News & Releases

27 Jun: Doria Bill To Allow Public Entities To Collectively Bid For Energy Approved In Senate

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph V. Doria which would allow public entities to collectively bargain for energy services with the State in certain circumstances was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 37-0.

“Collective negotiations are very effective in leveraging better deals for the negotiators, but when municipalities, counties, and other public entities can say they have the State in their corner, that’s a whole new level,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson, Vice Chair of the Senate Economic Growth Committee. “This bill would give local governments access to New Jersey’s vast pool of experience and resources in negotiating energy prices, and would most likely save taxpayers’ dollars for the residents served by those governments.”

27 Jun: Bill To Study Special Education Best Practices Passes Assembly

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators John H. Adler and Shirley K. Turner to establish the Special Education Review Commission to study special education best practices from around the state received finals legislative approval today.

“Each year, New Jersey’s school districts face budgets where an increasingly larger share of funds are taken up by special education. We need to identify those programs and practices that are most effective and efficient,” said Senator Adler, D-Camden. “The recommendations of this committee will distill the methods of over 600 school districts and provide schools with new ideas for meeting the special needs of those with learning and physical disabilities. The goal must be to improve education while reducing the cost to schools.”

27 Jun: Turner Bill To Ease Transition For New Teachers Through Senate

TRENTON – New teachers could begin classroom work even if their teaching certificate is still pending under legislation sponsored by Senator Turner and given final legislative approval by the Senate today.

“There was great concern that the recent backlog of teacher certifications would cause our schools to begin turning away new, highly qualified teachers and as a result, college students would be discouraged from pursuing an education degree,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “With projected teacher shortfalls in the future, this possibility is simply unacceptable. It is critical that school districts have the leeway needed to hire qualified individuals to begin teaching without having to wait for their teaching certificate application to be processed.”

27 Jun: Buono Measure To Study Impact Of Freight Trains On Local Neighborhoods Passes Committee

TRENTON – The Senate Transportation Committee approved a resolution today sponsored by Senator Barbara Buono that would create the “Smart Freight Railroad Study Commission” to study the impact of additional short-line freight railroads in northern New Jersey and put a moritorium on new freight traffic on the Lehigh Valley Railroad short-line freight track from Edison to Bound Brook until the Commission has completed its report.

“An increase in freight rail traffic on these rail lines is going to have a discernable impact on the quality of life in the neighborhoods the pass through,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “Before the State spends any money to increase the capacity and use of these rail lines, we need to conduct a comprehensive study of the potential impact additional trains will have on the residents of these communities. The consequences may not justify the benefits in the end.”

23 Jun: Vitale-Buono Family Care Bill Receives Key Budget Committee Approval, Emergency Approval In State Senate

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Barbara Buono which would overhaul the State’s FamilyCare health insurance program for the working poor was given unanimous approval by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and received an emergency vote and approval in the State Senate by a vote of 38-0.

“There’s an old saying that a society is judged by how we treat our most vulnerable members, and in New Jersey, we will now do better,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “New Jersey FamilyCare was a revolutionary program when it was first-adopted by the State, but recent cuts due to budget shortfalls have hurt the effectiveness of the program, and forced the State to scale back coverage. A redesigned FamilyCare program to provide access to quality health care for all of our least fortunate residents will put New Jersey back on the map in terms of meeting our obligation to help the working poor.”

23 Jun: Vitale: New Jersey One Step Closer To Universal Health Care

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and a prime sponsor of legislation which will restructure New Jersey’s FamilyCare program to provide access to quality health care for New Jersey’s working families, issued the following statement on today’s emergency vote and unanimous approval of his bill:

“Today, the New Jersey Senate took a bold, but necessary step to ensure that all of our State’s residents, regardless of their economic background, have access to the quality health care that they need.

23 Jun: Gill Legislation To Divest Pension Investments In Sudan Advances

TRENTON – Senator Nia H. Gill, D-Essex and Passaic, the prime sponsor of legislation that would require New Jersey to divest all state-administered pension investments held in companies with ties to the Sudanese government, issued the following statement regarding the unanimous approval of the bill today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee:

“The actions being conducted in the name of ‘ethnic purity’ in the Sudan are an atrocity to human rights around the globe. The ongoing conflict in the Darfur region has claimed more than 200,000 lives since it began in 2003, and is nothing short of absolute religious genocide.

23 Jun: Sweeney / Madden GPS’ Bill Clears Senate Budget And Appropriations Committee

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Stephen M. Sweeney and Fred H. Madden that would create a two-year pilot program which would use satellite-based tracking to keep track of convicted sex offenders was unanimously approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

“As a parent, my first priority is to help ensure the safety of my children,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. ” As a legislator, I have a responsibility to help protect the children of New Jersey, which is exactly what this bill would do. The GPS tracking would let law enforcement officers know sex offenders’ whereabouts at all times, which would help keep them away from children.”

23 Jun: Gill / Bryant Measure To Require Posting Of Voter Rights Passes Senate

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Nia H. Gill and Wayne R. Bryant that would require county boards of election to post a “Voters Bill of Rights” notice at each polling place before the opening of polls on election day was approved today by the Senate.

“It only makes sense that the rights of voters be posted at polling places,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic. “This bill would help to alleviate any questions that may arise when residents are exercising their right to vote. We want New Jerseyans to be able to make informed decisions.”

23 Jun: Turner Bill To Require Paper Trail Voting Moves Forward

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that would require all voting machines to produce an individual paper record for each vote cast passed the full Assembly and the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“The right to vote is perhaps the most sacred right for any American,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “When people take the time to exercise this rights, they deserve to know that each individual vote is counted every single time. While New Jersey has not faced the widespread voting irregularities that have plagued Ohio and Florida in recent years, we shouldn’t wait until that happens to take action. Voter verifiable balloting is needed now so that New Jersey voters are assured that the results reported at the end of the night reflect the votes of the people.”