Press Room

Coniglio’s Peanut Bill Becomes Law

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio to require restaurants to educate their employees about the danger of nut allergies was signed into law today.

“Nut allergies are serious, in fact, more than three million people suffer from them,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. ” The majority of nut allergy sufferers are children, including my grandson Devin. I sponsored this legislation to protect him and other children like him, so that they can go out to eat without the fear of sickness and possible death from exposure to nut products.”

Coniglio Introduces Measure To Help Gift Cards Retain Value

TRENTON – Senator Joseph Coniglio introduced new legislation this week that would require retailers offering gift cards to disclose expiration dates and other conditions on those gift card at time of purchase and restrict the fees that retailers can charge to gift card holders that carry a balance on the card.

“When we purchase a gift card for a friend or relative, we expect that card to be treated the same as cash at that store,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “However, through the use of expiration dates and dormancy fees retailers are attempting to make an exorbitant profit from these cards.”

Doria Bill Requiring Ignition Interlock For Drunk Drivers Approved

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph V. Doria which would require that all persons convicted of a drunk driving offense install an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle they own, lease or operate was approved by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee yesterday.

“Too often, we read in newspapers about repeat drunk drivers causing family tragedy in New Jersey by defying court-ordered license suspension and tempting fate,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “We cannot simply rely on the honor system to keep drivers with a history of impairment from being a danger to every legally licensed driver and pedestrian in this State. Ignition interlock devices offer a safe compromise to allow those in a household who are authorized to use a motor vehicle to do so, while keeping those under the influence, who would risk the safety of others, off our roads.”

Adler Backs Reassessment Of Mandatory Sentences

TRENTON – Senator John H. Adler, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today said the State should reassess mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders, particularly those serving time for low-level drug offenses.

“I think we’re too quick to put people in prison for minor drug offenses,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill. “We could save their futures and our money by requiring them to get treatment instead of packing them off to prison.”

Turner Bill Would Allow Stiffer Housing Ordinance Fines For Corporations

TRENTON – The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee approved a bill sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that would allow courts to impose stiffer fines on corporations found guilty of violating municipal housing ordinances.

“Many of the penalties that can currently be imposed for violating municipal housing ordinances don’t sufficiently deter corporations from breaking the law,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Jail time and a $1,250 fine work on individuals who own and manage rental properties, but how effective are they against a multimillion dollar corporation who can’t be jailed and would think nothing of such a fine. By allowing judges to impose a higher fine, we are providing a deterrent that will be more effective in making corporations comply with the law.”

Pair Of Turner Measures To Help Local Tourism And Historic Preservation Pass Committee

TRENTON – Two measures sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that would benefit historic preservation in Mercer County received approval from the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

“Trenton and the rest of Central Jersey played a pivotal role in the military campaigns of the Revolutionary War,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Almost anyone can identify Emanuel Leutze’s ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’ and recount the victory of George Washington in Trenton on the day after Christmas. Unfortunately, not many people realize that many of the places that played a role in our fight for independence are still around today. By creating the ‘Trenton Battlefield Historic Heritage Area’ we hope to encourage more people to come to Trenton and experience firsthand our rich history.”

Madden/Sweeney Measure To Help Police Locate Lost Alzheimer’s Patients Advances In Committee

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Stephen M. Sweeney that would create training guidelines and require State and local law enforcement officers to work in conjunction with the national Safe Return program to help locate lost Alzheimer’s patients was approved today by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs committee.

“Disorientation is a dangerous side effect of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Losing a family member can be one of the scariest experiences in the world for both those suffering with Alzheimer’s and for their loved ones. As a former State Police officer, this training is necessary to teach police how to safely recover lost Alzheimer’s patients and return them to their families.”

Gill Measure Would Afford Increased Rights To Foreign Adoptions

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill that would provide the foreign adoptions the same rights afforded to those done domestically was unanimously approved today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee.

“This is a bill that ensures family stability,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic. “This bill would make New Jersey family law consistent with the spirit of the Federal Child Citizenship Act. Families would no longer have to go through a process of re-adopting their children.”

Vitale-Smith Bill To Authorize Local Bonding For Refurbishment Of Ambulances, Public Safety Vehicles

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Bob Smith to authorize local governments to issue five-year bonds for the reimbursement of an ambulance, rescue vehicle or similar public safety vehicle was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today by a vote of 3-0.

“This past weekend, we’ve seen firsthand the necessity of having well-equipped local rescue and first aid squads, as they played a key role in providing care to local residents who were affected by the winter storm,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Without quality rescue vehicles able to contend with snow drifts that were at least a foot high in most areas of the State, many of our first aiders would not have been able to reach those in need of serious medical assistance. Empowering local governments to fund rescue and first aid vehicle refurbishment is necessary to continue to allow local agencies to provide top notch services to our communities.”

Smith Bill To Provide $6 Million For Cancer Institute Of New Jersey Receives Final Legislative Approval

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith which would appropriate $6 million to the central New Jersey affiliate of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) to provide for comprehensive care and research was approved by the General Assembly today by a vote of 71-6, receiving final legislative approval.

“With this supplemental appropriation, New Jersey could realize complete regional coverage for cancer care and research, putting the most advanced cancer treatment techniques and skilled specialists at New Jerseyans’ fingertips,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset, the Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee. “By supporting the efforts of CINJ through State funding, we are ensuring that all of New Jersey’s residents have access to high-quality cancer care and treatment without having to travel burdensome distances to see the best doctors.”

Coniglio/Girgenti Bill To Help National Guard Approved In Assembly

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators John A. Girgenti and Joseph Coniglio which would help New Jersey’s active Armed Forces with the burden of paying tuition for higher education was approved by the full Assembly today.

“Our men and women in the National Guard and the reserves sacrifice a great deal at home to fight for our country,” said Senator Girgenti, the Chair of the Senate Law, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee. “When our soldiers return home we need to ensure that they are not left to battle a financial war.”

Rice Bill To Expand Admissions Criteria For Nursing Care For Aids Patients

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice which would require the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to establish a Medicaid admissions criteria for a long-term care facility that would serve those with HIV/AIDS, was approved in the Senate Heath, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today.

“The AIDS virus is a deadly disease that is hitting the poor urban communities who are in the most need of special nursing care,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Medical professionals have found ways to sustain the lives of those infected with the HIV/AIDS virus with doctors check-ups and substantial doses of medications. Unfortunately, many people who have AIDS also have other illnesses that make it difficult to take proper care of themselves, and we need to ensure that nursing care is provided to those individuals.”

Karcher/Buono Bill Would Prohibit Legislative Ownership Of Casinos

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Ellen Karcher and Barbara Buono that would prohibit the Governor, Legislators and members of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority from owning any interest in a casino or their holding or intermediary companies received committee approval today.

“When the conflict of interest laws with relation to the casinos were passed in 1981, the gaming industry was just starting,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex and Chair of the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. “At that time, less than 1% ownership wouldn’t have been that much of an investment. Now that the casinos are billion dollar companies, owning just 1% of their stock can equal millions of dollars. That kind of financial investment would clearly lead to a conflict of interest in voting on matters regulating the industry.”

Karcher Bill To Expand Membership On Council On Armed Forces

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher to strengthen the ties between New Jersey’s communities and local military bases by fostering greater cooperation on the New Jersey Council on Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs was unanimously approved by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee today.

“Our military bases are a vital component of our State’s economy, and allow New Jerseyans to contribute to the national security and viability of the country’s Armed Forces,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “In the New Jersey municipalities that host military bases, the bases are a key part of the tapestry of community there. By expanding the membership and mission of the Council on Armed Forces, we would allow the Council to work with base commanders in facilitating an open, productive relationship between our State and the local military installations.”

Girgenti Bill For Ignition Locks For Drunk Driving Offenders Advanced

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Barbara Buono which would reform New Jersey’s FamilyCare health insurance system to cover uninsured children and working poor adults was unanimously approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today.

“New Jersey has a moral obligation to provide for our least fortunate citizens, and the FamilyCare insurance program was designed to address that need,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Unfortunately, there remains more than 200,000 children in this State who are uninsured, despite qualifying for FamilyCare health insurance coverage. We need a higher standard and a better success rate if we’re ever going to see FamilyCare live up to its promise of universal health care coverage for all working class residents in New Jersey.”