Bateman Resolution Urging Authorities to Investigate, Ensure Accountability for Superfund Site Cleanup Liability Advances
Legislation sponsored by Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Bob Smith in the Senate and Assemblyman Tim Eustace in the Assembly urging relevant federal and State authorities to investigate actions taken by an Argentinian state-owned oil company to discharge Superfund obligations through bankruptcy proceedings advanced in a joint legislative committee meeting on April 18, 2017.
“This is a clear attempt by YPF S.A. to avoid responsibility for this immense clean-up and to shift the cost to New Jersey taxpayers,” said Senator Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex.) “We’ve worked for years to advance measures that preserve our invaluable open space and ensure future New Jerseyans can live in a clean and healthy environment. We cannot allow businesses that have profited by creating some of the most polluted sites in our state to avoid their financial obligations to clean up the messes they created.”
Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) said that Manville Mayor Richard Onderko’s testimony at a bipartisan school funding roundtable in Parsippany yesterday demonstrates the urgent need to reform the state’s broken school funding formula.
Manville, a borough within Senator Bateman’s district, is the eighth most underfunded school district in New Jersey.
“A lot has changed in Manville since the State enacted the School Funding Reform Act in 2008,” Senator Bateman said. “Years of underfunding have forced the school district to cut programs and lay off dedicated teachers, despite steady enrollment. Severe flooding events have caused property values to plummet. Businesses and families are leaving because they can’t afford skyrocketing flood insurance premiums on top of a mortgage and rising property taxes.
“If the SFRA was distributing aid as intended, Manville families would be getting the property tax relief they need to stay in their homes, and their children would have a fair shot at a quality education. We need a fair school funding formula to ensure that every town, especially communities like Manville that have lost so much of their tax base, get the State aid they deserve and not a penny less.”
“Manville receives less state aid this year than we received back in 2010, even with student enrollment up over 100 students,” Mayor Onderko said. “A positive school aid adjustment would help stabilize property taxes and allow for a quality education to be offered to our students without cutting curriculum and teachers. Unfortunately, we cannot wait 3-5 years for a new funding school formula. Manville may be the ‘forgotten town’ when it comes to flood mitigation. We cannot afford to become the ‘forgotten town’ in acquiring more State aid for our schools.”
Effort Launched in Response to Judge’s Questionable Actions Following South Brunswick Affordable Housing Ruling
Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli announced that they are exploring solutions to prevent judges from violating the public’s trust after they leave the bench.
Bateman and Ciattarelli (R-16) are taking action in light of reports that just days after retiring, a Superior Court judge began working for a real estate developer who could benefit financially from the judge’s recent decision to drastically increase South Brunswick’s affordable housing obligations.
“At the very least, Judge Wolfson’s actions have cast a shadow on an affordable housing ruling that could decimate South Brunswick,” Senator Bateman said. “Now our fear is that the apparent personal benefit he stands to derive from that ruling will also damage the general public’s trust in the judiciary as a whole. New Jersey residents should not have to question whether court decisions are made impartially and in the interests of justice.”
“The New Jersey Supreme Court should honor its responsibility to regulate judicial conduct by taking a hard look at what happened in South Brunswick,” Assemblyman Ciattarelli said. “If no violations are found, then the Supreme Court should take this opportunity to evaluate whether the rules need to change. The Court would be wise to consider regulations that at the very least impose a ‘distancing period’ before former judges can appear back in court on matters that allow them to benefit from their own previous rulings.”
Although the project just cleared another hurdle in the approval process by the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC), Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Mercer, Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex) vowed to continue to push back against the controversial PennEast Pipeline.
“This fight is far from over,” Senator Bateman said. “From the very beginning, our residents have made it clear that they don’t want this pipeline cutting through their communities, and there’s no reason to give up now. There’s a long way to go before this project gets final approval.”
Following recent reports that New Jersey’s drought is still in effect despite a winter full of precipitation and foul weather, Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman again called for the state’s residents and leaders to do whatever they can to help conserve water.
“Most of the state just spent the last week digging out of a big snowstorm, and the rest was no stranger to wet storms this winter, but it still doesn’t look like this drought is going anywhere anytime soon,” Senator Bateman (R-Mercer, Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon) said. “We all need to make an effort to conserve water and implement a statewide plan to address this drought.”
The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to appropriate $59.532 million from constitutionally dedicated funds for open space, park development, and expansions to the Blue Acres and Green Acres programs.
“New Jersey voters overwhelmingly supported the constitutional amendment I sponsored to create a permanent funding source for open space,” Senator Bateman (R-16) said. “The appropriation approved by the Senate today will secure our hard-won victory to save Princeton Battlefield, conserve clean water and protect the farms that fuel our economy. These are exactly the kinds of projects that our residents had in mind when they voted yes in 2014.”
A trio of bills sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington), Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon) and Senator Sam Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth) aimed at reducing waste by encouraging more donation and recycling of food were advanced by the Senate Environment Committee.
“Unfortunately, there are still many in New Jersey that struggle to find the next meal for their families,” Senator Allen said. “We hope that by cutting back on waste at our schools and other institutions we can get more food to people who need it.”
Following recent news reports that PSE&G plans to sell its share in the proposed PennEast Pipeline and abandon its involvement in the controversial project, Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman urged others involved with the pipeline to reconsider their support as well.
“I think this decision by PSE&G can be traced directly back to the overwhelming opposition by local residents who don’t want this pipeline cutting through their communities and damaging the environment,” Senator Bateman said. “It’s time for the other companies involved to realize that this project is unneeded and unwelcome.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) to improve the safety of the State’s drinking water and hold public water systems accountable for making improvements has cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
The bill would require all public water systems to establish a cyber-security program, as well as an asset management plan designed to inspect, maintain, and repair water infrastructure. S-2834 would establish specific safety standards for testing fire hydrants.
“Our legislative task force recently learned that nearly two dozen school districts in our state have elevated levels of lead,” Senator Bateman said. “Protecting our drinking water from contaminants must be a top priority. All public water systems must be held accountable for making water infrastructure inspections and improvements. We simply cannot take chances when it comes to protecting the health and safety of our residents.”
Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) issued the following statement after the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today passed SJR-16, which designates September as “Affordable Housing Awareness Month.”
“I am appalled that Senate Democrats would fast track a meaningless resolution before even considering my bipartisan affordable housing reform bill. This is a slap in the face to the countless constituents who are begging for their elected leaders to act.
“The courts have given us a golden opportunity to develop a new affordable housing policy. Creating an ‘Awareness Month’ does nothing to solve this problem.
“If we continue to do nothing, there will be serious consequences in every legislative district. Property taxes will skyrocket. Open space will be destroyed. Worst of all, the people who truly need affordable housing will continue to struggle to find it.