New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean: NJ’s Microbrewery Success Story Needs to Continue

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that legislative efforts are needed to ensure that New Jersey’s microbrewery success story can continue following new rules imposed by the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control that would stifle the burgeoning industry:

Sen. Tom Kean touring the Cape May Brewing Company’s facilities in 2015 while promoting three bills to support NJ’s rapidly-growing craft brewing industry. (SenateNJ.com)

“I’ve worked closely with our microbreweries for the past decade to eliminate Prohibition-era laws that prevented this innovative industry from growing in New Jersey as it has in so many other states.

“Our efforts to modernize the state’s brewery laws have been successful beyond belief, leading to an economic success story that few could have imagined when we started. We shouldn’t allow a State regulatory body to turn back the clock after everything we’ve accomplished.

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Senator Tom Kean

Joint Resolution to Adopt Harassment and Discrimination Policy for the Legislature Approved By Both Houses

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Resolution Sponsored by Speaker Coughlin, Senator Weinberg, Senate President Sweeney, Assemblywoman Lampitt, Senator Kean and Minority Leader Bramnick

Strengthening protections for legislative employees, a concurrent resolution sponsored by the Legislature to adopt a more extensive policy preventing and responding to acts of discrimination and harassment in the Legislature was unanimously approved by both houses Thursday.

The New Jersey State Legislature adopted a more extensive policy preventing and responding to acts of discrimination and harassment in the Legislature (SenateNJ.com)

An increased focus nationally on sexual harassment in the workplace as evidenced by the #MeToo social media movement has prompted many states to reevaluate harassment and training policy. In 2018 alone, 32 states have introduced over 125 pieces of legislation.

“After reviewing the previous policy, we knew immediately that more had to be done to encourage a welcoming workplace for all those work for and with the legislature,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “Mandated training and a more inclusive protected class list makes this a more rigorous policy than we’ve had in the past. This policy is as important now as it was in 2009 when the current policy was put in place, but today’s policy is stronger.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on Governor’s Free Community College Announcement

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement in response to an announcement on a free community college pilot program announced by Governor Murphy today:

Sen. Tom Kean said Gov. Murphy’s free community college plan merely shifts the expense of tuition to New Jersey taxpayers. (Wikipedia)

“Free community college sounds great, but nothing is free. Governor Murphy’s plan merely shifts the expense of tuition to New Jersey taxpayers at an estimated cost of $200 million to $400 million when the program is fully implemented. As an alternative, I would like to work with the Governor on controlling costs at all of the state’s colleges and universities to keep tuition bills affordable.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bill to Establish Taskforce to Modernize Govt. Systems & Protect Electronic Data Passes Committee

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The Senate State Government Committee has passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean that would establish the “NJ Blockchain Initiative Task Force.”

The task force established under Sen. Kean’s bipartisan bill would be charged with developing new strategies to increase the efficiency of electronic communication.

Sen. Tom Kean’s bipartisan bill would be charged with developing new strategies to increase the efficiency of electronic communication. (SenateNJ.com)

“The primary goal of this legislation is to find a cost-effective way to build a tamper-proof system, so we can protect and improve electronic communication at a wide range of agencies,” Senator Kean added. “Imagine being able to submit your tax return or business application to the state quickly and efficiently, all while keeping your personal data secure. That is what Blockchain can offer. I hope to see our bill become law as soon as possible.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Democrats’ Tax Increases Cement NJ’s Last Place Business Ranking

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NJ Ranked 50th in Tax Foundation’s 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that $1.5 billion in tax increases imposed by New Jersey Democrats this year have cemented the Garden State’s last-place ranking in the Tax Foundation’s newly released 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index.

Sen. Tom Kean said that $1.5 billion in tax increases imposed by Democrats have cemented N.J.’s last-place ranking in the Tax Foundation’s 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index. (Tax Foundation)

“Nobody should be shocked that raising business and income taxes by more than $1 billion would hurt New Jersey’s competitiveness,” said Kean. “What’s shocking, however, is that New Jersey Democrats fail to see how their destructive policies hurt middle-class families who may lose jobs, raises, and an opportunity to build financial security.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Warns of Harm from New Tax Bills

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Repeats Call for Constitutional Amendment to Cap State Spending Increases

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said a pair of tax bills advanced by the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee today will hurt New Jersey families, employers, and tourism efforts.

Sen. Tom Kean said a pair of tax bills advanced by the Senate Budget Committee will hurt New Jersey families, employers, and tourism efforts. (Pixabay)

The first bill, S-2892, would increase taxes on jet fuel by eliminating certain aviation fuel tax exemptions.

“If New Jersey makes it more expensive for airlines to refuel here, every plane ticket from our state will become more expensive,” said Kean. “This will raise the cost of family vacations, hurt Atlantic City’s efforts to draw tourists from farther away, and raise the price of business travel for employers who already struggle to justify staying in New Jersey.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Says Murphy Should Consider All Opportunities to Reduce Health Benefit Costs

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Urges Administration to Support “Platinum-to-Gold” Reforms

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said Governor Phil Murphy can build upon the modest healthcare savings he announced today by supporting “platinum-to-gold” reforms proposed by the Legislature.

Sen. Tom Kean urged Gov. Phil Murphy to support significant cost savings on public employee healthcare through “platinum-to-gold” reforms proposed by the Legislature. (©iStock)

“We are encouraged by the modest savings on health benefits announced by Governor Murphy today and encourage him to look at opportunities for even larger savings, like a shift from platinum-to-gold that has bipartisan support in the Legislature,” said Kean.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: More Must Be Done to Help NJ Transit & Other Agencies Recruit Qualified Employees

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that a decision allowing NJ Transit to hire train and bus operators who live out of state is a good start, but more must be done to ensure that every State agency has the opportunity to hire qualified employees, regardless of where they live.

Sen. Tom Kean said that a decision allowing NJ Transit to hire train and bus operators who live out of state is a good start, but more must be done to ensure that every State agency has the opportunity to hire qualified employees, regardless of where they live. (SenateNJ.com)

His remarks follow a decision by the NJ Department of Labor Residency Review Committee to approve a broad exemption that will allow NJ Transit to hire “mission essential” workers who live out of state.

Sen. Kean has long-sponsored legislation (S-508) that would eliminate in-state residency requirements for public employees.

Kean noted that he has repeatedly called for the passage of his bill, in light of the catastrophic staffing shortages that continue to put thousands of NJ Transit customers in harm’s way.

“Allowing NJ Transit to hire out-of-state employees is a good first step, but the reality is that without a full repeal of the in-state residency requirement, many agencies will continue to struggle to hire enough qualified employees for critical positions.

“I have no doubt that NJ Transit will be able to better serve commuters by casting a wider net to recruit candidates from neighboring states. Every agency, every department, and every school district in our state should be able to do the same thing.

“Let’s have the courage to make big, bold changes that we all know are in the public’s best interest. A full repeal of state residency requirements is the right thing to do. I urge legislative leaders to post my repeal legislation for a vote as soon as possible.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Legislation to Improve Transparency at NJ Transit, Independent State Agencies & Authorities

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Says Important Public Oversight Hindered by Murphy Administration Secrecy

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean will introduce legislation to improve transparency at independent agencies and authorities of the State, including New Jersey Transit, the Turnpike Authority, the Motor Vehicle Commission, the Schools Construction Corporation, and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Sen. Tom Kean will introduce legislation to improve transparency at independent State agencies, including NJ Transit, to reverse the Murphy Administration’s attempt to limit information and hinder public oversight. (SenateNJ.com)

“Despite a crisis of mismanagement at New Jersey Transit that calls for greater scrutiny of its operations, the Murphy Administration has stemmed the flow of critical information to make it more difficult for the public and the media to act as watchdogs,” said Kean. “This new level of secrecy is designed to hinder oversight, which is contrary to the Governor’s promise to increase transparency. A legislative solution is called for that forces the shadow governments at New Jersey’s expansive independent agencies and authorities into the light.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Crumbling Hudson Rail Tunnels a Tragedy Waiting to Happen

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said the crumbling trans-Hudson rail tunnels are a tragedy waiting to happen after a piece of metal pierced the roof of a New Jersey Transit train this weekend.

Sen. Tom Kean said the crumbling trans-Hudson rail tunnels are a tragedy waiting to happen after a piece of metal pierced the roof of a NJ Transit train this weekend. (SenateNJ.com)

“It was pure luck that this didn’t happen during rush hour when commuters would have been standing where the damage occurred,” said Kean. “Looking at the pictures, it’s clear that somebody could have been killed. The poor state of the Hudson tunnels and our rail infrastructure in general is a tragedy waiting to happen.”

As a member of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, Kean has pushed New Jersey Transit to address maintenance and staffing issues that impact the safety and reliability of the region’s rail service.

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