The General Assembly passed legislation sponsored and supported by the 9th District legislative delegation that would designate the week of September 17 through September 23 of each year as “Constitution Week” to remember and honor the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America on September 17, 1787. This would correlate with the national week as established by Congress in 1956.
The joint resolution (AJR-72) is supported by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove is also part of an effort to raise public awareness of the important role the Constitution plays in the lives of American citizens.
Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are calling for the reinstatement of SouthSTAR, the unit of the Jersey Emergency Medical Shock Trauma Air Rescue providing emergency transport to southern New Jersey for trauma patients through the use of medically-equipped helicopters.
Connors, Rumpf and Gove sent the following letter to New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett regarding SouthSTAR and the delegation’s deepening concern that South Jersey residents are being treated disparately as compared to North Jersey residents:
Seeing right through the political rhetoric and special interest gamesmanship, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove oppose the regressive and unconscionable 23 cent per gallon increase in the state gas tax.
Connors, Rumpf and Gove made the following remarks regarding their opposition to the proposed gas tax increase:
“Simply stated, the majority of our constituents cannot afford an excessive gas tax increase and still pay their bills. They’ve seen enough of Trenton shell games to know when the state is trying to sell them snake oil, even when it’s a gas tax increase. The whole situation just doesn’t pass the smell test.
The New Jersey Senate overwhelming passed legislation (S-1675) 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.
The 9th District legislators issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the legislation:
“Holding meetings in the southern end of the state will allow the Turnpike Authority the opportunity to get a better understanding of local residents’ concerns with respect to the transportation projects. Residents who use the Garden State Parkway, especially those with long commutes, want to ensure that the hard-earned money they pay in tolls is not only being effectively utilized but that their area of the state is getting its fair share of funding for needed infrastructure improvements.
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.