Assembly Panels To Examine School Fees, Consider Tougher Road Rage & Drug Crime Laws

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TRENTON – Assembly committees on Thursday will discuss the impact of new fees being imposed on parents and students for school activities and consider legislation to increase road rage penalties, give law enforcement more authority to combat drug offenders and bring a veterans’ hospital to southern New Jersey, among other items.

All hearings are set for the State House Annex in Trenton.

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They will be streamed live at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee will consider legislation (A-1561) to include road rage in the state’s assault-by-auto statute and lead to enhanced punishments.

The legislation has been named after Jessica Rogers, a young woman from Hamilton in Mercer County, who suffered severe injuries and was left paralyzed following a March 2005 auto accident that resulted from road rage.

The committee will also consider legislation to give law enforcement more tools to combat drug crime.

The bill (A-2416) would give a law enforcement officer or prosecuting attorney the authority to apply for a restraining order against person who is being charged with a criminal offense and who is released without being detained.

The Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hear testimony on the mental health care available to returning service members and their families. It will also weigh various bills to help veterans, including a bill (A-845) to establish a New Jersey Veterans’ Hospital Task Force to bring a veterans’ health care facility to southern New Jersey.

Southern New Jersey lacks a federal Department of Veterans Affairs inpatient veterans medical center, forcing veterans needing inpatient care to travel to veterans’ hospitals in northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware.

The Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee will discuss plans by the Christie administration to privatize various transportation services.

The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will hear testimony on the Department of Environmental Protection’s ban on cultivating commercial shellfish species for education, research and ecological purposes in some coastal and inner harbors.

The Assembly Education Committee will discuss the impact of various fees being imposed on students for numerous activities, including busing to public schools. With the new school season underway, the committee will hear testimony from witnesses on how state aid cuts have precipitated these fees.

Included on the agenda is a bill (A-406) requiring the state Department of Education to develop a model contract for school districts when employing superintendents.

The committee will also consider a measure (A-1084) that would require the incorporation of solar panels in the construction of new school facilities, as well as a measure (A-1637) that would help generate revenue by allowing advertising on the exterior of school buses.

Lastly, the committee will consider bills (A-2454) to help deter steroid use among middle and high school students and (A-2920) to develop a school district policy to educate students on dating violence and ways in which to identify and avoid potentially abusive behavior.

The Assembly Homeland Security and Preparedness Committee hear testimony and consider legislation (A-2934) on emergency communications interoperability.

The Assembly Human Services Committee will receive testimony on the Christie administration’s decision to delay implementing a law to protect public safety by allowing for involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment for some individuals with mental illness.

For full agendas visit: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/calendar/091410.htm.


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