The following editorial by Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) on legislation he has sponsored to increase public access to New Jersey beaches was published in the Asbury Park Press:
Free beaches: Everyone should be able to enjoy
Given the substantial public investment being made to rebuild our beaches following superstorm Sandy, now is the time for state policymakers to consider ways to improve beach access for all New Jersey residents.
I have proposed legislation, S-648, that would require towns that accept state or federal beach replenishment funds to provide free beach access, and to provide free public toilet facilities for beachgoers from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Legislation sponsored by Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Michael Doherty establishing a task force to address flooding in Somerset and Hunterdon counties was advanced today by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“Raritan River flooding has plagued homeowners and businesses in Somerset County for as long as I can remember,” said Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex). “It’s time there be an in depth review to determine what can be done to mitigate this continuing problem that’s caused havoc for so many families decade after decade. By establishing a regional task force we can hopefully find comprehensive solutions to address the problems in this unique area.”
“Flooding along much of the Delaware and Raritan rivers has become a regular occurrence when heavy rains hit the region,” said Doherty (R-Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset). “We need to bring experts and stakeholders from throughout the area together to take a careful look at what can be done to provide long-term relief. Homeowners and businesses have been dealing with the same flooding problems for far too long.”
Senators Michael Doherty and Joe Kyrillos, who sponsor legislation capping arbitration awards at two percent, urged the Assembly to pass the current bipartisan cap extension legislation.
“Assembly Democrats’ refusal to extend the cap on arbitration awards has placed towns on the precipice of having to choose between raising property taxes to pay for limitless spikes in salaries or eliminating critical services,” said Doherty (R-Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset). “We can’t let this ticking bomb explode, eliminating the historic bipartisan reforms made in the last four years to limit property tax growth.”
“Municipal officials have made it abundantly clear that without this means to control public employee contracts they lose the key tool to keeping costs in check and to stay within the current property tax cap,” said Kyrillos (R-Monmouth). “The Assembly must act now to extend the cap, or once again already overburdened taxpayers across the state will be on the losing end.”
Asm. O’Scanlon & Sen. Doherty Join Mayor Kern to Announce End of Pohatcong’s Red-Light Camera Program
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Senator Michael Doherty joined Mayor James Kern, III of Pohatcong to announce that the township will not be renewing its contract with red-light camera company American Traffic Solutions (“ATS”) when it expires in 2016.
“This is another crack in the armor of an industry that has proven itself to be one of double-speak and misdirection,” said O’Scanlon. “Mayor Kern joins a growing list of public officials who are seeing the light concerning the state’s failed red-light camera pilot program. It doesn’t take anything more than a cursory glance at the statistics to see that the cameras in Pohatcong aren’t doing anything more than robbing innocent drivers and, it appears, making roads less safe. As I’ve been saying for years now, red-light cameras do NOT improve safety, they are ONLY about revenue.”
“The simple fact is that red light cameras do not provide the safety benefits that vendors like ATS claim they do,” said Doherty. “We should commend local officials, like Mayor Kern in Pohatcong and Mayor Ducey in Brick, who refuse to defend the false safety arguments that some continue to employ to keep the cameras that fleece their residents. It is a positive sign that more towns are stepping up to defend their residents from the red light camera scam.”
Senator Mike Doherty urged the New Jersey Assembly Democrats to return to Trenton and pass bipartisan legislation to extend the 2-percent property tax cap on local government employee raises before Tuesday’s expiration date.
“It is a travesty that Assembly Democrats ran from Trenton yesterday afternoon, with their public duty undone,” Doherty said. “By failing to pass this bill, they are leaving already overburdened taxpayers in communities all across New Jersey in a position to have to shoulder drastic property tax increases or cuts in service.”
Media Advisory: O’Scanlon & Doherty to Join Pohatcong Mayor to Discuss Town’s Red Light Camera Program
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Senator Michael Doherty will join Mayor James Kern, III to discuss the future of Pohatcong’s red light camera program.
Who: Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, Senator Michael Doherty and Mayor James Kern, III
What: Press conference concerning the future of the red-light camera program in Pohatcong
When: Tuesday, April 1, 12:30PM – 1:30PM
Where: Pohatcong Municipal Building, 50 Municipal Drive, Phillipsburg, NJ
Following a multi-year dispute over who should pay to fix a Warren County courtroom that a judge has declared unconstitutional, Senator Michael Doherty (R- Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset) has introduced legislation (S-1901) to clarify the authority of county governing bodies to determine county court facility expenditures and the suitability of courtrooms.
“Warren County completed upgrades to the county courthouse at the request of court officials who reviewed and signed off on plans prior to construction,” said Doherty. “Warren County taxpayers, already on the hook for the $6 million renovation, shouldn’t have to pay a penny more because court officials changed their minds about what they wanted after construction was completed.”
The Senate today again passed legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Doherty to create a Passenger Rail Study Commission to determine how to best utilize existing rail infrastructure.
“We owe it to passengers and taxpayers to explore every option of creating a more streamlined, efficient and cost effective mass transportation system,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic, Essex). “This legislation seeks to begin the process of easing duplicative costs and providing better rail transportation throughout the state for decades to come.”
“The study commission will make sure we’re getting the most out of the rail infrastructure we already have and hopefully identify efficiencies that will help to ease the burden on commuters and taxpayers,” added Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset). “Through consolidation, shared services or just better coordination on major projects, we can better avoid unnecessary costs being passed on to riders.”
Senate Passes Doherty Legislation Designating Rt. 173 Between Clinton & Phillipsburg as “173rd Airborne Brigade Highway”
The New Jersey Senate has approved legislation (S-650) sponsored by Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) that would designate Route 173 between Clinton in Hunterdon County and Phillipsburg in Warren County as the “173rd Airborne Brigade Highway” in honor of the brigade’s many years of heroism and sacrifice in defense of our country’s freedom.
“From service in France during World War I to recent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ‘Sky Soldiers’ of the 173rd Airborne Brigade have distinguished themselves for nearly a century,” said Doherty. “It is fitting that the Senate has chosen to recognize the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s service and sacrifice by passing legislation that names part of Rt. 173 in their honor.”
Senators Urge Assembly Action
The Senate Transportation Committee on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Doherty to create a Passenger Rail Study Commission to determine how to best utilize existing rail infrastructure. The Senators’ legislation, SJR-14, was passed unanimously by the Senate in each of the last two sessions but died by state Assembly inaction.
“A thorough examination of the many rail systems throughout New Jersey to create a more streamlined, efficient and cost effective mass transportation system is long overdue,” said Pennacchio. “This study has overwhelming, bipartisan support in the Senate and is rightly being fast-tracked for approval yet again. I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to get on board and give this legislation the attention it deserves in order to ease out-of-control expenses levied on the backs of taxpayers and commuters.”
“All opportunities to cut costs through consolidations or mergers should be explored to assure commuters are receiving the best service possible and that taxpayers are being protected from duplicative costs and infrastructure projects,” added Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset). “Senate Republicans stand ready to work with the Senate President on our shared goal of achieving efficiencies through consolidation. However, to achieve true reform all cost-cutting solutions must be explored and the full legislature must come to the table.”