News & Releases

11 May: Preview- Vitale To Screen Academy Award Nominated Documentary On Clergy Abuse

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale will host a screening of the Academy Award nominated documentary “Twist of Faith,” to put a human face on clergy sex abuse cases in New Jersey and underscore the need for charitable immunity reform, tomorrow, May 12, at noon and 3:00 P.M. in Committee Room 1 in the Statehouse Annex.

“The film is a visceral reminder of the impact of clergy sex abuse on the survivors’ lives,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the prime sponsor of legislation to remove charitable immunity protection from groups that knowingly and negligently put children in harm’s way from sexual predators. “However, we also need the Legislature to understand that sexual molestation in charitable groups is not confined to the actions of one or two sexual predators hiding behind a good cause, but rather, a systemic problem that must be addressed through reform to truly protect our children. The guilt and feelings of worthlessness associated with sexual abuse many times stay with the survivors for the rest of their lives, and charitable groups that do nothing to address allegations of abuse should not be shielded from litigation by State law.”

11 May: Senator Doria Calls For New Education Funding Formula

TRENTON – Senator Joseph V. Doria made the following statement today following testimony by Education Commissioner William Librera before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee:

“The fact that we haven’t used the established CEIFA funding formula when determining school aid during the last four State Budgets is evidence that it is time for us to develop a new way to allocate state educational aid.

11 May: Turner Calls For Public Bidding In Professional Services For State Colleges And Universities

TRENTON – As Dr. John Petillo testified about out of control spending and contracting practices at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) during today’s Senate Budget hearings, Senator Shirley K. Turner announced the introduction of a pair of bills that would reduce political patronage by requiring public bidding for professional and technical service contracts by state public colleges and universities and all levels of government.

“The State’s colleges and universities are running wild with spending, throwing away taxpayer dollars at the same time they are raising tuition,” said Senator Tuner, D-Mercer. “There is no reason for UMDNJ to give out $160 million in no bid contracts. It’s simply reprehensible. It is political patronage at its worst and our students seeking an affordable higher education are the ones who really pay the price for it in the end.”

09 May: Turner Calls For More Effective Programs For Treating Children In The Juvenile Justice System

TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner called upon Attorney General Peter Harvey to examine more effective alternatives to the State’s boot camp program for juveniles during today’s budget hearings.

“We’ve used boot camps for over ten years and recent studies have questioned their effectiveness as a rehabilitation tool,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Dr. Robert Johnson, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at New Jersey Medical School, has said these boot camps have ‘a toxic effect’ on children. There has to be a better way of spending $4 million each year to rehabilitate these youngsters.”

09 May: Karcher Legislative Package To Further Regulate Public Entities’ Expenditures Introduced

TRENTON – Two bills, sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher, which would ban public entities from hiring lobbyists and making political donations with taxpayer-collected funds was unveiled today in the Legislature.

“We need strict, clear language to ensure that public dollars are spent on the people of New Jersey, and not politics,” said Senator Karcher, D-Mercer and Monmouth. “Public institutions such as State colleges, public utility agencies and county and local governments, have a right to representation from their legislators, and should not devote public money to lobbying fees or political contributions. The fact that some of the State’s taxpayer-funded assistance gets funneled back into a political process already over-saturated with money is contrary to the interests of the people of New Jersey.”

09 May: Bryant/Sweeney Measure To Appropriate $6.5M For South Jersey Historic Preservation Is Now Law

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Wayne R. Bryant and Stephen M. Sweeney to appropriate $6,585,306 in grant funding for historic restoration and preservation projects in South Jersey has been signed into law by Governor Richard J. Codey.

“This funding will help fund necessary repairs to local historic sites,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester. “There are a number of sites in the area that, with the necessary renovations can become popular tourist attractions, which in turn, will help the local economy here in South Jersey.”

06 May: Bryant Measure Would Penalize Negligent Dam Owners

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Wayne R. Bryant that would authorize the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to remove any dam the Commissioner has concluded to be in eminent danger of failing, and charge the owner for the dam’s removal has been approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

“The flooding the State has experienced over the past year shows that there are a great deal of dams in need of repair, and many of the owners have been slacking on fixing the problem,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester. “By allowing the DEP to remove any dams that aren’t in compliance with their guidelines and charge the owners, we would be sending a clear message that we mean business and the dams must be repaired in order to reduce the chances of serious flooding.”

06 May: Rice Explains The Need For Seniors To File For Their Property Tax Rebate

NEWARK – Senator Ronald L. Rice announced today that his district office will be available to help seniors and disabled residents who are required to file applications in order to receive the FAIR property tax rebate this year.

“With property taxes so high in New Jersey, it is important for those senior citizens and the disabled who qualify for rebate checks receives them,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “There are new regulations in place this years, that require residents to apply to the Department of Treasury in order to receive their rebates.”

06 May: Baer Is Ready To Help Seniors File For Property Tax Rebates

HACKENSACK – Senator Baer announced today that his district office will be available to help seniors and disabled residents who are required to file applications in order to receive the FAIR property tax rebate this year.

“There has been an enormous amount of confusion about which residents can receive property tax rebates and what they need to do to receive a check,” said Senator Baer, D-Bergen. “The new regulations determined that our seniors and disabled residents are eligible for New Jersey’s FAIR property tax rebates but they need to apply. My district office staff is ready to help my constituents with the process of filing for their rebates.

05 May: Doria-Kenny-Sacco Bill Allowing NJ Transit To Take Over Ferries Approved

TRENTON – A bill, sponsored by Senator Joseph V. Doria, Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny, Jr. and Senator Nicholas J. Sacco, which would allow the New Jersey Transit Authority to acquire and operate passenger ferries was signed into law yesterday by Governor Codey.

“The ferry is a crucial transportation link between Northern New Jersey and New York City, and must be protected for the sake of the thousands of commuters that ride the ferry every day,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “New York Waterway’s financial troubles had threatened to jeopardize the integrity of the entire North Jersey transportation infrastructure, but now, New Jersey transit has the tools to turn the ferry’s economic plight around. With new management from an organization that has a history of success with mass-transit in New Jersey, the ferry is now in good hands.”