TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer and Senate President Pro Tempore, made the following statement today following Acting Governor Richard Codey’s first State of the State address:
“Governor Codey set forth today a vision of New Jersey that looks to make sure that every New Jerseyan is given the opportunity to lead a healthy, safe and successful life.
“As chair of the Senate Education Committee, I am looking forward to working with the Governor to pass comprehensive legislation that will make New Jersey’s schools among the safest in the nation. The tragedy in Beslan, Russia last year reminded us that we can never be lax in our efforts to make our schools secure from the constant threat of terrorism.
“We realize that addressing the threats we know of today will not be enough. We need to continuously update our school security measures and keep our communities aware of how they can keep their children safe. I am eager to hear the recommendations of the School Security Summit this summer.
“I am also pleased to learn of the Governor’s proposal to create a $200 million trust fund to create affordable homes for 10,000 individuals with mental illness and other disabilities. New Jersey faces a severe housing shortage for our neediest citizens and all too often those fighting mental illness are even less likely to be able to find permanent housing. This fund will not just reduce our homeless population, but provide the mentally ill with a better chance to successfully treat their illness.
“When we combine initiatives like this with other programs such as the new rental assistance program we began last summer, the proposed increase in the minimum wage and increased availability of job training, we are providing the poor with the means of finding a home they can afford and building a better life.”