News & Releases

03 Feb: Democrats On Senate Panel Want More Information About Bayside Incident

TRENTON – Democrats on a Senate panel today said it was too early to determine what remedial actions they would recommend to avert a recurrence of the violent, gang-related disturbance at Bayside State Prison on New Year’s Day.

“We have to hear more from the corrections officers, sort out the conflicting testimony and get the findings of the law enforcement investigators before we can recommend remedies,” said Senator John A. Girgenti, Chairman of the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee.

03 Feb: Karcher Comments On Health Committee Hearing On Early Intervention

TRENTON – Senator Ellen Karcher said that she was pleased with today’s Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee hearing on New Jersey’s Early Intervention (EI) program for children with developmental disabilities, but added that she’d like to see a greater public presence of EI to raise awareness of the services offered by the State and to get more kids enrolled.

“In my own life, as a mother of an EI-eligible child, I know that the State can do a better job informing new parents of their options,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, the Vice Chair of the Health Committee. “Even though I’ve been involved in analyzing health care in New Jersey for a number of years, I wasn’t aware of the EI program until six months before my daughter would have been ineligible. It’s crucial to get children with developmental disabilities children in at an early age to soften the impact that disability will have on their lives, and we need to put the word out for the services that are available to parents and their children.”

03 Feb: Vitale On Health Committee Hearing On Early Intervention

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, said that today’s Health Committee hearing on Early Intervention (EI) services offered to children with developmental disabilities in New Jersey provided a “blueprint for success,” to improve the program.

“In today’s hearing, we heard testimony from those with a genuine stake in making EI the best program in the nation for children with disabilities,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “I think we can take from this constructive criticism and start down that path. The EI program in New Jersey already helps so many children get a head start in managing their disabilities, and with continued support and improvement, we can help so many more.”

03 Feb: Madden Sponsors Loan Forgiveness For Social Service Workers

TRENTON – Senator Fred Madden today introduced legislation to implement a loan forgiveness program worth up to $20,000 to college graduates who take direct-care social services jobs in New Jersey.

“We need to provide incentives to attract full-time professionals to take on the difficult jobs of helping the poor, working in mental health facilities and caring for children with disabilities,” said Senator Madden, D-Glouceser and Camden. “This program is designed to attract the very best to begin careers in social services where current shortages in professional help are projected to continue.”

03 Feb: Karcher Bill Establishing Notification Requirements For Development Near Military Bases Advances

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would require developers to notify military facility commanders of any proposed development within a 3,000 foot radius of the military facility which might impact on the operations of the facility was unanimously approved today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Our State’s military bases are a vital component in New Jersey’s contribution to the national armed forces, and we must ensure that they can operate without impedance from encroaching development,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “In New Jersey, overdevelopment and sprawl are constantly pushing developers to build on property that would be better left undeveloped. However, when that property borders a military base, the potential for a loss in the quality of life of the residents, and in the viability of military operations on that base, is too great to ignore.”

03 Feb: Madden/Karcher Measure To Help Prevent Domestic Violence Advances In Committee

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Ellen Karcher that would create “The Domestic Violence and Workforce Development Initiative Act,” and require the State’s workforce development counselors to be trained to address the needs of domestic violence victims was approved today by the Senate Labor Committee.

“The issue of domestic violence prevention is so important because of the huge impact it has on the families it affects,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Preparing workforce development and unemployment counselors to deal with the needs of domestic violence victims will provide them with the encouragement to seek refuge while working for self-sufficiency.”

03 Feb: Turner Statement On Education Committee Hearings On The Abbott Schools

TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer and the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, made the following statement after hearing testimony from Assistant Education Commissioner Gordon MacInnes and administrators from several Abbott school districts:

“It is heartening to hear of all the progress that we have made in the Abbott school districts, yet I know that we still have a great deal to do to make sure that every student in New Jersey gets the best education possible, regardless of where they live.

03 Feb: Gill Bill To Ease Transition For The Elderly Moving To Senior Communities Passes Senate Committee

TRENTON – The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill that would permit senior citizen tenants to terminate their leases early when accepted into an assisted living or retirement community.

“There comes a point in many seniors’ lives when they realize it is no longer possible for them to live on their own,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic. “Unfortunately, this realization doesn’t conveniently come at the end of their residential lease. Our seniors shouldn’t be economically penalized because of the effects of the passage of time. They should be free to move to an assisted living community when they and their family feel it is the right time.”

02 Feb: Preview-Senate Panel To Hear Experts On Gangs Discuss Prison Problems

TRENTON – Senator John A. Girgenti today said his key Senate committee wants to ask gang experts on Thursday what flammable conditions behind state prison walls are igniting explosive confrontations like the violent eruption between inmates and corrections officers at Bayside State Prison on New Year’s Day.

“It’s pretty obvious that something has to be done, both to protect our corrections officers and to restore relative calm throughout the State prison system,” said Senator Girgenti, Chairman of the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee.

02 Feb: Preview-Senate Health And Human Services Committee To Hold Hearing On Early Intervention Tomorrow

TRENTON – The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the State’s Early Intervention (EI) system for children with disabilities, according to Senate Health Committee Vice Chair, Senator Ellen Karcher, and Committee Chair, Senator Joseph F. Vitale.

“I recommended that we hold a hearing on EI to bring this program into the public’s eye,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “Because I did not know that EI services were out there, I had a child who entered the program 6 months before she would have been ineligible. The experience that I went through makes me concerned that other families are experiencing similar problems.”