Legislation that would increase the penalty for illegally passing a school bus has been approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The measure, S-400, is sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-30) and Senator Diane Allen (R-7).
“We know from school bus drivers that people routinely ignore the flashing red lights that are meant to protect children when they are crossing to and from their buses,” said Singer. “It’s clear that the current monetary penalties, as low as $100, are simply not enough to discourage drivers from breaking the law and putting children at risk. This legislation is an important step that will help stop preventable tragedies from occurring.”
Senator Introduces Burlington County Prosecutor at Reappointment Hearing
Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden) today praised the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval of Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi’s reappointment for a third term in office.
“Prosecutor Bernardi has done an excellent job as the top law enforcement official in Burlington County, working day in and day out to keep our communities safe,” Allen said. “He has led the fight to take on gangs and drug violence in the county, as well as for long sentences for sex offenders and child predators.”
Allen/Beck Legislation Providing Support Services to Victims of Child Sex Trafficking Clears Committee
Legislation sponsored by Senators Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden) and Jennifer Beck (R- Monmouth/Mercer) that changes the way state law treats minors charged with prostitution has cleared the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. Persons under the age of 18 who are charged with prostitution will be given treatment and child protective services by the state. The bill also establishes an affirmative criminal defense in these proceedings based on status as a minor.
“The law needs to recognize that children cannot consent to engaging in commercial sex acts or prostitution; that these children are victims of predators rather than criminals in their own right,” said Allen. “This legislation treats these children as the victims they truly are and, like any other abused or neglected minor in need of protection, provides the services necessary to help them cope and move on to live productive lives.”
Legislation sponsored by Senators Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) and Diane Allen (R- Burlington) upgrading penalties for failing to report the disappearance or death of a child has cleared the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
Known as “Caylee’s Law”, the bill increases the penalty to a crime of the fourth degree for failing to report the death of a person to the proper authorities. A new crime of failing to report the disappearance of a child within 24 hours is also created under the legislation, carrying fourth degree penalties as well.
Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden) today submitted a Senate resolution that, if passed, would allow voters to decide whether to amend the New Jersey Constitution to apply pension and benefits reforms to members of the Judiciary.
“As I’ve said from the beginning, if the Court’s interpretation of the state Constitution prohibits the reforms we passed to save the pension system from applying to judges, then the Constitution needs to be changed,” said Allen. “It is not too much to ask that the Judiciary pays its fair share toward retirement benefits and healthcare costs just like every other public worker, especially since judges by far have the most lavish benefits of any other public employee.”
Health Centers Serve 422,000 Patients a Year, 70% of Them Women and Children
Senator Diane Allen (R-7) has been honored with the “Community Health Center Champion Award” given by the New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA). The NJPCA represents the twenty Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) around the state, which are the major providers of primary and preventative care to the uninsured and underserved in New Jersey.
“The Health Centers represented by the NJPCA provide an invaluable resource to the communities in which they are located, helping residents obtain vital healthcare services that otherwise may be unattainable, ” Allen stated. ” The Centers provide long-term support, allowing them to create relationships with their patients and ensure that the entire range of issues a patient might be facing are treated to achieve the best possible outcome. This continuity of care saves lives and represents an efficient use of precious taxpayer dollars as emerging health problems can be diagnosed and treated early before they become more complicated and expensive problems.”
Pension Reforms Must Apply Equally to All Public Employees
Senator Diane Allen issued the following statement regarding Governor Christie’s call that the recently enacted, bipartisan pension reforms apply equally to all public employees. Senator Allen will sponsor a proposed constitutional amendment to clarify Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 6 concerning the salaries of judges in New Jersey:
“I support Governor Christie’s argument that the pension reforms apply equally to all public employees, including the Judiciary. To that end I will sponsor a constitutional amendment to clarify the definition of salary as it impacts the Judiciary.
In recognition of her efforts to lower the cost of government and increase accountability when taxpayer dollars are spent, the New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance has named Senator Diane Allen (R-7) a “Taxpayer Champion.” The recognition comes following a review of the Senator’s voting record on legislation that was deemed to have a great impact on New Jersey taxpayers.
“After a decade in which New Jersey Democrats raised taxes more than 115 times, New Jersey is one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation, ” said Allen. “As a result, many middle-class families and small businesses can no longer afford to stay here and are being forced to move to less expensive states. While we have accomplished much in the last two years to turn the state around and stop the exodus, I won’t be satisfied until we lower taxes and make New Jersey the destination of choice for entrepreneurs and job creators.”
Raises Awareness of Need for Donations
Senator Diane Allen today hosted an event for Burlington County food pantries in order to help restock their shelves and raise awareness of unprecedented shortages of provisions and supplies.
Senator Diane Allen (R-7) helps to distribute crates of food donated to local food pantries.
“Food is such a basic need. Recent record setting demands for assistance coupled with substantial cuts in federal funding have left our food pantries barren,” said Allen. “It is my hope today to bring to light the real face of hunger in our own communities. Additionally we will be donating over 10,000 pounds of food to the agencies in attendance today.”
Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden) has been elected by her peers in the National Order of Women Legislators (NOWL) to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL). The Order, a sister organization to NFWL, is made up of a membership of all current female state legislators.
“Throughout my fifteen years of public service I have worked to encourage women to participate in the political process and seek elective office at all levels of government in New Jersey,” said Senator Allen. “I am honored to have been chosen by my peers to serve on the Board of the National Foundation for Women Legislators. By electing more women to government at all levels, we can better ensure that the unique needs of 51% of the population are served by the lawmaking bodies of all fifty states and the U.S. Congress.”