Tag: Holly Schepisi

Schepisi to Receive Outstanding Woman in Government Award from League of Municipalities

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Holly Schepisi is being honored with the League of Municipalities 2014 Annual Outstanding Woman in Government Award for her support of towns and their issues at the annual League of Municipalities Conference next week.

Holly Schepisi

“Municipalities are the foundation of government,” said Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic. “Towns are usually the first place residents and businesses turn to when they have an issue. As someone who has worked in local and state government, I understand issues from different perspectives and am able to use that knowledge to better serve our constituents. I am truly honored to be recognized by the league which is an important advocate for towns and communities.”

As a legislator, Schepisi sponsored a bill that exempts property acquired by municipalities as part of a flood-prone property acquisition program from county, school, and fire district taxes. She also sponsored legislation which provides homeowners with a limited exemption from local land use restrictions when raising their house in order to meet new FEMA base flood elevation regulations. Both measures have been signed into law.

Schepisi and co-award recipient Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, D-Middlesex, are the first members of the Assembly to receive the league’s award recognizing government officials for their contributions to towns throughout the state.

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Schepisi-Auth pleased to learn bill allocating $22.5 million for Passaic River dam repairs signed into law

Bergen Record -

Five Passaic County dams will receive loans to fund repairs under a bill Governor Christie signed into law Thursday.

Christie approved a bipartisan measure that appropriates $22.5 million from the existing bond money in the state’s Dam, Lake and Stream Project Revolving Loan Fund. The money will pay for 14 damn restoration projects across the state including two in West Milford and projects in Wayne, Ringwood and Passaic.

Holly Schepisi

“Making these dams more resilient to storms help control water levels, prevent flooding and avert the damage that is inevitable when a dam fails,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-River Vale, one of the bill’s sponsors. “These projects ensure safer communities.”

The money comes from a revolving fund, which is available to local government as well as private associations and dam owners who have local governments as co-applicants for loans. As loan recipients make principal and interest payments the fund is replenished.

Robert Auth

Robert Auth

“This is ready money that won’t cost taxpayers a dime,” said Assemblyman Robert Auth, R-Old Tappan, one of the bill’s sponsors. “These are necessary projects, but they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to finance through private lenders.”

Of the Passaic County projects, the largest allocation is going to Vacamas Programs for Youth, a non-profit organization which runs a summer camp on 230 wooded acres in West Milford adjacent to Norvin Green State Park. Vacamas will receive a $1.165 million loan to make repairs to the Henion Pond Dam. The nearby High Crest Lake Lodge Inc., also in West Milford, was allotted $575,000 for its dam project.

The bill also allocates $743,000 to the City of Passaic for the Hughes Lake Dam; $668,000 to the Erskin Lakes Property Owners Association in Ringwood for the Lake Erskin Dam; and $650,000 to Preakness Hills Country Club in Wayne for Dam No. 1.

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Schepisi remembers Former Rep. Marge Roukema, 85, a political powerhouse driven by conscience

Source: Bergen Record -

Former Rep. Marge Roukema, a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights, voted for a 1994 ban on assault weapons, and pushed for 12 weeks of family leave for workers, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease Wednesday at Christian Health Care Center in Wyckoff. She was 85.

Holly Schepisi

 

“It was someone like Marge who set the stage and allowed people like me to come through 25 years later and be accepted in the party,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-River Vale, who at 17 was an intern in Roukema’s Washington office.

 

Roukema, a longtime Ridgewood resident whose independence representing North Jersey in Congress for 22 years drew praise from officials in both parties, was emblematic of the socially moderate, fiscally conservative Northeastern Republican that became increasingly rare in the years after she cast her last House vote in 2002.

“She had this internal compass about what was right and wrong and voted that way, and she did not look at the political consequences. She voted her conscience,” said former Gov. Thomas H. Kean Sr.

A family experience led Roukema to become a leading advocate for the federal law requiring employers to provide 12 weeks of unpaid family leave, even when the president from her party opposed it.

Admitted to Rutgers Law School, she put attending it on hold in 1975 when her 15-year-old son, Todd, was diagnosed with leukemia. He died in 1976, and years later, she said the desire to help families in similar situations with sick relatives motivated her push for family leave. The bill was vetoed twice by President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, before President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, signed it in 1993.

“I did everything I could to convince George Bush the first not to veto that bill. But he did it anyway,” Roukema told The Record in late 2002.

Roukema’s most bitter disappointment was being passed over when she was in line to take over the House Banking Committee after the 2000 election.

“I didn’t know you had to go out and buy votes with all kinds of political action committee money. Literally,” she told The Record. “I didn’t do that. I wouldn’t have done it even if I had known that it had to be done.”

Roukema also was known for opposing term limits and supporting a ban on unrestricted soft money that flowed to candidates.

Roukema’s retirement announcement in November 2001 came after narrow victories in Republican primaries in 2000 and 1998 in which challenger Scott Garrett of Sussex County said she was too liberal. Garrett has represented the district since 2003.

“She was a real organizer,” Kean said. “She brought in women all over the county nobody ever heard of, and they all worked hard.”

After that, Roukema decided to take on Democratic Rep. Andrew Maguire. After losing in 1978, she was swept in by Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential landslide and reelected 10 times.

“It was someone like Marge who set the stage and allowed people like me to come through 25 years later and be accepted in the party,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-River Vale, who at 17 was an intern in Roukema’s Washington office.

New Jersey has not had a woman in the congressional delegation since Roukema, but that will change in January with the election last week of Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Mercer.

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Gov. Christie Signs Schepisi-Auth Measure to Fix Dams, Prevent Flooding into Law

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 signed into law today by Governor Chris Christie.

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.

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Handlin-McHose-Schepisi Port Authority Transparency Bills Receive Overwhelming Approval by Assembly

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Bipartisan legislation co-prime sponsored by Assembly Republicans Amy Handlin, Alison Littell McHose and Holly Schepisi that increases transparency and accountability at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) won approval today from the General Assembly.

Amy Handlin

“We are one step closer to improving transparency and accountability at the Port Authority,” said Handlin, R-Monmouth, who has been a staunch critic of the authority. “These basic reforms are long overdue and help ensure the mischief that occurred at the George Washington Bridge is not repeated and we impose better scrutiny of an agency that spends millions of tollpayer dollars every day.

“These measures are just the beginning,” continued Handlin. “I am committed to continuing the bipartisan effort that results in comprehensive reform.”

One bill, A-3350, subjects the Port Authority to the New York Freedom of Information Law and the New Jersey Open Public Records Act. The second bill, A-3417, requires the authority to adopt a code of ethics for employees, enacts policies to protect employees who disclose wrongdoing at the agency, and gives the authority’s board of commissioners direct oversight of the chief executive.

Alison Littell McHose

“This legislation puts a stop to the historical secrecy under which the authority has operated. Opening up records under the laws of both states holds people responsible for their decisions and actions,” said McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “Giving commuters and the public access to records ensures the authority is fulfilling its mission and is accountable for its decisions and actions. An authority that spends hundreds of millions of public dollars every year must be open for review, just like any other governmental agency.”

Holly Schepisi

“The Port Authority’s reputed lack of cooperation among its employees creates a dysfunctional work environment and hurts productivity,” said Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic. “Structural and operational changes need to be made. This is a good start that will help change the culture and at an agency that spends hundreds of millions of dollars of the public’s money.”

In addition to Handlin, McHose and Schepisi, Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Vincent Prieto, Lou Greenwald, Gordon Johnson, Tim Eustace, Joseph Lagana and Carmelo Garcia also sponsor the bipartisan legislation.

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Schepisi talks about the passing of former Congresswoman Marge Roukema

The Express-Times -

Former Congresswoman Marge Roukema, who represented Warren County for more than 20 years, has died, according to media reports.

The 85-year-old, who was being treated for Alzheimer’s disease, was 85 years old.

New Jersey Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic, said Wednesday that Roukema was an inspiration to women entering politics.

Holly Schepisi

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Roukema,” Schepisi said in a prepared statement. “She was a great influence in my decision to eventually pursue a career in public service. As a young college student, I interned in her Washington office and it was there that I learned you could be a Republican woman with an independent streak and still succeed.

“Congresswoman Roukema was a trailblazer for women serving in government and politics. Her independent thinking was the perfect working example of the ‘Big Tent’ theory in the Republican Party.

“She was a woman who stuck to her principles and ideologies but knew how and when to reach across the aisle to get things done. I offer my heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.”

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Schepisi Mourns Loss of Former Rep. Marge Roukema

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic, issued the following statement on the passing of former U.S. Congresswoman Marge Roukema:

Holly Schepisi

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Roukema. She was a great influence in my decision to eventually pursue a career in public service. As a young college student, I interned in her Washington office and it was there that I learned you could be a Republican woman with an independent streak and still succeed.

“Congresswoman Roukema was a trailblazer for women serving in government and politics. Her independent thinking was the perfect working example of the ‘Big Tent’ theory in the Republican Party. She was a woman who stuck to her principles and ideologies but knew how and when to reach across the aisle to get things done. I offer my heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.”

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Schepisi on reforms to increase Port Authority transparency [video]

Source: NJTV Online -

“Every street, two square miles around here. It was impossible. The worst I’d ever seen,” said Fort Lee resident Ted Allen.

Libertarian Allen recalls the traffic nightmares of September 2013 when an aide to Gov. Chris Christie emailed the Port Authority to tie up traffic in Fort Lee leading to the most traveled bridge in America — the GWB — in an apparent act of political retaliation against this borough’s mayor.

Now, lawmakers in both states have approved bills to make the Port Authority more transparent, opening up its decision-making to the public, mandating a study of the Port Authority every two years and setting up protection for whistleblowing.

Holly Schepisi

“It really starts to implement some of the fundamental changes to the Port Authority that we really wanted to see,” [said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, one of the Republican sponsors of the bills. “Financial disclosure forms — we wanted to be able to know if people have monetary interests.”

There’s no question the Bridgegate scandal and the investigations have given lawmakers the momentum, the impetus to reform the Port Authority. Which raises the question would these reforms have prevented the Bridgegate scandal altogether?

“Nobody can say for sure because we don’t know as to exactly what occurred,” Schepisi said.

Seton Hall law professor Matt Hale says the reforms likely would have made carrying out Bridgegate more difficult. But real reform?

Schepisi appears on the video at 1:09 and 1:45

He said, “At the end of the day you still have to have people within the organization, within whatever agency it is, embrace a culture of openness and transparency.”

Lawmakers says their action is a good start.

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Schepisi: Two governors doing what is best for state residents

Source: NJTV Online -

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi was interviewed by NJTV correspondent David Cruz for his story on the governor’s response to the Ebola threat. [Schepisi is featured at the 2:37 mark in the video]

Holly Schepisi

“I think that this is a situation where politics has to be taken out of it, and I think that happened when you saw governors Cuomo and Christie coming together from different political ideologies and sitting down and saying this is what is best for our residents. Now, is it a work in progress, absolutely,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi.

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Handlin, Schepisi, McHose back Port Authority reform bills approved by panel

Source: The Star-Ledger -

A pair of bipartisan bills that would subject the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to more expansive open public records laws, protect whistle blowers, and require annual reports to lawmakers were approved today by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

Republican co-sponsors Amy Handlin, Alison McHose and Holly Schepisi applauded the committee’s passage of the two bills, which have already been approved by the state Senate, and could be scheduled by Prieto for a full vote of the Assembly as early as Nov. 13.

One of today’s bills, A3350, would subject the Port Authority to New York and New Jersey’s state freedom of information laws, requiring the agency to turn over any documents deemed public by either of the two states. People who believe their document request was wrongly denied would be able to sue the agency under either state law.

The other, A3417, contains provisions including mandatory annual reports by the agency to both states’ legislatures, and whistle blower protections for employees who report what they believe to be impropriety.

The bills were in response to the so-called Bridgegate scandal that grew out of the George Washington Bridge lane closures of September 2013, which exposed division within the bi-state agency.

The bills must be approved by both states’ legislatures and signed by both governors.

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