New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Editorial: A Bipartisan Compromise to Protect Victims of Domestic Abuse from Gun Violence

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The Star-Ledger published an editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union, Somerset) on a bipartisan compromise bill to provide significant protections to the victims of domestic violence.

The Star-Ledger published Sen. Tom Kean’s editorial on a bipartisan compromise bill to protect victims of domestic violence. (Flickr)

The New Jersey Senate advanced a bipartisan compromise on Aug. 1 that will provide significant protections to the victims of domestic violence.

At issue was legislation (S-805) sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) that addressed how firearms are handled in cases of domestic violence.

That bill was conditionally vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie based on concerns that it represented symbolic reform that did little to make the victims and those at risk of domestic violence safer.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean, Cunningham, Ruiz & Mazzeo Bill Would Require Court Order to Garnish Wages, Take Other Actions To Collect on Student Loans

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Senator Tom Kean, Senator Sandra B. Cunningham and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz announced they will introduce legislation requiring the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to obtain a court order prior to using certain collection practices for defaulted loans under  the NJCLASS Loan Program. Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo will also introduce the bill at the General Assembly’s next quorum.

Sen. Tom Kean’s bill would require HESAA to obtain a court order prior to using certain collection practices for defaulted loans under the NJCLASS Loan Program. The bill is also sponsored by Senators Cunningham and Ruiz. (SenateNJ)

“Every student should be able to pursue a college degree without being saddled with a lifetime of unmanageable debt,” Senator Kean said. “The students who testified today were just trying to build a better future. This legislation is a strong step forward in our ongoing battle to make higher education more affordable and accessible for every child across New Jersey, regardless of income or background.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Inspector General’s Concerns Highlight Imminent Need for Port Authority Reform

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean called for Senate Democrats to immediately advance Port Authority reforms to ensure transparency and accountability at the bi-state agency.

Sen. Tom Kean called for advancement Port Authority reforms to ensure transparency and accountability at the bi-state agency. (Facebook/PANYNJ)

Kean reiterated his call for action following statements made by Port Authority Inspector General Mike Nestor that New Jersey’s failure to advance reforms identical to those signed into law in New York prevents the inspector’s office from fully investigating certain allegations of fraud, corruption and waste at the agency.

“The Inspector General’s concerns are proof positive that if we do not enact reforms, the cycle of waste and abuse at the Port Authority will only continue to grow,” Senator Kean said. “The reforms I sponsor would uphold transparency and accountability at the agency, and ensure the inspector’s office has the tools they need to fully investigate allegations of misconduct. We cannot continue to tie the hands of those who are working to protect the millions of commuters who rely on the services provided by the Port Authority.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Calls for Immediate Passage of Pay-to-Play Campaign Finance Restrictions for Public-Sector Labor Unions

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean called for the immediate passage of pay-to-play legislation (S-341) that would restrict campaign contributions by public employee labor organizations.

Sen. Tom Kean called for the immediate passage of pay-to-play legislation that would restrict campaign contributions by public employee labor organizations. (Flickr)

His action follows claims made by Senate President Stephen Sweeney that certain public labor unions expressly tied future campaign contributions to specific legislative action they are demanding on measures they support.

“I don’t think anyone is shocked by the allegations made by the Senate President that public-sector labor unions are attempting to influence the legislative process with campaign donations,” said Kean. “The only surprise is that it is happening so publicly in this instance. This just serves as confirmation that the quid pro quo actually occurs that most people suspected between unions and the elected Democrats they usually support.”

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Senator Kip Bateman
Senator Tom Kean

Kean/Bateman Bill to Allow Wagering at Far Hills Race Meeting Passes Senate

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Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Kip Bateman to allow pari-mutuel betting at the Far Hills Race Meeting was approved by the New Jersey Senate in a 38-0 vote.

Legislation by Sen. Tom Kean and Senator Kip Bateman would allow pari-mutuel betting at the Far Hills Race Meeting. (Facebook/Far Hills Race Meeting)

The bill, S-2394, authorizes the New Jersey Racing Commission to grant a special two-day permit annually to conduct a steeplechase race, and to allow wagering on the event.

“The Far Hills Race Meeting has a long history of supporting charitable causes in the region,” said Kean. “Allowing wagering will boost interest in the event, support New Jersey horse farms and ensure continued support for local healthcare facilities.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Calls for Advancement of Port Authority Reforms & Approval of CEO

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Says We’ve Come Too Far to Allow Reform Effort to Stall

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean called for the advancement of reforms to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including the approval of a new chief executive officer and the passage of legislation that would cement the position and other critical changes.

Sen. Tom Kean called for the advancement of reforms to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the approval of a new CEO. (Facebook/PANYNJ)

Kean’s action follows concerns expressed by Port Authority Chairman John Degnan that momentum to enact reforms is stalling. Degnan has asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to approve a new CEO from a shortlist of candidates produced by a search committee.

Kean is the sponsor of S-355 which provides governance, transparency, and accountability reforms to the Port Authority.

“With the Port Authority so important to our region and economy, we must work to eliminate the structural deficiencies that have been identified,” said Kean. “The failure to adopt a new management structure, hire a CEO, and codify reforms is an invitation for continued abuse.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bill to Celebrate National Park Service Centennial Passes Senate

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service on August 25, 2016 unanimously passed the New Jersey Senate

Sen. Tom Kean’s legislation commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service this year. (NPS)

“Establishing and protecting our beautiful national parks has been one of our country’s greatest achievements,” Senator Kean said. “But you don’t have to go to Yosemite or Yellowstone to see our National Park Service at work. You can find some fantastic natural and historic wonders right here in New Jersey.”

In New Jersey, the National Park Service oversees three national historical parks – Morristown, Paterson Great Falls and Thomas Edison; two national recreations areas – Delaware Water Gap and Gateway-Sandy Hook Unit; two national trails – Appalachian and Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route; one national monument – Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island;  five wild and scenic rivers – Great Egg Harbor, Middle Delaware, Lower Delaware, Maurice and Musconetcong; one national heritage area – Crossroads of the American Revolution; and the nation’s only national reserve – the New Jersey Pinelands.

“We are so lucky to have these magnificent places right in our backyard,” Senator Kean said. “If you haven’t had the chance to explore places like the Delaware Water Gap or the Appalachian Trail, go out on Aug. 25, to celebrate our state’s natural beauty, as well as the National Park Service on its centennial.”

The National Park Service has helped preserve more than 400 sites covering more than 84 million acres of land in every state, as well as Washington D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In addition to national parks, they oversee sites like battlefields, monuments and recreation areas.

Senator Bob Singer
Senator Tom Kean

Senate Passes Singer/Kean Bill to Alert More Students About NJ STARS Scholarships

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) and Senator Tom Kean (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) to make more students aware of their possible eligibility for the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Program Scholarship (NJ STARS) passed the New Jersey Senate.

A bill by Sen. Robert Singer and Sen. Tom Kean to increase notification to students about the NJ STARS scholarship program passed the New Jersey Senate. (Flickr)

“The cost of college is only getting higher, and NJ STARS offers students a chance to attend college without weighing them down with debt for years to come,” Senator Singer said. “If we can connect more students with the money available to them, we’ll make college more affordable and keep more of our brightest students in the state.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Statement from Sen. Tom Kean on the Passing of Raymond Bateman

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s statement on the passing of former Senate President Raymond Bateman this morning:

“When it came to public service, Senator Ray Bateman was a giant. He was one of the people that I admired most growing up in a family that followed a similar path. He’s someone that many of us who serve now try to emulate.

“I would like to offer my deepest condolences to his family, and to his son, my friend Senator Kip Bateman, with whom I have the honor to serve.”

Senator Tom Kean

Kean: $15 Minimum Wage Will Quicken Job Loss to Technology

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that the approval of legislation increasing New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15/hour would almost surely lead to job losses for those who are unskilled or lack prior experience, especially when those positions can be replaced by technological alternatives.

Self-service kiosks for ordering at a McDonald’s restaurant.

The legislation, A-15/S-15, would increase the minimum wage from the current rate of $8.38/hour to $10.10/hour on January 1, 2017, followed by annual increases reaching $15/hour on January 1, 2021.

“It’s undeniable that increasing the minimum wage by nearly 80% will result in substantial job losses for people already struggling,” said Kean. “Taking away opportunities to get a foothold in the workforce will harm the same young and inexperienced people that the sponsors of this legislation are trying to help.”

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