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 & Kean Commend Signing of Bill Inspired by Gabby Giffords to Increase Domestic Violence Protections
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.
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to create the New Jersey Commission on Higher education and Business Partnerships was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“New Jersey’s institutions of higher learning and its business community already produce incredible opportunities for economic development activity,” Senator Kean said. “Just think of what they can do if we can create a direct line of communication and cooperation between both parties.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) today expressed his confidence in Port Authority Chairman John Degnan’s leadership regarding the construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal.
“I have complete confidence in Chairman Degnan’s ability to oversee construction efforts at the Port Authority,” Senator Kean said. “Time and time again John has demonstrated his capacity to lead with integrity and work tirelessly to advance improvements that will benefit commuters on both sides of the Hudson.
Kean Bipartisan Bill Creating Ombudsman for Developmentally Disabled Individuals Passes Budget Committee
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to create an ombudsman to serve as an advocate for individuals with intellectual or developmentally disabilities has passed the Senate Budget Committee. The independent office would serve as a one-stop resource to help improve access to vital protections and state services.
“New Jersey offers a number of support channels for individuals with developmental disabilities – so many, that it has become increasingly difficult for families to understand where they need to go, or who they need to talk to access these services,” Senator Kean explained. “Creating a central point of contact will ensure families can secure the resources they need to help their disabled loved ones thrive.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean responded to tonight’s announcement by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) that he will retire from office at the end of his current term in January of 2018.
“Joe Kyrillos’s history of public service to Monmouth County and all of New Jersey is extraordinary. He has been the voice of reason that members of both parties in the New Jersey Senate have looked to for leadership on key issues since 1992.
The New Jersey Senate has advanced bills sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Robert Singer requiring HESAA to cease aggressive collection practices and establish programs that will enable borrowers to afford to pay back their student loans.
Senator Kean’s bill, S-2510, requires the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to obtain a court order prior to using certain collection practices for defaulted loans under the NJCLASS Loan Program.
“I have heard from far too many hardworking college graduates who fell victim to aggressive loan collection practices,” Senator Kean said. “We don’t want to discourage more students from applying to college. HESAA should not be able to engage in drastic measures, such as garnishing wages or revoking professional licenses, without some measure of accountability. Requiring HESAA to get a court order before taking these actions is the right and fair thing to do. ”
Democrats Stop Planned Vote on Bill Reducing Cost to Taxpayers for Public Employee Healthcare Benefits
Measure Mandates Efficiencies to Cut Cost of Government by Eliminating Expensive Redundancies
A planned vote on legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) to enact efficiencies protecting taxpayers from the exploding cost of public employee healthcare benefits was blocked today by the majority Senate Democrats. The bill was removed at the last minute from the agenda of today’s session of the New Jersey Senate.
The bill, S-979, would prohibit multiple coverage by public employees with more than one job, eliminates cross-coverage by spouses who are both public employees, and caps payouts for school employees who waive coverage.
“The rapidly rising cost of public employee healthcare benefits is strangling government budgets and hurting struggling taxpayers,” said Kean. “We cannot afford to ignore critical efficiencies that would lower the cost of government, especially when we can do so without impacting the healthcare that public employees receive. I am disappointed that Democrats wouldn’t allow a vote on this critical taxpayer protection to occur today.”