TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner joined Governor Jon Corzine today as he signed two of her bills that would reform the Disadvantaged Youth Employment Opportunities Council and differentiate driver’s license suspensions due to parking tickets from those caused by moving violations.
The bill first signed bill, S-2010, will require the Disadvantaged Youth Employment Opportunities Council to report directly to the State Employment and Training Center (SETC). It would also add three members to the Council – the Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and two representatives of county vocational-technical schools.
“The Disadvantaged Youth Employment Opportunities Council can be a powerful tool in our efforts to combat street gangs,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and a leading Senate voice for combating street gangs. “Many young recruits turn to gangs as a means of making spending money. We need to do more to expand opportunities for young people to earn money, so they don’t turn to a life of crime.”
Senator Turner was a co-sponsor of the 2001 law which created the Council as part of the Youth Employment and After School Incentive Pilot Program. The purpose of the program is to provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth with private and nonprofit employers.
The second bill signed today, S-2330, clarifies that suspensions for non-driving related offenses are distinct from suspensions for driving-related offenses. The measure came out of recommendations by the Motor Vehicle Affordability and Fairness Task Force.
Currently, the non-driving related offenses of failing to respond to a notice to appear and failure to pay a parking ticket are codified in the same section of law as serious driving related offenses. Therefore, individuals who commit these non-driving violations face the same penalties for subsequent offenses as those who are convicted of driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to a breath test, and driving without insurance.
“Failure to pay a parking ticket on time does not merit penalties as harsh as those for driving while intoxicated,” explained Senator Turner. “The law disproportionately affects urban drivers. According to the Task Force report, 85 percent of driver’s license suspensions in urban areas are due to “Failure to Appear” notices for parking offenses, often as a result of the inability to pay for the ticket.”
Senator Turner added, “It’s outrageous to think that those struggling to provide for their families could be sent to jail simply because they couldn’t pay a parking ticket.”