Tag: Holly Schepisi

Schepisi would prefer filling Supreme Court slots with confirmed judges

Source: Bergen Record -

Judges assigned as temporary replacements to the state Supreme Court have become common enough to prompt a legislator to propose a bill that would give them a better title.

Holly Schepisi

 

“My preference would be that we confirm our justices,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Westwood.

 

 

No longer would temporarily assigned Judge Mary Cuff, for example, be called “judge.” Should the bill become law, she would be referred to as “acting associate justice of the Supreme Court.” The bill would change only a judge’s title; it does not call for a change in pay or benefits.

To qualify for the bump up in title, a judge would have to serve on the high court for 180 days. The bill would be retroactive to 2010, meaning that any of the judges temporarily assigned to the court under Governor Christie would be granted the new title.

In 2010, Christie did not renominate Associate Justice John Wallace, a Democrat, the first time since 1947 and the adoption of the current state constitution that a justice was not allowed to stay on the bench after an initial seven-year term. Last year Christie declined to renominate Associate Justice Helen Hoens, a Republican.

After Christie declined to renominate Wallace, Democrats have repeatedly blocked the governor’s picks for the high court – these deadlocks have created vacancies that are then filled by senior judges. Currently, Cuff is the only temporarily assigned judge on the court.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee released the bill on a unanimous 5-0 vote to the full Assembly. There is no companion bill in the Senate. The vote, however, did not take place without a dig at the nomination process by one of the committee’s members.

“My preference would be that we confirm our justices,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Westwood.

read more

Schepisi cautious about allowing easier dismissal of SLAPP lawsuits

Source: Bergen Record -

A bill that would make it easier for people to dismiss certain types of frivolous lawsuits was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Holly Schepisi

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Westwood, abstaining. Schepisi raised concerns about how it could be difficult to determine whether or not a lawsuit was frivolous or held actual merit. She said that as a public official, it was especially difficult to bring defamation suits against people even when they were warranted – she said she was wary of making that process even more difficult.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Lagana, D-Paramus, is aimed at preventing lawsuits often referred to as SLAPP suits or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. They are suits targeting individuals who speak out about politically sensitive issues. The lawsuits aren’t filed to win but are instead intended to saddle the defendant with legal fees and a myriad of court proceedings to get them to stop speaking out or protesting.

The committee released the bill on a 4-0 vote with Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Westwood, abstaining. Schepisi raised concerns about how it could be difficult to determine whether or not a lawsuit was frivolous or held actual merit. She said that as a public official, it was especially difficult to bring defamation suits against people even when they were warranted – she said she was wary of making that process even more difficult.

The legislation now heads to the full Assembly. There is currently no version of the bill in the Senate.

read more

Schepisi: No tolerance for violence

Bergen Record (letter to editor by Holly Schepisi) -

Dear Editor:

Holly Schepisi

On Sept. 15, the New Jersey General passed a series of domestic violence bills that are designed to protect and help victims of domestic abuse. As part of the discussion on these bills, my Assembly Republican women colleagues – Caroline Casagrande, Nancy F. Muñoz, Mary Pat Angelini, Amy Handlin, Alison McHose, DiAnne Gove, BettyLou DeCroce, Donna Simon, Maria Rodriguez-Gregg – and I called for the resignation of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of the domestic violence issue.

When someone sucker punches an innocent woman or takes a switch to his son, something is terribly wrong. The league either delays disciplinary action or issues a slap on the wrist of the offender. The victims are vulnerable to the power of these men. Commissioner Goodell is unsuccessfully trying to appease the fans and advertisers that the league takes these actions seriously. If he were truly serious, he would apologize and submit his resignation over his failure to take immediate steps to prevent these kinds of assaults. The NFL should send a message to society that it will not tolerate these actions and implement a no-tolerance policy with severe repercussions.

Asemblywoman Holly Schepisi

read more

Schepisi favors keeping oldest judges on job

Bergen Record -

New measures aimed at keeping judges on the bench longer by increasing the mandatory retirement age were approved by an Assembly committee Monday.

Under the measures, the retirement age for most judges would change from 70 to 75. The retirement age on the state Supreme Court would remain 70.

Along with keeping experienced people on the bench, the measures would slow the rise in judicial vacancies, proponents of the changes said.

In Bergen County, the presiding judge has decided to suspend some lengthy civil trials because there are nine vacancies out of 36 total spots on the bench.

Holly Schepisi

“There is absolutely no reason, particularly as we have these significant backlogs in Bergen County, not to allow people who are competent, who have the knowledge and want to continue participating, to participate,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-River Vale.

Any increase in the judicial retirement age requires a change to the state constitution, which would have to be approved by voters.

On Monday, the committee released three bills concerning how long judges can serve on the bench and one resolution that would call for a constitutional amendment.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved the measures on unanimous 5-0 votes, and they now head to the full Assembly.

read more

With Reform Measures Bogged Down, Schepisi Expresses Frustration [video]

Source: NJTV -

We don’t know if Chris Christie knew that sources at the U.S. attorney’s office were telling reporters that they had found no evidence linking him to the lane closures at the GWB, but the governor (coincidentally?) chose yesterday to unleash his most personal and aggressive attack on the legislative committee looking into the GWB scandal — and the leaks coming from the panel.

Holly Schepisi

 

“We are legislators,” she said. “How is it that New York state, The Assembly and the Senate, in New Jersey, the Senate have managed to unanimously put forth reform initiatives and here we are in the Assembly saying OK, will have it for discussion only purposes, some of this stuff. It’s absurd.”

 

“This is Assemblyman [John] Wisniewski and the leadership of that committee,” said Christie in a lively State House press conference. “They care more about being on television than they care about actually getting to the truth and being on the front page of the newspaper, and I’m tired of it; I really am. I’ve cooperated in every way that I possibly can, not only with them, but with everyone else who has asked us any questions.”

This week, the committee’s attorney sent members a letter, warning them about the leaks. Committee member Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi says she’s been frustrated by its work (or lack thereof) for months.

“We are legislators,” she said. “How is it that New York state, The Assembly and the Senate, in New Jersey, the Senate have managed to unanimously put forth reform initiatives and here we are in the Assembly saying OK, will have it for discussion only purposes, some of this stuff. It’s absurd.”

Christie said he’s done trying to work with the committee. “I am not going permit them — when they conduct themselves in such an irresponsible way — to have an unfettered access to this office, just so they can use themselves as a highway to the media. So, you know, if he’s got some complaints, he knows what to do,” he said.

Chairman Wisniewski says he won’t put a time clock on his committee’s work, regardless of what schedule works best for the governor or, for that matter, his own party’s leadership.

read more

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

Page 1 of 131234510...Last »
top