Press Room

Vitale-Morgan Introduce Reforms To Fulfill Promise Of Familycare

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Assemblyman Robert Morgan, MD, announced today that they will make it a priority to reform New Jersey’s FamilyCare health insurance system in 2005, to increase participation and provide expanded coverage to New Jersey’s uninsured.

“New Jersey’s FamilyCare program is a boon to those who would otherwise be without hope, but frankly, it doesn’t go far enough,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Despite our best efforts under the current system, there are still more than 264,000 children in this State who remain uninsured. We need to dramatically change our current system of identifying and enrolling children, to live up to our commitment of providing health insurance to those in need.”

News Conference To Announce Major Improvements In FamilyCare

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Assemblyman Robert Morgan, MD, will hold a news conference on Wednesday, January 5th to announce major reforms in the way New Jersey administers its FamilyCare health insurance program for uninsured children.

While FamilyCare has been instrumental in providing care for thousands of uninsured children in New Jersey, the legislators believe that certain reforms are needed to address the more than 200,000 uninsured children that continue to fall through the cracks despite qualifying for FamilyCare coverage. Their announcement at the news conference is the first step in major reforms pending for next year to address the uninsurance problem across the board in the Garden State.

Karcher Bill Package To Head Off Military Base Closings Introduced

TRENTON – A package of bills sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher to head off federal efforts to close down many local New Jersey military bases and make base continuation a more attractive option to the federal government was introduced last week in the Senate.

“Aside from contributing to our continued homeland security and maintaining our national relevance as a major depot for military weapons and personnel, the bases also are a driving force in our State’s economy, employing thousands of New Jerseyans in civilian and military posts,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “It would be a huge mistake, and a huge misfortune for the State of New Jersey, to close these bases. In this time of international strife, we need to continue our financial support to the troops, not cut back.”

Karcher-Scutari Bill Would Reform State Purchasing

TRENTON – Two Democratic Senators – Ellen Karcher and Nicholas Scutari – have introduced a bill, S-2194, that would re-structure State purchasing procedures and implement reforms recommended by the State Commission of Investigation after its probe of the bungled E-ZPass electronic toll collection contract awarded by the Whitman Administration.

“These reforms will save money for New Jersey taxpayers and will help clean up the way we award State contracts so they go to those most qualified to do the job,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer.

Sweeney Measure Would Protect Volunteer Emergency Workers

THOROFARE – A measure sponsored by Senator Stephen M. Sweeney that would allow emergency volunteer workers to receive paid time off when they are called to alarm during work hours has been introduced in the Senate.

“The events of the past few years have demonstrated the huge importance of emergency workers,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem. “These volunteers put their lives on the line when they go out on emergency calls, and school districts should do their part to encourage their bravery.”

Bryant Measure To Keep Kids In School Receives Final legislative Approval

CAMDEN – A measure sponsored by Senator Wayne R. Bryant would permit municipalities to adopt ordinances making it unlawful for juveniles to be on public streets, or in any public place during school hours received final legislative approval.

“Students need to know that they have no better option than to be in school during school hours,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester, who serves on the Senate Education Committee. “Most children do not see the full value of an education because their obligations are as limited as their life experiences; we as adults must take a stand and stress the importance of school attendance.”

Codey-Karcher Environmental Prosecutor Bill Approved

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate President and Acting Governor Richard J. Codey and Senator Ellen Karcher to create a statewide Office of the Environmental Prosecutor in order to pursue legal action against criminals who violate environmental laws in New Jersey was approved today by the Senate by a vote of 38-0.

“Our environment is a precious resource and New Jersey has to show a commitment to protecting it,” said Governor Codey. “An environmental prosecutor sends the message that we will pursue polluters in the Garden State wherever they turn up, and we will impose strict and appropriate penalties based on the severity of their crimes.”

Lieutenant Governor Bill Introduced In The Senate

TRENTON – The first New Jersey Lieutenant Governor could be elected in November of 2009 under a bipartisan bill introduced today in the New Jersey Senate.

“It’s clear that New Jersey needs a structural improvement to its succession procedures for the Office of Governor,” said Senator Shirley K. Turner, prime Democratic sponsor of the reform legislation. “Fortunately, we’ve had two able Senate Presidents who were highly capable at filling in for departing Governors, but we can’t always count on having leaders like (current Senate President and Acting Governor) Dick Codey and (former Senate President and Acting Gov.) Don DiFrancesco.”

Bryant Bill To Increase Dam Safety Approved In Senate

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Wayne R. Bryant to allow the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to impose penalties on private dam owners who allow their dams to fall into disrepair was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 27-10.

“This bill is about demanding a higher standard of safety from private dam owners,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester, the Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “We cannot allow private citizens to operate dams that may potentially risk the lives and property of their neighbors. By giving the DEP the authority to penalize dam owners whose dams pose a threat, we are ensuring the safety of everyone in the area.”

Working Families To Get An Additional $15 Million In Rent Assistance

TRENTON – Senators Shirley K. Turner and Ronald L. Rice hailed the passage of their bill to appropriate an additional $15 million to the low-income rental assistance program signed into law over the summer by the Senate today.

“A permanent home is the essential first step for a family rise out of poverty and start realizing the American dream,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “That permanent address is the key to so many parts of a good life. It makes it easier to find and keep a quality job, allows children to concentrate better on their schoolwork and can have great benefits to personal health. The myriad of other ways the State supports its residents are vastly more effective when the recipient has a home of their own.”

Kenny, Asselta Introduce Inspector General Bill

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny Jr. and Senator Nicholas Asselta today introduced bipartisan legislation to establish an Office of the Inspector General to root out wasteful spending, mismanagement and fraud at all levels of government in New Jersey.

“New Jersey’s Inspector General will fight to ensure that all government spending is backed by integrity, accountability and fiscal prudence,” said Senator Kenny, D-Hudson. “We cannot ask the people of New Jersey to trust our guardianship of $28 billion in annual State spending unless we take forceful action to eliminate all wasteful expenditures.”

Assembly Approves Turner/Vitale Measure To Inform Sexual Assault Victims Of Emergency Contraceptive Option

TRENTON – Senators Shirley K. Turner and Joseph F. Vitale welcomed today’s final legislative approval of their bill to require hospitals to inform sexual assault victims about emergency contraceptives and provide them upon request.

“All women have the fundamental right to choose when and how they would like to become a mother,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Victims of sexual assault shouldn’t have this choice taken away from them by the heinous acts of a criminal. We can help the healing process begin by giving them the option to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and let them feel empowered again.”

Smith Bill Authorizing Greater Labor Organization Approved In Committee

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith which would make it easier for non-unionized employees to organize to increase their negotiating power was approved by the Senate Labor Committee today by a vote of 3-0.

“The right of employees to organize in order to negotiate better contracts with employers has always been symbolic of the American ideals of hard work and determination winning out over classism and social division,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset. “By allowing employees to designate a majority spokesperson through card-check, we’re opening up the power to organize to occupations that have traditionally been closed off to organized labor. We’re giving employees in those occupations the right to choose a voice and have a seat at the negotiating table.”

Vitale Bill Awarding $5 Million To Aids Program Approved

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Joseph F. Vitale which would appropriate $5 million for HIV/AIDS treatment funding and rapid response testing was approved today by the Senate by a vote of 36-1.

“HIV/AIDS is cutting a swath through New Jersey’s population, and spreading faster than we are able to contain the disease,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “The State has an obligation to help those who are infected stave off the disease for as long as possible, and to identify the disease early to slow the spread before it reaches catastrophic proportions. If we turn our backs on those suffering from HIV/AIDS now, we may regret that decision in the future.”

Smith Bill To Provide $6 Million For Cancer Institute Of New Jersey

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 Senate today by a vote of 38-0.

“With our State’s unfortunate longtime reputation as a ‘cancer corridor’ state, New Jersey needs to show support for cancer treatment and research,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset, the Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee. “To this end, New Jersey’s efforts have been recognized by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently named the Garden State as a ‘cancer control’ state, but simple designation isn’t enough to roll back the tide of the disease. We need to continue to provide funding for the top notch cancer treatment and cutting edge research that will someday yield a cure.”