The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean was published by the Star-Ledger on February 17, 2017:
As the New Jersey Senate debated a pair of symbolic resolutions on immigration last week, a new bill that has the potential to devastate our state budget and cause unbelievable harm to New Jersey taxpayers was introduced by Senate Democrats with little fanfare.
This new legislation, S3007, follows a proposal floated by President Trump to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement efforts.
The president’s proposal has yet to become actual federal policy or law.
Still, Democrats in the state Senate rushed forward with an ill-conceived response which would require the state to reimburse local governments for the loss of any federal funds resulting from their status as a sanctuary jurisdiction.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) to help homeless individuals during severe winter weather events was passed by the New Jersey Senate.
“We saw just last week the kind of nasty cold and wet weather a New Jersey winter can bring,” Senator Kean said. “Now, we’re one step closer to ensuring that more of our state’s homeless individuals have a warm shelter to stay on harsh winter nights.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean was gaveled down by Senate Democrats and called “out of order” for urging the New Jersey Senate to take action on a number of issues of importance to the people of New Jersey.
Senate Democrats later blocked efforts by Senate Republicans to bring the following three bills up for a vote that would address New Jersey’s crisis of affordability and help to rebuild residents’ trust in government.
- S-1557 (Beck) – Provides full forfeiture of pension of elected or appointed official convicted of any crime touching office.
- S-1888 (Doherty) – Establishes State Transportation Cost Analysis Task Force.
- S-2554 (Kyrillos) – Sets level for health care benefits; requires employee contributions; prohibits reimbursement of Medicare Part B; adds member to SHBP/SEHBP plan design committees; requires retirees to purchase health care through exchanges.
Included below are the full remarks that Kean was blocked from delivering during the Senate’s floor discussion on S-3:
“In his State of the State address on January 10th, Governor Christie called on the Legislature to pass this critical reform that’s before us today to help battle our state’s growing opioid epidemic.
Kean Urges NJ Senate Democrats to Spend Less Time Criticizing Washington & More Time Working to Fix New Jersey
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean called on New Jersey Senate Democrats to spend less time criticizing Washington and more time working to fix problems here in New Jersey:
“With Senate Democrats so focused on federal affairs in Washington, they’ve ignored work on reforms they have the power to advance in Trenton that could have a real impact on the lives of every New Jerseyan.
“They’ve planned votes to express opposition, but they haven’t planned any votes on cutting property taxes, nor have they planned votes on creating opportunities for students and job seekers, or on ethics reforms that would help to rebuild trust in our government institutions.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) that she will not seek re-election to the New Jersey Senate:
“Diane Allen has been a fierce fighter for the women and children of New Jersey, a trusted leader in our caucus, and a true friend to me personally.
“Her many accomplishments are too numerous to count, and her resolve and dedication to address issues of importance for the people of New Jersey have been unmatched.
“It’s not possible to sum up a career as distinguished as Diane’s in a few words, or to adequately voice the respect she has earned from all of her colleagues in the Legislature.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) to help homeless individuals during severe weather events was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“We’re in the middle of winter, and we’ve already seen some frigid temperatures,” Senator Kean said. “We cannot leave our most vulnerable residents to fend for themselves in the harsh winter weather.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement in response to the State of the State address delivered by Governor Chris Christie:
“Few would disagree that the epidemic of drug abuse that plagues New Jersey is among the most pressing issues facing our state,” said Kean. “I commend Governor Christie for choosing such an important forum to highlight the need for a comprehensive state response. We look forward to continuing the bipartisan effort to combat New Jersey’s drug crisis this year, and to advancing other important efforts to rebuild trust in government, create opportunities for residents, and make New Jersey affordable.”
Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Mercer, Hunterdon, Middlesex) and Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) voiced their disapproval of the Federal Highway Administration’s guidance against the painting of a “Thin Blue Line” between the double-yellow center line on roadways.
“Towns paint these lines in order to honor the hardworking members of law enforcement in their own way on locally controlled roads,” Senator Bateman said. “The response from the Federal Highway Administration is an overreaction to a very important local matter. If we can’t support something as simple as the ‘thin blue line,’ what kind of message does that show to our police officers?”
Beck’s Legislation Inspired by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to Increase Domestic Violence Protections Signed Into Law
Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11) and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) commended Governor Chris Christie for signing into law a bill inspired by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to expand domestic violence protections.
S-2483, sponsored by Beck, restricts access to firearms by certain persons subject to restraining orders or convicted of domestic violence offenses and provides a clear and supervised process for the immediate surrender of firearms.
“The enactment of this landmark legislation will prevent domestic abusers from committing acts of gun violence,” Senator Beck said. “We are thankful for the support and great inspiration provided by Gabby Giffords to enact these reforms that will protect our most vulnerable residents from harm. We’ve succeeded in closing a dangerous loophole and delivering on our promise to safeguard families from domestic abusers with access to firearms.”
“The inspiration provided by Congresswoman Giffords encouraged us to act, and the invaluable support of Americans for Responsible Solutions helped us to find a solution to protect the victims of domestic violence,” said Kean. “I want to thank Governor Christie and Majority Leader Weinberg for their partnership and leadership to enact these sensible reforms. We ended up with a practical solution that undoubtedly will save lives.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement on the passing of former Senator Leonard T. Connors, Jr.:
“Len Connors represented the very best of elective government. He was serious, no nonsense, and focused on delivering small, effective government. That he served for nearly 50 years as mayor and more than 25 years in the Legislature is a testament to the great admiration he earned from generations of constituents.
“I’ve had the honor to serve alongside Len’s son, Senator Chris Connors, and I know how proud he must have been to see Chris fill his shoes so completely.