The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove which would grant priority in registering for courses at a public institution of higher education to military service members and veterans living in the state.
Connors, Rumpf and Gove have joined with the 1st Legislative District in this bipartisan veterans’ legislative initiative (S-1672 and A-2950) entitled the “Combat to College Act.” The 9th District delegation issued the following statement following the Senate passage of the veterans’ legislative initiative.
“Veterans’ deserve every opportunity to pursue their higher education goals. Higher education policies should be in place to provide special accommodations for veterans’ due to the significant demands associated with military service, including long-term deployments.
“Under the ‘Combat to College Act,’ priority registration would apply to both current military service members serving on active duty and to veterans who were honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service.
“Certainly, we recognize that there are higher education institutions in New Jersey that voluntarily establish extensive services to assist veteran students. Consistent with those efforts, we believe that State law should require priority registration benefits for veterans.”
Members of the 9th District delegation serve on both the Senate and Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. Assemblywoman Gove serves on the Assembly Higher Education Committee.
The delegation proudly sponsored the VeTeach law, enacted in 2012, that established a pilot teacher preparation program at Stockton University for veterans who served in the Armed Forces on or after September 11, 2001.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would require at least two regular meetings each year of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to be held on a rotating basis in Ocean County, Atlantic County, and Cape May County was released by the Senate Transportation Committee.
The 9th District delegation issued the following the remarks regarding the legislation’s (S-1675) advancement:
“Regular meetings of the Authority are currently held on a monthly basis in the Authority’s Administration Offices located in Woodbridge. To many, this is seen as a slight given the amount of tolls residents living in South Jersey pay on the Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway.
“The legislation is a bipartisan collaborative effort that we have undertaken with Senator Jeff Van Drew and the First District Assembly delegation with the intent that residents would be better served by having the opportunity to attend locally-held Turnpike Authority meetings and participate in the decision making process regarding projects affecting their communities and commutes.
“Understandably, this is an issue of interest to residents living in an area that has been severely under-resourced in terms of transportation dollars for decades. Holding meetings in south Jersey would be even more appropriate given the number of projects that are finally in the works to address the inadequacy of the area’s infrastructure.”
The legislation would also require one regular meeting of the Authority be held in Bergen County and at least one meeting be held in Salem, Gloucester, and Camden counties on a rotating basis.
All public bodies under the Open Public Meetings Act would be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and to display the United States flag at the beginning of meetings under legislation prime-sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors.
The legislation, S-308, was approved by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee on May 23. Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have requested to join as cosponsors on the Assembly companion version, A-777, which has been referred to the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.
“Under current law, public bodies are not required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or to display the U.S. flag,” said Senator Connors. “While the overwhelming majority of public bodies do both voluntarily, I have joined with Senator Jeff Van Drew in a bipartisan legislative effort, to statutorily require that these patriotic acts be carried out as part of the public hearing process.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would expand housing opportunities for veterans has been passed by the New Jersey Senate.
The delegation’s legislation, S-260, would reserve a portion of the tenant-based rental assistance vouchers under the State rental assistance program (SRAP) for grants to veterans. In the 2014-2015 Legislative Session, the legislation passed the Senate unanimously. Despite that level of strong support, the legislation was never considered in the Assembly.
Connors, Rumpf & Gove: Determine Sexual Predators’ Risk of Re-Offense Before Their Release from Prison
To build upon the protections provided under Megan’s Law, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have reintroduced legislation (S-253 and A-1142) to require that the county prosecutors determine a sexual offender’s risk of re-offense, or tier, prior to the inmate’s release from incarceration. Prosecutors classify sex offenders in one of three tiers based on the degree of risk they pose to the public: low risk (Tier 1), moderate risk (Tier 2), or high risk (Tier 3).
The 9th District delegation issued the following statement regarding their sexual offender legislative initiative:
“A defect within existing law prevents sex offenders from being tiered until they have been released into the community. Currently, an offender’s residence status is a factor that is considered in determining risk of re-offense. Removing the residency factor used in the determination process, as our legislation proposes, would provide that sexual offenders are tiered before they are released into the community.
Consistent with their long-standing commitment to reforming the State’s school aid formula, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove voted against a measure aimed at protecting the status quo of underfunding the majority of suburban and rural school districts.
Recently, both houses of the Legislature voted on ACR-131/SCR-90, a resolution that objected to specific recommendations included in the Educational Adequacy Report (EAR), which must be issued by the Governor in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Education every three years. The Report proposed modifying the provisions of the State’s school funding formula that currently ensures the lion’s share of aid is sent to 31 special needs districts, commonly known as Abbotts.
The 9th District delegation issued the following statement:
“Taxpayers living in non-Abbott districts, such as our constituency which includes a significant number of seniors, have little hope of receiving meaningful property tax relief unless the State’s school aid formula is reformed.
Recognizing the profound and devastating economic consequences for their legislative district, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove voted against legislation paving the way for north Jersey casinos.
Following through on their pledge to constituents, each member of the 9th District delegation vehemently opposed and voted ‘NO’ on companion legislation SCR-1 and ACR-1, which proposes amending the State Constitution to permit the establishment of casinos in two other counties located at least 72 miles from Atlantic City.
Despite the delegation’s ‘NO’ votes, both SCR-1 and ACR-1 were passed by both the State Senate and General Assembly on March 14 of this year. Subsequently, a statewide ballot question will be presented to the voters for the 2016 November General Election to decide if the State Constitution will be amended to allow casinos outside of Atlantic City.
Two veterans-centered legislative initiatives sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove concerning property tax relief and housing have been advanced by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.
The first measure, S-265, would require the State to annually reimburse each municipality for the cost of providing disabled veterans with a total exemption from property taxation. The 9th District delegation issued the following statement following the Committee’s advancement of the measure:
“This legislation would provide direct property tax relief and would lift an unfunded State mandate that cost municipalities throughout the entire state more than $66,232,734 in 2015.
Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove want their position to be known to legislative colleagues and special interests bent on increasing New Jersey’s gas tax to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.
The 9th District delegation issued the following joint statement as deliberations on a gas tax increase intensify and residents brace for yet another financial burden imposed by government:
“Middle-class commuters and seniors stand to be hit hardest by a gas tax increase, not to mention the harsh financial impact for businesses. Seniors won’t be receiving a cost-of-living increase in Social Security, making a gas tax increase all the more unaffordable to them.
Imposing more state mandates will have a chilling effect on New Jersey’s economy warned the 9th Legislative District delegation, following the announcement of what is the latest in a string of anti-small business policy proposals.
The statement from Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove comes in reaction to the recent announcement of a joint state-federal effort by New Jersey elected officials to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The delegation questioned how the state could be considering nearly doubling the minimum wage, which could very well drive up the cost of goods, when seniors recently learned they won’t be receiving a cost-of-living increase in their social security checks this year.