News & Releases

08 Feb: Smith On Diesel Particulate Testimony

TRENTON – Senator Bob Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset, the Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee and the prime sponsor of legislation which would greatly reduce diesel emissions in New Jersey, issued comments on testimony heard before his Committee yesterday on the dangers and health risks of particulate matter emissions, such as diesel emissions and other pollutants:

“The testimony we heard today from some of the preeminent experts in the field of air pollution and its impact on the health and safety of New Jerseyans, particularly children and senior citizens, should be a warning sign to the direction we could be going in if we take no actions to counteract the effects of particulate matter emissions.

07 Feb: Vitale Public Advocate Bill Cleared By Senate Committee

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would reinstate the Public Advocate as a watchdog agency to protect the interests of everyday New Jerseyans was approved by the Senate State Government Committee by a vote of 3-1, with 1 abstention.

“For nearly two decades before its dissolution, the Public Advocate stood up for the residents of New Jersey to protect the best interests of the people,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “In New Jersey today, so often it seems that, whether it’s government corruption or private fraud, those interests are going by the wayside, while corruption and abuse are becoming a much more common phenomenon. We need a strong Public Advocate to again hold government and private interests accountable to the people of this State.”

07 Feb: Doria-Coniglio Bill To Require State Contractors To Provide Health Benefits Approved In Committee

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Joseph V. Doria and Joseph C. Coniglio which would require vendors bidding on or performing a State contract to provide health benefits to their employees was approved by the Senate State Government Committee by a vote of 4-1.

“So many of New Jersey’s working poor, and even the middle class, cannot afford decent, quality health care for themselves and their families,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “Quality health care should not be treated as a luxury in this country — it should be treated as a basic human right. We need to demand a higher standard from our State contractors if we’re ever going to address this class disparity that currently exists in today’s society between those who can afford good health and those who cannot.”

07 Feb: Sweeney/Buono Measure Aims To Reduce Mercury Contamination From Cars

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Stephen M. Sweeney and Barbara Buono that would require the removal of mercury switches from vehicles before they are scrapped or recycled was unanimously approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

“The mercury from shredded vehicles can leak into local water supplies and cause serious health problems, especially in expectant mothers and their unborn children,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “This measure is a step in the right direction toward making New Jersey a healthier and safer place for its residents.”

07 Feb: Turner Measure To Encourage Double Hulled Tankers Passes Committee

TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that would encourage Delaware River refiners to agree to use double hulled tankers by July 1 passed the Senate Transportation Committee today.

“The November 26 oil spill on the Delaware river showed us just how much damage can be done to the region by a spill,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “By the time the spill was contained, over 450,000 gallons of oil poured into the Delaware, injuring or killing scores of birds and wildlife and requiring over $95 million in clean-up. If the oil had been shipped in a double hilled tanker, this environmental disaster could have been avoided.”

07 Feb: Rice / Gill Take On Gangs With Advancing Legislation

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Ronald L. Rice and Nia H. Gill which would create a 26-member Gangland Security Task Force to examine the activities of adult and youth gangs and the effect that these gangs have on the communities in which they operate, was approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee today.

“After September 11th, the federal government created an office of homeland security to deal with terror, in particular attacks from those living outside this country,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “We also must be protected from a real threat that is going on everyday in our own neighborhoods. The stories about gang involvement in a prescription drug ring in North Jersey demonstrates that the frightening reality of gang-related crime is everywhere.”

07 Feb: Scutari’s Bill Implements $1.3 Million In Funding To Eradicate Beetles

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, which would provide $1.3 million in federal funding to remove thousands of trees that have been infested by Asian Longhorn Beetles, was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“The counties of Middlesex and Union have been the hardest hit areas in the State,” said Senator Scutari.

“The infestation of the Asian Longhorn Beetle is a serious matter because if not controlled, the insects could have devastating effects on the trees throughout New Jersey, and the problem could easily spread to other states,” said Senator Scutari, D-Middlesex, Somerset and Union. “Late last year the first cases of Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation were detected in Northern New Jersey and if this problem is not handled effectively and immediately, the lumber industry throughout the nation could be decimated.”

07 Feb: Coniglio Bill To Protect Borrowers Seeking Help Passes Committee

TRENTON – The Senate Commerce Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio that would help protect consumer borrowers through strengthening the laws that govern debt adjusters and credit counselors.

“As Americans find themselves taking on more and more debt, particularly through credit cards, the services of debt adjusters and credit counselors will be in even greater demand,” added Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “We need to make sure that those individuals providing these services are better regulated so that New Jersey residents can feel confident in seeking their assistance.”

07 Feb: Rice/Turner Bill For Rental Assistance Advances In Assembly

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Ronald L. Rice and Shirley K. Turner which would provide an additional $15 million for the State’s low-income rental assistance program was approved in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today.

“Everyone wants a safe place to live, and New Jersey residents are no different,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “It’s the job of the Legislature to figure out ways to make that dream a reality. There are approximately 100,000 New Jersey residents on the (federal) Section 8 waiting list in the State. The rental assistance program will help grant the wish of about 2,000 families who are desperate to get decent housing.”

07 Feb: Madden / Girgenti Bill To Create ‘Sex Crime Victim Treatment Fund’ Approved By Assembly Appropriations Committee

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and John A. Girgenti that would create the “Sex Crime Victim Treatment Fund,” to help provide funding for victim counseling was approved today by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“The traumatic effects of sexual assault can linger for years, affecting nearly every area of victims’ lives,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This measure provides funding to counsel survivors of sexual assault and their families, so that they can work through their pain and begin leading healthier lives.”