New Jersey's 40th Legislative District

Senator Kevin O'Toole

Senator Kevin O'Toole

Club-ABC-Tours Victims Can Get Restitution from State Settlement Sparked by O’Toole

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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.

Club ABC Tours has been ordered to pay restitution to customers who paid for but did not receive all or part of the travel packages they purchased under a settlement obtained by the state Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs.

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.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

O’Toole Bill Supporting Foster Parents Caring for Service Dogs Clears Committee

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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.

Sen. Kevin O’Toole’s legislation would exempt dogs training to be service animals from license and registration requirements while temporarily placed with caregivers in foster homes. (Flickr)

“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.

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

O’Toole Bill Strengthening PTI Program For Domestic Violence Becomes Law

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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.

The new law sponsored by Sen. Kevin O’Toole toughens the eligibility rules for pre-trial intervention in cases of domestic violence. (©iStock)

“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.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

Bipartisan O’Toole Legislation Bringing Stronger Definition to PTI Program for Domestic Violence Passes Senate

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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.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kevin O’Toole would toughen the eligibility rules for pre-trial intervention in cases of domestic violence. (©iStock)

“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.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

Senate Passes O’Toole Bill to Improve Evidence Laws & Prevent Criminal Fraud

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The New Jersey Senate passed Senator Kevin O’Toole’s bill to improve evidence laws by establishing a crime-fraud exception to privileged communication between spouses and partners in a civil union.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kevin O’Toole establishes a crime-fraud exception to privileged communication between spouses and partners in a civil union. (Flickr)

S-2408 amends the state’s marital/partner communications privilege to exempt communications regarding an ongoing or future crime that both spouses/partners were or are participating in at the time of their communications.

“Alleged criminals caught on wiretap developing their alleged crimes have been let free in New Jersey, in large part, because prosecutors couldn’t present all of their relevant evidence in court,” O’Toole said. “Communication between spouses and partners about their joint criminal activities or plans to victimize people should with out a doubt be admissible in the court of law to make sure judges and juries can consider all the information and make fully informed decisions to protect the public.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

Bipartisan O’Toole Legislation Bringing Stronger Definition to PTI Program for Domestic Violence Passes Committee

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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 unanimously today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Pre-trial intervention, or PTI, is a diversionary program that allows offenders to avoid jail time under certain conditions.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kevin O’Toole would toughen the eligibility rules for pre-trial intervention in cases of domestic violence. (©iStock)

“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.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

Panel Passes O’Toole’s “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention” & Awareness Acts

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The Senate Higher Education Committee passed Senator Kevin O’Toole’s “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act” and companion awareness act. A native of Allendale within the senator’s district, Madison Holleran committed suicide in January 2014 while attending the University of Pennsylvania.

A picture of Madison Holleran from her Instagram account. (Instagram)

“We can never fully know what Madison and her family have been through, and it’s impossible to make sense of her tragedy, but through glimpses of her triumphs and tribulations shared by family and friends, we can make sure her tragedy will save others,” said O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic). “Despite the terrible sadness we still feel, and will continue to feel, about losing Madison, I am hopeful that when we swiftly enact this legislation, fellow parents will be reassured that powerful suicide prevention and awareness programs are right around the corner.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

Senate Passes O’Toole Bill to Protect Stalking Victims

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The Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to protect stalking survivors from being re-victimized.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. O’Toole to increase protections for stalking victims was approved by the Senate. (©iStock)

“Violations of stalking restraining orders are both common and often associated with significant danger to victims,” said O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic). “We need to give survivors all the protection we can to help prevent them from being re-victimized.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

O’Toole, Russo, Rumana Bill Designating Portion of Rt. 17 ‘Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway’ Signed by Christie

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Legislation (A-3582/S-2321) sponsored by District 40 legislators Sen. Kevin O’Toole and Assemblymen Dave Russo and Scott Rumana that designates a section of Rt. 17 in Waldwick the “Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway” in memory of the fallen hero was signed into law today by Gov. Christie.

Waldwick Police Officer Goodell, a former U.S. Marine, was killed in the line of duty on July 17, when a tractor trailer struck the 32-year-old while he was operating radar on Route 17.

Waldwick Police Officer Christopher Goodell, a former U.S. Marine, was killed in the line of duty on July 17, when a tractor trailer struck the 32-year-old while he was operating radar on Route 17. (Borough of Waldwick)

Waldwick Police Officer Goodell, a former U.S. Marine, was killed in the line of duty last July, when a tractor trailer struck the 32-year-old while he was conducting a radar operation on Route 17.

“It’s impossible to accept a senseless tragedy taking the life of a true hero like Christopher, who family, fiancée, colleagues and community will always keep in their hearts,” O’Toole said. “But this sign will instill the lasting honor that Christopher and his family deserve due to his selfless service and sacrifices for us all.”

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Senator Kevin O'Toole

Committee Passes Pair of O’Toole Bills to Protect Stalking Victims & Improve Evidence Laws

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The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a pair of bills sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to protect stalking victims and assist prosecutors in obtaining information to present at trial.

A pair of Sen. O’Toole’s bills protecting stalking victims and improving evidence laws was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. (©iStock)

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). “We need to give survivors all the protection we can to assure that they won’t be re-victimized.”

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