New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean, Weinberg, Diegnan Introduce Legislation Establishing Agency to Oversee Gateway Project

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Bill mirrors measure approved by NY Assembly committee; goal is to enact critical legislation this month in both states

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, and Senate Transportation Committee Chair Patrick Diegnan have introduced legislation to establish a Gateway Development Commission to oversee planning, funding and construction of new rail tunnels and other projects that will double trans-Hudson rail capacity and provide one-seat rides to Manhattan on all NJ Transit lines.

Sens. Tom Kean, Loretta Weinberg, and Patrick Diegnan have introduced legislation to establish a Gateway Development Commission to oversee planning, funding and construction of new rail tunnels and other projects that will double trans-Hudson rail capacity and provide one-seat rides to Manhattan on all NJ Transit lines. (SenateNJ.com)

The bipartisan bill, S-3918, is identical to legislation introduced in New York by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. Assemblywoman Paulin’s bill was approved by her committee this morning by a 19-6 vote.

“We have been working cooperatively for years on a bipartisan basis to advance the Gateway project,” said Senator Kean (R-Union). “We are in a race against time to build new tunnels before the century-old tunnels ravaged by Sandy are forced to close for repairs, which would cut NJ Transit trans-Hudson rail capacity by 75 percent and cripple our region’s economy. But just as important is the long-term increase in capacity that new tunnels would create, which will finally provide a one-seat ride to Manhattan for all New Jersey rail riders, including those on the Raritan Valley Line.”

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Senator Bob Singer
Senator Tom Kean

Singer/Kean Bill to Change Code Blue to Better Protect NJ’s Homeless Clears Committee

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to expand Code Blue protections to help local officials better care for the homeless during winter weather events has cleared the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

Sens. Robert Singer and Tom Kean’s bill would expand Code Blue to help local officials better care for the homeless during winter weather events. (©iStock)

Currently, a Code Blue is triggered when temperatures drop to 32 degrees with precipitation, or 25 degrees with no precipitation. The bill advanced by the committee today, S-3422, would eliminate the 25 degree standard, so that a Code Blue would be triggered as soon as the temperature falls to 32 degrees, regardless of whether or not there is precipitation at the time.

S-3422 was introduced in January in response to concerns raised by local officials in Ocean County, who expressed that the current Code Blue standard has limited their ability to protect the homeless during dangerously cold weather.

“I was devastated to hear that some of the most vulnerable people in our community were turned away from warming shelters in Ocean County this winter, due to limitations in a law that was designed to protect them,” Senator Singer (R-30) said. “Snow or no snow, when the temperature reaches 32 degrees, it’s time to get inside. I cannot even begin to imagine the terror someone must feel when it’s freezing and you have nowhere to go. I have no doubt that our commonsense efforts to strengthen Code Blue will save lives.”

More than a dozen people who spent the night in a Toms River warming Center on Christmas Eve were unable to access shelter the next day because the temperature had risen to 27 degrees, which given the lack of precipitation, exceeded the current Code Blue standard, according to an Asbury Park Press report.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Continues Fight for One-Seat Rides on the Raritan Valley Line

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NJ Transit would be required to study the feasibility of offering Raritan Valley Line commuters one-seat rides to New York Penn Station, under legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and today advanced by the Senate Transportation Committee.

Raritan Valley Line’s single ride service into Manhattan was suspended in 2018 to free up engineers to install Positive Train Control on NJ Transit trains statewide. There is still no established timeline for restoring one-seat rides on the Raritan Valley Line.

Sen. Tom Kean is fighting to secure one-seat rides to NY Penn for Raritan Valley Line commuters. (SenateNJ.com)

“Raritan Valley Line commuters deserve one-seat rides to New York Penn. The commuters in my district have been very vocal about how the recent service interruptions have negatively impacted their lives. They deserve answers – not more delays,” Sen. Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) said. “Full time one-seat rides would shorten commutes and raise property values. It’s time for us to take action and get the Raritan Valley Line back on the right track.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Resolution to Allow 529 Plans to Cover Apprenticeship Training Passes Senate

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The New Jersey Senate has passed a resolution sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) urging the federal government to enact legislation that would permit students to use savings plans to cover the cost of apprenticeship programs.

The Senate has passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Tom Kean urging the federal government to enact legislation that would permit students to use 529 savings plans to cover the cost of apprenticeship programs. (SenateNJ.com)

According to the Employers Association of NJ, nearly 60 percent of their members reported that their primary recruiting obstacle is a lack of skilled applicants, necessitating the need for Sen. Kean’s legislative efforts to encourage more students to pursue apprenticeships.

“Professional apprenticeships open doorways for students who choose a skills-based career path, including on-the-job training, mentors, and nationally-recognized industry credentials. There’s a reason why the rate of job placement for those who seize these opportunities is exceptionally high,” Kean said. “Expanding 529 savings accounts to cover apprenticeship costs will encourage more young New Jerseyans to pursue skilled labor training, so they can get a great job and help us grow New Jersey’s innovation economy.”

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Senator Bob Singer
Senator Tom Kean

Singer & Kean Continue Efforts to Strengthen ‘Code Blue’ & Help NJ’s Homeless Get Support After the Storm

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Second Bill Added to ‘Code Blue’ Package Would Allow Healthcare Providers and Social Workers to Deliver On-Site Services to the Homeless During Cold Weather Emergencies

The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) to ensure at-risk individuals who turn to a warming center for shelter during a Code Blue alert have access to lifesaving services during their stay.

Sens. Robert Singer & Tom Kean continue efforts to strengthen Code Blue by pushing for legislation that will ensure at-risk individuals who go to a shelter during a Code Blue alert have access to lifesaving services during their stay. The bill, S-3511, passed the Senate on May 30, 2019.

“Although shelters often experience a higher demand during Code Blue season, more often than not, a person in crisis will show up during a snowstorm, and leave without knowing where to go next. We may not get another chance to help that person. That’s unacceptable,” Singer said.

“People should have access to the support they need, when and where they need it. This bill will solve that problem, by ensuring the right personnel are on the ground, ready and willing to answer any questions and provide quality care to those in need, before the storm ends,” Singer added.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on Port Authority Bus Terminal Expansion Plans

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, a member of the Port Authority Bus Terminal Bi-State Elected Officials Working Group, released the following statement on today’s announcement regarding plans to expand the Port Authority Bus Terminal:

Sen. Tom Kean, a member of the Port Authority Bus Terminal Bi-State Elected Officials Working Group, reacts to news of plans to expand the terminal. (Flickr)

“After years of advocacy, I am relieved to finally see plans for an expansion of the Port Authority Bus Terminal move forward today. It’s the right and essential thing to do for the tens of thousands of commuters who rely on the terminal to get to and from work safely.

“We will continue to fight for the infrastructure upgrades that are critical to keeping our region a beacon of opportunity and a national engine of economic growth, including this long overdue expansion, and the Gateway Tunnel.

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Senator Tom Kean

Senate Approves Sweeney/Kean Resolution Establishing Special Committee for Economic Growth

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The Senate today approved a Senate resolution sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean establishing the “Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies” to identify the best strategies, policies and practices to create jobs, attract investments and generate long-term economic opportunities throughout the state.

The Senate approved a Sweeney/Kean resolution establishing the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies to identify the best strategies, policies and practices to create jobs, attract investments and generate long-term economic opportunities throughout the state.  (Pixabay)

The Senate Resolution, SR-139, creates a bipartisan, seven-member committee to evaluate the state’s economic development programs to ensure their continued effectiveness. The Senate President will appoint the committee members from the Senate, comprised of four Democrats and three Republicans.

“With a highly educated workforce and favorable location, there is no reason that New Jersey should struggle with economic development,” said Senator Kean. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many headlines of employers large and small leaving the Garden State for other places. It’s clear that we need to understand what the problems are if we are to offer effective and long-term fixes.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: SDA Questions Still Must Be Answered Following Delgado-Polanco’s Resignation

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Says Murphy Administration Has Not Been Transparent on Employment Matters Preventing Critical Government Reforms

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said representatives of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) should be prepared to answer questions about the agency’s operations and employment practices at upcoming Senate Budget Committee hearings following today’s resignation of chief executive officer Lizette Delgado-Polanco.

Sen. Tom Kean said representative of the Schools Development Authority should be prepared to answer outstanding questions about the agency’s employment practices at upcoming budget committee hearings following the resignation of the SDA’s chief executive officer. (SenateNJ.com)

“The resignation of Lizette Delgado-Polanco should not be viewed as a ‘get out of jail free’ card for either the SDA or the Murphy Administration,” said Kean. “The agency should be prepared to send someone to the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday who is capable of answering the outstanding questions about patronage hires and firings and other important operational matters that Ms. Delgado-Polcanco refused to answer at previous hearings.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean to Murphy: NJT Commuters on Raritan Valley Line Deserve to Know When Direct Service Will Be Restored

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey Transit must give Raritan Valley Line commuters a solid timeline for the restoration of direct one-seat rail service to Manhattan.

Sen. Tom Kean said Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ Transit must give Raritan Valley Line commuters a timeline for the restoration of direct rail service to Manhattan. (SenateNJ.com)

“I’m extremely disappointed that Raritan Valley Line commuters have not been given any kind of update on the restoration of direct service to Manhattan,” said Kean. “After months of disruption to their lives and inadequate communication from both the Governor and New Jersey Transit, our commuters deserve solid answers on when they should expect to have their one-seat ride again.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Mourns Passing of Former Senate Minority Leader S. Thomas Gagliano

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement on the passing of former Senate Minority Leader S. Thomas Gagliano:

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s statement on the passing of former Senate Minority Leader S. Thomas Gagliano. (CC0 Public Domain)

“Senator Tom Gagliano exemplified public service throughout his distinguished career. From his days serving in local government in Oceanport to his leadership roles in the Senate and at NJ Transit, Tom will be remembered for his dedication to improving lives in his beloved Monmouth County community and all of New Jersey.”

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