The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to allow adults who were adopted to obtain their birth certificates. Birth certificates for residents who were adopted have been sealed in New Jersey for more than 70 years. Since the records were sealed to protect the adoptee and the adoptive family from interference by the biological parents, it is time to remove the impediment so that adoptees can move forward and enjoy the same rights everyone else does.
“Frankly, it’s embarrassing that adoptees in New Jersey have been treated as second class citizens for so many years. Something as uncontrollable as a person’s family history and who they are born to should in no way preclude them from enjoying basic human rights,” said Allen, who has worked to change the state’s law for 17 years. “This legislation at last recognizes that adoptees should have the same right to information we all take for granted, like things as important as finding out information about their family medical history, who their birth parents are and whether they have siblings.”
Senate Education Committee member Diane Allen (R-Burlington) issued the following statement today on Governor Christie’s nomination of David Hespe as state education commissioner.
“David’s a topnotch selection whose extensive experience and passion for education are hard to match.
“I have had the privilege of working very closely with David over the years both in his past roles as commissioner and interim superintendent in Willingboro and more recently as president of Burlington County College. David’s proven to be an experienced leader who cares deeply about students and is willing to fight for their interests. We need someone who is going to speak for the children of New Jersey as commissioner and David has proven time after time he will do just that.
Senator Diane Allen today applauded announcement of a new partnership between the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and the state’s 21 county vocational schools.
The announced New Jersey Employer Coalition for Technical Education is made up of more than 120 members from the state’s business and academic industries and will work to promote career and technical education (CTE) throughout the state.
“New Jersey’s county vocational-technical schools give students the skills and training they need for meaningful careers and are a key part of creating the diverse workforce that’s needed to achieve a truly thriving economy and business industry,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “The abundance of different industries today requires workers with different skills and training and our educational offerings should reflect that. Career and technical education programs are another avenue for students to find the learning environment that best meets their needs and helps them get most prepared for what they may want to pursue later in life.”
Two measures sponsored by Senator Diane Allen that will help to better protect students are now closer to becoming law after being advanced by the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.
The committee unanimously advanced Senator Allen’s S441 to require school districts to adopt policies concerning electronic communications between employees and students. The policies must include provisions designed to prevent improper communications between school employees and students made via e-mail, cell phones and social networking websites.
“It’s important teachers be able to engage students through the most effective means possible but it is critical those interactions take place within the bounds of standards that protect both students and educators,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “By requiring districts to put standards in place there will be an established context for when it is appropriate or not for teachers to use email or online messages to communicate with students. While every teacher should already know there are lines not to be crossed, this will help to eliminate any gray areas that might lead to even perceived improprieties.”
The Senate Education Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen to expand access and student participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.
Senator Allen’s S225 establishes a competitive grant program for school districts to support non-traditional and alternative STEM education programs and instruction.
“We have to do more to make sure New Jersey students have the skills they need to pursue and attain jobs in these high-paying and expanding fields,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “Studies show more and more of these jobs are coming into demand right here in New Jersey each year. Setting students here on the path toward these careers will help make New Jersey a place of innovation and further boost the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and defense industries vital to our state’s economy.”
Panel Advances Allen, Kean, Oroho Sponsored “Lunsford Act” to Increase Minimum Sentences for Child Predators
The primary sponsors of the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” Senators Diane Allen, Tom Kean Jr., and Steve Oroho, released the following about its passage today by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee:
“We’ve waited far too long to put these child protection measures into law here in New Jersey,” said Allen (R- Burlington), who started this initiative in 2005 and testified today for its passage. “There is little as heinous as the sexual assault of a child and it’s time we send a message that those types of monstrous actions are going to be punished severely. Those vile enough to commit this type of a crime once should never be afforded an opportunity to put a second child and family through a similar tragedy.”
Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) urged Senate Democrats to establish the “New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation” with bipartisanship, transparency, fairness and an equal voice for all members.
“We need to be sure this committee maintains a bipartisan, transparent approach as we all want to get to the bottom of the facts surrounding this issue,” said Allen. “Unfortunately, I’m not sure the earlier formed Assembly committee held these same standards as not all committee members were given equal access to the committee’s attorney and subpoena decisions.
Governor Christie has signed into law legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen protecting the confidentiality of conversations between emergency services personnel and peer counselors.
“Putting these protections into law marks an important step in helping to address the tragic reality that too many police, firefighters and emergency responders suffer through the stress and traumas of their job in silence for fear their effort to seek help won’t be confidential and could hurt their careers,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “With this assurance of confidentiality, hopefully more and more men and women in uniform will take advantage of extremely worthwhile assistance programs offered by their departments.”
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen to help breast cancer survivors complete their recovery has been signed into law.
The measure, S374, grants a state sales tax exemption for services prescribed by a doctor in conjunction with reconstructive breast surgery. The procedures, currently subject to the 7 percent tax rate, are utilized to restore the appearance of the breast.
“Eliminating the sales tax burden for these important procedures removes a significant hurtle in a patient’s journey to restore her normal life,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “Utilizing these procedures to restore the breast to its pre-surgery appearance is an important step in the physical and emotional healing process for many women who have had reconstructive surgery because of cancer or a genetic risk of the disease.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen protecting the confidentiality of conversations between emergency services personnel and peer counselors will go to the governor for final approval after being passed by the Senate today. The bill, S-2840, also provides that peer counselors are privileged against examination as a witness in civil or criminal proceedings.
“Many police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians suffer high levels of stress, anxiety and depression from the risk their job places on their safety as well as their continual exposure to trauma,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “Sadly, too many shy away from utilizing valuable support services offered by their department because of a fear that what they share won’t be kept private or could hurt their career. Requiring confidentially will give more and more personnel the confidence to seek the help they need.”