Friday, December 20, 2013

DeCroce Full-Day Kindergarten Bill Wins Assembly Approval

A bill creating a task force to study the feasibility of full-day kindergarten programs throughout the state, was approved by the General Assemly at the State House in Trenton Thursday.
The bill, sponsored by District 26 Asw. BettyLou DeCroce, now moves to Gov. Chris Christie for his signature.
“Effective early childhood education can provide a rock-solid foundation for later academic and career success,” said DeCroce, a Republican who represents parts of Essex, Morris and Passaic counties. “Efficient and productive full-day kindergarten programs can be critical in launching our students to higher achievement, making them competitive with high-performing students from
around the world and making New Jersey more competitive in the global marketplace.”
The bill, A-3972, establishes a 21-member task force to study and evaluate issues related to implementing full-time kindergarten in the Garden State. The lawmaker said the task force will review existing research; implementation issues, including staffing needs and facility space availability; funding concerns; and curriculum comparisons between full- and half-day programs.
“A five-year-old in a dynamic all-day session benefits from social interaction and skill-building, but the most important dividends are educational,” said DeCroce. “It is a springboard to sufficient learning. A longer school day and a more ambitious curriculum can enable kindergartners with exposure to core verbal and reading principals, and develop a solid foundation in mathematics.”
The bill was approved by the General Assembly last June, but was amended and advanced from the Senate in November. The amended version that won passage Thursday boosts the panel’s size to 21 members, including one member appointed by the Assembly’s minority leader, one appointed by the Senate’s minority leader and a third member appointed by Gov. Christie upon the recommendation of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

DeCroce Bill Extending Permit Extension Moratorium Date Approved By Assembly

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican BettyLou DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, that extends the moratorium on the imposition of fees on non-residential construction projects through December 31, 2014 was approved by the General Assembly today. The moratorium had expired on July 1, 2013.
The legislation, A-4457, which was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Dec. 12, provides that municipalities are required to return any monies paid by a developer during the time period between July1, 2013 through the effective date of the bill. Municipalities that have already spent such fees on affordable housing projects would not be required to provide a refund.
“The building industry is one of New Jersey’s key economic drivers as it creates jobs and facilitates commerce,” said DeCroce. “Extending the moratorium will save builders from re-applying for approvals previously obtained which only drives up the costs of a project. Many jobs are created both directly and indirectly due to the building industry, such as suppliers, retailers, financial institutions and real estate.
“Extending the expiration date will save permit holders millions of dollars that can be used to create good-paying jobs,” explained DeCroce. “I would like to thank my colleagues Assemblymen Burzichelli, Bramnick and Singleton and Assemblywoman Lampitt for working in a bipartisan manner on this legislation.”

DeCroce Bill to Explore Establishment of Statewide Full-Day Kindergarten on way to Gov. Christie's Desk

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
A bill creating a task force to study the feasibility of full-day kindergarten programs throughout the state, sponsored by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, was approved by the General Assembly today.
“Effective early childhood education can provide a rock-solid foundation for later academic and career success,” said DeCroce, R-Essex, Morris and Passaic. “Efficient and productive full-day kindergarten programs can be critical in launching our students to higher achievement, making them competitive with high-performing students from around the world, and making New Jersey more competitive in the global marketplace.”
The bill, A-3972, establishes a 21-member task force to study and evaluate issues related to implementing full-time kindergarten sessions. The task force will review existing research concerning full-day kindergarten; implementation issues, including staffing needs and facility space availability; funding concerns; and curriculum comparisons between full-day and half-day programs.
“A 5-year-old in a dynamic all-day session benefits from social interaction and skill-building, but the most important dividends are educational,” said DeCroce. “It is a springboard to sufficient learning. A longer school day and a more ambitious curriculum can enable kindergartners with exposure to core verbal and reading principals, and develop a solid foundation in mathematics.”
The bill was approved by the General Assembly in June, and was amended and advanced from the Senate in November. The amended version approved today increases the size of the Task Force to 21 members, adding one member one member appointed by the Assembly Minority Leader, one member appointed by the Senate Minority Leader, and one member appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.

DeCroce Bill An Effort to Spur Job Growth in New Jersey

Source: The Star-Ledger -
Land developers in New Jersey would get a financial break at the expense of affordable housing funds under a bill scheduled for a vote in the state Assembly on Thursday.
The bill would freeze a 2.5 percent fee that developers pay for building shopping malls or industrial projects in New Jersey — anything but housing.
Usually the proceeds go to state or municipal affordable housing trust funds, but lawmakers have given developers a break from the 2.5 percent fee throughout most of the last five years in an effort to spur economic activity.
The fee waiver would cover projects from July 1, 2013, to the end of 2014. Towns that already spent the proceeds on affordable housing units would not be required to give refunds.
Mayors across the state have quarreled for years with the state agency in charge of overseeing the affordable housing program, and construction has largely ground to a halt over the last decade amid court battles.
Waiving the developer fee for another year could spur job creation if it brings new shops or businesses, Burzichelli said. The bill (A4457) is sponsored by South Jersey Democrats and Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union).
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Morris), another sponsor, said in a statement that “the building industry is one of New Jersey’s key economic drivers as it creates jobs and facilitates commerce.”
“Many jobs are created both directly and indirectly due to the building industry, such as suppliers, retailers, financial institutions and real estate,” DeCroce said.
Housing advocates oppose the bill, saying “there is no compelling evidence” that freezing the fee in previous years led more businesses to New Jersey and that, if the bill passes, towns may have to raise property taxes to meet their constitutional obligation to provide affordable homes.
“Developers locate in New Jersey because it a good place for their business,” Arnold Cohen, senior policy coordinator of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, wrote to legislators in a recent letter asking them to oppose the bill.
“The fee is a small price of the cost of doing business here. It is an investment in our state’s residents and its future.”
The state Supreme Court ruled in September that after years of delays in New Jersey’s program to build affordable homes, state officials had to get back to work. The court gave Gov. Chris Christie and state officials until Feb. 26 to write new regulations for the program, but the administration already is being sued by housing advocates for failing to meet the first deadlines.
“A remedy must be put in place to eliminate the limbo in which municipalities, New Jersey citizens, developers, and affordable housing interest groups have lived for too long,” Justice Jaynee LaVecchia wrote for the court in September.
State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) has introduced a companion bill in the upper house, but no action has been taken there yet.
A representative from the state League of Municipalities said it has no position on the bill.

DeCroce, Cablevision Visit, Honor Parsippany Students

Source: Parisppany Patch -
Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce and Cablevision Power to Learn recognized students at All Saints Academy for their participation in Power to Learn’s Internet Smarts program on Dec. 3.
The program provides students with curriculum and tools designed to teach safe and appropriate Internet use, according to a press release.
“Interacting with others via social media is the norm for young people today and regrettably cyberbullying has become all too common, with many young people not fully understanding the repercussions from such behavior,” said DeCroce. “In this regard, it’s important that we provide students with the latest information regarding responsible Internet use. I applaud Cablevision for its Internet Smarts program that does just that.”
Principal Judith Berg gave welcoming remarks and Cablevision emcee Lou Brogno discussed the Internet Smarts program and introduced Assemblywoman DeCroce who spoke to students about the dangers of cyberbullying.
“One of the goals of Power to Learn is to provide schools like All Saints Academy with cutting-edge technology and interactive educational programs that engage young minds,” said Cablevision Vice President of Public Affairs Jennifer Ostrager. “We are committed to partnering with teachers, students and parents to ensure that, though Internet Smarts, students can navigate and use the Internet and digital technology safely and appropriately.”
Technology Teacher Joel Castillo discussed the students’ use of Internet Smarts and introduced the presenting 6th grade students who presented the topic of cyberbullying through two skits. They prepared the skits using Power to Learn’s online curriculum.
Assemblywoman DeCroce wrapped up the event with a Q&A with students and signed a large “Internet Smarts” certificate for the school; student presenters also signed a large “Internet Smarts” pledge.
According to the release, Power to Learn, Cablevision’s nationally recognized education initiative, is dedicated to integrating technology into education. Through its “Triple Play for Education” technology offer, Cablevision provides its full suite of Optimum video, high-speed Internet and digital voice-over-cable services to schools for educational use. These services are available free of charge to K-12 schools across the company’s service area in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. In addition to providing the technology, Power to Learn also provides innovative educational curricula and tools designed to make technology useful to teachers, students and parents. More information and content is available at www.powertolearn.com.

Monday, December 16, 2013

DeCroce and Casagrande's 'Autumn Joy Stillbirth Research Act' Advances in Assembly

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
The “Autumn Joy Stillbirth Research and Dignity Act,” sponsored by Assemblywomen BettyLou DeCroce and Caroline Casagrande, today was voted out of the Assembly Women and Children Committee.
The bill, A-4280, requires the Department of Health to establish protocols for stillbirths and to create a database for stillbirth research.
“The loss of a child in stillbirth is a horrific event, plunging the mother and the entire family into the depths of unthinkable grief,” said DeCroce, R-Essex, Morris and Passaic. “This legislation will provide our medical practitioners and staff additional tools to ensure grieving families are handled sensitively and compassionately,” DeCroce said.
DeCroce and Casagrande’s bill requires the development of policies to ensure that families experiencing a stillbirth receive psychological and emotional support.
The Act is named in honor of Autumn Joy Vijayvergiya, a baby who was stillborn in New Jersey in 2011. Approximately one in every 160 pregnancies in the U.S. ends in stillbirth, or 26,000 each year.“It is an emotional, psychological and physical trauma, leaving mother and family feeling devastated and alone.” said Casagrande, R-Monmouth. “Following the life-changing tragedy of a stillbirth, it is imperative a mother and the entire family receive sensitive and beneficial treatment from hospitals and doctors. The protocols established by our legislation will better prepare medical professionals for this critical role.”
By directing the Department of Health to establish a database to serve as a comprehensive resource for stillbirth research, the bill could ultimately provide valuable information for the prevention of stillbirths.
Companion bill, S-2843, passed the Senate, 39-0-1.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bill to Reinstate Nonresidential Construction Fee Moratorium Advances

Source: NJBIZ -
A bipartisan-supported bill that would reinstate a moratorium on nonresidential construction project fees was unanimously advanced by the Assembly Appropriations Committee Thursday.
The original moratorium on the fees, which are designated to fund affordable housing projects, had expired in July. The new bill would extend it through the end of 2014.
Under the bill, municipalities which collected the affordable housing fees after the moratorium’s expiration must return them to developers. However, municipalities that have already been spent the money from the fees on affordable housing projects will not be required to refund the developers.
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany), a bill sponsor, said that the bill helps promote the building industry, which she called one of the state’s “key economic drivers.”
“Extending the moratorium will save builders from reapplying for approvals previously obtained which only drives up the costs of a project,” DeCroce said in a release. “Many jobs are created both directly and indirectly due to the building industry, such as suppliers, financial institutions and real estate.”
Michael Egenton, senior vice president of government relations for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said he saw the matter as an issue of competitiveness. With the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act and its slew of incentives, to not extend the moratorium would “almost kind of neutralize” and contradict everything the state is working for in terms of development.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DeCroce Bill Extending Permit Extension Moratorium Date Released By Comittee

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican BettyLou DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, that extends the moratorium on the imposition of fees on non-residential construction projects through December 31, 2014 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee today. The moratorium had expired on July 1, 2013.
The legislation, A-4457, provides that municipalities are required to return any monies paid by a developer during the time period between July1, 2013 through the effective date of the bill. Municipalities that have already spent such fees on affordable housing projects would not be required to provide a refund.
“Extending the expiration date will save permit holders millions of dollars that can be used to create good-paying jobs,” explained DeCroce. “I would like to thank my colleagues Assemblymen Burzichelli, Bramnick and Singleton and Assemblywoman Lampitt for working in a bipartisan manner on this legislation.”“The building industry is one of New Jersey’s key economic drivers as it creates jobs and facilitates commerce,” said DeCroce. “Extending the moratorium will save builders from re-applying for approvals previously obtained which only drives up the costs of a project. Many jobs are created both directly and indirectly due to the building industry, such as suppliers, retailers, financial institutions and real estate.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

DeCroce Lauded for Bringing State-Level Support to West Milford's Cancer Cause

Source: Suburban Trends -
The governing body’s request to have pediatric cancer research donations collected through the state’s income-tax returns has received some influential support.
“The incidence of pediatric cancer is ever increasing, and its impact on society and the families of those affected, devastating. Yet surprisingly little progress is being made toward uncovering the causes of childhood cancer and finding new and targeted therapies,” Bill 4491 states.On Nov. 25, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic) introduced state Assembly Bill 4491. Mirroring a resolution adopted by the West Milford Township Council in September, the bill calls for the establishment of a New Jersey Pediatric Cancer Research Fund to collect funds for childhood cancer research via the state’s NJ-1040 income-tax return form.
“Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States, and every year, approximately 13,500 children and adolescents under age 20 are diagnosed with cancer. More children lose their battle with cancer each year than to AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes combined,” it continues.
“Currently, less than 5 percent of federal funding for cancer research is dedicated specifically to understanding and seeking cures for pediatric cancer, and only two drugs specifically targeting childhood cancer have been approved in the past 20 years,” it says.
During a recent town council meeting, West Milford Mayor Bettina Bieri recognized DeCroce for taking up the cause.
“I’d like to thank Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce for supporting our resolution,” Bieri said.
It was Sept. 18 when the council adopted Township Resolution 2013-275, which sought support for adding the option to make a voluntary contributions to pediatric cancer research on the annual tax form filled out by millions of residents. Other specific, cancer-related causes – including lung, breast, and prostate cancer research funds – are options. The money collected is given to the State of New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research, which disperses the funds.
The cause was one the whole governing body collectively rallied around late this summer. It went on to promote September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month like never before, with the help of 4-year-old Aaron Newton and his mother Kerrie.
Bill 4491 states that it was drafted in honor of Aaron Newton, a local resident and cancer survivor who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at less than 2 years of age. The bill lists Aaron Newton’s parents, Kerrie and Scott, as the inspiration for the local campaign to advocate for awareness surrounding childhood cancer.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

DeCroce Visits School to Speak and Learn About Cyberbullying

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce returned to school on Tuesday to listen and learn about the issue of cyberbullying. DeCroce visited the All Saints Academy in Parsippany to speak with sixth graders about the Power to Learn program which is an education initiative sponsored by Cablevision. The program provides advice and information to parents, teachers and students about the dangers of cyberbullying.
“I was impressed with the students’ knowledge and I know everyone who participated came away with a better understanding of this potentially dangerous and harmful issue,” explained DeCroce. “The Power to Learn program is a comprehensive and common sense approach on avoiding and dealing with cyber-harassment. This kind of intimidation extends beyond the classroom and making students aware of the ways to deal with cyberbullying is a positive step that benefits everyone.“In today’s society, the level of sophistication on using the internet and mass media communications does not require a college degree,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “In order to protect students from the dangers of cyberbullying, we need to reach them at an early age. Listening is an important part of learning, and that is exactly what everyone discovered.
“The most important component of dealing with this problem is communication,” explained DeCroce. “Students need to know how important it is to tell their parents or speak to a teacher when they are confronted with this kind of bullying. They are not alone and help is available.”
Part of the Power to Learn program includes tips for students and parents on dealing with cyberbullying, such as:
•Don’t share your login and password – even with friends.
•Think before you post. You can’t control what others do with your information.
•Be careful about loaning your cell phone or laptop to friends.
•Don’t respond to cyberbullying – report it to an adult.
•Keep the evidence of texts and emails as a record.
•Signs that a child is a victim of cyberbullying are: changes in mood, sleep habits and being less social with friends.
•Block the person who is sending the unwanted messages.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

DeCroce Introduces NJ Pediatric Cancer Research Fund Bill

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release
Legislation establishing the “New Jersey Pediatric Cancer Research Fund,” which allows taxpayers to make a voluntary contribution on their income tax return, was introduced by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce today. Funds collected will support cancer research projects approved by the New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research.
“One of a parent’s most traumatic experiences is learning their child has cancer,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “The causes of pediatric cancer still perplex the medical community, but we know the heartache it causes. Medical breakthroughs to treat this disease start with research.”
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national non-profit organization dedicated to funding children’s cancer research, has noted that for the past 25 years there have only been two new drugs developed specifically for children’s cancer.
“As we have seen when catastrophe strikes, New Jersey’s citizens are most generous and compassionate,” explained DeCroce. “Through a voluntary check-off on a tax return, we can focus funding that is committed to researching causes and treatments for an affliction that affects children and brings anxiety and pain to their loved ones.”
DeCroce’s bill, A-4491, is in honor of a West Milford youth, Aaron Newton, who is a survivor of neurablastoma cancer. Aaron and his parents are advocates for increasing awareness regarding childhood cancer.
More children lose their battle to cancer than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. On average, one out of four elementary schools has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are a current or former cancer patient.

Friday, November 15, 2013

DeCroce Named Taxpayer Advocate

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce was recently named as a Taxpayer Advocate by The New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance (NJTA).
The Taxpayer Advocates designation is based on a legislator’s votes on bills key to New Jersey’s individual and corporate taxpayers. The Alliance is honoring the legislators after an analysis of voting records on bills deemed crucial to the taxpayer community during the 216th Legislature.
DeCroce (R- Essex, Morris, Passaic ) said she was extremely pleased to be recognized as a taxpayer advocate and a fighter for lower cost government.
“As a businesswoman and homeowner I know the burden that state and local taxes heap on businesses and families. I am committed to finding ways to cut the cost of government and still provide quality services that people need,” said DeCroce.
The Assemblywoman  scored 100 percent on the NJTPA score card, reflecting her votes to cut the cost of government.
DeCroce said that while the state is making progress on cutting government costs, there is much more to do, but it can only be done if the majority party in the legislature is willing to act.
“Further meaningful tax cuts are only possible if we have a true bipartisan effort to review the many programs, taxes, and fees that increase the overall government tax burden on families and businesses,” said DeCroce.
“Gov. Christie has showed how the state can begin cutting costs without impacting services or quality of life. It’s up to us in the legislature to move the ball down the field,” said DeCroce. “I’m looking forward to working to make New Jersey a more affordable place to live and work.”
The NJTA noted that New Jerseyans continue to shoulder the nation’s heaviest state-local tax burden, second only to New York, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DeCroce, O'Toole Applaud Governor's Energy Resiliance Initiative; Urge Legislation Leaders To Approve Power Protection Act

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce and Senator Kevin O’Toole today applauded Governor Christie’s administration for allocating $25 million to pursue creative and cost-effective alternatives to enhance statewide energy resilience – including the purchase of generators. The funds are being allocated from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

“I applaud the Governor for taking a strong leadership position on the vitally important issue of backup power when some leaders in the legislature are not,” said DeCroce.
DeCroce (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic) is the sponsor of the N.J. Residents Power Protection Act (A-3495), which seeks to address the power outage problems following Superstorm Sandy that hit New Jersey late last October.

Senator O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris,Passaic) is the sponsor of companion legislation in the senate. He noted that the Christie Administration energy resilience plan includes a $7 million grant program that will allow targeted retail fuel stations, on and near evacuation routes, faster and more reliable access to backup power during an energy emergency.

The state will make funding available to more than 250 fuel stations located along key thoroughfares identified by state homeland security and emergency management personnel. Eligible station owners will use the funds to purchase generators or permanent connection points for mobile generators, also known as “quick connects.”

“The Governor should be congratulated for recognizing thatNew Jerseystill has serious gaps in its energy security network and that he is allocating federal funds as an innovative solution while the legislature continues to deliberate on this important issue,” said O’Toole.

DeCroce’s legislation would require all gas stations, nursing homes, and other critical facilities to have generator backup power during declared emergencies. To help implement the generator program, DeCroce has included in her legislation a tax incentive to make the upgrades affordable to businesses.

While DeCroce’s legislation has been stalled by state legislative leaders, she says she is encouraged by Governor Christie’s leadership on backup power issue and hopes it will spur the legislature to act. The governor’s emergency energy program is targeted at critical facilities, including police and fire stations, shelters, emergency operations centers, and wastewater treatment plants in 146 municipalities, counties and other government units.

“While the governor’s program serves the needs of 146 municipalities, counties, and other government entities; we need a mandatory statewide backup program that serves the residents in all 565 municipalities,” said DeCroce.

“It’s nearly a year sinceSandyslammedNew Jersey, and the State Legislature has not done enough in my opinion to avoid a repeat of the horrific conditions residents had to endure in the aftermath of that storm,” said DeCroce.

DeCroce said the images of long lines of people trying to get gasoline for cars and generators at the few gas stations that were open; and the disruption to commerce and the threats to the lives of our elderly brought by the loss of power are still firmly etched in her mind.

“The conditions for many people, especially our most vulnerable citizens were barbaric and must never be repeated,” added the Assemblywoman. “I hope the Assembly Speaker and Senate President will take a cue from Governor Christie on the matter of energy security and will post the kind of legislation needed to protect all the residents of this state.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

DeCroce Named 'Champion' For Work On Health Care For Women And Babies

Source: Montville Patch-

District 26 Asw. BettyLou DeCroce received the New Jersey Primary Care Association’s “Community Health Center Champion Award” for 2013 at a special ceremony Friday at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Atlantic City. The association said DeCroce was recognized for her commitment to improving outcomes in high-risk pregnancies throughout the Garden State.

“I am sincerely humbled by this recognition and would like to thank the NJPCA for this honor,” said the lawmaker, who represents citizens of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties. “In New Jersey, we are fortunate to have access to some of the best medical care in the country. That being said, there’s no excuse for not making sure we provide high-risk, expectant mothers and their babies with the best possible care and outcomes.”

DeCroce sponsored Assembly Bill A-4056, which she said would improve outcomes in high-risk pregnancies and improve the health of low-income mothers and their newborns with more thorough testing and pre-natal care.

“After listening to powerful testimony about the high rate of miscarriages in our state during an Assembly Women and Children Committee meeting last fall, I introduced a bill requiring more proactive monitoring and care during the crucial perinatal period, from the 20th week of a pregnancy through the first four weeks after a baby’s birth,” she said. “I am confident that with the collaboration of the New Jersey Primary Care Association and medical professionals and advocacy groups, we can bring this life-saving legislation to fruition.”

The New Jersey Primary Care Association is a nonprofit corporation that represents community-based ambulatory health care providers and affiliates across the state.

DeCroce said the measure so far is finding bipartisan support in Trenton.

Friday, October 18, 2013

DeCroce Recieves Community Health Center Champion Award From The New Jersey Primary Care Association

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce was presented with the New Jersey Primary Care Association’s “Community Health Center Champion Award” for her commitment to improving outcomes in high-risk pregnancies in New Jersey.

“I am sincerely humbled by this recognition and would like to thank the NJPCA for this honor,” said DeCroce, R- Morris, Essex andPassaic. “In New Jersey, we are fortunate to have access to some of the best medical care in the country. That being said, there’s no excuse for not making sure we provide high-risk, expectant mothers and their babies with the best possible care and outcomes.”

DeCroce is the sponsor of bi-partisan legislation, A-4056, to improve outcomes in high-risk pregnancies and improve the health of low-income mothers and their newborns with more thorough testing and pre-natal care.

“After listening to powerful testimony about the high rate of miscarriages in our state during an Assembly Women and Children Committee meeting last fall, I introduced a bill requiring more proactive monitoring and care during the crucial perinatal period, from the 20th week of a pregnancy through the first four weeks after a baby’s birth,” stated DeCroce, who received the award at a conference today, at The Golden Nugget Hotel in Atlantic City.

“I am confident that with the collaboration of the New Jersey Primary Care Association and medical professionals and advocacy groups, we can bring this life-saving legislation to fruition.”

DeCroce was elected to the General Assembly to represent the constituents of the 26th Legislative District in 2012. She serves on the Assembly Education, Assembly Women and Children, and Assembly Higher Education committees, and the Joint Committee on Public Schools.

She is the former Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, where she oversaw the Division on Local Government Services and the Division on Women.

New Jersey Primary Care Association, Inc. (NJPCA) is a not-for-profit corporation that represents the organizational providers and affiliates of community-based ambulatory healthcare, specifically focusing on FQHCs, in the State ofNew Jersey.

Friday, October 4, 2013

ASSEMBLYWOMAN DECROCE ADDRESSES INTERNATIONAL CODE BODY IN ATLANTIC CITY

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Morris), drawing on her experience as a Deputy Commissioner at the State Department of Community Affairs, which oversees code enforcement and fire safety, addressed the International Code Council (ICC) at their 10th Annual Conference in Atlantic City.

The ICC is an international membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention.  The group develops codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings.

Stressing the need for policymakers at the local, county, state and national levels to cooperate and share information on code development and enforcement, DeCroce said, “I believe there is an urgent need for municipalities, state and national agencies to have an open a dialogue that leads to informed decision-making.

She said that a lot of the work that the ICC will do at its conference over the next 10 days can be a catalyst to that dialogue.

"The springboard for that open and cooperative dialogue should begin with the ICC,” said DeCroce. “There is a need to have a dialogue about what regulations work and which ones don’t.  In an era of limited government resources, governments need to streamline regulation and employ those that have the greatest safety impact on people’s lives.” 

DeCroce also mentioned the key role code development and enforcement plays in the rebuilding efforts from Superstorm Sandy.  “We need drive only a short distance from here to see the devastation brought by Sandy and the many examples of how code requirements, properly enforced, made a difference”, said DeCroce. 

“Buildings constructed in accordance with modern codes fared much better than older, non-compliant structures.”


Friday, September 27, 2013

NJ 101.5: "STOPPING TOWNS FROM USING YOUR CASH TO OVERPAY LAWYERS"

Source: NJ 101.5 -
This summer, State Comptroller Matt Boxer released a scathing audit that revealed a repeated waste of taxpayer dollars by government entities on excessive or improper payments for legal services, including one town that paid a salary for an attorney with no job duties at all.
Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce has introduced a bill she hopes will be a quick fix to the problem.
The bill, called the ‘Transparency in Government Legal Bill Act,’ requires a detailed invoice describing each legal service performed, an itemized list of the expenses involved for each service and how the amount of the charge was determined.
“When someone receives a bill, they have a right to see a breakdown of the charges before making payment,” says DeCroce. “Taxpayers are footing the bill for contracted legal services provided to agencies and departments and each bill should be scrutinized to make sure the charges are fair, accurate and can be substantiated.”
Under DeCroce’s bill, before any town pays any legal fee, an invoice must include the following information:
  • The date(s) and description of issue for which service was provided.
  • The name of the attorney and the method used to calculate the bill.
  • The total charge for the service(s) provided.
  • The invoice must include a description of each service rendered and the name(s) of the individuals involved in providing that service.
  • The amount of time spent on each particular service.
  • A list of expenses and disbursements made for each service rendered, with specific notes on which services are reimbursable.
  • A notation on the limit of charges for services that may be billed as provided in the contract and whether payment of the invoice will exceed the limit stipulated in the agreement.
“This legislation spells out the elements that must be included in an invoice and ensures taxpayers are only paying for services that can be documented just as any client is entitled to before remitting payment,” says DeCroce.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DECROCE LEGISLATION WOULD REQUIRE ITEMIZED BILL FOR PAYMENT OF LEGAL SERVICES

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
Following through on a report issued by the state comptroller in the summer regarding the payment of legal bills by government entities, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce has introduced legislation that would require a detailed invoice for the services rendered before payment is made.
The bill, called the “Transparency in Government Legal Bill Act,” requires that information, such as a description of each legal service rendered, an itemized list of the expenses involved for each service and how the amount of the charge was determined, must be detailed in an invoice.
“When someone receives a bill, they have a right to see a breakdown of the charges before making payment,” said DeCroce, R- Morris, Esssex and Passaic. “Taxpayers are footing the bill for contracted legal services provided to agencies and departments and each bill should be scrutinized to make sure the charges are fair, accurate and can be substantiated. This legislation spells out the elements that must be included in an invoice and ensures taxpayers are only paying for services that can be documented just as any client is entitled to before remitting payment.”
Under DeCroce’s legislation (A-4370), prior to the authorization of payment, an invoice must include the following information:
1.The date(s) and description of issue for which service was provided.
2.The name of the attorney and the method used to calculate the bill.
3.The total charge for the service(s) provided.
4.The invoice must include a description of each service rendered and the name(s) of the individuals involved in providing that service.
5.The amount of time spent on each particular service.
6.A list of expenses and disbursements made for each service rendered, with specific notes on which services are reimbursable.
7.A notation on the limit of charges for services that may be billed as provided in the contract and whether payment of the invoice will exceed the limit stipulated in the agreement.

Stickley Museum Will Honor DeCroce and Lim

Source: Bergen Record-


The Stickley Museum’s Design for Living Gala will be held on Oct. 5 at the Mountain Lakes Club in Mountain Lakes.
The gala will honor Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce and Jasmine Lim, business administrator for the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, both of whom have been steadfast friends of the museum for many years. It will also honor the memory of the late Alex DeCroce, who served as a museum trustee for 10 years.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to publicly acknowledge our appreciation for these individuals who have played a leading role in the Stickley Museum’s success story,” said Heather Stivison, the museum’s executive director. “The support and assistance of both Jasmine Lim and Betty Lou DeCroce, and of Alex DeCroce until his passing last year, have been critical to the Stickley Museum’s remarkable transformation from a property slated for development into a thriving cultural and historical center.”

Lim describes her relationship with Craftsman Farms and the Craftsman Farms Foundation as both “longstanding and multi-faceted.”

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is located at the intersection of Manor Lane and Route 10 West. Restoration of the National Historic Landmark, Craftsman Farms, is made possible in part, by a Save America’s Treasure’s grant, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and by support from Morris County Preservation Trust, the New Jersey Historic Trust, and individual members.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Assemblywoman Introduces Bill To Ban Secret Recordings

Source: Parsippany Patch-

A new bill introduced before the New Jersey General Assembly this week would make it illegal to record a conversation or meeting without the consent of all involved parties.

The measure, A-4373, is sponsored by District 26 Asw. BettyLou DeCroce of Parsippany would amend the New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act statute. Presently the law requires the approval of only one of the parties to record a communication.

“This legislation tightens up a law passed in 1968 that could not foresee the rapid expansion of recording technology that can be used to harm a person’s character,” said DeCroce, who represents parts of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties. “The proliferation of iPhones, YouTube, email and the Internet have drastically changed the landscape of communications.”

The assemblywoman said her primary concern was to protect ordinary citizens.

“Private citizens involved in a conversation or meeting should all be made aware and consent to its taping,” she explained. “Too often, these recordings are made by people who use them to disparage a person’s reputation or publicly embarrass them. When a recording goes viral, the damage is done and it is extremely difficult to restore a reputation that is tarnished.”

DeCroce said that if her bill passes, those who make “surreptitious tapings” of private citizens would be subject to civil and criminal charges.

Monday, September 9, 2013

ANGELINI-RIBLE-RUMANA-DECROCE SPONSORED HOME INVASION BILL PASSES ASSEMBLY

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release-

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Mary Pat Angelini, Dave Rible, Scott Rumana and BettyLou DeCroce that makes the crime of home invasion when a person is present a first degree offense was approved by the General Assembly today. The bill (A-4329/S-2932) is in response to the break-in, robbery and vicious assault in a Millburn residence in June.

“The video showing the break-in and assault that took place in Millburn was horrifying,” said Angelini, R-Monmouth. “The intrusion and callous disregard for the homeowner was shocking and disgusting. A criminal who acts with such indifference should face a severe penalty, without leniency.”
The Home Invasion Bill stipulates that entering a home with the intent to commit a robbery, a first or second degree crime, or certain kidnapping and sexual crimes when a person is present is a first degree crime, which imposes a 10-30 year prison term.

“The contempt demonstrated by the assailant shows the cruel indifference criminals have for the public,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, who is a retired police officer. “Words cannot aptly describe the fear a person and their loved ones feel when a burglary occurs when they are home. A person who acts with utter disdain and disrespect for other human beings and their property must pay the appropriate penalty.”
A home invasion offense would be subject to the No Early Release Act which stipulates that the convicted must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.
“Home invasion is an egregious violation of a person’s right to live peacefully in their home,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “The trauma of burglary is bad enough, but when a person is in their home and fearing for their life, the mental and physical anguish never goes away. A criminal who acts so viciously deserves to face the stiffest sentence under the law.”

“The assault in Millburn is an example of how callously indifferent criminals are,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, who sponsored legislation signed into law last year (Alex DeCroce’s Law) advocating for the rights of crime victims. “The brutality of this attack is a vivid example of the horror people endure. Many victims of crime bear the emotional trauma forever, especially when it involves an intrusion into their home. The criminal who is responsible deserves to pay a steep penalty for the harm they cause.”

Currently, the charge for the unlawful, non-violent break-in of a home is a third degree offense and does not require a prison sentence.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS



The kids are antsy from the long vacation.  The malls are packed.  That’s right – it’s back to school time.  As a parent, what do you need to know?

For starters, it’s important to engage with your child’s teachers early.  According to Eric Sheninger, an award-winning Principal at New Milford High School, Back to School Night is vitally important to attend for face-to-face interaction and also a “good time to address potential problems at home that may interfere with your child’s success at school, such as family illness, divorce or economic struggles…these details can help a teacher better communicate with your child.”  You may also want to consider writing a brief note to your child’s teacher at the start of the school year conveying your interest in hearing feedback about his or her academic performance and behavior in the classroom.  This will create a smooth introduction, should miscommunication with your child or the school ever occur.

In an article “What Teachers Want You to Know” from USA Weekend, staying tapped into social media – whether it’s keeping up to date with your child’s online presence (the average young person spends 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen) or following classroom activity – is integral in a changing age of technology. Principal Sheninger also suggests setting up timetables for long projects and shying away from actually finishing projects for your children in the place of their own learning.

In anticipation of the back-to-school rush, the National Association of School Psychologists advises on re-establishing bedtime and mealtime routines now and weaning kids off the television, so the transition back to a more disciplined education setting is easier.  Additionally, teaching young children to make their own lunches the night before will instill a good habit and reduce stress on you for many years to come.

With that – I wish students and parents alike a much successful new school year!

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce represents parts of Morris, Essex, and Passaic Counties.  She serves on the Education Committee, Higher Education Committee, Joint Committee on Public Schools, and the Women and Children Committee.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Right To Know What You're Eating

Source: Hunterton County Democrat (Op-Ed By BettyLou DeCroce)-

Since the 1960s, U.S. consumers have become increasingly interested in what’s in the food they buy. With good reason. Modern processed foods are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as sodium, sugar and saturated fats — not to mention, a host of chemicals.

As people have become increasingly health conscious, consumer advocates have demanded that food companies detail what’s in the products they sell. That’s why we see moms and dads in supermarkets reading labels and comparing ingredients; they want to make the healthiest, smartest choices they can for themselves and their families.

To help consumers make those choices, I signed on to a bipartisan bill in the Legislature to require foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, to be labeled as such. I’m not necessarily opposed to GM foods, and I appreciate the biotechnology that makes some crops more resistant to disease and drought and increases yields. I also appreciate the investment in GMOs made by international companies such as Monsanto, Dow and BASF.

These companies have given us many tremendous products, but they have also given us products that harm people and the environment. It’s safe to say there are downsides to GM foods that we don’t know about yet. So why not give consumers the right to know if the wheat, corn or sugar beets they put on the table were genetically altered? Why not give consumers the right to choose?

I’m not alone in my desire to empower and protect consumers.
• A New York Times poll found that 93 percent of respondents wanted labeling of GMO products and that three-quarters expressed concerns about the health effects of GMOs.
• 26 states have introduced or passed GMO labeling laws.
• Whole Foods stores support mandatory labeling of GMO foods.
• Several European Union countries, including France, Germany and Austria, have banned cultivation of genetically modified crops.

Experts say one of the biggest risks of GMOs is introducing allergens and toxins to food. Accidental contamination between genetically modified and non-modified foods also destroys the claim of organic food producers.

Concerns about GMOs are highlighted by an incident involving StarLink modified corn, which was approved for animal feed, but not for human consumption because of concerns about allergic reactions. The StarLink corn turned up unexpectedly in many Kraft products, including Taco Bell corn shells. Apparently, some corn fields were accidentally contaminated with the StarLink seed. Several dozen people reported severe allergic reactions to the tacos; major recalls followed.

The Environmental Protection Agency said tests were inconclusive about the connection between the GMO corn and the allergic reactions. But Aventis Cropscience, StarLink corn’s inventor, voluntarily withdrew registration for the GMO corn. It will no longer be grown.

Clearly, those who insist GMO crops are safe for people and the environment and are rigorously tested are simply wrong.

Regulation of GMO foods is in the jurisdiction of the Food & Drug Administration, the EPA and the Agriculture Department, which often rely on industry to self-police its products. In a WebMD article, Gregory Jaffe, director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, wrote:
“I think the regulation system in the U.S. could be greatly improved. Our view is that the public is entitled to have the FDA determining that the food is safe and not relying on (companies such as) Monsanto telling us the food is safe.”

Commenting on the science of engineering food technology, David Ehrenfeld, a professor of biology at Rutgers’ Cook College, said: “The technology is based on sound science to the extent that they’ve been able to do it. It’s not based on sound ecology or sound environmental practice.”

There is enough doubt about GMOs to at least alert consumers they are ingesting engineered foods. Government already requires companies to list many product ingredients. Many food producers proudly display the term “organic” to encourage consumers to buy their product.

If farmers and manufacturers believe GMOs are truly beneficial, or benign, why not proudly admit that “this is a genetically altered food”?

I don’t think that’s too much information. I think it’s the right information.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DeCroce: Comptroller’s Report on Free School Lunch Program Costly for All Taxpayers

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, R- Morris, Essex and Passaic, said today’s report issued by state Comptroller Matt Boxer revealing a lack of oversight by 15 school districts in reviewing applications for the Free School Lunch Program (FSLP) is troubling evidence that lessons were not learned when such problems were revealed in the Elizabeth school district nearly two years ago.

Boxer’s audit found that school board members and school district employees had provided materially false information regarding their income on the FSLP applications. The comptroller’s office is forwarding the names of 109 individuals discovered in the audit to the Division of Criminal Justice for its review.

“Apparently, some school districts did not learn any lessons from what was discovered in Elizabeth,” said DeCroce, who is a member of the Assembly Education Committee. “Lax oversight in reviewing applications that result in ineligible students receiving a free or reduced cost lunch is unacceptable and cheats taxpayers and other school districts.

“The fact that additional school aid is granted based on the number of participants in this program exacerbates the problem and takes aid from other districts that would welcome the additional help,” continued DeCroce. “This report should serve as a wakeup call to all districts throughout the state that taxpayers expect applications for aid to be reviewed thoroughly and rejected when inaccurate information is supplied. I wholeheartedly agree with the comptroller forwarding the names of people who provided false information to the justice system for review.”

Thursday, July 11, 2013

DECROCE ANNOUNCES $67,000 IN SAFE CORRIDOR GRANTS FOR DISTRICT

Four municipalities in Morris and Essex counties will share $67,036 in state Safe Corridor grants to improve motorist safety along Route 46, announced Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R- Essex Morris, Passaic).

The municipalities receiving the funds are: Montville, which will receive $18,503;
Parsippany, $910; Rockaway Township, $9,403; and Fairfield $38,220.

Assemblywoman DeCroce explained that the safe corridor grants can be used by municipalities to purchase law enforcement equipment, including police vehicles, radar equipment, hardware and software for computers, as well as for police salaries.

“Highway safety is very important and I want to thank Gov. Christie for releasing this money that will help improve safety for my constituents who travel the heavily used highway that runs through my legislative district,” said DeCroce.

The Safe Corridor grant program originated in 2003 and targets resources to 14 ten-mile segments of several highways that have a history of high automobile crash rates. Grants are supported by fines which are doubled in designated Safe Corridors for a variety of moving violations, including speeding.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Carroll-DeCroce Statements on Signing “Legacy Landfill” Legislation

Legislation (S-2861/A-4238) sponsored by Assembly Republicans Michael Patrick Carroll and BettyLou DeCroce establishing requirements and controls applicable to “legacy landfills” and properly closed sanitary landfill facilities that accept new materials after closure was signed into law today by Gov. Christie.

The following statements are from the Assembly Republican sponsors of the new law:

“The Fenimore landfill is a health hazard that needs the immediate attention it will now receive from the new law,” said Carroll, R- Morris and Somerset, who represents Roxbury Twp. “The unilateral decision to change the agreed upon use in a legacy landfill not only has environmental consequences but affects a town’s quality of life. There must be consequences for failing to abide by an agreement, but the most important concern is restoring the community’s intolerable living condition resulting from the detestable smell coming from Fenimore.”

“As the former municipal clerk and public servant for Roxbury Township for over 23 years, I have strong ties, loyalty and a deep conviction to this community and its residents,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “The air quality from the hydrogen sulfide emanating from Fenimore is a public health concern for everyone in the town. A host of problems, including respiratory and eye-irritation have plagued residents for weeks. I am glad the DEP acted immediately to take temporary control of Fenimore so the noxious odors emitted from the site can be controlled and the residents can return to a normal and healthy quality of life.”
The new law provides that an administrative consent order (ACO) entered into between the DEP and a potential legacy landfill purchaser will be voidable if: the DEP finds the financial assurance requirements made by the applicant are not met; the applicant entering into the ACO submitted to any governmental agency any misrepresentation, false statement or misleading statement; or fraud, misrepresentation or deceit was used in securing a license.

The administrative consent order (ACO) will be voided once initiated by the DEP and upheld in a Superior Court.

The bill also provides that if the ACO is voided, the DEP will be required to take such measures deemed necessary to protect the public, which may include closing the landfill.

A “legacy landfill” is defined as one that ceased operations prior to January 1, 1982, and received household, commercial or industrial solid waste for disposal.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Court’s Ruling on Guiseppe Tedesco a Victory for Crime Victims and Families

Monday’s state Supreme Court ruling that upholds previous lower court decisions that Guiseppe Tedesco, who was convicted of killing Alyssa Ruggieri on March 27, 2010, must attend his sentencing out of respect for the victim’s family and for the judicial system is a victory for those impacted by such terrible tragedies said Assembly Republicans Anthony M. Bucco and BettyLou DeCroce today.

Bucco and DeCroce, who recently introduced bipartisan legislation (A-4118) which clarifies a crime victim has a right to make a victim impact statement directly to the defendant in court at sentencing, lauded the high court’s ruling. The Bucco-DeCroce bill would amend and strengthen the current Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.

“I fully support the court’s finding that Mr. Tedesco offered no compelling reason for his absence during his sentencing,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “The remarks Mr. Tedesco will hear from Alyssa’s family will pale in comparison to the agony and pain he has caused them by taking an innocent life. The court used sound and rational logic in dismissing the unpersuasive excuses given by the defendant for not listening to the anguish he has caused the Ruggieri family.”

In 1991, Assemblywoman DeCroce’s late husband, Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, sponsored and advocated for the Victims’ Rights Amendment – a landmark amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that guaranteed the rights of crime victims, which voters approved.

“It was for instances like this that Alex championed this amendment because of his sensitivity to the pain and anguish felt by victims and their families,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “The trauma endured by crime victims and their families, such as the Ruggieri’s, far surpasses a request by the convicted that they forego appearing in court at their sentencing. Mr. Tedesco will never be able to comprehend the irreparable harm he has caused, and in this case, the callous disregard for human life he exhibited. The rights of victims must be upheld.”

Bucco and DeCroce’s bill was introduced on May 13 and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Monday, June 24, 2013

DeCroce-Webber-Schepisi Bill Exempting Local Government from Highlands Act Approved by Assembly

A bill sponsored by Assembly Republicans BettyLou DeCroce, Jay Webber and Holly Schepisi that would provide an exemption to local governments from certain provisions of the Highlands Act when deciding to install synthetic turf fields was approved by the General Assembly today. At present, the 2004 law only provides public or private schools the exemption.

“This legislation represents an opportunity to level the playing field for municipalities that are restricted by the Highlands Act from installing synthetic turf for their residents,” said DeCroce, who noted there are 88 municipalities and portions of seven counties in the Highlands Region. “The conditions of the municipal fields in some towns in the preservation area are deteriorating and often unusable and unsafe.  “It is ironic that the schools can install the turf or make field improvements, but the towns can’t,” explained DeCroce. “If the residents want to upgrade their municipal fields to a more durable surface they should be allowed to do so. Affording municipalities the same exemption that schools already enjoy is common sense and something property taxpayers deserve.”

The bill, A-3541, would exempt towns from the lengthy, costly and arduous process of obtaining a permit under the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.

“The Highlands Act remains a model of unfairness and arbitrariness, and represents the worst government land grab against our communities in New Jersey history,” said Webber. “This legislation injects a bit of reasonableness into otherwise bad policy. It offers our local communities a fair opportunity to provide safe and durable ball fields on open space, and puts local property taxpayers back in charge of a decision that affects their own welfare.”

“This bill affords local governments the same chance to upgrade their facilities and provide the same safe environment for recreational use as given to schools in the Highlands Region that were grandfathered in when the Highlands Act was passed,” said Schepisi. “Providing this exemption to another entity at the local level is fair and will save the burdensome application-related costs borne by taxpayers. All parents want their children to play on safe fields, not ones that could potentially put them in harms’ way and cause serious injury.”

The bill is also sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, and was released with unanimous approval from the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on June 10.

Friday, May 31, 2013

ASSEMBLYWOMAN DECROCE JOINS LEGISLATIVE LEADERS FOUNDATION

Source: Parsippany Patch-

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Morris, Essex and Passaic) of Parsippany was chosen to participate in the State Legislative Leaders Foundation’s (SLLF) “Emerging Leaders Program” at The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

She is one of 50 legislators selected from across the country to participate.
“I am honored to have been selected to participate in this prestigious program which will afford me the chance to learn from and network with fellow legislators from around the nation,” said DeCroce.

“I fully intend to make the most of this challenging opportunity to further enhance my leadership skills and gain new perspectives so that I may better serve my constituents and the residents of New Jersey,” she added.

According to a written statement from DeCroce’s office, the program will be held over the course of four days in July to develop leadership skills focusing on:
•Analysis and feedback on elements of personal leadership style.
•Awareness of the importance of values and ethics in governance and public service.
•Gaining perspective on the importance of the role of the state legislature in contem­porary American politics.
•Recognition of the importance of legisla­tors as consensus builders and facilitators of compromise.

DeCroce was nominated by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and selected by a committee of senior staff from the SLLF and Darden faculty selected the participants.

“One of the primary criteria for selection is the candidate’s long-term commitment to public service and keen interest in self development,” the statement said.

Monday, May 6, 2013

DeCroce: Nearly $1M in Road Improvements Coming to Morris County


Municipalities in Morris County will share just under $1 million in state grants for road improvement projects, according to District 26 Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce.

The projects receiving state funding range from a $250,000 Interpace Parkway improvment project in Parsippany to $140,000 road resurfacing project for Carey Avenue in Butler.

“I am extremely pleased that we were able to secure this funding through the state Department of Transportation to upgrade the infrastructure in [these] district  communities,” said DeCroce. “The state funding is critical to help offset the costs of road and bridge improvements for local taxpayers.”

MORRIS COUNTY DISBURSEMENTS

Municipality Project Type Amount Total
Butler Borough Carey Ave Resurfacing Roadway Preservation $140,000 $140,000
Jefferson Township Weldon Road Improvements Roadway Preservation $200,000 $200,000
Lincoln Park Borough Two Bridges Road & Pine Brook Road Improvements – Phase II Roadway Preservation $180,000 $180,000
Montville Township Roads Resurfacing – Church Lane, Stiles Lane/Vail Road Roadway Preservation $200,000 $200,000
Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Interpace Parkway Improvement Project Roadway Preservation $250,000 $250,000

A total of $2.1 million dollars in state grants covered projects in Morris, Essex and Passaic counties.
 

Bucco & DeCroce: Murderers Must Face Their Victims

As the state Supreme Court decides whether a convicted killer must attend his own sentencing, Assembly Republicans Anthony M. Bucco and BettyLou DeCroce have introduced legislation that would clarify the rights of crime victims to face their assailants at sentencing.

Guiseppe Tedesco, convicted of killing Alyssa Ruggieri in her Hopatcong home in 2010, is attempting to waive to his right to appear at his sentencing. The state Supreme Court heard arguments this week and is expected to decide the matter in the fall.

“Alyssa had no choice whether to face Tedesco. He doesn’t deserve a choice now whether to face those who are grieving her loss,” Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset, said. “Those who have been convicted of an egregious crime against humanity cannot dictate to the courts, or those they have victimized, how they will receive their punishment. This is making a mockery of our justice system.”

The proposal, A-4118, would amend the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights to strengthen victims’ rights to make an in-person statement directly to the court and the offender at sentencing.

“Crime victims will always feel the pain, loss and suffering caused by crime. They deserve the opportunity to confront those who harmed them before justice is served,” DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, said. “It’s mind boggling to think that the Supreme Court has to even consider whether a convicted murderer has to appear in court for his sentencing. The last words a violent criminal should hear before being locked up should be from the friends and families left behind.”

DeCroce and Bucco urged the Supreme Court to side with crime victims and said they would fight to change the law to make sure this situation never arises again.

“Crime victims who have suffered a horrendous loss should decide for themselves whether addressing their assailant will help their grieving process,” Bucco said. “We hope the Supreme Court will use common sense and side with the Ruggiero family in this case. Meanwhile, we must change the law to make sure the courts never have to consider a case like this again.”

“The question of whether a criminal should have to sit for a sentencing should never be asked again,” added DeCroce. “We will support the Ruggieros and any other family victimized by crime and will fight to make sure the legal process remains open and compassionate to victims.”


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why Was Coach’s Conduct Tolerated?

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, a member of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, issued the following statement on the firing of Rutgers University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Rice:

“Rutgers Coach Michael Rice demonstrated a pattern of conduct with his players that is unbefitting an institution of higher learning. There is no rational way to condone or explain the physical and verbal abuse that Mr. Rice heaped on his players. Coach Rice earned his dismissal and I support his firing.

More problematic for me as a member of the higher education committee, however, is that Coach Rice’s conduct was tolerated for so long by the university. People in the Athletic Department knew for quite some time of Coach Rice’s violent outbursts and physical confrontations with players, yet chose to keep him at the institution until ESPN’s broadcast of the Rice’s behavior made it impossible to retain him as a representative of the state’s largest public university.

Apparently, some people at Rutgers did not learn from the experience at Penn State.  Failure to act quickly to deal with inappropriate actions of coaches harms individuals, players and the university’s programs – not to mention the reputation of the university itself.

The desire to win games and protect a sports program cannot ever be allowed to supersede a university’s obligation to protect its players and all those who come in contact with a program. The failure to fire Coach Rice earlier was a failure by Rutgers to meet its obligation to its student athletes and their parents.

Rutgers needs to examine its policies regarding the conduct of its coaches and how the Athletic Department and other college officials deal with abusive coaches in the future.” 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DeCROCE NAMED TO STATE’S HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE; WANTS TO TACKLE COSTS AND EDUCATION RELEVANCY

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R- Morris Passaic) has been named to the Assembly Higher Education Committee. 
 
DeCroce said she is honored to serve on a committee whose oversight of higher education touches the lives of so many families in New Jersey. 

“Traditionally, the path to success and social mobility in America has been through our colleges and universities.  I want to make sure that a quality higher education is affordable to everyone who has the desire to pursue learning,” said DeCroce.

DeCroce said she is concerned that the cost of college is placing too high a burden on college graduates and their parents. “The spiraling costs of a college education are having a tremendous negative impact on students and families. The debt burden carried by college graduates is impacting their working lives and is proving to be a disincentive to some who want to pursue advanced learning,” said DeCroce.

The assemblywoman said she would like to see more fiscal accountability and cost controls on colleges and universities that accept government financing.  “Gov. Christie and the legislature have been fighting successfully to hold down the costs of our primary and secondary public schools and demanding more accountability from teachers and administrators. I believe we need to do the same with our colleges and universities where costs are far outstripping the rate of inflation,” said DeCroce. 

DeCroce pointed to a study released last fall that said tuition and mandatory fees for in-state students at the state’s public colleges will range from $10,422 at New Jersey City University to $14,740 at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. Those costs are exclusive of room and board paid by students who live on campus. 

Tuition and fees at Rutgers University for the average in-state undergraduate rose this year to  $13,073.Students living on campus will pay a total of more than $24,000 once room and board are added to the bill.

DeCroce, a career businesswoman, also noted that college curriculums need to be more relevant to today’s workplace. “The mission of our colleges should be to turn out people who have skills that are readily and immediately adaptable to the available employment opportunities,” said DeCroce.

The assemblywoman said she encourages businesses to become more involved with college administrators in shaping curriculums that give students the skills necessary to meet today’s job requirements.