Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, speaks during a meeting of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

23 Jan: Rice Introduces Bill To Provide Equal Employment Opportunities For Projects Involving Federal Disaster Relief

TRENTON – In the wake of the rebuilding effort following Hurricane Sandy, Senator Ronald L. Rice, the Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, recently introduced legislation which would require that women and minorities in New Jersey receive equal employment opportunities when it comes to projects funded through federal disaster relief.

“As we pick up the pieces from one of the most devastating storms ever to hit New Jersey, we should treat the rebuilding effort as an opportunity to put people back to work, regardless of their race, creed, color or gender,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Historically, women and minorities have struggled for equal standing in our society and in the eyes of potential employers, and so we have crafted laws to preserve employment opportunities for them, particularly when government dollars are being spent. This bill extends that philosophy so that whenever the federal government grants New Jersey disaster relief aid – not just as a result of this storm, but moving forward into the future as well – that we give people an opportunity to earn a living.”

Senator John A. Girgenti, D-Passaic, speaks on the Senate floor in honor of retiring Senator Bob Martin, D-Morris.

03 Jan: Senate Advances Anti-Gang, Gun Crackdown

TRENTON – The Senate today approved a bill, S-2431, designed to crack down on gang activity in New Jersey by increasing penalties for illegal possession of handguns to up to $150,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.

The bill passed 32-0 and was forwarded to the Assembly.

“Targeting illegal gun possession is a way for law enforcement to crack down on gang members who can avoid prosecution for other crimes by intimidating witnesses,” said Senator John A. Girgenti, a prime sponsor of the bill. “With charges of illegal gun possession, a police officer’s testimony alone can take dangerous, violent offenders off our streets for up to 10 years.”

Senator Paul Sarlo with DHSS Commissioner Dr. Clifton Lacy at the Charity Care bill signing

19 Dec: Sarlo Anti-Gang Initiatives Moving Forward

TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo today said that he expects legislation he is sponsoring to combat gang violence and help rehabilitated gang members get jobs will come up for a vote before the Senate soon after clearing key Senate committees.

“There’s a strong sense in the Senate right now that we need to be doing more to combat street gangs in our communities,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Hudson and Passaic. “It’s a problem that affects all areas of our state. It’s no longer just an urban problem.”