New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bipartisan Bill Creating Ombudsman for Developmentally Disabled Individuals Passes Budget Committee

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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.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s bill would create an independent advocate to help people with intellectual or developmental disabilities access services. (SenateNJ)

“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.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Praises Kyrillos’s Service to Monmouth County & New Jersey

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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.

Senator Joe Kyrillos announced his retirement from the New Jersey Senate at the end of his current term in January of 2018. (SenateNJ.com)

“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.

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Senator Bob Singer
Senator Tom Kean

Senate Approves Kean, Singer HESAA Protection Bills

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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.

Sen. Tom Kean’s bill protects borrowers by requiring HESAA to get a court order before taking certain actions. Sen. Robert Singer’s bill requires HESAA to establish  programs to help students afford to pay back their loans. (SenateNJ)

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. ”

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Senator Joe Kyrillos
Senator Tom Kean

Democrats Stop Planned Vote on Bill Reducing Cost to Taxpayers for Public Employee Healthcare Benefits

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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.

Senate Democrats blocked a vote on legislation prohibiting public employees from being covered by more than one health insurance plan and limiting payouts for waiving coverage. (©iStock.com)

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.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Votes Against Gas Tax Increase

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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:

Sen. Tom Kean voted against raising the gas tax. (SenateNJ.com)

“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.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Advanced: Kean Bill to Strengthen Partnerships Between Higher Ed and Businesses

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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.

Sen. Kean’s bill creates a commission to facilitate partnerships between leaders in higher education and the business community. (iStock)

“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.”

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Senator Bob Singer
Senator Tom Kean

Senate Committee Passes Kean & Singer Bills to Protect Students with NJCLASS College Loans Overseen by HESAA

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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.)

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Robert Singer sponsor legislation to protect students with NJCLASS loans overseen by HESAA. Both bills were advanced by the Senate Higher Ed Committee. (Flickr)

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.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on Hoboken NJ Transit Train Crash

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) stated the following on the NJ Transit train crash at the Hoboken Terminal.

Sen. Tom Kean extended his thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the Sept. 29 NJ Transit crash in Hoboken. (SenateNJ.com)

“My thoughts and prayers are with the more than 100 passengers who were injured this morning in Hoboken, the first responders who rushed to the scene, and the heroic civilians who worked quickly to help those who were seriously injured in the train crash.”

“My heart goes out to the countless family members and friends who are anxiously awaiting news that their loved ones are safe, or who are now coping with a tragic loss of life. As a longtime representative of communities that are home to a wealth of NJ Transit commuters, I and my colleagues in the legislature stand ready to support anyone who needs our help in the wake of this tragedy. We will do everything we can to aid all affected in their time of need.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Urges Preservation of Camden Home Where Martin Luther King Jr. Lived

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Following reports that a Camden residence once home to Martin Luther King Jr. is at risk of demolition, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean has joined the effort to preserve this important piece of our state and nation’s history.

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, D.C. (Wikimedia Commons)

Kean will introduce a legislative resolution urging the property located at 753 Walnut Street to be added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

“Martin Luther King Jr. helped lead the civil rights movement, demonstrating how non-violent resistance could be used to challenge racial inequality,” said Kean. “It’s been suggested that Dr. King’s experiences while living in Camden led to his later involvement in the fight to end racial discrimination, segregation and poverty.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean on Capture of NJ & NYC Bombing Suspect

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean congratulated law enforcement on the quick capture of the suspect in the weekend bombings in New Jersey and New York City, and recognized the citizens who alerted authorities of suspicious devices that proved to be unexploded bombs.

Sen. Tom Kean congratulated law enforcement on the quick capture of the suspect in the weekend bombings in New Jersey and New York City, and recognized citizens who alerted authorities of suspicious devices. (FBI)

“The speed with which many law enforcement agencies coordinated to identify and capture the suspect behind this weekend’s bombings is impressive and a testament to their professionalism and improved ability to work together,” said Kean. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the New Jersey State Police, NYPD, FBI and local law enforcement around Elizabeth, Linden and Seaside Park. I also want to wish the victims of the bombings and the two police officers injured in the suspect’s capture a full and speedy recovery.”

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