Signs renaming a section of Route 17 for fallen Waldwick police officer Christopher Goodell were unveiled Wednesday, nearly 18 months after he was killed by a tractor trailer while conducting radar duty on the highway shoulder.
“There is nothing we can do to undo the events that took Officer Goodell’s life,” said state Sen. Kevin O’Toole, who sponsored the legislation to rename the stretch of road. “But we can make sure people remember him and the sacrifice he made for his community.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin J. O’Toole exempting military personnel serving in combat zones from the gross income tax was advanced by the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
“Thousands of courageous and selfless New Jerseyans are serving in combat zones and risking their lives to protect our nation,” Senator O’Toole said. “Sadly, many of their families are struggling to make ends meet while their loved one is serving overseas. My bill will provide much-needed support for brave men and women from across New Jersey.”
O’Toole Introduces Resolution to Guarantee Lifelong Treatment, Services for 9/11 First Responders & Victims
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) introduced a resolution calling upon Congress to enact the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.”
This Act would extend critically needed medical treatment services and financial compensation programs to 9/11 first responders and victims.
“It is meaningless, misleading and even hypocritical for politicians to say, ‘Never Forget,’ if they don’t immediately pass the Zadroga Act, which is critically needed by first responders and survivors from all 50 states,” O’Toole said. “This is what government is supposed to do — take care of those who heroically walked into the face of danger without regard for their own lives, saving countless others. In a day and age when we are constantly looking for heroes and role models, these individuals exemplify that and we need to show them that as a country we will never walk away from them.”
Governor Signs O’Toole, Russo, Rumana Bill Advocating for Foster Parents of Service-Dogs-In-Training
Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole and Assemblymen David Russo and Scott Rumana (all R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris) to support individuals or groups temporarily caring for dogs that are training to be service animals.
The new law, formerly A-3502/S-2281, exempts those caregivers from having to obtain a license and registration tag while the service-animal-in-training is placed in a foster home.
“Devoted volunteers dedicate years of their lives to training service animals to be faithful, steadfast companions to some of our state’s most vulnerable and honorable residents,” Senator O’Toole said. “This new law allows foster parents to spend more of their time and money on training service animals instead of on needless bureaucracy. This exemption is a simple solution to allow foster parents to focus on training dogs to be lifesaving companions for people with physical and developmental disabilities, senior citizens and military veterans.”
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.”