The state Senate advanced a trio of bills sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to protect natural disaster victims, guarantee full housing for disabled persons and their retired service dogs and legalize new all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in New Jersey.
The Senate passed bipartisan S-1090 that would prohibit municipalities from charging interest on unpaid property taxes for 30 days after payment is due following hurricane or other catastrophic weather event.
“Natural disaster victims have much more important things to worry about and address than taxes,” Bucco said. “Government needs to be reasonable and flexible, and this bill will protect people trying to scrap together pieces of their lives, in their toughest times, by providing them additional time to pay property taxes without penalty.”
The following are Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco’s remarks as prepared for delivery during today’s Senate session vote on the Democrats’ tax-raising Fiscal Year 2016 New Jersey budget proposal:
“Good afternoon. I’d like to start by thanking all of my colleagues on the budget committee, Chairman Sarlo and our staff members for the shared dedication and effort we put in to this state budget. While we all may want different things, and not everyone gets exactly what they want in a multibillion dollar budget, we did find some common ground on a lot of top priorities, such as record-high funding for education and significant investments in health care.
“However, there are serious problems with this proposed budget that we are being asked to vote on today. Foremost, the Senate Republican caucus and I don’t support the proposals in this budget to raise income taxes and employer taxes on New Jersey’s over-taxed, hard-working residents and small businesses.
The New Jersey Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to create a State contract set-aside program for disabled veterans to help them grow their businesses.
The Senator’s bill, S-1353, requires contracting agencies to establish a goal of setting aside at least 3 percent of their contracts for disabled veterans who independently own at least 51 percent of a business operating in New Jersey. This includes bidding for contracts to complete construction projects, provide goods, equipment or various services.
“According to an April 2015 report, 6.5 percent of New Jersey veterans are unemployed – that’s higher than the national average,” said Senator Bucco. “We need to do everything we can to empower veterans to succeed on and off the battlefield. By passing this bill to create economic opportunities for disabled veterans, we are recognizing their service and sacrifice while helping them contribute to our state’s growing economy and enhance innovation in New Jersey.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco to save the lives of newborn infants was passed by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.
The Senator’s bill, S-122, expands the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act,” to include the premises of fire stations and ambulance, first aid, and rescue squads that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was passed by the Senate in May 2014. Senator Bucco is also a proud sponsor of the original Safe Haven law, enacted in the 2000-2001 legislative session.
“Since the original Safe Haven law was passed, the lives of more than 60 infants have been saved, with a 60 percent drop in illegal child abandonment, according to a 2014 state report,” said Senator Bucco. “This bill will surely save even more lives by expanding the list of sites at which newborns may be left safely and anonymously.”
The Senate Higher Education Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to require campus security guards at higher education associations which do not employ police officers to immediately report crimes committed on campus to the local police department.
The legislation, S-121, follows troubling crime reports on area college campuses, where campus authorities have been accused of mishandling investigations, revealing victim’s identities or exonerating alleged offenders without reviewing certain evidence provided by the victim.
“We need to do everything we can to keep our college campuses safe,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “Campus police often don’t have the training, experience or resources necessary to handle all criminal investigations. Many victims stay silent for fear of their case being mishandled by college security guards and disciplinary panels. Complex testimony and evidence should only be analyzed by the proper authorities.”
Bucco’s Bills on Service Animals, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) & Enforcing Municipal Fire Codes Advance
Senate Committees advanced a trio of bills sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to guarantee full housing for disabled persons and their retired service dogs, expand the definition of all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s), and strengthen efforts to ensure municipalities adhere to fire codes.
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee passed S-2838, sponsored by Senator Bucco, to guarantee full and equal access housing to all disabled persons who choose to keep their service or guide dog as a pet after the animal has retired. This bill amends the Law Against Discrimination to ensure that any disabled person wishing to remain with their retired service animal could do so even if a rental or lease agreement prohibits pets on the premises.
“All too often, those in need face unfair and unthinkable rules that force them to say goodbye to their loving service animal simply because the time has come for the animal to retire,” said Senator Bucco. “This turn of events is stressful not only for the dog, who would lose its longtime home and companion, but also for the disabled person who has grown to love and care for a faithful, four-legged friend that has become family. By passing this bill, we are ensuring that the disabled can continue to love and care for their loyal service dog as a pet, without the fear of losing their home or being unable to find adequate housing.”
The Senate passed a Superstorm Sandy recovery bill sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco to prohibit municipalities from charging residential development fees on reconstruction after natural disasters.
“There are so many prohibitive costs and duplicative regulations in this state that hurt vulnerable victims and stymie disaster recovery,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “Families still trying to restore normalcy after Sandy and others who will be victims of future storms need this common-sense measure to reduce cost burdens.”
Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) stated the following after being honored for outstanding service by Community Hope at the nonprofit’s 30th Anniversary Reception:
“Really, it’s the dedicated individuals at Community Hope who should be honored for all that they do to help people, military veterans and their families overcome and cope with mental illnesses, addiction, homelessness and poverty. I’m just proud to have been able to help them succeed in their vital mission over the past few decades, and I encourage anyone else who can volunteer some time to help to do so as well.”
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris-Somerset) to educate young drivers about the dangers of aggressive driving, or “road rage” was signed into law Monday.
This bill (S-266) will require driver’s education curriculums taught in New Jersey public high schools to include information about the dangers of aggressive driving in lessons and testing materials.
“All too often, young drivers are seriously injured or killed as a result of aggressive driving – the leading cause of accidents in the United States,” said Senator Bucco. “We need to make sure our children have the tools and information they need to curb dangerous behaviors on the road and understand the deadly impact of road rage before they get behind the wheel.”
The Senate Republican leadership team held a State House press conference to culminate their statewide rollout of a 36-bill job creation and economic growth package that will not cost taxpayers extra money.
“In an age when officials in Trenton like to talk a lot about jobs, Senate Republicans have been actually bringing job-creating and economic growth solutions to stakeholders, employers, entrepreneurs, educators and innovators in all corners of the state and from diverse backgrounds,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean. “We’re excited that many of the cost-neutral jobs solutions we’ve unveiled over the past several months have already garnered bipartisan sponsorship and votes, as well as the support of various representatives of the business and higher education community. We’re now trying to accelerate this momentum to finish the job for New Jersey families and people in the workforce.”