Nellie Pou

Senator Nellie Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen, speaks during the caucus meeting before the Senate voting session.

21 Mar: Pou-Vitale-Gill Landmark ‘Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection And Treatment Act’ Heads To Governor’s Desk

TRENTON – An omnibus human trafficking bill, sponsored by Senators Nellie Pou, Joseph F. Vitale and Nia Gill, that would broaden the definition of and penalties for human trafficking, putting New Jersey in the forefront of protecting victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking received final Legislative approval today and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery that keeps some of our most vulnerable residents – most of whom are women and children – held captive physically, psychologically and emotionally,” said Senator Pou, D-Passiac and Bergen. “By bringing awareness to the issue of human trafficking and training our law enforcement and judicial personnel to recognize the signs of human trafficking, we can put an end to these atrocious acts.”

Senator Nellie Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen, listens to testimony during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on the FY 2012 State Budget.

18 Mar: O’toole/Pou Measure Asking U.S. Government To Pick Up All Sandy-Related Costs Approved By Senate

TRENTON – As New Jersey struggles to rebound from the economic recession, a resolution, sponsored by Senators Kevin O’Toole and Nellie Pou, encouraging the federal government to waive a federal provision requiring New Jersey to foot a minimum of 25 percent of Hurricane Sandy cleanup – which would save the state more than $7 billion – was approved today by the full Senate.

“New Jerseyans continue paying a substantially high investment in America, while receiving a proportionately low return, as other states reap more benefits,” said Senator O’Toole, R-Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic. “Now, far too many New Jersey residents remain displaced from their homes and businesses, as communities try desperately to rebuild. It is only right for the federal government to repay New Jersey all necessary funds to fully recover from our worst natural disaster.”

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy is still being felt across New Jersey, as many people remain out of their homes,” said Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen. “We are looking at approximately $30 billion in damage to the state. Even paying a small percentage of that would have a burdensome impact on New Jersey taxpayers. During these difficult times, raising taxes on New Jersey’s working families is not an option and neither is reducing aid for education, health care or other much needed services. The federal government should step in with their greater resources and provide relief. After all, we are all in this together.”

18 Mar: Pou-Vitale-Gill Landmark ‘Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection And Treatment Act’ Advances

TRENTON – An omnibus human trafficking bill, sponsored by Senators Nellie Pou, Joseph F. Vitale and Nia Gill, that would broaden the definition of and penalties for human trafficking, putting New Jersey in the forefront of protecting victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking was approved today by the full Senate.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery that keeps some of our most vulnerable residents – most of whom are women and children – held captive physically, psychologically and emotionally,” said Senator Pou, D-Passiac and Bergen. “By bringing awareness to the issue of human trafficking and training our law enforcement and judicial personnel to recognize the signs of human trafficking, we can put an end to these atrocious acts.”

“Right here in New Jersey, men, women and children are being enslaved through means of human trafficking – put to work in the sex industry, and in such jobs as domestic servants or as farmhands,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Often due to cultural and language barriers, victims of human trafficking can’t self-identify as being victims of human trafficking or are too frightened to speak out, making the crimes continue to go underreported. This bill will strengthen our laws and give advocates the tools necessary to end the enslavement of people in New Jersey.”

“As we become more aware of the severity and the magnitude of the problem of human trafficking in New Jersey, it becomes even more critical that we work aggressively to combat these horrible crimes,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex/Passaic, sponsor of the law making human trafficking a crime in New Jersey. “This legislation builds on our current human trafficking law by strengthening the penalties for those associated with the crime and by providing victims with the help they need.”

Senator Nellie Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen, addresses her colleagues on the Senate floor.

04 Mar: Pou Measure Asking Us Government To Pick Up All Sandy-Related Costs Ok’d By Senate Community Affairs Panel

TRENTON – As New Jersey struggles to rebound from the economic recession, a resolution sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou encouraging the federal government to waive a federal provision requiring New Jersey to foot a minimum of 25 percent of Hurricane Sandy cleanup – saving the state more than $7 billion – was unanimously approved today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst storms to ever hit New Jersey’s shores and the financial impact could be upwards of $30 billion,” said Senator Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen. “Even only paying 25 percent of the costs could have a massive effect on our state’s finances and since the state is required to balance our budget each year, these funds will have to come from somewhere. Raising taxes on New Jersey’s working families is not an option and neither is reducing aid for education, health care or other much needed services. As state and local governments continue to recover from the recession, we cannot ask our taxpayers to carry this burden. Instead, the federal government should step in with their greater resources and provide relief.”

Senator Nellie Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen, asks a question during a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing on the Governor’s proposed FY 2012 Budget.

04 Mar: Pou-Vitale-Gill Landmark ‘Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection And Treatment Act’ Approved By Senate Budget Committee

TRENTON – An omnibus human trafficking bill, sponsored by Senators Nellie Pou, Joseph F. Vitale and Nia Gill, that would broaden the definition of and penalties for human trafficking, putting New Jersey in the forefront of protecting victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

“Human trafficking is an atrocious act that enslaves men, women and children right here in New Jersey,” said Senator Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen. “Often held captive by coercion, fear and abuse, these victims cannot speak against their abusers. With stricter laws, tougher penalties and with more public awareness we can put an end to this forced servitude and sex slavery that is happening within our borders.”

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

13 Dec: Pou-Vitale-Gill Landmark ‘Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection And Treatment Act’ Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee

TRENTON – An omnibus human trafficking bill, sponsored by Senators Nellie Pou, Joseph F. Vitale and Nia Gill, that would broaden the definition of and penalties for human trafficking, putting New Jersey in the forefront of protecting victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking was approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Human trafficking is, simply put, a form of modern-day slavery and we as a state must do everything in our power to end these atrocities occurring within New Jersey’s borders,” said Senator Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen. “The men, women and children who are victims of forced labor and prostitution often cannot escape their servitude, so it is imperative that we make the public aware of these actions and provide our law enforcement and advocates with the training necessary to break up these crime rings and bring traffickers to justice. By strengthening our human trafficking law and providing needed services and trainings, we can make a real difference in ending the trade of humans in New Jersey.”

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex)

19 Oct: Rice-Pou Introduce Measure To End State Takeover Of Local Schools After Five Years

TRENTON – Earlier this week, Senators Ronald L. Rice and Nellie Pou introduced a measure which would cap the amount of time that the State could intervene in a local school district to five years before governing authority would be returned to the local board of education.

“When an outside entity comes in and takes over control for two decades, that’s not intervention – that’s occupation,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “After twenty years of occupation from State regulators, school districts in Newark, Paterson and Jersey City have seen little progress and few results, and students are facing many of the same challenges today that they faced when the State first came in and took over these districts. It’s time for the State to admit that prolonged takeover of a local school district is a failed experiment, and it’s time to return the school districts that have languished under State control back to the people in those school districts.”

“While there may be legitimate reasons for the State to temporarily take over the functions of a local school district, such an agreement must come with an expiration date,” said Senator Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen. “As we’ve seen with Paterson, Newark and Jersey City, while there has been progress during the takeover period, there has also been backsliding, and it’s to the point where the benefits of State intervention are really called into question. The point of the law that allows the State to take over local school districts is that the takeover period is finite, and having a deadline by which State regulators have to withdraw puts added emphasis on the need to produce results.”