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.