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Preview – Senate Session Monday Has Security Issues

TRENTON – The Senate will convene Monday to deal with multiple issues of increasing safety for New Jersey residents in a post 9-11 world.

Democratic Senators Nicholas P. Scutari, Fred Madden, Paul Sarlo, Barbara Buono and John Girgenti all will be advancing their bills to structure the responsibilities of government agencies – at all levels – to respond effectively during possible emergencies.

“What we are stressing is the need to have a clear line of authority from top to bottom so our resources at every level of government can be most effective,” said Senator Girgenti, Chairman of the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Democratic Senators Ellen Karcher and Bob Smith are teaming up with Democratic Acting Governor Codey to seek approval for their legislation creating an Office of Environmental Law Enforcement to be led by an Environmental Prosecutor.

“We want the polluters to know that if they dump toxic waste illegally, we’ll track them down and lock them up,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer.

The Senate also will be considering legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale and Acting Governor Codey to improve the effectiveness of the State Commission of Investigation.

Also scheduled for Senate action are bills to:

– Provide $15 million for rental housing assistance to low and moderate income residents to make up for federal cuts in housing assistance made by the Bush Administration.

– Provide $6 million to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

– Appropriate $5 million to provide life-saving drugs for low-income AIDS victims and to support rapid testing for the AIDS virus.

– Authorize the New Jersey Meadowlands to establish a transportation enhancement district.

– Prohibit displays of students’ social security numbers at institutions of higher education to protect against identity theft.

– Clarify the standards for qualifying as an historic site for purposes of receiving an exemption from paying property taxes.

– Assess penalties for violations of the State’s Safe Dam Act.

The Senate agenda along with the agendas of three Senate committees meeting Monday have been distributed to the State House media.

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