Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) said New Jersey’s addition of 15,200 private-sector jobs in October and an updated total of 24,100 new jobs in the past two months shows that Republican reforms are working and the state’s economic rebound would be enhanced with the advancement of more Senate Republican jobs policies.
“New Jersey is creating jobs at a fast pace under Governor Christie’s administration not seen in recent memory, thanks to ample reductions in red tape and our investments in real private sector job creation, workforce training and smart economic development,” said O’Toole, a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “Our unemployment rate has fallen nearly a full point this year to 5.4 percent, and in the months ahead we’re on track to recover all of the 258,000 jobs lost under the previous administration. Indeed, this is a far cry from what happened under the previous governors where taxes and fees were raised 115 times while the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 9.8 percent.”
O’Toole emphasized, “Not counting Great Recession years, the 15,200 private-sector jobs we created in October alone are more than twice the 7,400 private-sector jobs created in former Gov. Jon Corzine’s best year and more than six times the 2,400 jobs created in Gov. Corzine’s second-best year.”
The Senate Transportation Committee has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) to make bi-state transportation authorities more accountable and transparent.
The Senator’s legislation, S-2205, requires the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Delaware River and Bay Authority, Delaware River Port Authority, and Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission to make advance notification of certain projects or operations expected to impede traffic.
“This bill makes very clear that government agencies, at all levels, need to be transparent and accountable to the residents of New Jersey,” O’Toole said. “This should remove all confusion going forward. If projects and operations are important and in the interest of the people, then everyone should know about them.”
Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a pair of bills sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to protect stalking victims from being re-victimized and to ensure judges and juries can consider all the information to protect the public.
Senator O’Toole’s S-2540/A-3841 upgrades the violation of a stalking restraining order to a third-degree crime, which carries maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $15,000.
“Violations of stalking restraining orders are both common and often associated with significant danger to victims,” said O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic). “Bottom line, this new law protects survivors and helps prevent them from being re-victimized.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen) to support individuals or groups temporarily caring for dogs who are training to be service animals passed the Senate. S-2281 exempts these caregivers from procuring a license and registration tag while the service-animal-in-training is placed in a foster home. The bill will allow “foster parents” to spend more time training service animals – a time-consuming, specialized and often costly process.
“These devoted volunteers dedicate years of their lives to training service animals to be faithful, steadfast companions to some of our state’s most vulnerable residents,” Senator O’Toole said. “For the hundreds of thousands of disabled individuals nationwide who rely on service animals to function independently, these foster parents provide an invaluable source of aid.”
“This exemption is a simple solution to allow foster parents to focus on training dogs to be lifesaving companions. Passing this legislation is a clear expression of our support for these caregivers – a message I hope will inspire others to take up the task of training loving and loyal service animals,” Senator O’Toole added.
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole that would hold drunken drivers more accountable if they cause serious injuries was approved by a Senate committee. The bill, S-3143, would remove the presumption of non-imprisonment now given to first-time offenders convicted of causing serious bodily injury while driving while intoxicated.
“By raising the penalties to fit the crime on a person’s first offense, this legislation will help deter drunken driving, which caused 32 percent of New Jersey’s fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2013, according to the latest available state police data,” O’Toole said. “Since 1995, the recidivism rate among drivers arrested for DWI is 25 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This bill will also directly prevent repeat DWI incidents during the time offenders are incarcerated, and we hope that while they are in jail, first-time offenders will realize that drinking and driving is never worth the risk.”
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) introduced legislation to allow for more efficient prosecution of alleged drug dealers.
The bill eliminates the requirement for a forensic laboratory analysis of apparent unknown or imitation drugs that a defendant is charged with distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute.
“It’s already illegal to deal drugs and imitation controlled dangerous substances, so we don’t need to delay prosecutions by mandating costly testing when police bust dealers or pill rings,” O’Toole said. “The sooner we can lock up perpetrators and get these dangerous substances off the streets, the safer everyone will be. This legislation will also help mitigate processing and testing backlogs that labs are struggling to clear.”
Legal action originally encouraged by Senator Kevin O’Toole against a now-defunct Essex County travel agency, which baited hundreds of consumers to pay cash for nothing in return, has now resulted in a settlement that can provide restitution to local victims.
Approximately 250 consumers who paid for but did not receive all or part of the “all-inclusive” packages they ordered from Bloomfield-based Club ABC Tours are eligible for restitution, under a $644,000 settlement obtained by the Attorney General and state Division of Consumer Affairs. The State announced it would take action in this case after Senator O’Toole urged an investigation in October 2012.
“On behalf of my constituents and the victims of this disgusting scheme, I’d like to thank the state Attorney General’s Office and the Division of Consumer Affairs for investigating this matter and obtaining a just outcome,” said O’Toole (R-Essex, Bergen, Morris, Passaic). “After hearing horror stories from dozens of constituents who were defrauded and abandoned by Club ABC Tours, I initially said there was an appearance of conspiracy, consumer fraud and theft, and soon after we learned the extent and magnitude of this case was much worse. For people to spend significant amounts of their hard earned money on ‘trips of a lifetime’ only to arrive and learn they had been bamboozled was unconscionable.”
The Senate Economic Growth Committee has advanced a bill sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to provide much-needed support for individuals or groups temporarily caring for dogs who are training to be service animals. S-2281 exempts that these dedicated caregivers and “foster parents” from applying for and procuring a license and registration tag for the dog, while the service-animal-in-training is placed in a foster home.
“Seeing-eye dogs and service animals are vital to the health and welfare of our state’s most vulnerable residents,” Senator O’Toole said. “At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of service dogs are assisting disabled individuals in every corner of America. The volunteers and foster parents who care for service dogs provide extremely specialized and time-consuming training – often at a great cost.
“By passing this bill, we are offering vital support by allowing caregivers to spend more time training a dog to be a life-saving companion, without having to worry about procuring a license or registration tag. It is my hope that removing this red tape will encourage more New Jerseyans to take on the responsibility of training dogs to be loyal and loving service animals,” Senator O’Toole added.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole that would toughen the eligibility rules for pre-trial intervention in cases of domestic violence was signed into law today. Pre-trial intervention, or PTI, is a diversionary program that allows offenders to avoid jail time under certain conditions.
“Victims of domestic violence are often attacked again and again by the same offender, yet too often a first offense isn’t treated as seriously as this abhorrent crime warrants,” said Senator O’Toole. “With today’s bill signing New Jersey laws are now strengthened to make sure incidents of domestic violence are treated seriously from the first incident on and that attackers are held responsible for each and every offense.”
Bipartisan O’Toole Legislation Bringing Stronger Definition to PTI Program for Domestic Violence Passes Senate
Bipartisan Legislation Would Toughen Requirements for Pre-Trial Intervention
Legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole that would toughen the eligibility rules for pre-trial intervention in cases of domestic violence was approved by the Senate. Pre-trial intervention, or PTI, is a diversionary program that allows offenders to avoid jail time under certain conditions.
“Victims of domestic violence are often attacked again and again by the same offender, yet too often a first offense isn’t treated as seriously as this abhorrent crime warrants,” said Senator O’Toole. “This legislation strengthens current laws to make sure incidents of domestic violence are treated seriously from the first incident on and that attackers are held responsible for each and every offense.”