Board of Public Utilities Now Calling for $200 Million Rate Decrease
After fighting for a year in opposition to a $31 million rate increase proposed by JCP&L, Senator Jim Holzapfel, Assemblyman Dave Wolfe and Assemblyman Greg McGuckin said that it now appears likely that the increase will be denied and rates may even be lowered for the utility’s customers throughout New Jersey.
“We opposed JCP&L’s rate increase proposal on principle,” said Holzapfel. “There were serious charges from state regulators that the utility had been earning more than was permitted. At the same time, the utility had demonstrated serious failures in responding to hurricanes Irene and Sandy and numerous other storms. It was clear JCP&L was both charging customers too much and not investing in preventative maintenance and upgrades that would prevent outages. Given these inconsistencies, we continue to believe JCP&L doesn’t deserve an extra cent of ratepayers’ money.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) which establishes criminal penalties for leaving the scene of a boating accident was passed by the State Senate.
“Safety is always our first concern with more boaters on our waterways each year. This legislation will give law enforcement the authority needed to persecute those reckless enough to leave the scene of an accident without assisting the passengers of the other vessel.” said Senator Holzapfel.
The legislation, S-2859, is modeled after current motor vehicle law, which makes it a second degree crime to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident that results in the death of a passenger, and a third degree crime when the accident results in serious bodily injury.
A resolution sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) that seeks to expand air service to Atlantic City and surrounding attractions through the recruitment of new carriers to Atlantic City Airport was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.
The resolution, SR-75, urges the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA), the owner of the airport, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), the manager of the airport, to identify and recruit additional airlines to the airport.
“The addition of new carriers and flights to Atlantic City Airport is critical to our efforts to grow the South Jersey economy through increased tourism to Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore,” said Holzapfel. “Currently, less than one percent of visitors to Atlantic City arrive by air each year. To expand our reach, we need to be more accessible to people from beyond our immediate region who can’t easily drive to us.”
Holzapfel, Wolfe & McGuckin Legislation to Relieve Senior Communities of Foreclosure Expenses Passes Committee
A bill that would require mortgage creditors to maintain and pay the expenses of homes in foreclosure in senior communities has passed in the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
The bill, A-4169/S-2806, was introduced by 10th District Legislators, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin in response to senior residents who are bearing the financial burden of foreclosed homes in their retirement communities.
“A sluggish national economy following the Great Recession and Super Storm Sandy have resulted in a number of foreclosures in our senior communities,” said Holzapfel. “Senior citizens were hit particularly hard by these events. They cannot be expected to bear the financial responsibility of maintaining such properties. This bill is designed to ease that burden.”
Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin of the 10th Legislative District presented the 14th Annual “Excellence in Education Award” during a ceremony at the Walnut Street Elementary School in Toms River to second grade teacher, Raymond Roe.
“Mr. Roe has established an admirable reputation at Walnut Street Elementary School where he excels in classroom management and supports his students learning in an enthusiastic and creative environment. It is an honor to present the Fourteenth Annual Excellence in Education Award to such an outstanding educator,” stated Senator Holzapfel.
Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) said that a widespread Verizon Wireless outage that began yesterday affecting many in the region underscores concerns about Verizon’s plan to discontinue traditional landline service in some 10th District communities.
“Many homeowners maintain traditional landlines as a backup for when cell service is unavailable in an emergency,” said Holzapfel. “It’s concerning that many of the same communities where Verizon plans to force homeowners with landlines onto a cellular service called Voice Link were among those that have had a major Verizon Wireless cellular service outage since yesterday.”
Holzapfel Again Calls for Senate President Sweeney to Move Legislation that Would Keep Loaded Guns Away from Unsupervised Kids
Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) said that the Legislature must move forward with efforts to keep loaded firearms out of the hands of unsupervised minors to prevent future tragedies like those experienced in Newtown and Toms River recently.
The Senator’s comments followed reports that no additional votes are planned on legislation (S-2723) sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney to concur with recommendations proposed by Governor Chris Christie in a conditional veto of the legislation.
“When Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the Senate President’s legislation, he did not touch the section that would increase penalties for making loaded firearms accessible to unsupervised minors,” said Holzapfel. “In fact, he specifically noted that this was a critical element of the bill that he supported. The Legislature already approved this once, so we know it has support among our colleagues as well.”
Holzapfel, Wolfe & McGuckin Ask BPU to Look into Verizon Decision Impacting Mantoloking, Bay Head, Brick Customers
Earlier this year, residents in Mantoloking, Bay Head and part of Brick Twp. were informed by Verizon that their traditional land-line phone connection was being discontinued and customers would be required to use its new wireless alternative called Voice Link. The company explained that the copper wiring damaged by Super Storm Sandy was too costly to replace. Last week, Verizon reversed a similar stance it had taken with residents of Fire Island, N.Y. after receiving negative feedback from the community.
Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin do not agree with the company’s change of position for Fire Island but not for these affected towns in New Jersey. In a letter to the Board of Public Utilities, the District 10 legislators asked the BPU to look into the matter as well as explore the option of requiring Verizon to wire these communities with fiber optics in order to ensure that all residents have adequate telephone services.
Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) issued the following statement following the fire that destroyed a large portion of the boardwalk and dozens of commercial establishments in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights:
“Following the anniversary of 9/11 when we remembered the first responders who were lost, we have been shown again in Seaside how those in uniform bravely respond in times of need. It was amazing to see the many fire departments from as close as Toms River and as far away as Cape May rush to help us battle this blaze.
Says Common-Sense Gun Reform Shouldn’t Have Been Included in Controversial Gun Bill
Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) has called on Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) to take action to pass a common-sense gun reform that would protect children and the public from both planned and accidental tragedies that result from children having easy access to firearms.
Holzapfel is the sponsor of legislation (S-2729) which would increase criminal penalties for those who leave a loaded firearm within easy access of a minor resulting in injury or death. A version of this measure was included in a much larger bill (S-2723) sponsored by Sweeney that received a conditional veto from Governor Christie.
“Keeping loaded firearms out of the hands of unsupervised minors is something that everyone agrees we need to do,” said Holzapfel. “By jamming this common-sense reform into a huge gun control bill with many controversial elements, the Senate President has decreased the odds that our efforts to prevent unnecessary tragedies will be enacted.”