Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said he is pleased by executive orders that Governor Chris Christie signed today to revive the state’s economy, help businesses create jobs, and bring refreshing openness and accountability to government.
“These steps show that New Jersey citizens have chosen well and voted in a man of character and decisiveness,” Senator Kean said.
“On his first day on the job, Governor Christie used his first executive orders to take absolutely critical steps to get New Jersey’s economy moving and create jobs,” Senator Kean said. “He showed we have a governor who will pay more than lip service to openness and accountability in government.”
Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean congratulated Governor Christie for making the Transparency in Government Act among his first Executive Orders. The Executive Order, which has the force of law, will create a searchable, easy-to-use Web site that taxpayers can use to track government spending.
“It’s been more than a year since I introduced this vitally needed legislation, yet without a full court press from former Corzine Administration, it failed to pass during the last session,” Pennacchio stated. “Today with the stroke of his pen Governor Christie made transparency in government the order of the day.”
Autistic adults and children will be protected from discrimination because a bill championed by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean of Westfield was signed into law today. The bill amends the state’s law against discrimination so that autism disorders are recognized causes of disabilities.
“Autistic residents will now receive the same protections as other disabled citizens from discrimination in access to housing, employment and public accommodations such as theaters, stores and restaurants,” Senator Kean said.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean hailed Governor-elect Christie’s selection of Bob Martin as Environmental Protection Commissioner and former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler as Education Commissioner. These Cabinet-level positions are among the most important positions in the state, and Christie has chosen well, Senator Kean said.
“With these nominations, Governor Christie again has demonstrated his deep understanding of the most important needs of our state and his willingness to wholeheartedly embrace the change we need in Trenton,” Senator Kean said.
Senator Joe Pennacchio, prime sponsor of the Transparency in Government Act, and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean urged Governor Jon Corzine to use all his influence to help win passage of the Transparency in Government Act during the lame-duck session. This bill, which is also sponsored by Senate President Richard Codey, will create a searchable, easy-to-use Web site that taxpayers can use to track government spending. Governor Corzine has said in the past that he supports this bill, which cleared the Senate State Government Committee today.
“It’s been more than a year since I introduced this vitally needed legislation, yet without a full court press from Democrat leaders, its passage is far from assured during this session,” Pennacchio said. “Governor Corzine needs to use all his influence to help push this through a Legislature controlled by his party.”
Five Republican senators today said that it’s unlikely that a bill redefining marriage can pass the Senate and asked their Democratic colleagues to join them in a bipartisan effort to strengthen New Jersey’s civil union law. The five said that while they can’t support the Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act (S-1967), they will work to ensure that New Jersey civil union law is enforced and provides all rights and benefits that legislators intended.
“Moving testimony in Senate hearings suggests that New Jersey’s civil union law is not always understood or followed,” Senator Tom Kean said. “We need to educate the public about the law, and enhance it if necessary so that no civil union partner is turned away from the hospital bed of a loved one.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean congratulated Paula Dow on her nomination as attorney general, and praised Governor-elect Chris Christie for the selection of a well-respected, experienced prosecutor as his first pick for a Cabinet-level appointment.
“Paula Dow stands out even among the many talented New Jersey lawyers qualified to fill the post of attorney general,” Senator Kean said. “I applaud both the governor-elect for his choice in this key nomination, and Paula Dow for her willingness to serve the people of New Jersey.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Diane Allen, members of the Senate Education Committee, issued the following statement regarding the State Department of Education’s decision to apply for federal “Race to the Top” education grants.
“I am pleased that Commissioner Davy has decided to apply for $200 million to $400 million in federal education grants,” Kean began. “Her initiative in applying for these funds will positively impact student performance for many years to come. Additionally, these funds will be vitally important to property taxpayers over the next several months.”
Senator Tom Kean released a video discussing the importance of SCR-60, legislation which would protect the state unemployment insurance funds that workers depend on when they lose a job or fall ill.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Diane Allen, both members of the Senate Education Committee, expressed disappointment that New Jersey is woefully unprepared to apply for federal “Race to the Top” education grants. Published reports indicate that the state Department of Education ceased working on the application in mid-November. The deadline for the grant application is January 19, 2010.
“It is disappointing that the state Department of Education will be unable to complete the grant application by the deadline,” Kean stated. “I believe, especially in our current fiscal situation, it is imperative to make every effort to apply for all of the federal aid for which we are eligible. Remember, New Jersey only gets back 61 cents of every dollar we send to Washington. To refuse to apply for a $200 million to $400 million education grant is simply inexcusable.”