Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) issued the following statement in response to recent reports that the United States Air Force will station 24 of its new KC-46A refueling tankers at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst:
“This is great news not just for the Joint Base, but for all of New Jersey,” Senator Allen said. “The base is going to be an outstanding home for these new jets since it already has the infrastructure and facilities needed thanks to its existing contingent of older tanker aircraft.”
The Senate Education Committee has passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Diane Allen to extend opportunities to earn varsity letters to high school students who participate in competitive activities other than athletics.
“A varsity letter has become a universal symbol for school pride and student achievement,” Senator Bateman said. “Students who win science, debate or music competitions demonstrate just as much school spirit as those who score a game-winning goal. We need to show these kids that their victories are just as worthy of our praise and admiration.”
Allen/Sweeney ‘Charlie’s Law’ Creates Penalties for Denying People with Service Dogs Access to Public Facilities
Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) and Senate President Steve Sweeney to establish civil penalties for denying disabled persons accompanied by a service dog access to a public facility has cleared the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “Charlie’s Law” is named after a service dog assisting Ben Shore, 16, of Cherry Hill. Charlie was last year ordered out of a Florida airport by security guards.
“Service animals like Charlie are a necessity, not a luxury,” Senator Allen said. “Every disabled person who relies on a service dog has a legal right to navigate a public space with a highly trained companion that ensures their safety and independence. Without Charlie’s Law, many people who rely on service animals will continue to face discrimination, or delays as they try to seek justice when their rights are violated. This legislation will empower local law enforcement to provide immediate assistance when a person is turned away from a public space because of their service animal.”
“Denying access to service dogs is the same as denying access to the disabled who rely on these dogs to live their lives as active members of society,” said Senator Sweeney. “They aren’t just pets or companions, they are essential to the people they serve. This bill will help to ensure the rights of the disabled are protected and the ability of the service dogs to accompany them is safeguarded.”
Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) joined Senator Joseph Vitale, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto today at a Statehouse event to recognize a law that took effect this month allowing New Jersey adoptees to obtain their original birth records and medical history. The original bill amending the Vital Statistics Act, which was sponsored by Senators Allen, Vitale, Weinberg, was signed into law in May 2014.
The legislators were joined by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett, New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education (NJ CARE), NJ adoptees, and other advocates.
“I’m glad to celebrate that New Jersey’s adoptees finally have the ability to learn their personal histories, something that many of us take for granted,” said Senator Allen. “I first started working to change our state’s adoption records laws nearly 20 years ago. It’s been an extremely long fight, but it’s one that we believed was worth the effort. I’d like to thank everyone who worked with us to get us to today.”
Legislation introduced last year by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) in response to the death of Antwan Timbers Jr., a Burlington City High School student killed while walking on Route 130 near the school last year, was advanced by the Senate Transportation Committee.
“I’m very pleased that we are getting the ball rolling on these measures, but this is just the first step,” Senator Allen said. “Tragedies like Antwan’s death can be prevented if we can implement some common-sense safety precautions to keep pedestrians safe.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to provide greater support for veterans struggling with addiction or mental illness was passed in a 36-0 vote by the New Jersey Senate.
“The horror of battle can lead to serious mental health complications later in life like PTSD and depression,” Senator Allen said. “If these combat-related afflictions lead to some kind of criminal behavior, the person should have a chance to get the treatment they need rather than just sit in jail. Veterans have made so many sacrifices to preserve our freedoms. We need to give them a chance to get the help they need, and they aren’t going to get that by sitting in a jail cell.”
Senator Diane Allen’s legislation (S-1257) to add protections from cyber-harassment for victims of domestic violence was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
“Cyber-harassment is now one of the most common ways that domestic abusers inflict pain and exert control over a partner,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “The damage and intimidation that can be accomplished through online channels, including websites, social media, and messaging platforms, is tremendous. It’s imperative that victims have the legal tools they need to fight back.”
The new law allows victims of cyber-harassment to obtain temporary and permanent restraining orders under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.” There are currently 18 offenses covered under the act, including assault, stalking and robbery.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to provide greater support for veterans struggling with addiction or mental illness was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“When they return from service, so many veterans struggle with health conditions like PTSD, addiction and serious depression,” Senator Allen said. “If these combat-related afflictions lead to some kind of criminal behavior, the person should have a chance to get the treatment they need rather than just sit in jail.”
Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) has been officially inducted into the Governing Institute’s Women in Government Leadership Class of 2017. Senator Allen is among just 25 elected women leaders selected from a national pool of candidates. Class members are honored for demonstrating continued leadership, personal integrity and outstanding performance as an elected official.
“I have been honored to serve in the legislature for nearly two decades and in that time, I have seen the tremendous impact women leaders can have on improving the lives of the people they serve,” Senator Allen said. “Women make up the majority of this nation, but barely a quarter of state legislatures. It is in the best interest of our country to empower a greater number of women to pursue elected office, and there is no shortage of qualified female candidates to lead in our communities. Now is the time to come together as mentors and create opportunities to accomplish that goal.”
Two bills sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to improve benefits and job prospects for returning veterans were advanced by the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
“We should be doing everything we can to show that we are grateful for our veterans,” Senator Allen said. “Service members encounter real struggles when they return home, so we must find ways to make that transition a little easier.”