The following editorial by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman on ending the 40 years of chaos caused by COAH and the need to pass reasonable affordable housing reforms was published by NJ.com on March 24:
Too many people are still struggling to find adequate housing in New Jersey — a troubling issue embodied by the Council on Affordable Housing’s chaotic 40-year existence, which has been marked by the passage of harmfully overreaching court rulings.
COAH regulations set forth by New Jersey courts have placed an undue tax burden on residents and crippled communities that have been forced to conform to one-size-fits-all mandates that ignore their unique needs. New Jersey has more inclusionary zoning requirements than any other jurisdiction in the country, according to a 2014 report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Costly COAH fees have also harmed the economy by stymieing development and related job growth.
Just last week, the state Supreme Court again issued a troubling COAH ruling that state trial judges will now decide housing laws and quotas on a town-by-town basis. That decision will not fix our housing problem and stands to create expensive litigation and countless lawsuits.
What other state allows the courts to mandate to municipalities how much affordable housing to build and where it must go? It should be the legislature’s responsibility to develop statewide policies, not unelected members of New Jersey courts.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset) banning the sale or production of personal care products containing microbeads was signed into law by Governor Christie. The bill (S-2178) will protect New Jersey’s rivers, lakes, and drinking supplies from environmental damage and harmful contamination.
Microbeads are small plastic particles that are added to products like face washes and cosmetic products to exfoliate. These tiny beads can become trapped in water filtration systems, ending up in rivers and lakes and contaminating the drinking supplies used by millions of New Jerseyans every day.
“By signing this bill into law, we are placing our state at the forefront of a national effort to eliminate the dangers this product poses to our environment and our water supply,” said Senator Bateman. “We have a responsibility to protect New Jersey residents from contamination and keep our state’s waterways clean and pristine. The only way to keep our drinking water safe and protect our beautiful rivers and lakes is to stop production and get these items off the shelves.”
Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer) renewed his call for the legislature to take up legislation reforming the state’s affordable housing laws, after the state Supreme Court ruled that trial judges would begin deciding housing laws on a town-by-town basis.
“This issue should have never gotten to this point,” Bateman said. “Senate Republicans have had sensible solutions on the table for years and it’s the legislature’s responsibility to get this done. The legislature does not have to subject the public to this costly Supreme Court ruling. We can fulfill our obligation to implement a reasonable plan that has the best interest of New Jersey’s diverse communities, property owners and residents.”
Governor Christie signed into law legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman continuing the special appraisal process for Green Acres & Farmland Preservation programs for lands in the Highlands area.
The special appraisal process, which sunset June 30, 2014, is designed to ensure fairness for property owners whose homes and farms were devalued by the 2004 Highlands Act that banned most development in the 860,000 acre area. With today’s signing of Bateman’s S1050, the appraisal process will now be renewed until 2019.
Bateman Bill Exempting Certain Developmentally Disabled Individuals From Transfer Into NJ Facilities Advanced
Legislation sponsored by Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman, Bob Gordon and Jeff Van Drew establishing a comprehensive plan for when individuals with disabilities who have been receiving care at out-of-state facilities would be able to remain in place rather than being transferred to new residential placements in New Jersey was advanced today by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
“The care and protection of each and every one of the developmentally disabled is something we must approach with the utmost concern and respect,” said Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer). “Many families are naturally concerned about the disruption and change in care that will occur if individuals who have been spent the majority of their life at one place are now suddenly uprooted and put at another facility. This legislation establishes a sensible plan that will give families and guardians more of a say in what’s best for their loved one.”
Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer) and Steven Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) announced today they have reintroduced legislation reforming the state’s affordable housing laws as result of the Council on Affordable Housing’s failure to adopt new rules.
The legislation is identical to a bipartisan COAH reform bill that the Senate passed with strong support in 2011 but was then severely amended by the Assembly and conditionally vetoed back to its original intent by Governor Christie. The legislation, S-2629, would eliminate the Council on Affordable Housing and create a common-sense affordable housing program giving municipalities far more control over how much housing they will build in the locations best suited for development.
16th District legislators Sen. Kip Bateman, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon voiced their strong opposition to the proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline project that would extend from Luzerne County, Pa. through Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey. In a letter (attached) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the legislators stated, “To the very best of our knowledge, no pipeline has ever been developed in a more bucolic, previously preserved, and historically significant and designated area.”
“Running a pipeline through numerous parcels of preserved land in some of the most beautiful places in the state poses far too many environmental risks,” said Bateman. “There’s certainly a need to plan for the future to make sure the state can meet its energy demands, but constructing a pipeline in a way that would lower property values, impact quality of life for residents and damage the state’s dwindling open spaces is not the way to go. We must be vigilant in ensuring that human health and safety and environmental impacts are unequivocally first and foremost in considering any pipeline proposal.”
The Senate voted 38-0 to adopt legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman prohibiting personal care products that contain tiny particles known as microbeads from being sold or produced in New Jersey.
Microbeads are small plastic particles that are added to products like face washes and cosmetic products as an exfoliate.
“Microbeads pose a significant environmental concern as they can’t be trapped by most water filtration systems and as a result end up in rivers and lakes,” said Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer. “The best way to keep these synthetic pieces of plastic from ending up in the drinking supplies that millions of New Jerseyans depend on is to keep the products they are used in off the shelves. This legislation puts New Jersey at the forefront of a national effort to address this important problem.”
Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) was honored with an Oak Leaf Award by The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey for his years of work to protect the environment, preserve open space and farmland, and other important environmental initiatives.
“Preserving open space and working for clean water, air and land are initiatives that benefit everyone,” said Bateman. “Organizations like The Nature Conservancy do so much directly and in support of these important environmental efforts, making their recognition a true honor.”
The Senate unanimously adopted legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to designate October 9 of each year as “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS)/Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome Awareness Day (PANS).”
PANDAS and PANS most commonly refer to a condition in children characterized by the abrupt, dramatic onset of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). SJR58 was passed unanimously.