The following editorial by Senator Samuel Thompson (R-12) on the urgent need to fill vacancies on the Election Law Enforcement Commission board and preserve the public’s trust in the political process was published in The Record on August 25, 2016.
In just over a year, New Jersey voters will decide who will become the next governor and weigh in on a number of other high-profile state and local elections. Unless swift action is taken, the political organizations and lobbyists who control millions of campaign dollars spent to secure those seats may go unregulated. In turn, those who squander or try to hide donations may never be held accountable for their crimes.
The Election Law Enforcement Commission is charged with the critical mission of regulating all campaign financing of state and local elections. Without a fully-operational board, ELEC cannot hold hearings or fully investigate violations of New Jersey’s stringent campaign finance laws.
Three out of the four seats on the ELEC board are still vacant and the agency is woefully understaffed. The resulting backlog of cases has delayed hearings for notorious fundraisers who have shown no qualms about violating the public’s trust in the political process.
Senator Samuel Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean) announced plans to introduce legislation to exclude the rewards an athlete earns by winning an Olympic Medal from their state income taxes.
“As the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro draw to a close, New Jersey is preparing to welcome back more than three dozen athletes who have competed for the United States and even a few that have done well enough to earn medals. But there will be more than well-wishers waiting to celebrate their return home,” Senator Thompson said. “They can also expect a hefty tax bill to be waiting for them as well. It’s a shame that these athletes – who have reached the pinnacle of their sports – have to face the burden of paying this tax once they get home.”
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, has introduced legislation to provide a permanent, stable source of funding for New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
The TTF, which funds transportation infrastructure projects in the state, will soon lack the resources to pay for new projects. Unlike other proposals that would only serve as a short-term solution to TTF refunding for seven or ten years, Thompson’s proposal, S-2352, provides a permanent solution.
“Every few years the TTF runs out of money and short-term politics prevents the enactment of a reasonable long-term solution to transportation funding,” said Thompson. “My proposal will create a stable source of permanent funding and take the politics out of funding safe roads and bridges.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) requiring new school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and should seat belts was approved by the Senate Education Committee.
“This legislation is a common-sense measure to ensure that children have the same protections on school buses that parents provide in their own family cars,” said Thompson. “Kids deserve to be safely secured in age- and size appropriate seats and restraints regardless of whether they are riding in a car or school bus.”
The following editorial by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, was published by the Asbury Park Press:
Legislators and the Asbury Park Press in recent weeks have called for a greater transparent comparative analysis of the success of New Jersey’s tax incentive and economic development programs. I agree that there is a fiscal responsibility to review the cost and success of the state’s economic and business development programs and believe it’s equally important that there be greater analysis of how New Jersey’s incentives, taxes and business policies stack up against competing states.
The Legislature has the opportunity to achieve these goals by passing Senate Republican solutions to ensure proper scrutiny and analysis of New Jersey’s tax policies, incentive programs and overall business climate.
The Senate Republican leadership team recently culminated the rollout of a 36-bill economic growth and job creation bill package, including a series of bills to increase the employment and economic development data that’s available to state policy makers. None of these bills will cost taxpayers any extra money.
Thompson to Dems: End Double Standard & Allow Same Protections for Kids on School Buses as in Cars Under New Law
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) is calling on Senate Democrat leaders to finally address legislation to give children the same lifesaving protections on school buses that are now afforded in family cars via Senate Democrat Jim Beach’s new law.
While Senator Thompson applauds the signing of Beach’s S-2026 — a bipartisan measure that Thompson voted for to modernize child safety belt laws in passenger vehicles — he questions why Democrats have denied a vote on S-632 to similarly implement the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for children riding in school buses.
“In the two years since I introduced S-632 to require all new school buses to include the same three-point lap and shoulder belts we have in our own cars, we have seen a slew of school bus accidents in New Jersey,” said Senator Thompson. “By passing S-2026, this legislature has shown that when it comes to our children’s safety, we are willing to reach across the aisle and work together to make passenger vehicles safe and secure for young children across New Jersey. Why wouldn’t we now work together in the same way to pass legislation to keep children on school buses just as safe from harm?”
The following editorial by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) regarding the historic number of veto override attempts conducted by legislative Democrats against Governor Christie was published by the Asbury Park Press on March 26:
Editorial writers, Democrats and others have reported Gov. Chris Christie has set a record with the number of bills he has vetoed and have continuously asserted that Republican members of the Legislature are spineless, intimidated cowards because, despite 50 veto override attempts, they have never provided the votes for a single veto override.
A historical review of records of gubernatorial vetoes and veto override attempts belies both of these statements. However, it also reveals the most significant and record-making number usually cited is actually the 50 override attempts. This is truly a record for the last 60 years.
Editorial: Thompson Urges Committee to Vote on Bill to Require Schools Buses to Have Same Seat Belts as Family Cars
The following editorial by Senator Sam Thompson on legislation that would require all new school buses to include three-point lap and shoulder belts was published in the Times of Trenton on March 13, 2015:
As our communities grow concerned over yet another New Jersey school bus crash, I am trying to do everything possible to ensure the passage of legislation to keep our children secure and safe every time they step onto a school bus.
In 2013, I introduced S632, which would require all new school buses to include three-point lap and shoulder belts, following school bus crashes in Chesterfield and a pair in Old Bridge, and others more recently in Bergen and Mercer counties. On March 9, a school bus was struck from behind by another vehicle in Lumberton (“School bus turns over in Lumberton,” March 9, nj.com), flipping the bus onto its side, reportedly injuring one of the three students who were on board.
It is clear that children in school buses are in no way immune to dangers of the road faced by all other motorists and passengers and that our next generation must have the same protections no matter what vehicle they are traveling in.
Thompson & Rice Renew Call for Legislative Select Committee Investigation of Abuses at Newark Watershed
Report Indicates Active Federal Investigation
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) and Senator Ron Rice (D-28) renewed their call for the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) to launch an inquiry into abuses of government power and cover-ups at the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC).
An attorney for the NWCDC has confirmed in a published report that the watershed corporation, formerly chaired by current United States Senator Cory Booker, has provided documents to a federal grand jury and has been “assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office with their investigation.”
“The report by the State Comptroller into wrongdoing that occurred at the Newark Watershed while Cory Booker was Chairman detailed the likely abuse of millions of dollars of taxpayer and ratepayer funds,” said Thompson. “While the federal investigation looks into the possible violation of federal law, it is imperative that the Legislature use its investigatory powers to determine how we can strengthen state law to prevent abuses.”
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) said that the New Jersey Senate is sending conflicting messages regarding its concern for the safety of children riding on Garden State roads and highways.
The Senator commended the Law & Public Safety Committee’s passage of legislation (S-2026) sponsored by Senator James Beach (D-6) that updates state laws regarding the use of child safety seats in passenger vehicles to match current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), but questioned the Senate Education Committee’s refusal to hear similar legislation (S-632) that addresses the AAP’s recommendations regarding the need for seat belts in school buses.
“Our kids deserve to be safely secured in age- and size-appropriate seats and restraints regardless of the type of vehicle they are riding in,” said Thompson. “Injuries caused by school bus accidents are not uncommon, but they are preventable. It is mind boggling that the Senate has not taken action yet.”