Stender: Monday's Hearing Made It Clear that the GWB Lane Closures Were Politically MotivatedAssembly Transportation Committee Vice-Chair Linda Stender issued the following statement Monday after the committee's lengthy hearing with officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over the questionable closure of access to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee that snarled traffic for nearly a week in September:
"It's clear from today's hearing that the actions of Bill Baroni and David Wildstein were done separate and apart from the rest of the Port Authority. Their actions were highly unorthodox and those who were forced to enact these directives questioned the wisdom of these decisions but refrained from speaking up out of fear for their job security..."
Johnson on GWB Lane Closure Hearing: No Clear AnswersAssembly Democrat Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) issued the following statement on the testimony received by the Assembly transportation committee on Monday from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive director on the decision by the agency to close without public notice access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September:
"Shutting off access lanes to the George Washington Bridge without warning to the public or emergency services was irresponsible, and outright reckless. It is certain that more than one person was involved in making this decision. Mr. Baroni testified in a previous hearing on the cause of lane shut down. Armed with a large poster board-size graphic, Mr. Baroni sat before us and blamed an ongoing traffic study being conducted at the time as the reason for the closures. However, Mr. Foye today testified he was unaware of a study taking place…"
Wisniewski: Baroni & Wildstein Must Go & PANYNJ Dysfunction Frighteningly Rampant
Vows Further Inquiry by CommitteeAssembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), chairman of the Assembly transportation panel, released the following statement Monday after hearing testimony from Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials on the questionable closing of George Washington Bridge access lanes from Fort Lee in September:
"Several things are clear after today's hearing.
"Bill Baroni has outlived his usefulness as the Port Authority's deputy director. The testimony showed that Mr. Baroni has not been honest with the public and this committee about these lane closures and his mythical traffic study.
Tuition Equality, Asking Voters to OK $200m for Open Space, Medical Marijuana Program Reforms & Commission to Explore Expanding Gaming to Bergen County Top Thursday Assembly HearingsCollege Loan Redemption Programs for Doctors, Honoring Cold War Veterans, Cameras on Police Cars, Infrastructure Investment & Service Dog Protections Also on Tap
Hearings Set on Cyberinfrastructure & How Sandy Impacted Tourism
Bills to implement tuition equality, ask voters to approve $200 million to preserve open space, reforming the medical marijuana program and create a commission to explore whether to expand gaming to Bergen County top Thursday's Assembly committee hearings.
Modernizing Megan's Law, honoring Cold War veterans, requiring cameras on all new police cars, infrastructure investment and service dog protections are also on tap, along with hearings on cyberinfrastructure and how Superstorm Sandy impacted New Jersey's tourism season...
Senate Advances Eustace Bill to Allow New Jersey Residents to Participate in Contests of Skill
Bill Brings Common Sense & Eliminates Confusion over ContestsLegislation sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Eustace to bring an end to an archaic state law that bars New Jersey residents from participating in contests of skill was approved by a Senate panel on Monday.
The bill (A-3624) provides that participation by a New Jersey resident in a contest of skill in which a participant pays an entry fee for the opportunity to win money or something else of value is not considered a game of chance, does not constitute unlawful gambling and will not subject the participant or the sponsor of the contest to any civil or criminal liability.
Vainieri Huttle on Latest Bullying Stats: Numbers Show the Law is WorkingAssemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, the lead sponsor of New Jersey's landmark Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights law, on Monday welcomed the latest statistics that show a significant decline in bullying incidents throughout New Jersey schools.
"These numbers show that the law is working. The culture and climate of schools are changing. Students know they are accountable now and I think that is making a difference," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).
Albano & Burzichelli Bill to Better Promote New Jersey Wineries & Farms Advances in Senate(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nelson Albano and John Burzichelli to better promote New Jersey wineries and farms was released Monday by a Senate panel.
The bill (A-2978) would require the Department of Agriculture to post on its web site information on the location and contact information of wineries and farms in New Jersey, along with a link to any other list of wineries posted on the Internet by any other state agency.
"Our wineries carry great potential for increased job creation and economic development throughout our state, so let's embrace that potential and promote wineries and our farms as best we can," said Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). "It's 2012, so let's make sure we utilize our technological resources as best we can to promote our agricultural heritage."
Innovative Fuentes, Jimenez, Burzichelli, Mosquera & Sumter Bill to Entice Private Entities to Fund Health Care Initiatives Clears Senate PanelLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angel Fuentes, Angelica Jimenez, John Burzichelli, Gabriela Mosquera and Shavonda Sumter to establish a five-year pilot program that would encourage private investment in preventive and early intervention health care to reduce public costs was approved Monday by a Senate committee.
"Providing adequate healthcare to our neediest residents can be costly to service providers, governments and residents," said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). "This bill seeks to reduce healthcare costs in the long run while increasing the wellness of our residents without raising taxes..."
Coughlin, Johnson & Wimberly Bill Allowing Judges to Award Community Service in Lieu of Fines for Certain Crimes Continues AdvancingAssembly approved legislation Assembly Democrats Craig J. Coughlin, Gordon M. Johnson and Benjie Wimberly sponsored to allow New Jersey courts to assign community service as penalties for certain crimes in lieu of monetary fines was advanced Monday by a Senate panel.
"Giving judges the extra flexibility to take into account an offender's financial standing before handing down a sentence that includes fines that realistically will never be repaid will save our local legal systems time and money in the long run," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "After all, time is a currency everyone values..."
Coughlin, Quijano & Riley Bill to Crackdown on Electronic Impersonation AdvancesLegislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig J. Coughlin, Annette Quijano and Celeste Riley to crackdown on criminal impersonation by electronic communications or the Internet was advanced Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"Frankly, technology has progressed so rapidly that our laws simply have not kept up. Unfortunately, we have seen nationwide instances of impersonation and identity theft that have impacted individuals and families both financially and emotionally," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "This legislation simply clarifies that criminal impersonation extends to the Internet and it shall be subject to criminal penalties..."
DeAngelo Calls on Residents to Support NJ SHARES's Dine-Out-To-Donate Fundraiser at Daphne's Diner on Thursday
Fundraiser will help NJ families struggling with utility billsAssemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex) is encouraging residents to join him at Daphne's Diner this Thursday to grab a bite for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds from the sales on that day will go to support the work of New Jersey SHARES, as part of the organization's Dine-Out-To-Donate Fundraiser to help struggling families with their utility bills.
"Many families struggle to keep up with their utility bills which typically surge during the winter months. Mix in holiday spending and the debt can really pile up," said DeAngelo."If you eat at Daphne's Diner or have been meaning to go, then consider joining us on Thursday to help these families. Just mention NJ SHARES to your server and a portion of your bill will go to the organization to help New Jersey residents who are struggling to stay warm or keep the lights on this winter."
Wisniewski to Join with Fire Safety Officials to Highlight Holiday Fire Safety Tips and Conduct a Demonstration Christmas Tree BurnAssemblyman John S. Wisniewski, Chair of the New Jersey Fire Safety Commission, will join with Fire Safety officials tomorrow at the Middlesex County Fire Academy to highlight important fire safety tips for the holiday season. Fire Academy staff will conduct a demonstration of a Christmas tree fire to highlight the flammability of a Christmas tree and the speed with which such a fire can build and spread.
The burning of the Christmas tree will be conducted in a Fire Academy training facility building and will be visibly accessible for photos and filming
Democratic Members of Assembly Transportation Committee on Failure of Port Authority to Fully Explain GW Bridge Lane Closures
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