TRENTON – Senator Barbara. Buono, the Chair of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, today made the following comments in conjunction with the panel’s consideration of S-786, the bill she is co-prime sponsoring to provide for paid family leave in New Jersey. The bill was approved 8-6 and now goes to the full Senate.
“Every so often we get a chance here to make decisions which will make a real difference in the lives of our residents. Today is one of those days.
“By acting to advance paid family leave for our workers and their families, we are making history in New Jersey and helping our State overcome the failure of the national government to catch up to the rest of the industrialized world.
“I want to thank Senator (Steve) Sweeney for his courage and persistence in both initiating this (bill) and seeing it through to a successful conclusion. It’s quite an achievement.
“I commend him also for sharing his personal story about how he was able to find time to be with his daughter, Lauren, when she was born, and how that motivated him to help others who don’t enjoy the same workplace freedom that he does.
“I also commend Senator (Loretta) Weinberg for sharing her story about how she treasured the opportunity she had to be with her husband, Irwin, in the final weeks before his passing.
“This bill represents a response to people who have become disillusioned and fearful as they are increasingly unable to balance the demands of family and work. It’s too late to repair the devastation in the lives of those who couldn’t afford to miss work to be with sick family members. But we can all move forward to ensure others don’t endure the same pain.
“This bill reflects our vision of all of us being a nation of people which supports the strengthening of our families while we accumulate the means to survive and even to prosper.
“We became a great nation by creating equal opportunity for all of our people to be able to make a decent living and raise a family without feeling like our lives are spinning out of control by being forced to choose between care for family and putting food on the table.
“By advancing this legislation, we acting to ensure that New Jerseyans will no longer be faced with such an impossible choice.”
Senator Buono, D-Metuchen, represents the 18th Legislative District.