Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean) issued the following statement on his vote against a gas tax increase:
“I strongly reject the premise that the legislation advanced today represents ‘tax fairness’ for all New Jersey families.
“That is certainly not the case for the tens of thousands of Ocean County commuters in my district who cannot afford to pay any more to live and work in this state.
“That’s why I chose to vote ‘NO’ today.
Senator Jim Holzapfel, Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin (R-10) will vote against a $2 billion gas tax plan that will disproportionately impact Ocean County drivers.
“There are more than 80,000 EZ Pass users in our legislative district alone,” Senator Holzapfel (R-Ocean) said. “These drivers are already paying the highest tolls in the nation. They simply cannot afford to pay any more to use New Jersey’s roads and highways. We will not stand silently by and watch as the legislature approves a 23-cent gas tax hike that will impose severe financial hardships on the people we were elected to serve. Taxpayers in Ocean County and across this state deserve better.”
Criminal penalties for unlawfully manufacturing or distributing fentanyl – a prescription opioid found to be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin – would be doubled under legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean.) The bill, S-1026, has been advanced by the Senate Health Committee.
“Fentanyl was first put on the market to help terminal patients cope with severe, end of life pain but now, officials are reporting that it’s in almost every pack of heroin found in Ocean County,” Senator Holzapfel said. “We have to do everything we can to deter criminals from dispensing or manufacturing this deadly drug. The penalties for committing these crimes must, at the very least, match those for dealing heroin or cocaine.”
Proposed 24% Gas Rate Increase Would Be Reduced to 7.4%
Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin (all R-10) praised news of a settlement that is set to be approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) slashing a 24 percent natural gas rate increase that had been proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) to fund infrastructure improvements.
Under the terms of the settlement, the increase that will be voted on by the BPU on Friday would amount to an extra $7 on the average customer’s gas bill, representing a 7.4 percent increase.
“We fought against the massive 24 percent rate hike NJNG had proposed, and we succeeded in reducing the increase to a reasonable amount that will be more affordable to residents,” said Holzapfel. “While nobody likes their bills going up, an extra $7 a month is much more palatable than the $22 monthly increase NJNG had initially proposed.”
“Natural High” Legislation by Holzapfel, Wolfe & McGuckin to Prevent Drug & Alcohol Abuse by Children Advances
Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin (all R-10) to help prevent drug and alcohol abuse among children has passed the Senate Education Committee.
The bill, S-1010/A-2422, encourages the implementation of the Natural High Drug Prevention Program in school districts throughout New Jersey. The national nonprofit organization inspires youth to discover, amplify and pursue their natural high so they have a reason to say no to drugs and alcohol. The program will focus on key components of the research-based curriculum developed by Natural High.
“We have teamed up with Natural High because this is a positive, life altering program that teaches students to find their natural high through focusing on their passions, whether that is sports, music or art,” said Senator Holzapfel. “This program gives kids another option to resist drugs and adopt a drug-free lifestyle instead of ‘just saying no.’”
Governor Chris Christie has signed into law legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe (all R-10) creating a task force to help law enforcement crack down on criminals and return stolen jewelry and other valuables to their rightful owners.
“We are pleased that the Governor has signed this important piece of legislation into law,” said Senator Holzapfel. “This will help track the sales of potentially stolen items and provide a way of cracking down on burglaries that take place to support heroin and other drug addictions.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean) and fellow District 10 legislators creating a task force to study industry-wide systems for tracking stolen jewelry has passed the New Jersey Senate. The “Secondhand Valuables Transaction Reporting Task Force” would also make recommendations for implementing the system for retail and law enforcement use.
“We currently have excellent record-keeping systems in place to track and recover stolen jewelry from pawnshops,” Senator Holzapfel said. “As we saw during the rash of burglaries in Monmouth County, criminals are circumventing these systems by selling stolen goods to jewelry stores who do not have access to the same program. This task force will investigate how to arm all retailers with cutting edge systems to track stolen valuables, report crimes to law enforcement, and return these treasured items to the rightful owner.”
In an effort to combat prescription drug abuse, Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) has introduced a bill which requires health care practitioners prescribing opioid medications to minors or children, to limit the amount of prescribed medication to a seven-day supply.
“Prescription drug abuse in children and teens is the new gateway drug to heroin use. We have been at the forefront of combating this deadly addiction for years and this legislation will continue that fight,” said Holzapfel. “With this bill we will limit the amount of opioids that doctors will be able to prescribe to minors and make it mandatory to discuss the serious risks associated with drug abuse to both the parent and the patient.”
The recent proposal for a Jersey Central Power and Light rate hike has raised the concerns of the 10th District legislators who oppose this increase to its customers. Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin expressed their concerns over the crippling effects this increase will have on their constituents, particularly senior citizens.
“Many of the constituents in our district, primarily senior citizens, who live on fixed incomes will feel the devastating effects of this proposed rate hike,” said Holzapfel. “This will create another unnecessary financial burden for those struggling to make ends meet.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Jim Holzapfel were honored for their work protecting the state’s animals and pets by the New Jersey chapter of The Humane Society of the United States.
They were each presented the 2015 Humane Legislator of the Year Award at the Humane Society’s 5th Annual New Jersey Humane Lobby Day.
“I’ve always believed that how we treat animals, both individually and as a state, is a reflection of our values,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “We can be compassionate, generous and humane not just through our personal actions, but also through the laws with statewide impact that we help to advance.”
“We’ve worked to put New Jersey at the head of a nationwide effort to put puppy and kitten mills and their inhumane practices out of business,” said Holzapfel (R-Ocean). “We’re focusing on new legislation that would keep convicted animal abusers from repeating their crimes and ensure safe living conditions for all of the pets in our care.”