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.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement after voting ‘NO’ on legislation to increase New Jersey’s gas tax by 23 cents per gallon:
“A tremendous number of my constituents have reached out to me to say they oppose increasing the gas tax. I’ve received thousands of phone calls, emails and comments on social media over the past few days.
“I’ve listened carefully to the grave concerns many overburdened taxpayers have expressed about the severe financial impact another tax increase would have on them, and that’s why I voted ‘NO’ today.”
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to create the NJ Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships has been advanced by the Senate Higher Education Committee.
“Facilitating partnerships between the business community and higher education institutions will create game-changing opportunities for New Jersey’s workforce,” Senator Kean (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) said. “A researcher developing a new treatment would now have a direct line to a pharmaceutical company that can produce a potentially lifesaving drug. That manufacturer would go on to create jobs for numerous employees. I have no doubt that this commission will spur economic development statewide.”
Senate Committee Passes Kean & Singer Bills to Protect Students with NJCLASS College Loans Overseen by HESAA
The Senate Higher Education Committee has advanced two Senate Republican bills to protect students with NJ CLASS loans overseen by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA.)
Senator Robert Singer’s bill would require HESAA to establish a new income-based repayment option and a loan rehabilitation program for NJ CLASS borrowers. Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s bill would require HESAA to obtain a court order prior to using certain collection practices for defaulted loans.
“College students should be focused on making the most of their degree by finding a career that will allow them to gain financial independence,” Senator Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) said. “Instead, more and more graduates are using their hard-earned dollars to climb out from under a mountain of debt. Requiring HESAA to establish a fair, income-based loan rehabilitation program will enable recent grads to save for the future and funnel the money they can afford to spend on a starting salary back into the local economy.”