M. Teresa Ruiz

26 Sep: Ruiz/Whelan Measure Authorizing Green Job Certification Programs In County Colleges, VO-TECH Schools Heads To Governor

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) and Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) to permit county colleges and vocational school districts to establish green job certification programs today received final legislative approval in the Senate.

Specifically, the bill (S-1648) would allow county vocational school districts and county colleges to partner with private entities to develop and establish green job certification programs. The college or vocational district would identify needed skills, develop training programs and train workers for green jobs in industries such as energy efficient building, construction and retrofits, renewable electric power, energy efficient vehicles, biofuels and manufacturing that produces sustainable products and uses sustainable processes and materials.

“As we continue our effort to grow businesses and improve our state economy, we need to ensure that education is a key component. Creating training and green job certification programs in our educational institutions will allow us to prepare the next generation of workers for employment in the renewable energy sector,” said Senator Ruiz. “At the same time, these programs will provide residents with the ability to acquire new skills that will allow them to obtain good-paying jobs and to move up the economic scale.”

“We have the ability in New Jersey to be an international leader in the green energy economy, by developing new technologies in the areas of solar, wind and biofuels. But in order to compete in the worldwide marketplace, it is critical that we have a highly-skilled workforce that is well trained,” said Senator Whelan. “By allowing our colleges and vocational schools to partner with the industry, we will ensure that our residents have the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century green economy, so that we can expand our renewable energy sector, spur job creation and fuel economic growth.”

12 Jul: Republican Inaction Puts College Further From Reach For Countless New Jerseyans



TRENTON – A college education just became much more expensive – if not unattainable – for thousands of New Jerseyans today, as Republican Senators continued to vote in lock-step to preserve the governor’s ill-conceived cuts to tuition aid programs.


In three separate votes, Republican lawmakers sustained more than $54 million in cuts to the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) program for both full-time four-year and part-time county college students, as well as for the Equal Opportunity Fund that assists students from low-income families.


“A college education is not a luxury that only the rich should be able to afford, and these cuts will make it harder for students from limited means to get the education they will need to meet their potential,” said Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Bergen). “What makes matters worse is that these cuts go beyond anything the governor had even proposed. With a stroke of his pen he actually set these programs backwards.”



A view of the Senate Chambers from the 2010-2011 Senate Reorganization.

12 Jul: Norcross/Stack/Ruiz: GOP Vote On Transitional Aid, Public Safety Funds Will Devastate New Jersey’s Cities

TRENTON – Senators Donald Norcross, Brian P. Stack and M. Teresa Ruiz today said the refusal of Republicans to restore critical funding for municipalities that are facing extraordinary budget circumstances will devastate New Jersey’s cities.

Republicans failed to support the restoration of $149 million in Transitional Aid in the FY2012 budget. The funding is the state’s only discretionary financial assistance program, and is only available to municipalities anticipating difficulties making payments toward nondiscretionary or critical obligations including debt service, contractual obligations and public safety payroll. The GOP also voted against restoring $50 million in public safety aid to 150 municipalities across the state.

“Our cities are already reeling from a down economy. Public safety has been decimated, workforces have been slashed and services cut to the bone,” said Senator Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The bottom line is, our cities have run out of places to cut back and in many urban centers a robust tax base just doesn’t exist. Without a reversal of these devastating cuts, cities across our state will be in jeopardy of total economic collapse.”

11 Jul: Gill/Ruiz Call GOP Failure To Support Funding Restoration For Sexually, Physically Abused Children ‘Stunning’

TRENTON – Senators Nia H. Gill (D-Essex) and M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) today said the failure of Senate Republicans to support the restoration of funding to a program that provides services to children who have suffered sexual and physical abuse was a stunning action that places critical treatment and counseling services in jeopardy.

The Senators expressed their dismay after a failed attempt by the Senate to override a $537,000 cut to the Wynona Lipman Child Advocacy Center, which the governor vetoed from the FY 2012 budget. Officials at the facility have said the loss of funding will force the center to close.

“This is not about politics. This is about real life for thousands of children who have suffered traumatic abuse, often times at the hands of someone they know. Wynona�s House provides critical medical and counseling services to these young people, and does so in a unique way that seeks to minimize the trauma they experience in the aftermath of abuse. They do this by bringing together service providers to treat and counsel children in a compassionate manner. This approach allows officials to conduct a single interview of an abused child, as opposed to having the victim go through the details of their ordeal over and over again with numerous agencies,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex). “That the Republican Party could not find it in their hearts to support such a program is appalling. This was a stunning act. By abdicating their legislative responsibility, Republicans allowed the governor to cross a dangerous line unchecked.”

Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Union, listens to testimony at the Senate Budget Committee meeting on Governor Corzine's toll road plan.

27 May: Ruiz Statement Mourning Death Of Newark Police Officer

TRENTON – State Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) released the following statement on the shooting death of a Newark police officer who has been identified as William Johnson, a 16-year veteran of the department:

“This is a sad day for the city of Newark, and a sobering reminder of the public safety challenges that all of our cities are facing. I know I speak for the entire community when I say that we are all deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy.

“I’d like to extend my personal condolences to the family and friends of Officer Johnson, and to the law enforcement community as it mourns the loss of one of its own. My thoughts and prayers are with them, and the other victims of this horrendous crime.”

Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Union, speaks on a point of personal privilege on the Senate floor.

26 May: Ruiz Introduces Bill To Overhaul State’s Century-Old Tenure Laws, Promote Teacher Mentorship

TRENTON – State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) today introduced legislation to overhaul the state’s century-old tenure laws and create a new system that will require teachers to prove they are effective in the classroom to gain tenure status and to continue demonstrating their effectiveness over the course of their careers to maintain it.

Recognizing that a strong support system is key to ensuring that teachers are successful, the Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act would establish a first-year mentorship program for those entering the field. Instruction-based professional development would be provided to all teachers, under the bill, with additional support for those who demonstrate the need for extra help.

“Having effective teachers at the front of every classroom is critical to ensuring that all students are given the opportunities they deserve to achieve true academic success,” said Senator Ruiz. “But success cannot be realized without providing the necessary support to our teachers beginning on the first day they enter the school building and continuing throughout their careers. It is our responsibility to focus our efforts on elevating this important profession, as well as ensuring that students in every classroom have the educational tools they need to excel.”

State Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Union, speaks about legislation pertaining to the FY 2011 Budget.

25 May: Ruiz Welcomes Opportunity To Compete For Federal Education Funding

TRENTON – State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), who serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education that New Jersey will have the opportunity to compete among nine Race to the Top finalist states for a share of $200 million in federal education funding:

“New Jersey, without a doubt, is among the states leading the education reform movement in this country. We have demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the quality of education in this state, and for months, have engaged stakeholders across all sectors in a dynamic conversation about how best to do that.

“Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education that New Jersey will have the opportunity to vie for additional funding for these initiatives is exciting news. A competition of this kind can only bring more energy to the discussion in our schools, and in our communities, about our efforts to bring about reform. Most importantly, it will give us a chance to secure funding that will be critical to implementing some of the strategies necessary to facilitate educational excellence statewide.”

Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Union, speaks on a point of personal privilege on the Senate floor.

10 Jan: Ruiz/Kean Bill Allowing For-Profits To Organize As Issue-Driven Companies Heads To Governor

TRENTON – Bi-partisan legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union) to create a new type of corporate structure in New Jersey that allows for-profit companies to organize in a way that promotes their social or environmental mission today cleared both houses of the Legislature.

“Many companies participate in philanthropic activities, but giving a business the ability to define itself as an entity with a specific mission of improving education or protecting the environment will give it a competitive edge,” said Senator Ruiz. “This bill will allow businesses to boost their bottom line while at the same time working to promote the public good.”

“State government has a responsibility to encourage private businesses to engage in activities that benefit the public,” said Senator Kean. “This legislation will encourage good corporate citizenship and foster greater sense of civic responsibility in New Jersey’s business community.”

10 Jan: Lesniak-Ruiz Bill To Transform Unneeded Public Land Into Nonprofit Urban Farms Receives Final Approval

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and Teresa Ruiz which would authorize the transfer of surplus public lands to be used for nonprofit urban farming and gardening projects was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 35-2, receiving final legislative approval.

“Through this legislation, we can strike a blow against hunger in our urban communities, improve access to nutritional food for city residents, and help clean up urban blight,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union. “While cities cover only 2 percent of the world’s surface, they use up nearly 75 percent of the world’s resources. This bill is about creating a more sustainable model, reclaiming land in our urban centers for green space and allowing urban residents an opportunity to make better nutritional choices.”

A view of the Senate Chambers from the 2010-2011 Senate Reorganization.

20 Dec: Norcross/Ruiz Bill To Help Out-Of-Work EMTS Approved By Senate

TRENTON � Legislation sponsored by Senators Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) to help emergency medical technicians get back to work sooner while at the same time saving hiring agencies training-related costs was approved today by the full Senate.

The bill (S-2411) would allow municipalities to hire laid-off EMTs without having to use Civil Service Lists, provided the termination occurred within the preceding 60 months. It would also allow the hiring of EMTs who have been laid off before completing a working test or probationary period but had not yet received permanent status at their previous place of employment. However, under these circumstances, a non-permanent EMT would be required to complete the remainder of any probationary/field work test period.

�This legislation would not only make it possible for municipalities to give laid off EMTs priority hiring status, but also create an incentive for towns and cities to do so,� said Senator Norcross. �Hiring emergency responders who already have experience in the field will save municipal officials training costs, which will ultimately benefit taxpayers. This is a win for emergency officials and residents alike.�