“I’ve been saying this for months,” Handlin said. “This is a legislative committee that has been given a special set of responsibilities and resources. We could be using them to enact reform legislation.”

Michael Patrick Carroll

Carroll said, “We should have shifted focus from the start.”

Handlin and the other Republican on the committee, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi of Bergen County, have tried without success at recent meetings of the committee to persuade the leadership to at least begin reviewing reform legislation.

At present there are more than 50 bills and resolutions, some of which are identical versions of Assembly and Senate measures, that would change the way the Port Authority—the massive bi-state agency created in 1921 that operates the region’s airports and seaports and most of the Hudson River crossings and a number of office buildings and industrial properties—conducts its business and how it is governed.

Most of those pending measures are bipartisan.

One bill—A-1083/S-303—is called the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act and would make a number of changes.

It would mandate an independent audit of the Port Authority; specify how it conducts public meetings when considering major changes, such as toll or fare increases; create an audit, finance and governance committee; require financial disclosure requirements for commissioners; and impose a fiduciary duty on commissioners, who are appointed by the governors of the two states.

Handlin and Wisniewski are among the sponsors, along with the other co-chair, Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, and another committee member, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen.

Another bill, A-1095/S-312, would subject the Port Authority to New York’s Freedom of Information Law and to New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act. Again, Wisniewski and Weinberg are two of the sponsors, along with Handlin.

Among other things, the bill would require the Port Authority to adopt good-governance practices, such as codes of conduct, and offer protections to whistleblowers by subjecting it to the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. Its primary sponsors include Handlin, Schepisi and O’Toole.

“These are the things we should be looking at,” O’Toole said. “The federal investigation will take care of itself.”

Any measures would have to be passed by both states’ legislatures and signed into law by both governors before they could become effective.

Carroll suggested that the committee could consider broadening the scope of its investigation and suggested that it may have done so by discussing how the administration is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its decision to use funds raised through Port Authority bond sales to finance the $1.8 billion repair of the Pulaski Skyway, which links Newark to Jersey City, N.J.

“We can make sure [the agency] is not being used as a kitty to pay for presents under the Christmas tree,” he said.

Handlin said the lack of ability on the part of the committee to call key witnesses is why the committee should change course and start looking at reform legislation.

“We pretty much know who did it,” she said. “The witnesses that are left to us are not important enough to the [grand jury] investigation, so why should we call them? At best it’s beating a dead horse.”

Most of the witnesses who have appeared have said they knew nothing of the traffic stops beforehand and were not involved in the planning of it.

It is generally accepted at this point that the closures were ordered by Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and David Wildstein, a former Christie appointee at the Port Authority, who purportedly wanted to exact revenge on the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who declined to endorse Christie for reelection last November.

The closings were labeled as part of a traffic study, a theory that has since been dismissed.

Christie fired Kelly after learning of her role and Wildstein was forced to resign.

Although Wildstein early on provided the committee with many incriminating documents—including the now-famous “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email—both he and Kelly have refused to testify. Christie’s former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, also has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Christie pushed Stepien out of his position as head of the state Republican organization because of his role in managing the affair after it was over.

Ben Dworkin, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, said the committee can still perform a useful function, even if its abilities are hampered by the ongoing federal investigation.

“One, it’s illuminating the process of government, how things got done,” he said. “Two, it can come up with legislation that addresses those issues.”

Dworkin said, having the committee continue to hold hearings and whether any witnesses offer any useful information or not, benefits Democrats who control the committee as they try to pin at least some responsibility, if not blame, on Christie as he prepares to decide whether he will seek his party’s nomination for president in 2016.

“Any new testimony, no matter how relevant, keeps Christie and the administration on the defensive,” he said.

read more

Schepisi Discusses Bridgegate Developments on NJTV [video]

Source: NJTV Online [video] -

Holly Schepisi

Assembly Republican Holly Schepisi joined host Michael Aron on “On the Record” to discuss the latest developments in Bridgegate controversy and the Select Committee on Investigation.

“I think the entire stated premise of this committee was to uncover the inner workings of the Port Authority, an agency that absolutely has to be reformed. We have not done that,” said Schepisi.

“There was an opportunity that we missed to put forth transparency legislation with our partners in New York, with the legislature in New York. For whatever reason,that press conference was cancelled. Their now breaking.”

 

On the Record

Episode

read more

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

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 approved by the General Assembly 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.

read more

Schepisi Pleased Interest Arbitration Bill Passes Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic, who was one of the primary sponsors extending the initial arbitration reform legislation that expired in March, voiced her support for passage of the compromise bill (A-3424) that passed the Assembly today and runs to 2017:

Holly Schepisi

“I am pleased the Speaker and the administration have agreed with the basic premise of the original bill that keeps the two percent award limit in place. Reforms such as interest arbitration, enacting the two percent property tax cap levy and pension reform are essential in keeping taxes under control. Prior to its implementation, binding arbitration was a primary cause of the never-ending rise in the cost of local government. Today’s vote by the Assembly is an important step that will continue to benefit property taxpayers and assist local governments in keeping property taxes in check.”

read more

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.

read more

Page 1 of 131234510...Last »
top