Sunday, May 1, 2016

President Obama's Weekly Address 4/30/16: It’s Time for the Senate To Do Its Job

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week's address, the President repeated his call for Republicans in the United States Senate to give Chief Judge Merrick Garland a fair hearing and a vote. It has been 45 days since President Obama nominated Judge Garland to the Supreme Court. The President highlighted that Senate Republicans have said that Judge Garland is a man of experience, integrity and impeccable qualifications. Despite this, most Senate Republicans refused to do their job and give Judge Garland the consideration he deserves. The President made clear that the Supreme Court must remain above partisan politics, and that's why the President did his job in nominating Merrick Garland. Now, it's time for the Senate to do its job.

April 18, 2016 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

A rather uneventful meeting of the Middletown Township Committee was held on April 18th. Most of the meeting was taken up by the presentation of a number of proclamations

If you're so inclined, Committee Comments start at 44:12 where you can here what a great and wonderful deal it is for the township to have it's 911 system taken over by the county. This of course has been criticized by many since it was announced.

Public Comments start at 57:31

As always, you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.


(Trenton) -- According to the latest campaign finance records, the hateful anti-LGBT views of North Jersey's resident Tea Party extremist, Rep. Scott Garrett, have made him toxic to the corporations that previously supported his campaign.

Garrett raised one-fourth of the amount he took in from businesses at this time in the previous election cycle, reports show. And, Garrett’s First Quarter fundraising from businesses plummeted from an average of nearly $64,500* over the last three election cycles to just $15,500 raised from businesses this quarter. To fund his campaign, Garrett is now relying more heavily on donations from far-right Tea Party groups and members of Congress who share his long track record of hostility to equal rights for the LGBT community.

Garrett became radioactive to corporate donors after Politico reported this summer that the Tea Partier refused to contribute to the House Republicans’ fundraising arm because it supported gay candidates. Soon after, BusinessWeek dubbed Garrett "Wall Street’s Bigot in Washington."

Many companies have corporate policies that explicitly require LGBT equality. These and others have publicly distanced themselves from Garrett and announced that they will no longer write checks to him. These companies include Goldman Sachs, Capital One, BBCA Compass, U.S. Bancorp, Nomura Holdings, PNC Bank and State Farm. A recent Star-Ledger editorial noted the similarities in Garrett’s fundraising failures to the wave of companies speaking out against anti-LGBT laws in places like North Carolina and Mississippi.

State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) said Garrett’s stalled fundraising is proof that corporations are standing with their LGBT customers and employees against Garrett’s hate and bigotry.

"Scott Garrett is way out of step with New Jersey's values, and I'm glad that businesses are joining the fight against bigotry by withholding campaign funds from him. Public officials should stand up for tolerance and decency, not against them. Clearly, corporate interests are recognizing that funding anti-LGBT extremism tarnishes their respective brands, and hurts their bottom lines," Weinberg said.

With his corporate wells drying up, a desperate Garrett has turned to national Tea Party groups to fill his depleted coffers. In the first three months of 2016, the proportion of contributions Garrett received from anti-LGBT Tea Party groups increased six-fold compared to the three previous election cycles.

Notably, Garrett received $5,000 from FRC, a Radical Right group with a long history of disparaging the LGBT community. Last week, an FRC spokesperson called LGBT rights activists "un-American" for opposing laws that permit discrimination of LGBT individuals.

Similarly, Garrett’s reliance on checks from his fellow anti-LGBT Tea Party members increased nearly 30-fold, from only $1,000 or 0.5% of his contributions this time last Congressional cycle to $29,795 or 11% in the first quarter of 2016. For example, this year, he took money from the likes of Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, who has claimed that the LGBT movement wants to "eliminate free speech", compared being gay to alcoholism and drug addiction, and fallaciously stated that LGBT people have "tendencies to lie" and "tendencies to be violent."

A sampling of Garrett’s anti-LGBT cronies follows:

  • Family Research Council (FRC) – According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” FRC gave Garrett $5,000.
  • Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) – Hice claimed the LGBT movement wants to “eliminate free speech,” compared being gay to alcoholism and drug addiction, and asserted that LGBT people have “tendencies to lie” and “tendencies to be violent.” He gave $1,000.
  • Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) – In the 113th congress, Meadows earned a 30% rating from the HRC. He gave $8,795.
  • Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) – Congressman Ribble has earned 0% ratings from the Human Rights Campaign for his votes during the 112th and 113th Congresses. He gave $1,000.
  • Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) – Rep. Fincher earned a 30% rating from HRC during the 113th Congress and a 0% rating in the 112th Congress. He gave $2,000.
  • Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) – Rep. Aderholt earned a 0% rating from HRC in the previous three Congressional terms. He gave $1,000.
  • Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) – Rep. Babin is co-sponsor of a bill that would undermine the government’s ability to combat anti-LGBT discrimination. He gave $1,000.
  • Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) – In the 112th and 113th Congresses, Rep. Rigell earned a 0% rating from HRC. He gave $2,000.
  • Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) - In the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses, Rep. Lummis earned a 0% rating from HRC. She gave $1,000.
  • Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) – In the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses, Brady earned a 0% rating from the HRC. He gave $1,000.
  • Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) - In the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses, Burgess earned a 0% rating from HRC. He gave $1,000.

Committee Approves Pallone’s SANDy Act that Will Improve Communications During Disasters

Approval Comes After Pallone & Wireless Providers Agree on Wireless Resiliency Provisions in Bill

The Energy and Commerce Committee today approved the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act – or the SANDy Act, which was introduced in November by Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Senior Democrat on the committee.

Committee approval came one day after Pallone and CTIA, together with wireless providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon announced an agreement that wireless providers will share information and advance wireless network resiliency before, during and after disasters and emergencies. With yesterday’s agreement, Pallone offered an amendment at today’s committee markup to remove the wireless provisions in the bill.

Pallone offered the following statement about yesterday’s agreement and the importance of the SANDy Act.

As I’ve said numerous times, Superstorm Sandy had a devastating impact on my district back in New Jersey. So I introduced the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters – or SANDy – Act to address the lessons we learned in the aftermath of that terrible storm.

The legislation incorporated feedback that I heard from local officials and industry leaders at a forum on Sandy where we took a critical look at the lessons learned and the progress made with public safety telecommunications since the hurricane.

At that same time, I was working with FCC Chairman Wheeler and the wireless industry to make sure we are better prepared. And now I am proud to say that we reached an agreement to ensure that consumers have greater access to communications the next time disaster strikes.

Yesterday, with CTIA, we announced The Wireless Network Resiliency Framework under which the largest wireless providers will voluntarily comply with the wireless provisions set forth in the SANDy Act. Most important, the framework makes sure that if one network goes down, its customers can access another network that is still operational. Everyone should be able to call for help as long as any signal is available.

The agreement also takes action on other issues raised by the SANDy Act, such as making sure public safety officials and wireless personnel know how to reach each other at a moment’s notice during an emergency. This agreement will save lives during major emergencies in the future, and I would like to thank the wireless carriers and the FCC for working with me to craft this comprehensive agreement.

In light of this agreement, I’m offering an amendment today to the bill that will remove the wireless provisions from the SANDy Act. And since this framework is voluntary, I look forward to continuous updates from the industry on the progress they are making to meet everything included in this agreement.

This agreement is a major step, but more needs to be done. We must learn all the lessons from disasters like Sandy. For instance, in New Jersey, broadcasters and cable providers saved thousands of lives even before the storm hit. They provided the critical information that let people know how to get out of harm’s way. Public Safety officials have told me that without this information, the death toll would have been much, much worse.

But to keep this information flowing when the power goes out, the networks need backup generators. And these generators need fuel. Unfortunately, broadcasters, cable operators, and telecommunications providers have struggled in emergencies to find this fuel. And oftentimes when they finally find it, they are sent to the back of the line. Worse, once they get the fuel they need, it can be confiscated in favor of other services considered more essential under the law.

But fuel is not the only issue. In the chaos that follows a major disaster, just getting access to secure areas can be trying. During Sandy, communications providers were turned away at bridges because—once again—they were not considered essential. These are the providers that make sure we can call 9-1-1 or can contact loved ones. It took days to get some networks back on line simply because we could not get the right people to the right places.

My bill would fix these problems and more. It would recognize the lifesaving role played by wireline and mobile telephone, Internet, radio and television broadcasting, and cable and satellite services by adding them to the list of essential service providers. Having these networks operational can mean the difference between life and death during an event like Super Storm Sandy.

I would like to thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Walden for considering my bill at today’s markup. And I would like to also thank them both for their essential input on the amendment I’m offering today. This amendment would refocus the SANDy Act on the critical work that still remains to be done.

I urge all my colleagues to support it.

CTIA & Pallone Announce “Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework” for Disasters and Emergencies

Agreement Meets Wireless Resiliency Provisions in SANDy Act

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and CTIA, together with wireless providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon announced today the “Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework” [PDF] to share information and advance wireless network resiliency before, during and after disasters and emergencies.

Today’s agreement comes after ongoing discussions for five months between Pallone, FCC Chairman Wheeler and CTIA. The discussions began after Pallone introduced the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act – or the SANDy Act, which improves the resiliency of the nation’s communications networks during disasters and emergencies.

Specifically, the Framework:

· Provides for reasonable arrangements for roaming during disasters when technically feasible;

· Fosters mutual aid during emergencies;

· Enhances local governments’ preparedness and restoration;

· Increases consumer readiness and preparation; and

· Improves public awareness and stakeholder communications on service and restoration status by providing public information on actual outages for given disasters or emergencies.

“This agreement will save lives during major emergencies like Superstorm Sandy,” said Pallone. “I commend CTIA and the FCC for working with me to craft a comprehensive agreement that ensures consumers have access to wireless service during an emergency even if their wireless network goes down.”

“I am pleased that CTIA and the wireless providers created a set of common-sense solutions to improve coordination and network recovery during disasters and emergencies. This Framework will benefit consumers and help limit the impact of future disasters, while avoiding unworkable and unnecessary mandates,” said CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. “I also commend Representative Pallone and Chairman Wheeler for their leadership, which will help keep Americans safe and connected during the next storm.”

“For millions of Americans, mobile devices have become the primary way to communicate. Consumers need confidence that wireless networks will be there when they need them the most,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “I applaud Rep. Frank Pallone for keeping the spotlight on this issue and the wireless industry for stepping up for the needs of their customers by proposing voluntary solutions aimed at improving reliability when natural disasters and other emergencies strike.”

During and after Superstorm Sandy there was a major breakdown of telecommunications networks, including cellular and home telephones, television and internet services. This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns.

Pallone’s SANDy Act will be voted on by the Energy and Commerce Committee this week.

Sister of WWII Soldier To Receive NJ Medal During Remembrance Day Ceremony

Marie Listen will receive the medal for her brother, Neil Lucey, who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor

Holmdel, NJ (April 20, 2016) – The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial will hold a Remembrance Day Ceremony May 7, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1 Memorial Lane, Holmdel, NJ, Exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway. Marie Liston, the sister of a WWII Navy Seaman who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor, will accept a medal on her brother’s behalf.

Neil Lucey was just 18-years-old when he joined the United States Navy. He reported for duty March 12, 1940. Just 19 months later he would lose his life at Pearl Harbor, two days after his 20th birthday. His body is one of 1,177 entombed in the USS Arizona.

Now, 75 years later, Neil’s sister will accept a medal on his behalf during a Remembrance Day ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation on May 7, 2016.

Marie Lucey Liston is 101 and lives in Brick, NJ. She was born in 1914 in New York City and is the oldest of five children. Her mother died in childbirth in 1924 and the siblings were sent to live with relatives in Perth Amboy. Their father, Timothy Lucey, worked for the railroad and would visit when he could.

The death of Neil, who was nicknamed “Buddy,” was hard on the family. The first communication from the US Navy came on December 20, 1941, and informed the family that Neil was missing in action while the search for survivors at Pearl Harbor continued. The official death notice came on January 30, 1942 when it was determined that Neil had been one of those lost on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

He was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously for his valiant service as a Seaman First Class with the Navy.

Neil was the first person killed in action from Perth Amboy in WWII. The city dedicated a park in his name and the park was renovated and rededicated in 2000.

Gordon Pingicer is on the board of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, and is Marie’s son-in-law.

“This medal means so much to the family,” Gordon said. “Just the recognition that New Jersey gives to people who served is very significant.”

Remembrance Day was created by legislation in 1991 as a day in New Jersey to honor those who served in the military during the Vietnam War from 1959 to 1975. More than 200,000 New Jersey residents served in the armed forces during that time.

Visit for more information.

About New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, dedicated May 7, 1995, strives to encourage and foster patriotism and provide for recognition of the sacrifices, courage and valor of the New Jersey Veterans of the Vietnam Era. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center, dedicated in September 1998, strives to encourage and foster a thorough understanding of the Vietnam era, including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects that affected the United States, especially New Jersey. For more information, visit

Saturday, April 23, 2016

President Obama's Weekly Address 4/23/16: Building a Fairer and More Effective Criminal Justice System

In this week's address, the President discussed his continued efforts to build a fairer and more equitable criminal justice system.

ICYM: Middletown Rabies Alert 4/21/16

Middletown NJ:

The Middletown Township Health Department has received laboratory confirmation of a raccoon testing positive for Rabies. The animal had contact with 2 dogs on April 19, 2016 which required testing of the raccoon. Luckily the dogs had current rabies vaccinations. The incident occurred in the area of Richard Terrace and Stephenville Boulevard.

Residents should not be interacting with wildlife. If you come across a sick or injured animal, keep your distance and please contact Animal Control at 732-615-2097 immediately or contact the Police Department at 732-615-2100 after hours and on weekends.

Please make sure all domestic animals (dogs, cats, and livestock) are currently vaccinated with a Rabies vaccination. Do not let your pets run free off leash, even in the woods, to ensure they do not come in contact with wildlife that may be rabid.

Remember, Rabies is a fatal disease. The best course of defense is the vaccination of your pets and not handling or interacting with wildlife.

Additional Info about Rabies from the CDC

Got drugs? Safely dispose of them April 30th

Middletown NJ:

On Saturday, April 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the Middletown Police Department will collect expired, unused and unwanted prescription medication from residents as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take Back Initiative. Pills can be brought to Middletown Police Headquarters at 1 Kings Highway, Middletown, NJ, 07748. Please note the DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

The Middletown Township Health Department will accept home-generated syringes and needles used in the administration of injectable medications from township residents. Please call 732-615-2095 for more information. An appointment is necessary.

Friday, April 22, 2016

VOX: 7 things we've learned about ‎Earth‬ since the last ‎Earth Day

1) Scientists just discovered an entirely new, 600-mile-long coral reef at the mouth of the Amazon

2) We've discovered dozens of new species — as well as a few thought to be extinct

3) Earth has 3 trillion trees — far more than we thought

4) We discovered homo naledi, a new species of ancient human that once roamed the Earth

5) Unicorns and humans once coexisted. (Albeit really ugly unicorns.)

6) West Antarctica's ice sheet could melt faster than anyone thought

7) We also learned that humans are capable of cooperating on climate change

Read more about these on

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day 2016

We need to take care of the Earth,it's the only planet that we have.
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
 ~Native American Proverb

Earth Day is a reminder of our eternal duty to protect our planet, our home.
- Al Gore 

"The earth does not argue,
Is not pathetic, has no arrangements,
Does not scream, haste, persuade, threaten, promise,
Makes no discriminations, has no conceivable failures,
Closes nothing, refuses nothing, shuts none out,
Of all the powers, objects, states, it notifies, shuts none out."

– Walt Whitman, "Leaves of Grass," 1855

"There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

– Carl Sagan

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

– Neil Armstrong

This Earth Day, let’s get really big stuff done for our planet.

What are we waiting for? The time is now.

Learn more about Earth Day and what you can do @

Pallone Applauds Treasury Department Funds to Prevent Foreclosures and Stabilize NJ Housing Market

April 20, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) applauded the allocation of more than $45 million through the Hardest Hit Fund to the state of New Jersey to help stabilize the housing market and prevent foreclosures. The Hardest Hit Fund was created in 2010 to provide targeted assistance to 18 states and the District of Columbia deemed hardest hit by the economic and housing market downturn. The resources will be given to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s New Jersey HomeSaver Program, which offers counseling and financial assistance to bring down monthly mortgage payments or allow for refinancing.

In data released last year, New Jersey had the highest rate of Zombie foreclosures in the nation. Zombie foreclosures take place when homeowners vacate a residence prior to a bank repossessing the property. With the home unoccupied the property often falls into disrepair and becomes a targets for criminals, endangering home values throughout the neighborhood.

“I was proud to support the Hardest Hit Fund in Congress and am pleased that these funds are contributing to New Jersey’s economy recover,” said Pallone. “Thousands of New Jersey families suffered greatly during the great recession through no fault of their own and the Hardest Hit Fund will help ensure that more New Jerseyans can stay in their homes. A stable housing market is essential to the American Dream and we need to continue to work to make sure that home ownership is within reach for working families.”

The latest funding brings the Hardest Hit Fund total assistance to $9.6 billion for 18 states and the District of Columbia. New Jersey has received more than $400 million in total as part of the program. For more information on the latest round of HHF funding information please refer to the Treasury HHF page.


April 21, 2016

HAZLET- On the heels of Donald Trump’s victory in the New York Republican Presidential Primary, Monmouth County Democratic candidate for Sheriff, Jeff Cantor, today questioned why Monmouth County Sheriff and County Republican Party Boss, Shaun Golden is refusing to let people know whether he stands in support of Trump for President. Trump has already been endorsed by the head of the New Jersey Republican Party, Chris Christie, as well as by Golden’s fellow Party Boss, Ocean County’s George Gilmore.

With New Jersey’s June 7th Primary date looming and the Republican nominee for President far from decided, Trump’s many controversial positions have forced Golden’s position as Republican Party Boss to again come into sharper focus in conjunction with his position as the County’s highest ranking law enforcement official. This is just the latest conflict of interest brought on by Golden’s positions as both County Republican Party Chairman and County Sheriff.

“Donald Trump has advocated for advanced torture methods, called for a wall to be built to discriminate against people and even said at one point that women seeking abortions should ‘be punished,’” said Cantor. “Donald Trump’s hateful, bigoted positions have been very clear from the outset of his campaign for President and it is well past time for Shaun Golden to work through his conflicted interests as Party Boss and County Sheriff and let us all know whether the Monmouth County Sheriff believes Donald Trump should be our next President. The fact is that in his ‘day job’ as County Sheriff, Shaun Golden is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and safety for over 600,000 Monmouth County residents, so his party politics are not my concern.”

This conflict has long been an issue, even within Golden’s own party, as evidenced by statements made during Golden's recent run for Republican Party Chairman by former Monmouth County Prosecutor and President of the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Club, John Kaye, former Monmouth County Republican Chairman Fredrick Niemann as well as Manalapan Township Republican County Chairman Steve McEnery and Freehold Township Republican County Committee Chairman Anthony Graziano.

Former County Prosecutor Kaye said that holding both the Chairman and Sheriff’s positions: “ . . . would immediately create conflicts for our Freeholders and vulnerabilities for our candidates that put everyone at risk . . . This is because the Sheriff’s office is part of the county government and subject to the Board of Freeholder’s review for funding. “

Former Chairman Niemann wrote: “You are either an elected official or a party leader. You can’t do both. To do both is an inherent conflict of interest.”

At the same time, McEnery and Graziano cited numerous potential ethical conflicts in Golden serving as Party Boss and Sheriff and they wrote: “ . . . he will, among other things, be seeking approval for various necessities tied to the County’s largest Department, including its budget, from the very same people who will be looking to him for support, endorsement, and financing during election cycles.”


Jeff Cantor has been in the U.S. Army, both active and in the reserves, since 1985. He has served our country around the world, including deployments to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. After starting as a Private First Class, Cantor rose through the ranks and has earned the rank of Colonel in the Army Reserves. Jeff Cantor has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (3rd award), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (3rd award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2nd award), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal (2nd award); He has also been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Combat Action Badge and the Basic Parachutist Badge.

Raising New Jersey’s Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour Would Boost a Large and Diverse Group of Working Men and Women

People who are working full-time in New Jersey should be able to afford a decent place to live.

They should be able to buy food without having to rely on government safety net programs or private charity. And they should be able to afford clothes for themselves and their family.

But today, with the minimum wage at $8.38 an hour, that's just not the case.

As New Jersey policymakers consider raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour, a new NJPP report details just who would benefit from such a boost - and it's not who you might think.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 would directly boost the pay of about 1 in 4 Garden State workers, or 975,000 men and women.

The wage increase would help a diverse group of workers who currently aren't paid enough to make ends meet, improving their chances of getting by - and, often, providing for their families - in high-cost New Jersey.

The report's top findings:

  • Nearly all workers who would benefit are adults: 91% of the affected workers are adults 20 years old or older. Just 9% are teenagers.
  • Most workers who would benefit are working full time: 61% of the affected workers work 35 hours a week or more; an additional 27% work between 20 and 34 hours a week. Only 12% are working part time jobs at less than 20 hours a week.
  • Many workers who would benefit are parents: 28% of the affected workers are parents, and more than 1 in 5 New Jersey children (21%) have at least one parent who would benefit.
Raising the minimum wage will not only boost these workers, it will help boost New Jersey's economy, since these working men and women will spend the increased wages immediately and locally on pressing needs.

That's why, hand in hand with partners across the state and inside the Statehouse, NJPP is working hard to ensure that more of New Jersey's working men and women can start to make ends meet and begin to climb the ladder into the middle class.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pallone’s SANDy Act Passes Communications and Technology Subcommittee

April 19, 2016

Legislation to improve Communications during Disasters will likely receive Full Energy and Commerce vote next week.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act – or the SANDy Act, passed the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), the Senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the legislation earlier this year to help ensure the resiliency of the nation’s communications networks during emergencies. During and after Sandy there was a major breakdown of telecommunications networks, including cellular and home telephones, television, and internet services. This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns.

“I am proud that the SANDy act continues to move forward and one step closer to helping first responders, businesses and private citizens communicate during disasters,” said Pallone. “In New Jersey, we learned firsthand during Hurricane Sandy the importance of telecommunications during an emergency. Making a call for help is difficult when the power is out, and when the cell towers are also down, it can be nearly impossible.”

When Hurricane Sandy ripped through New Jersey three years ago, nearly one in four cell towers were knocked out. In some of the hardest hit areas of the state, as many as half of the towers went down – many of them stayed down for weeks.

“The SANDy Act would recognize the critical role that all communications providers—broadcasters, cable, and telecommunications—serve in emergencies, but most notably, the bill would ensure consumers have access to wireless service even if their particular wireless network goes down,” said Pallone. “We need to be better prepared because no one should be left with silence on the other end of the call when they dial 9-1-1.”

Among other things, this legislation would:

· Make sure that during an emergency consumer cell phones work on other carriers’ networks if their own network goes down, giving priority to calls to 9-1-1 services and emergency alerts;

· Increase coordination between wireless carriers, utilities, and public safety officials;

· Begin a process to provide 911 services over Wi-Fi hotspots during emergencies;

· Make sure all communication providers—radio, TV, and phone—can fix outages faster, even across state lines; and

· Launch an expansive study of the future of network resiliency.