OROHO, SPACE, & WIRTHS APPLAUD EXTRA SCHOOL AID COMING TO THE 24TH DISTRICT!

For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

October 25, 2017                                                                                                                    973-222-2902

Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths today applauded the Department of Education for reinstating close to an extra $1 million in school aid which was taken away by the Democrats Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

 “Parker and I fought to gain back our school districts’ lost aid ever since Democrat leaders announced they were taking it away,” Oroho said. “We are proud to say today that we gained almost every dollar back.”

 10 school districts who had their funding slashed by Democrats have regained most of their aid back through a process that Senator Oroho and Assemblyman Space fought to have placed in the budget.

 “The Democrats originally wanted to cut $3.3 million from our schools,” Space said. “This was highly unfair and unacceptable. Steve and I advocated for our schools and $2.3 million was restored before the Democrat budget was passed.”

 Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths applauded his running mates for their hard work to restore the lost aid.

 “Steve and Parker always work hard for their constituents and gaining almost all the school aid that was cut shows it,” said Wirths. “Liberal Democrats are always trying to give us the short end of the stick because urban centers like Jersey City and Hoboken are their priority over rural and suburban areas.”

The Republican candidates also reiterated their support for scrapping the Corzine Democrat school funding formula and creating a new simpler one enshrined in the State Constitution that treats all students equally no matter where they live.

“The current school funding formula is overly complicated, is ripe with fraud, and punishes us in rural areas,” said Oroho. “Parker, Hal, and I have been advocating change and we will continue to do so because we put our students and our taxpayers first.”

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Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space, and Assembly Candidate Wirths are the Republican candidates in the 24th Legislative District comprising all of Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris Counties.

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


OROHO, SPACE & WIRTHS STATEMENT ON THE DESPICABLE ACT OF VANDALISM AGAINST A CHURCH IN LIBERTY TOWNSHIP

For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

October 25, 2017                                                                                                                    973-222-2902

Statement from Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly candidate Hal Wirths on the recent anti-Christian vandalism in Liberty Township:

“An assault on any member of our community is an assault on us all.  This was a despicable act of vandalism in which church property was destroyed and defaced.  But it went further, in that it attempted to intimidate the members of Free Union Methodist Church and degrade a religion.  As members of this community, we are disgusted by this act of barbarism. We stand with the members of the church, and offer them our support and assistance. We urge the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office and the state Attorney General to investigate this as a hate crime. As for those who committed this criminal act, we trust that the good officers of the law will bring you to justice.”

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com

 


 NEW JERSEY STATE POLICEMEN’S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION (PBA) ENDORSES OROHO FOR SENATE AND SPACE & WIRTHS FOR ASSEMBLY!

For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

October 13, 2017                                                                                                                    973-222-2902

Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assembly Candidate former Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths announced today that the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) has endorsed their candidacies in the 24th Legislative District that includes all of Sussex County, 11 towns in Warren County and Mt. Olive in Morris County.

“It is an honor to earn their endorsement,” said Oroho, who is also endorsed by the New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).  “It speaks loudly that the men and women of law enforcement are putting their trust in me and not in our liberal opponents who have marched with anti-police activists.”

Oroho, Space, and Wirths cited their opposition to Democrat proposals to make New Jersey a “sanctuary state” as well as forcing first responders to reside where they are employed and their support of pro-police legislation to totally prohibit motor vehicle ticket quotas; require police departments to issue identification cards to those who retire in good standing so, under federal law, the retiree can carry a firearm across state lines; increase penalties for home invasions; subject cop killers to the death penalty; calling for Cuba to extradite convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard; and protect the retirement of law enforcement officers without raising taxes.

“I have always been proud to stand with the men and women in blue,” said Space. “I look forward to continuing to work together with law enforcement at all levels on issues of importance to them.”

“Trenton Democrats have been bottling up common sense legislation to increase penalties for those who commit the vile crime of home invasion,” Space noted, as he is a prime sponsor of A-1067.  “The news coverage of the recent home invasion in my home town of Wantage, which led to the violent sexual assault of children, should be a wake-up call to enact harsher penalties.”

Wirths, running for the Assembly, said “I am moved by the support of the law enforcement community and the faith they have put in me.

“We all have seen the unfair attacks made by left-winged activists against our police officers,” Wirths stated. “I will be there to support them against these hostile actions by those who undermine our public safety.”

There are 33,000 members of the PBA across New Jersey

“The last few years have been very difficult for law enforcement officers in New Jersey and around the nation.  We have been the target of attacks, both physical and political, but our members continue to proudly serve our State and communities with dedication and professionalism.  Your support [of law enforcement] has sent a message to the public and the men and women in uniform that you are willing to answer the call when we need your help,” said State PBA President Pat Colligan in letters of endorsement to each candidate. 

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


OROHO, SPACE, & WIRTHS EARN ENDORSEMENTS FROM THE STATE’S LEADING ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS FOR JOB CREATORS!

For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

October 6, 2017                                                                                                                      973-222-2902

           Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths, current owners or previous owners of small businesses in Sussex County, were pleased today to accept the endorsement of two of the most respected political organization representing job creators, a.k.a. business owners, in New Jersey.  The three candidates are running in New Jersey's 24th Legislative District, which encompasses all of Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris Counties.

            The New Jersey Organization for a Better State (NEW JOBS), affiliated with of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) and the National Federation of Independent Business/New Jersey’s Save America’s Free Enterprise Trust (NFIB/NJ’s SAFE Trust) endorsed the candidacies of Oroho, Space, and Wirths.

"As we try to foster a healthy business climate, it has never been more important to elect and retain pro-business candidates and legislators who understand the needs of business." said Sara Bluhm Gibson, Executive Director of NEW JOBS.

"Our endorsements are based on the willingness of each candidate to lower the cost of doing business, strengthen the business climate, and create jobs in our great state,” Gibson continued.  “We thank Steve Oroho, Parker Space, and Hal Wirths for their hard work and their commitment to the economic viability of our State."

“The upcoming election will be a pivotal day for the small businesses of New Jersey,” said Laurie Ehlbeck, NFIB State Director.  “It’s one thing to talk about small business.  It’s another thing to make the tough votes that matter to small businesses.  That is why we support Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space, and their running mate for Assembly, former Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths.  Their election is not only critical to the small-business owners in District 24, but also to protecting free enterprise across the state.”

Senator Oroho was pleased that his and his running mates’ records were acknowledged by small business owners.

“Parker, Hal, and I are honored to have the support of small business owners from Sussex, Warren and Morris Counties -- and from across New Jersey,” said Oroho.  “They recognized our hard work to make New Jersey more competitive in attracting capital investment which is the foundation for job creation.”

“Since 2011, I’ve been a primary architect of individual and business tax cuts worth $4.5 billion, which has stimulated job creation and grown state revenues.  I also prevented a property tax hike estimated at more than $550 per family, while negotiating five new tax cuts to keep income in New Jersey.  I am gratified that small business owners and their advocates have come to trust my insights on budgetary and economic development issues in my continuing fight to make our state more economically competitive and affordable.”

Assemblyman Space welcomed the support of NEW JOBS and the NFIB/NJ’s SAFE Trust.

            “The endorsements are proof positive of my great voting record, and as a member of the Assembly Labor Committee, for defending small business and free enterprise in New Jersey,” said Space.  “I voted against Democrat tax increases on small businesses in the past voting session, and during my first term worked with Commissioner Wirths to see my legislation enacted to make reforms to the Unemployment Trust Fund to save money for both employers and employees.

“We need fewer regulations on businesses in order to keep them here or trying to entice others to move to New Jersey,” Space added.  “Our State is too over-regulated. I have proposed legislation to fast track permits; remove barriers to economic growth in the Highlands; to prohibit new regulations on manufacturing facilities for 10 years; and to permanently prohibit COAH fees on new businesses.”

            Former Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths, who is Oroho’s and Space’s running mate for Assembly, was pleased to receive the endorsements as a challenger for an open Assembly seat.

            “As Labor Commissioner, I was able to accomplish the most reform against fraud, waste, and abuse and lower taxes out of any department,” Wirths said.  “I fought the bureaucratic establishment to save the Unemployment Trust Fund from bankruptcy.

“We made New Jersey a national leader in combating unemployment insurance fraud, preventing nearly $700 million in benefits fraud and recovering more than $100 million in benefits paid out improperly, Wirths stated.  “These measures will ensure that the Trust Fund remains solvent.

“We eliminated a $213 million federal tax hike that New Jersey employers were facing in January 2014.  And because of the growing health and solvency of the Trust Fund, New Jersey employers have realized $380 million in tax relief – the largest single unemployment tax reduction in New Jersey history.  I want to thank NEW JOBS and the NFIB/NJ’s SAFE Trust for recognizing my record and acknowledging that I will be hitting the ground running to make New Jersey a better place to own a business, employ our residents and fight against the liberal Democrat agenda against free enterprise.”

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


 

OROHO, SPACE & WIRTHS APPLAUD HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR PASSING THE PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT!

 

For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

October 3, 2017                                                                                                                      973-222-2902

 Today Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly Candidate (former Labor Commissioner) Hal Wirths applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The federal legislation, H.R. 36, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ.), would protect unborn children by preventing abortions 20 weeks after conception.

 “The House of Representatives did the right thing this evening,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “I believe we have a compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”

Senator Oroho is the first prime sponsor of legislation in the Senate to enact the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" in New Jersey, S-2026.

“Our humanity is closely defined by how we treat those who are most vulnerable,” Oroho continued. “The book of Proverbs tells us to ‘Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.’ It is a sad commentary that so many leaders fail to treat the unborn as such.”

Assemblyman Space is a sponsor of the Assembly version of the legislation, A-3452.

“It is about saving lives,” Space stated. “Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office say that enacting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would save around 10,000 lives each year.”

Commissioner Wirths said it is sad commentary that the United States is in the company of Red China, Vietnam, North Korea, Singapore, The Netherlands, and Canada as the only nations on Earth that still allow this barbaric practice.

“By the actions of the House today, the United States is one step closer to joining the rest of the civilized world and recognize that unborn children can feel pain,” Wirths stated.

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


Oroho-Space-Wirths:  We need a Special Legislative Session on Property Taxes!

For Immediate Release                                                                                                Contact:  Virginia Littell

October 2, 2017                                                                                                                                973-222-2902

With major changes to the federal tax code being unveiled in Washington including the possible elimination of the federal income tax deduction on property taxes emerging as part of the tax reform package, today Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths once again reiterated their support for a special legislative session to reform New Jersey’s high property taxes. They also announced their opposition to repealing the property tax deduction.

            “The clock is ticking,” said Oroho, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris.  “As state officials, we don’t have any direct control over what Congress and the President may do," said Oroho, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris. "As such, we are calling upon our congressional delegation to fight to preserve the property tax deduction. However, it's another wake-up call that we cannot wait on property tax reform. And as part of any special session on property taxes, school funding reform needs to be at the top of the list."

            Oroho, Space, and Wirths support legislation to call the Legislature into a special session where leaders of both parties bring bills forward for an up or down vote. The legislation is SCR-122 and ACR-65.

              “I have 68 bills that would lower the property tax burden in this State and I am proud to say that Senator Oroho and I have gotten some through, but all of them should be given the chance to be debated and voted upon immediately,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris. “The President and Congress are telling us ‘you better get off your duffs and do something now’ and all we get is silence from my liberal colleagues. The time for action is now and the time for excuses is over.”

              Hal Wirths, the former New Jersey Commissioner of Labor, said this reminds him of when he first took the job, he had an Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund that was bankrupt.

              “I didn’t wait around and check with party bosses and liberal interest groups as to how to fix the problem,” said Wirths. “I rolled up my sleeves and went to work, and now New Jersey is leading the nation when it comes to combating unemployment insurance fraud. Using common-sense approaches, we have been able to stop nearly $700 million from being taken from the Trust Fund and recovered more than $100 million from those who have collected unemployment benefits improperly. With the same work ethic and know-how that I will bring to the Assembly, we can fix this latest property tax concern.”

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 603, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


Space & Wirths Support Republican Yardley’s Call for Voter Approval for County Borrowing!

For Immediate Release                                                                                             Contact:  Virginia Littell

September 29, 2017                                                                                                                      973-222-2902

Assemblyman Parker Space and Assembly candidate Hal Wirths applaud Sussex County Republican Freeholder candidate Herb Yardley for proposing to have the voters approve county borrowing.

“This would be a major fiscal reform if enacted,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris.  “It takes courage to think outside the box, and I applaud Herb for bringing this to the table.” 

“In addition to the obvious check on government spending, I support giving the voters more of an official say when it comes to deciding policy,” Space added.  “Not only am I a sponsor of similar legislation in the Assembly (A690), I am also the sponsor of an initiative and referendum proposal to give the voters a say on matters of property tax reform, campaign finance, lobbying, government ethics, and elections procedure (ACR40).  Both these measures would be taken up if we have a special session on property taxes, which Senator Oroho, Hal, and myself have been pushing (ACR65/SCR122).

Hal Wirths, the former Commissioner of Labor, said that Herb’s plan would help reign in county borrowing and reduce debt load for future generations.

“This has been working in neighboring Warren County for over four years,” said Wirths.  “By making it harder to issue new debt, their restriction on borrowing has enabled the freeholder board there to pay down past debt thus freeing up money to be used to hold the line on taxes.”

“I want to help Herb make this a reality in Sussex County,” Wirths added.  “And if elected to the Assembly, I would like to give this power to approve county borrowing to voters in all 21 counties.”

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Paid for by Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


Assemblyman Parker Space visits home for individuals with developmental disabilities

September 20, 2017 | Press Release.pdf

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GREEN TOWNSHIP, NJ – Assemblyman Parker Space today visited a Community Options’ home in Green Township. Space met with two of the residents at their home to learn more about their lives and the types of support they receive from Community Options.

“I want to thank Community Options and the residents here for inviting me into their home,” said Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “As legislators, we deal with a whole host of issues and it is important for me to see first-hand people with disabilities being an active part of our community and use this experience when the Legislature is deciding human services policies. We need to provide opportunities that can lead to a more independent and inclusive life for those with disabilities and I want to thank Community Options for their role here in Sussex County and throughout New Jersey.”

There is high demand for community-based homes in New Jersey and across the country. The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities has a waiting list of over 10,000 individuals seeking placement in a home. In recent years, Community Options has sought out partnerships with municipalities throughout the State to build or acquire additional homes. The three-bedroom home toured by Assemblyman Space was acquired through a public-private partnership between Community Options and Green Township.

“A lot of progress has been made in New Jersey in recent years to shift funding away from institutional developmental centers and into community based housing,” said Svetlana Repic-Qira, Regional Vice President for Community Options. “We look forward to continuing to work with Assemblyman Space and other State officials to give more people with disabilities the opportunity to live and work in the community.”

Community Options, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization based in New Jersey that provides residential and employment supports to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. With over forty offices across eleven states, the agency provides services to over 2,700 individuals and their families. Community Options provides advocacy assistance to empower people with disabilities because all people – regardless of ability level – should live and work in the community with dignity, choice and self-determination.

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For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

September 19, 2017                                                                                                              973-222-2902

OROHO, SPACE & WIRTHS STATEMENT ON THE DESPICABLE ACT OF VANDALISM IN WANTAGE TOWNSHIP

Statement from Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly candidate Hal Wirths on the recent anti-Semitic vandalism in Wantage Township:

An assault on any member of our community is an assault on us all.  This was a despicable act of vandalism in which property was destroyed and defaced.  But it went further, in that it attempted to degrade and debase a religion.  As members of this community, we are disgusted by this act of racist and anti-Semitic barbarism. We stand with the business owners and employees, and offer them our support and assistance. As for those who committed this criminal act, we trust that the good officers of the law will bring you to justice.”

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

September 6, 2017                                                                                                                 973-222-2902

OROHO TO MURPHY:  TAKE A STAND ON MENENDEZ BEFORE THROWING STONES AT GUADAGNO

Senate Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) made the following comments today on statements Democrat gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy made to the media.

"For a decade, I have worked side by side with my legislative colleagues in the Democrat Party caucus.  I know them personally, am fond of them, and have worked with them to accomplish good things.  

“I have met Phil Murphy on a number of occasions, and I do suspect that he is paying close attention to his political handlers.  They are telling him to play up the little things, because the big things are always a lot tougher to handle.  We all know what the little things are.  A lot has been written about them already.  Especially when you consider all the big issues that are being ignored, or not getting the attention they deserve.  

“Mr. Murphy, I learned a long time ago that you should extend to others the same consideration that you would like provided to yourself.  That means if you say somebody is "evil," expect to have the same said of you.  I tried not to do that in my dealings with my opponents, but was not always as successful as I wish.  However, working together I know we were able to accomplish good things for the people of New Jersey.

“Mr. Murphy recently called upon Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno to issue statements on some items that his campaign team obviously thinks are important.  At the same time, the Observer reports that Mr. Murphy is remaining silent on the corruption trial of United States Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and that he told the reporter "he hasn't thought about whether a convicted Senator should leave office."

“I'm not going to comment on Senator Menendez and his troubles.  I can only pray that the process and the verdict be truthful.  But Mr. Murphy, if you are vying to be the chief executive of New Jersey, I believe it is about time that you do some thinking about the big issue of political corruption and take a position on whether or not a convicted elected official should leave public office.

“Your campaign team might not want you to play politics with this, but you need to tell the people what your thinking is on this.  You owe it to the people, if you want to be their Governor.

“Thank you."

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com



Space Sponsors Cost Cutting Measure for School Districts

For Immediate Release                                                                                             Contact:  Virginia Littell

August 27, 2017                                                                                                                             973-222-2902

With the current attention being brought to school district spending, Assemblyman Parker Space welcomes this discussion.

“I applaud the Newton Town Council for standing up for beleaguered taxpayers in this State by asking for action to reduce school costs,” Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said.

Assemblyman Space is a cosponsor of a measure that mirrors Newton’s idea – A3321 which is known as the "Empower the Principal Act."  The bill eliminates local school superintendents and prohibits schools from having more than one assistant or vice-principal.  

            “Trenton Democrats in the Assembly have been slow to do anything on property taxes, including bottling up this bill,” Space said.  “Even in the Senate, when Senator Oroho and others work in a bi-partisan fashion to create a school funding reform task force and passing legislation to study school consolidation and regionalization and changing the geographic cost factor, the Democrats in the Assembly stop this progress.”

            Oroho, Space, and their running mate Assembly candidate Hal Wirths support legislation to call the Legislature into a special session where leaders of both parties bring bills forward to reform and reduce property taxes for an up or down vote. The legislation is SCR-122 and ACR-65.

              “I have 68 bills that would lower the property tax burden in this State and I am proud to say that Senator Oroho and I have gotten some through, but all of them should be given the chance to be debated and voted upon immediately,” said Space.  “The time for action is now and the time for excuses is over.”

            These bills cover a wide range of topics including direct property tax relief, education spending and funding reform, shared services, local government unit savings and mandate reform, and government reform.

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Please sign a condolence for the victims of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

We would like to join with those who attended the peaceful vigil last evening in Charlottesville, Virginia, and lend to them our sentiments and spirit.  We commend them for their dignity and join with them in their opposition to violence and hate.

Let us remember Heather Heyer, Virginia State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates, and all those who sustained injuries in the racist attack by a Neo-Nazi.  We oppose Fascism, whether in goes by the name National Socialism or by ISIS.  Our fathers fought a World War against this ideology, and we all have friends, relatives, and neighbors who are continuing the fight today.

Please sign this condolence and add your thoughts and prayers.  We will forward it to the Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, and to the family members of the victims.


For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

August 14, 2017                                                                                                                      973-222-2902

 OROHO, SPACE & WIRTHS:  TIME TO GET TOUGH ON THE PERPETRATORS OF VIOLENCE

Statement from Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly candidate Hal Wirths:

Every American has the right to peaceful protest.  It is one of the basic aspects of who we are, as a people, as a nation, under our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

When that right is taken from one of us, by violence, when the future exercise of that right is tempered by the fear of violence, then it is incumbent for us, collectively as a people, to firmly deal with the violence.

New Jersey no longer has a death penalty to deal with grave offenses against our people, such as violent terrorist acts (including those that result in mass destruction and death), serial murder, the rape and murder of children, and the targeting and murder of police officers.  We should reconsider this policy.  As part of that, we should also consider how to deal with offenders who wish to deny Americans the right to peaceful protest.

We promise to pursue a legislative response that will support the right to peaceful protest and deal with those who would violently deny that right.

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Paid for by Oroho For Senate, PO Box 604, Franklin, NJ  07416; Parker Space for Assembly, PO Box 263, Sussex, NJ  07461; Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths receives Public Service Award

For Immediate Release                                                                                  Contact:  Virginia Littell

June 26, 2017                                                                                                                     973-222-2902

On June 21, District 24 Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths received the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s Public Service Award at their 2017 Pinnacle Awards Dinner.

The Chamber’s recognition is for Wirth’s “outstanding commitment to the State’s business community during [his] tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.”

Wirths welcomed the Chamber’s recognition of the job he did as Labor Commissioner for six plus years he served.

“Working with a lot of good people including the Chamber and business and labor leaders from throughout the State, we were able to reform the operations of the Labor Department and put it on the right financial track,” said Wirths.  “The Department became solvent again and ensured that New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, would be able to meet the new and great demands placed on it in the aftermath of the Great Recession.   

“Now New Jersey is leading the nation when it comes to combating unemployment insurance fraud. Using common-sense approaches, we have been able to stop nearly $700 million from being taken from the Trust Fund and recover more than $100 million from those who have collected unemployment benefits improperly. These measures will ensure that the Trust Fund remains solvent for years to come.”

Under Commissioner Wirths’ leadership and with legislative support, a federal tax hike that New Jersey employers were facing in January 2014 was eliminated.  Due to the growing health and solvency of the Trust Fund, New Jersey employers have realized $380 million in tax relief – the largest single unemployment tax reduction in New Jersey history.

Wirths has also received the following recognitions because of his outstanding service as Labor Commissioner:

FBI Recognition for Investigation of Great Importance

Thomas Kelly Government Service Award

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Business Advocate of the Year Award

New Jersey Business & Industry Association Paul L. Troast Award for Public Service

New Jersey Council on County Colleges 2011 Community College Spirit Award

National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) State Excellence Award for Leadership (SEAL) Award for Hurricane Sandy Response

US Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Innovation Award for Integrity

Sussex County Economic Development Partnership Business Advocacy Award

“I will bring the same work ethic and know-how that I brought as Commissioner to the Assembly to combat our State’s problems, Wirths concluded.”

Wirths is running with incumbent Parker Space for Assembly and Steve Oroho for Senate in the 24th Legislative District.

Picture:  Assembly Candidate and Former State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths receiving the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s Public Service Award at their 2017 Pinnacle Awards Dinner.  Presented by David Robbins Jr., Senior Vice President of South Jersey Industries and President of South Jersey Gas Company.

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Paid for by Wirths for Assembly, 12 Cornwall Court, Hamburg, NJ  07419; NJ24Legislators@gmail.com


Thank you voters

By STEVE OROHO, PARKER SPARCE, HAL WIRTHS

June 18, 2017 at 7:06 PM

To the editor:

We want to thank the voters of Sussex, Warren, and Morris counties who took part in the June 6 Republican primary.  Once again, they have placed their trust in a strong conservative team and we are honored to be their nominees for the Legislature in the 24th District.

Now is the time to get behind our nominee for Governor, Kim Guadagno, and to work with our party's nominees to secure a victory in November.  The issues on which the Republican Party will be fighting this election include combatting high property taxes, making the state more affordable and competitive, and protecting our unique way of life in Northwestern New Jersey.

After 15 years in the majority, the failures of the Democrat legislative leadership in Trenton on the most important issues taxpayers face is obvious and we welcome that discussion throughout the summer and fall.

Thank you again for your support and we will continue to fight for you.

 

Senator Steve Oroho

Assemblyman Parker Space

Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths


‘Ralph & David's Law' passes

Posted: Jun. 20, 2017 12:01 am

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has passed "Ralph & David's Law," bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Steven Oroho, R-24th Dist., to update the state's vehicular homicide statutes to increase penalties for deaths caused by drivers who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Bill S-2423 is named in honor of David Heim and Ralph Politi Jr., innocent victims who lost their lives to drunk drivers.

In 2004, David Heim, 13, of Hampton, was run over and killed by a drunk driver as he crossed Route 206 at the Cherry Lane intersection with his mother and siblings. The driver was convicted only of drunken driving and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Ralph Politi Jr., an East Hanover business owner and community activist, was killed in 2012 by a drunk driver who swerved out of her lane and hit him as he stood by his parked pickup truck. The driver was charged with aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide, but was found not guilty in March of 2016.

"The fact that someone could drive drunk, kill a child, and walk away with merely a slap on the wrist is unconscionable," Oroho said in a news release. "That is a completely ineffective way to deter someone else from committing the same crime. The harsher penalties established under my bill will ensure that the families who suffer the pain of losing a loved one so tragically get the justice they so rightfully deserve and society demands."

Oroho's bill creates the third-degree crime of "strict liability vehicular homicide" for individuals who cause a death by driving a vehicle or operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years, or a fine of up to $15,000, or both. The presumption of non-imprisonment that generally applies to first-time offenders convicted of a crime of the third degree would not apply to those convicted of this new crime.

The current crime of "vehicular homicide" would be renamed "reckless vehicular homicide." Prosecutors could charge a driver who causes a homicide with either "strict liability vehicular homicide" or "reckless vehicular homicide" depending on the circumstances.

In a news report after the Sussex County fatality, David Heim's mother said she was holding the hand of her 5-year-old daughter, Kimberly, when she saw a pickup truck pull out and quickly shoved the girl out of the way. The vehicle hit the mother's right ankle, but David -- who had lagged a pace or two behind -- caught the full brunt of it.

The seventh-grade student at Kittatinny Regional High School was pinned under the vehicle and dragged about 50 feet before the driver stopped in the highway's opposite shoulder. David Heim died eight days later at Morristown Memorial Hospital.

"Right now, it is very difficult to prosecute a drunk driver who kills someone and hand down a punishment that fits the crime," Oroho said. "The Heims, Politis, and any other family who has endured such a tragedy deserve appropriate action from our justice system. My bill updates our vehicular homicide laws to ensure that those who kill while driving drunk or high are held rightly accountable."


Oroho, Space and Wirths cruise to GOP victory; Matteson and Trish join Hamilton for Dems

Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald - State Sen. Steve Oroho, R-24th Dist., center points to Republican nominee for Assembly Harold Wirths, second from right, as Assemblyman and fellow nominee Parker Space, second from left, and his wife, Jill, and Sussex County freeholder nominee Herb Yardley, far right, applaud during the Sussex County Republican Committee's primary election night gathering at The Homestead Restaurant Tuesday in Sparta.

Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald - State Sen. Steve Oroho, R-24th Dist., center points to Republican nominee for Assembly Harold Wirths, second from right, as Assemblyman and fellow nominee Parker Space, second from left, and his wife, Jill, and Sussex County freeholder nominee Herb Yardley, far right, applaud during the Sussex County Republican Committee's primary election night gathering at The Homestead Restaurant Tuesday in Sparta.

By David Danzis New Jersey Herald

Posted: Jun. 7, 2017 12:01 am

Republican primary voters chose leadership with a track record over political outsiders promising a fresh start in the 24th Legislative District while the Democrats will feature an all-female ticket to represent their party in November.

GOP incumbent state Sen. Steven Oroho prevailed in his first primary challenge since an initial Senate bid in 2007 by besting Skylands Tea Party Vice President William Hayden. With 76 percent of precincts reported, Oroho earned 8,632 votes to Hayden's 2,905 votes.

Assemblyman Parker Space and former state labor commissioner Harold Wirths defeated anti-establishment candidates Nathan Orr and David Atwood for the Republican state General Assembly nominations. Space and Wirths received 8,963 and 8,015 votes respectively. Orr earned 2,887 votes and Atwood received 2,183 votes with 76 percent of precincts reported.

Oroho, Space and Wirths ran a joint campaign and the victorious trio's campaign literature sometimes featured the slogan "Proven Conservative Leadership You Can Trust." On Tuesday night, at the Homested Rest in Sparta, all three candidates vowed to make good on that promise.

Oroho said he was proud of his legislative record and was grateful the voters took the time to understand that the election was bigger than just one issue.

"There had to be a big education process about what the real issues were," he said. "It's not easy to explain and I understand that."

After not having his name on an election ballot in nearly a decade, Wirths said he was humbled by the show of support from 24th District voters.

"I'm very honored and thrilled that the people voted and turned out in the numbers that they (did)," Wirths said. "I plan on working just as hard as I did from December until now going forward. And I thank the people of the 24th District for their vote."

Space said he wasn't particularly surprised at the results because of the ground work that he, Wirths and Oroho put into the campaign.

"I'm a real guy," Space said. "I work hard everyday and I'm out with the people everyday and I think you gain a lot of respect from that."

Hayden, who entered the state Senate race after Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus, R-24th Dist., bowed out in late-March, ran on the slogan "Remember the Gas Tax," a direct nod to his opponent's sponsorship of last year's 23-cent gas tax increase legislation.

"Disappointed," Hayden said via text after the results were announced, "but outspent as I was, it's easy to see how they won. Money talked."

Phoebus chose not to run for re-election to her state Assembly seat after just one term in Trenton.

Orr and Atwood, two young upstart conservatives, employed the campaign slogan "Fresh Start for 24" and hoped to bring a new voice to Trenton.

"We're disappointed," Atwood said via text. "We thought we had a better chance. We're proud of the campaign that we ran and what we faced only opened our eyes that we need to get more involved. I believe this was a starting point and it was an honor to run with Nathan."

Orr echoed his running mate's disappointment but also the pride in the campaign they ran.

"We kept our integrity and stood up for the people of this district," Orr said via text message. "They chose not to elect us, which is their right. I want to thank everyone who supported us and I'm looking to the future."

The Democratic state Assembly candidate duo of Kate Matteson and Gina Trish defeated Michael Pirog. Matteson and Trish will join state Senate candidate Jennifer Hamilton -- who ran unopposed -- on the Democratic line in November.

After a focus on their base within the Democrat Party, Assembly candidates Gina Trish and Kate Matteson said Tuesday they will now reach out to independents and those in the Republican Party as they go forward into the November race for two seats in the 24th Legislative District.

With three-quarters of the vote counted, Matteson had 4,703 and Trish had polled 4,249. The third candidate, Michael Pirog was at 872.

 

Speaking from outside the Stanhope House, Matteson said their aim going into the fall campaign is to fully form their platform.

Trish said of importance to them is serving the local municipalities. "There is a strong need. It has been missing and we look forward to filling that void. We want to know what problems they (municipalities) face and what we can do going forward."

The women said they will be focusing on the issues of "LD 24" in the coming campaign against the Republicans, but should the Democrat gubernatorial candidate, likely to be Phil Murphy, campaign in Sussex County, they are ready to join him.

"Over the recent past, he's given us a lot of attention," Trish said, "so there is that potential of working with him going forward."

Green Party state Assembly candidate Aaron Hyndman, of White Township, will also be on the November ballot.

The 24th Legislative District includes all of Sussex County, 11 municipalities in Warren County and the Morris County township of Mount Olive.

All 120 seats in the State Legislature are up for election in November.

New Jersey's General Election is Nov. 7.

All results are unofficial until certified by the Board of Elections.


For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

May 26, 2017                                                                                                                          973-222-2902

 OROHO, SPACE & WIRTHS ENDORSED BY THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION POLITICAL VICTORY FUND AND ANJRPC PAC!

                                                                                           

Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assembly candidate (former Labor Commissioner) Hal Wirths were honored today to accept the endorsement of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA PVF) and the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs PAC (ANJRPC PAC). The three conservative, Pro-Second Amendment candidates are running in New Jersey's 24th Legislative District, which encompasses all of Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris Counties.

Scott Bach, Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs and the Garden State’s only sitting NRA Board Member, said “The ANJRPC PAC is pleased to endorse three proven friends of the Second Amendment in the upcoming 24th District primary on June 6. Senator Oroho and Assemblyman Space have repeatedly demonstrated their unwavering support for gun rights through their exemplary voting records and bill sponsorships. Commissioner Wirths – an outspoken proponent of gun rights and the bear hunt while holding other elected office – earned an A rating from the ANJRPC PAC 10 years ago when he was running for Freeholder – the only time in history that the ANJRPC PAC has issued grades in a local race! Oroho, Space, and Wirths will be the strongest possible team for freedom and the Second Amendment.”

Oroho, Space and Wirths are gun owners and NRA Life members. Oroho’s youngest son is an Army Airborne Ranger First Lieutenant serving in Iraq. Space and his family own and operate Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Wantage which includes a huge collection of firearms. As a Freeholder, Wirths was supportive of the bear hunt and opposed the McGreevey and Corzine administrations' blocking of the hunts. All three candidates have supported numerous outdoor charity events held by such groups as the Friends of the NRA, Ducks Unlimited, and the Ruffed Grouse Society.

            “Steve and I have been on the front lines at the State House fighting the Democrats every step of the way as they try to trample our rights,” said Space. “I appreciate the support by the NRA-PVF, the ANJRPC PAC, and by Scott Bach in this election and I appreciate their recognition of how Hal will be an asset for gun owners in the Legislature.”

“I look forward to following in the footsteps of legislators from District 24 who were leaders in their support of the Constitution and the individual rights protected in the Second Amendment such as Scott Garrett, Alison Littell McHose, and Gary Chiusano,” said Wirths. “I look forward to changing Trenton to secure these rights.”

Oroho and Space are sponsors of shall-issue concealed carry legislation. Wirths will join them as sponsors upon entering office. All three also support reforming New Jersey’s inefficient and antiquated licensing and permitting system.

Steve Oroho, Parker Space and Hal Wirths were already endorsed by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS), the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA), New Jersey Right to Life State PAC, and the New Jersey Organization for a Better State (NEW JOBS PAC).

# # # # #


For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

May 26, 2017                                                                                                                          973-222-2902

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. . .

NJ SECOND AMENDMENT SOCIETY ENDORSES CONSERVATIVES OROHO, SPACE, AND WIRTHS IN LD-24

You can read their endorsement here: 

http://www.nj2as.org/nj2as_endorses_oroho_space_and_wirths_in_district_24?utm_campaign=d24_endorsement&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nj2as


# # # #

For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

May 25, 2017                                                                                                                          973-222-2902

OROHO, SPACE, & WIRTHS EARN ENDORSEMENT FROM THE STATE’S LARGEST BUSINESS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION!

           Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths, current owners or previous owners of small businesses in Sussex County, were pleased today to accept the endorsement of the largest political organization representing business owners in New Jersey.  The three conservative candidates are running in New Jersey's 24th Legislative District, which encompasses all of Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris Counties.

            The New Jersey Organization for a Better State (NEW JOBS), the political arm of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), endorsed the candidacies of Oroho, Space, and Wirths.

"As we try to foster a healthy business climate, it has never been more important to elect and retain pro-business candidates and legislators who understand the needs of business." said Sara Gibson, Executive Director of NEW JOBS.

"Our endorsements are based on the willingness of each candidate to lower the cost of doing business, strengthen the business climate, and create jobs in our great state,” Gibson continued.  “We thank Steve Oroho, Parker Space, and Hal Wirths for their hard work and their commitment to the economic viability of our State."

Senator Oroho was pleased that his and his running mates’ records were acknowledged by small business owners.

“Parker, Hal, and I are glad to have the support of small business owners from Sussex, Warren and Morris Counties -- and from across New Jersey,” said Oroho.  “They recognized our hard work to make New Jersey more competitive in attracting capital investment which is the foundation for job creation.”

“Since 2011, I’ve been a primary architect of individual and business tax cuts worth $4.5 billion, which has stimulated job creation and grown state revenues.  I also prevented a property tax hike estimated at more than $550 per family, while negotiating five new tax cuts to keep income in New Jersey.  I am gratified that small business owners and their advocates have come to trust my insights on budgetary and economic development issues in my continuing fight to make our state more economically competitive and affordable.”

Assemblyman Space welcomed the support of NEW JOBS.

            “The endorsement is proof positive of my great voting record, and as a member of the Assembly Labor Committee, for defending small business and free enterprise in New Jersey,” said Space.  “I voted against Democrat tax increases on small businesses in the past voting session, and during my first term worked with Commissioner Wirths to see my legislation enacted to make reforms to the Unemployment Trust Fund to save money for both employers and employees.

“We need fewer regulations on businesses in order to keep them here or trying to entice others to move to New Jersey,” Space added. “Our State is too over-regulated. I have proposed legislation to fast track permits; remove barriers to economic growth in the Highlands; to prohibit new regulations on manufacturing facilities for 10 years; and to permanently prohibit COAH fees on new businesses.”

Former Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths, who is Space’s running mate for Assembly, was pleased to receive the endorsement as a challenger for an open Assembly seat.

            “As Labor Commissioner, I was able to accomplish the most reform against fraud, waste, and abuse and lower taxes out of any department, Wirths said.  “I fought the bureaucratic establishment to save the Unemployment Trust Fund from bankruptcy.

“We made New Jersey a national leader in combating unemployment insurance fraud, preventing nearly $700 million in benefits fraud and recovering more than $100 million in benefits paid out improperly, Wirths stated.  “These measures will ensure that the Trust Fund remains solvent.

“We eliminated a $213 million federal tax hike that New Jersey employers were facing in January 2014.  And because of the growing health and solvency of the Trust Fund, New Jersey employers have realized $380 million in tax relief – the largest single unemployment tax reduction in New Jersey history.  I want to thank NEW JOBS for recognizing my record and acknowledging that I will be hitting the ground running to make New Jersey a better place to own a business, employ our residents and fight against the liberal Democrat agenda against free enterprise.”

            Steve Oroho, Parker Space and Hal Wirths were already endorsed by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs PAC (ANJRPC-PAC), the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA), and New Jersey Right to Life State PAC (NJRTL-State PAC).

 

# # # # #


anjrp-candidate ratings.jpg

The ANJRPC PAC has released its candidate ratings and endorsements for the June 6 New Jersey primary elections. Please click here

 to access the list.

The NRA-PVF is also expected to release its New Jersey candidate ratings shortly.  When it does, that information will be accessible by clicking here.

A Packed Primary Election Season

For the first time in decades, there has been a packed primary election season in New Jersey this spring.

In the race for Governor, there is a 6-way primary among Democrats, with anti-gun multi-millionaire Phil Murphy (think Bloomberg / Corzine) the clear front runner. Murphy was born and raised in Boston, and was an Obama-appointed ambassador. His candidate website says he would tax gun sales, promote smart guns, mandate training as a condition of gun ownership, sign every bill that Governor Christie vetoed (.50 ban, mag ban, etc.), end registered private sales, and oppose NRA generally.

There is a five-way primary for Governor among Republicans. The five Republican candidates are Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Nutley Commissioner Steven Rogers, Joseph Rullo, and Hirsh Singh.

Also, there are several legislative primary races of particular interest to gun owners:

In the State Senate, several pro-gun incumbents face challenges, including Senator Steve Oroho (R24) and Senator Samuel D. Thompson (R12). In district 40, there is a three-way Republican primary to replace exiting Senator Kevin O'Toole; the three candidates are longtime former Assemblyman and legislative leader Paul DiGaetano, Passaic County Clerk Kristin Corrado, and Edward Buttimore.

In the Assembly, several pro-gun incumbents also face challenges, including Assemblyman Parker Space (R24), Assemblyman Jay Webber (R26), Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R26), Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R12), and Assemblyman Robert Clifton (R12). There has been particular intrigue in district 24, where incumbent Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus decided not to run for re-election, then announced she would challenge incumbent senator Steve Oroho, and later dropped out entirely.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE ON JUNE 6!


Panel advances Space bill promoting smart choices in school lunchrooms

Posted on 18 May 2017

/  RKenney

PANEL ADVANCES SPACE BILL PROMOTING SMART CHOICES IN SCHOOL LUNCHROOMS

TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation by Assemblyman Parker Space to combat the growing obesity problem was approved today by the Assembly Education Committee. The Smarter Lunchroom Act (A3444) promotes healthy food choices in school cafeterias and passed by a 9-0 vote.

Parker Space

“If kids learn to eat healthy when they’re young, it will help them live more fulfilling and rewarding lives, and avoid the diet-related illnesses that plague American society,” said Space (R—Sussex). “This isn’t about forcing kids to eat ‘good food’ and banning fattening foods from the cafeteria. We want to present healthy options and teach kids to make nutritious decisions when they go through the lunch line.”

The legislation embraces the Smarter Lunchroom movement founded by researchers at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.

“Almost 25 percent of children from age 10 to 17 are overweight in New Jersey,” said Space, adding that in the U.S., more than one-third of all adults are classified as obese, and almost 70 percent are overweight.

“Our society has a problem with poor food choices, and research indicates it will only get worse in the future,” continued Space. “Getting to students early and teaching them healthy habits is a simple way to change the trend and save lives.”

The bill requires the Education Department to implement Smarter Lunchroom strategies in schools, including prominently placing fruit and other nutritious foods near the cash register, and putting healthy lunch options first in the serving lines and on the menu.

“This is an opportunity to introduce students to delicious Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables grown by our local farmers,” said Space, who has sponsored numerous bills encouraging schools to serve produce harvested nearby.


Advanced: Bucco and Space bill creates special motorcycle tags for veterans

Posted on 18 May 2017

/  RKenney

ADVANCED: BUCCO AND SPACE BILL CREATES SPECIAL MOTORCYCLE TAGS FOR VETERANS

TRENTON, N.J. – Veterans who enjoy motorcycle riding and New Jersey’s scenic back roads will have the option of purchasing special license tags for their bikes under a bill sponsored by Assemblymen Anthony M. Bucco and Park Space. The bill (A2729) cleared the transportation committee today by a 10-0 vote.

Anthony M. Bucco

“Our veterans, who put their lives on hold and risk it all to serve our great nation, are justifiably proud of their service,” said Bucco (R—Morris), the Republican Whip. “Thousands of veterans have cars with special license tags denoting their military service, and many have expressed the desire to have special plates for their bikes, as well. We are proud of our military men and women. They have well-earned this recognition.”

Under the bill, the initial veteran plate fee will be $50, and $10 for annual renewal. Fees will support programs benefiting veterans through the “Military Veteran Motorcycle License Plate Fund.”

Parker Space

“I often meet veterans when I have my bike out on the road,” said Space (R—Sussex). “You can hear the pride in their voices when you speak with them. Many of the veterans I know get together to ride as a group in bike rallies, charity runs, or welcome-home events for returning veterans. This special motorcycle plate gives them the freedom to spotlight their service while supporting other veterans.”

Pennsylvania and Maryland offer veteran motorcycle tags. There are 450,000 veterans in New Jersey.


Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths to receive Public Service Award

For Immediate Release                                                                                  Contact:  Virginia Littell

May 8, 2017                                                                                                                        973-222-2902

District 24 Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths announced today that he will be receiving the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s Public Service Award at their 2017 Pinnacle Awards Dinner.

The Chamber’s recognition is for Wirth’s “outstanding commitment to the State’s business community during [his] tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.”

Wirths welcomed the Chamber’s recognition of the job he did as Labor Commissioner for six plus years he served.

“Working with a lot of good people including the Chamber and business and labor leaders from throughout the State, we were able to reform the operations of the Labor Department and put it on the right financial track,” said Wirths.  “The Department became solvent again and ensured that New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, would be able to meet the new and great demands placed on it in the aftermath of the Great Recession.   

“Now New Jersey is leading the nation when it comes to combating unemployment insurance fraud. Using common-sense approaches, we have been able to stop nearly $700 million from being taken from the Trust Fund and recover more than $100 million from those who have collected unemployment benefits improperly. These measures will ensure that the Trust Fund remains solvent for years to come.”

Under Commissioner Wirths’ leadership and with legislative support, a federal tax hike that New Jersey employers were facing in January 2014 was eliminated.  Due to the growing health and solvency of the Trust Fund, New Jersey employers have realized $380 million in tax relief – the largest single unemployment tax reduction in New Jersey history.

Wirths has also received the following recognitions because of his outstanding service as Labor Commissioner:

FBI Recognition for Investigation of Great Importance

Thomas Kelly Government Service Award

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Business Advocate of the Year Award

New Jersey Business & Industry Association Paul L. Troast Award for Public Service

National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) State Excellence Award for Leadership (SEAL) Award for Hurricane Sandy Response

US Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Innovation Award for Integrity

Sussex County Economic Development Partnership Business Advocacy Award

“I will bring the same work ethic and know-how that I brought as Commissioner to the Assembly to combat our State’s problems, Wirths concluded.”

Wirths is running with incumbent Parker Space for Assembly and Steve Oroho for Senate in the 24th Legislative District in the June 6th Republican Primary.  The 24th District covers all of Sussex County and portions of both Warren and Morris Counties.

The Pinnacle Awards Dinner will be on Wednesday, June 21.  For more information please visitwww.chambersnj.com.

# # # # #


Oroho/Space Varsity Letter Bill Now Law

May 8, 2017  Contact: Alex Young / (609) 847-3600

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space and Senator Steve Oroho (both R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to extend opportunities to earn varsity letters to high school students who participate in competitive activities other than athletics is now law after it was signed by Governor Chris Christie.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho and Asm. Parker Space to award varsity letters to students who participate in non-athletic competitions is now law. (Wikimedia Commons)

“It’s appropriate that kids who take part in extracurricular activities other than sports get a chance to earn a varsity letter,” said Assemblyman Space. “A varsity letter is a source of pride earned through tireless effort, fierce determination and unwavering commitment. These students compete just as passionately as any athlete, and they should receive recognition.”

The bill, S-2398, allows school districts to adopt policies allowing high school students who compete in any school-sponsored, interscholastic extracurricular activities to earn a varsity letter awarded by the district.

Oroho signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill after meeting with the robotics team from Newton High School. The team builds machines in order to learn more about science and engineering, and they represent the school in robotics competitions throughout the state.

“These students put a lot of hours into preparing for their competitions both at school and at home,” Senator Oroho said. “We’ve been rewarding students who show this kind of commitment on the court and the field, so it makes sense that students who represent their schools in academic competitions get the same honor.”


Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths to receive Public Service Award

For Immediate Release                                                                                  Contact:  Virginia Littell

May 8, 2017                                                                                                                        973-222-2902

 

District 24 Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths announced today that he will be receiving the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s Public Service Award at their 2017 Pinnacle Awards Dinner.

The Chamber’s recognition is for Wirth’s “outstanding commitment to the State’s business community during [his] tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.”

Wirths welcomed the Chamber’s recognition of the job he did as Labor Commissioner for six plus years he served.

“Working with a lot of good people including the Chamber and business and labor leaders from throughout the State, we were able to reform the operations of the Labor Department and put it on the right financial track,” said Wirths.  “The Department became solvent again and ensured that New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, would be able to meet the new and great demands placed on it in the aftermath of the Great Recession.   

“Now New Jersey is leading the nation when it comes to combating unemployment insurance fraud. Using common-sense approaches, we have been able to stop nearly $700 million from being taken from the Trust Fund and recover more than $100 million from those who have collected unemployment benefits improperly. These measures will ensure that the Trust Fund remains solvent for years to come.”

Under Commissioner Wirths’ leadership and with legislative support, a federal tax hike that New Jersey employers were facing in January 2014 was eliminated.  Due to the growing health and solvency of the Trust Fund, New Jersey employers have realized $380 million in tax relief – the largest single unemployment tax reduction in New Jersey history.

Wirths has also received the following recognitions because of his outstanding service as Labor Commissioner:

FBI Recognition for Investigation of Great Importance

Thomas Kelly Government Service Award

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Business Advocate of the Year Award

New Jersey Business & Industry Association Paul L. Troast Award for Public Service

National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) State Excellence Award for Leadership (SEAL) Award for Hurricane Sandy Response

US Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Innovation Award for Integrity

Sussex County Economic Development Partnership Business Advocacy Award

“I will bring the same work ethic and know-how that I brought as Commissioner to the Assembly to combat our State’s problems, Wirths concluded.”

Wirths is running with incumbent Parker Space for Assembly and Steve Oroho for Senate in the 24th Legislative District in the June 6th Republican Primary.  The 24th District covers all of Sussex County and portions of both Warren and Morris Counties.

The Pinnacle Awards Dinner will be on Wednesday, June 21.  For more information please visit www.chambersnj.com.

# # # # #


For Immediate Release                                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Littell

May 12, 2017                                                                                                                             973-222-2902

NJ Outdoor Alliance Endorses Steve Oroho For Senate and Parker Space & Hal Wirths For Assembly in District 24

- The conservative trio in LD-24 welcome support of the State’s outdoorspeople -

After careful review, Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths have received the endorsement of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) in the June 6th Primary in the 24th District.

Senator Steve Oroho is the Senate Republican Co-Chair of the New Jersey Angling, Hunting, and Conservation Caucus.  He has been a champion of the sportsmen community since his first election to the Senate ten years ago.  In March 2016 he was honored by the NJOA with their 2016 Conservation Leadership Award.  He is a life member of the National Rifle Association.  Senator Oroho has been instrumental in the passage of two vital bow hunting laws – changing the perimeter for bow hunting around an occupied building and allowing bow hunting on Sundays, as well as the enactment “Hooked on Fishing, not on Drugs” program in DEP.

Assemblyman Space is the Assembly Republican Co-Chairman of the New Jersey Angling, Hunting, and Conservation Caucus.  His family has owned and operated Space Farms Zoo and Museum for 90 years.  He is a life-long hunter and teaches responsible gun ownership and promotes sound wildlife policies through educational programs at the zoo.  He is a life member of the National Rifle Association and a member of the NJ Farm Bureau.  Along with Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space was supportive of the creation of the apprentice firearm hunting license and apprentice bow and arrow license as well as the creation of the "Fishing Buddy License."

In addition Assemblyman Space serves on the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and is a voice of common sense on hunting, angling, trapping, natural resource conservation, and other issues of importance to NJOA.

Hal Wirths is no stranger to issues facing the outdoor community.  He is a gun owner and a life member of the National Rifle Association.  Wirths has supported numerous outdoor charity events held by such groups as the Friends of the NRA, Ducks Unlimited, and the Ruffed Grouse Society.  As a Freeholder, he was supportive of the bear hunt and opposed the McGreevey’s and Corzine’s administrations blocking of the hunts.

Oroho, Space and Wirths are championing legislation to clarify that the Fish and Game Council have the sole authority to regulate freshwater fishing, hunting, and trapping (S472 and A3737); provide for no net loss of DEP lands for fishing, hunting, and trapping purposes (S485 and A122); authorizing Sunday bow hunting on federal military installations and the William J. Hughes Technical Center (S1605 and A2923); authorizing the use of tracking dog to search for and recover wild deer during prescribed hunting season (S2400 and A1616); and a constitutional amendment ensuring the rights of New Jersey residents to fish and hunt (SCR27 and ACR79).

According to Pete Grimbilas, Chairman, NJOA, "The team of Oroho, Space and Wirths have demonstrated time and time again their commitment to conservation and to the health of our natural resources by their actions: the bills they introduce and support, and their participation in outdoor activities."

“Oroho, Space and Wirths are supportive of sound bear management policies, including a bear hunt,” Grimbilas continued.  “In addition, they support keeping the structure and responsibilities of the Fish and Game Council and Marine Fisheries Council to minimize political interference in the management of natural resources.  They both support the rights of hunters from draconian gun control measures.”

The 24th District covers all of Sussex County and portions of both Warren and Morris Counties: 

Sussex County – (all) Andover Borough, Andover Township, Branchville, Byram, Frankford, Franklin, Fredon, Green, Hamburg, Hampton, Hardyston, Hopatcong, Lafayette, Montague, Newton, Ogdensburg, Sandyston, Sparta, Stanhope, Stillwater, Sussex Borough, Vernon, Walpack, Wantage


Warren County - Allamuchy, Belvidere, Blairstown, Frelinghuysen, Hardwick, Hope, Independence, Knowlton, Liberty, Oxford, White

Morris County - Mount Olive

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Oroho-Space-Wirths:  Time is now for Special Legislative Session on Property Taxes!

For Immediate Release                                                                                             Contact:  Virginia Littell

April 27, 2017                                                                                                                                973-222-2902

With news that major tax changes are being discussed in Washington, with eliminating the federal income tax deduction on property taxes emerging as part of the tax reform package, today Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assembly Candidate Hal Wirths reiterated their support for a legislative special session to reform New Jersey’s high property taxes. They also announced their opposition to repealing the property tax deduction.

            “We can’t wait any longer,” said Oroho, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris.  “As state officials, we don’t have any direct control over what Congress and the President may do," said Oroho, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris. "As such, we are calling upon our congressional delegation to fight to preserve the property tax deduction. However, it's another wake-up call that we cannot wait on property tax reform. And as part of any special session on property taxes, school funding reform needs to be at the top of the list."

            Oroho, Space, and Wirths support legislation to call the Legislature into a special session where leaders of both parties bring bills forward for an up or down vote. The legislation is SCR-122 and ACR-65.

              “I have 55 bills that would lower the property tax burden in this State and I am proud to say that Senator Oroho and I have gotten some through, but all of them should be given the chance to be debated and voted upon immediately,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris. “The President and Congress are telling us ‘you better get off your duffs and do something now’ and all I start to hear is finger pointing by my liberal colleagues. The time for action is now and the time for excuses is over.”

              Hal Wirths, the former New Jersey Commissioner of Labor, said this reminds him of when he first took the job, he had an Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund that was bankrupt.

              “I didn’t wait around and check with party bosses and liberal interest groups as to how to fix the problem,” said Wirths. “I rolled up my sleeves and went to work, and now New Jersey is leading the nation when it comes to combating unemployment insurance fraud. Using common-sense approaches, we have been able to stop nearly $700 million from being taken from the Trust Fund and recovered more than $100 million from those who have collected unemployment benefits improperly. With the same work ethic and know-how that I will bring to the Assembly, we can fix this latest property tax concern.”

# # # # #


For Immediate Release                                                                                    Contact:     Virginia "Ginnie" Littell

April 7, 2017                                                                                                                           973-222-2902

 Oroho, Space, Wirths applaud Gorsuch confirmation

Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space today applauded the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.  The two Republican legislators represent all of Sussex County, eleven towns in Warren County, and Mt. Olive in Morris County.  They were joined by former State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths, a Republican candidate for the state Assembly.

"Gorsuch is a strong conservative and great replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia," said Oroho, who added, "He is a minimalist, who respects the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and who understands that it is not the Court's job to legislate."

Space noted:  "Justice Gorsuch will protect the Second Amendment and our right to own firearms for hunting, sports, for personal protection, and to protect the lives of our families and property."

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is what our Republic is built on," Wirths said.  "In Neil Gorsuch we have someone who will defend all human life, protect the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and keep government out of the way of people making the most of their lives, being the best that they can be."

Gorsuch's confirmation was achieved after Republican Senators used the so-called "nuclear option," which was adopted by the Democrats in 2013 as the "(Sen. Harry) Reid Rule" to end filibusters for most nominations by Presidents.

Justice Gorsuch is 49 years old, married with two children, and a native of Colorado.  He holds degrees from Columbia University (BA), Harvard University (JD), and University College, Oxford (DPhil).  He was formerly a federal appeals court judge for the 10th circuit.

# # # #


For Immediate Release                                                                                    Contact:     Kelly Ann Hart

March 30, 2017                                                                                                                      973-464-1047

New Jersey Right to Life State PAC endorses Steve Oroho for Senate and Parker Space & Hal Wirths for Assembly

- The conservative trio in LD-24 welcome support of the State’s largest pro-life organization -

Today pro-life Senator Steve Oroho, pro-life Assemblyman Parker Space and their pro-life running mate former Commissioner Hal Wirths announced their endorsement by the New Jersey Right to Life State PAC for their candidacies in the 24th District.

“I am humbled by the endorsement of the New Jersey Right to Life State PAC,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris), who along with his wife Rita are the parents of five adult children and grandparents of five.  “I staunchly believe in promoting a culture of life and will never waiver in my support of the unborn.”

 “It is an honor to be endorsed by leaders in the pro-life movement,” said Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris), who along with his wife Jill have three children.  “Working to advance the cause of life in Trenton has not been easy with radical liberal Democrats in charge of the agenda there, but our allies in this fight know where I stand and I appreciate their support.”

Oroho and Space have stood up for those who have no voice by opposing funding for Planned Parenthood and opposing physician-assisted suicide.  They are sponsoring the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" which bans abortion 20 weeks or more after fertilization and other vital legislation to require the availability of a sonogram before an abortion is performed and to require parental notification for a minor’s medical procedure.

“I aim to be a pro-life leader in the New Jersey Legislature in the same way my friends Alison Littell McHose, Gary Chiusano, and Scott Garrett who have previously served in the Assembly were,” said Wirths, making his first bid for the Assembly.  “I look forward to working with leaders and activists of the pro-life movement in District 24 and from throughout the State.”

Wirths along with his wife Debbie have two daughters.

Marie Tasy, Executive Director of New Jersey Right to Life, said it was an easy decision to endorse Oroho, Space, and Wirths for the Assembly in the June 6th Republican Primary.

“Steve’s and Parker’s record on life issues speaks for itself,” Tasy said.  “Hal will be a strong pro-life voice in the Assembly and work with Steve and Parker on their pro-life legislative initiatives.”

“I am proud that they have earned this endorsement and continue in the strong pro-life tradition in Northwest New Jersey,” Tasy concluded.

# # # # #


GOP state senators propose reforms for N.J. school funding

Posted: Apr. 12, 2017 12:01 am

New Jersey Senate Republicans recently released a series of school funding reform proposals as the starting point for discussions on the replacement of what they called the state's failed school funding system in response to a challenge issued by Gov. Chris Christie in his budget message last month.

Christie asked the legislative leaders of both parties to join with him to work on a new funding formula to replace the School Funding Reform Act of 2008.

Both houses of the Legislature have held committee meetings in recent months to examine the school funding formula. The state Senate created a committee for that purpose, the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness.

OROHO

Senate Republicans serving on the Select Committee include Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26th Dist.) as vice chair, Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23th Dist.), Sen. Steven Oroho (R-24th Dist.) and Sen. Sam Thompson (R-12th Dist.).

Proposed changes to the state's education funding formula that Senate Republicans believe should be addressed in any upcoming discussions on school funding reform and announced in a press release include:

º Re-calibration of how special education is funded to ensure educational opportunities for our state's most vulnerable children in every school district.

º Extraordinary special education should be fully funded, and that should be enshrined in the Constitution to guarantee that it happens every year. School districts should not have to cover the entire financial burden of a $100,000-plus cost that may accompany a child with special needs. The state should fully fund the costs over the threshold determined by the state Department of Education. Extraordinary special education is only 58 percent funded in the fiscal year 2017 state budget.

PENNACCHIO

º The current census approach to special education funding should be eliminated. Money should follow the most vulnerable students depending on their unique needs, and not based on average needs.

º Special education funding should be based entirely on the student and the individual need, and not be impacted by the incomes within a student's district as is currently law. There should be no wealth equalization in special education funding.

º School funding should follow the child so that enrollment changes and need changes are tracked and accounted for every year. A constitutional amendment would ensure that the state no longer allows practices employed in recent state budgets, such as flat funding, across-the-board increases or hold-harmless aid. If a district has more kids and/or greater need, its funding should increase more than other districts. If a school district has a lower enrollment and fewer student needs, then funding should comparatively decrease.

º In a small state like New Jersey, the use of any geographic cost adjustment must be eliminated because commuters and services flow across regions all the time. To ensure that school aid is distributed fairly to school districts, payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) must be properly accounted for.

DOHERTY

º PILOTs should be distributed to local governments and schools in the same proportion as property taxes. A municipality should not be allowed to benefit from a PILOT to the detriment of the school district or county.

º The local fair share or ability to pay of a local school district needs to include the full market value of any PILOT properties, regardless of taxes paid or previous blight.

º Enrollment should be measured in a manner that is more difficult to manipulate than the current measure in the School Funding Reform Act -- attendance on a single school day. Budgets should reflect needs over the entire year.

º The measure of at-risk students needs to change from easily manipulated enrollment in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program. The greater needs of a district should be measured in other ways, such as the median income of a district or the percentage of children living below the poverty line.

º For school districts in the Highlands, Pinelands, Meadowlands or other areas of our state where land use is highly regulated, the state Department of Education's determination of local fair share must be adjusted to include certain communities' land-use restrictions that may artificially lower property values.

THOMPSON

º Lastly, any new formula must be sustainable year after year. The current School Funding Reform Act is not sustainable, which means it is never fully funded, leading to unfair distortions that hurt both students and property taxpayers.

"As a member of the both the Budget & Appropriations Committee and the Select Committee on School Funding Fairness, I've heard countless New Jerseyans present their personal stories of how SFRA has hurt their schools, children, and wallets," Oroho said in a prepared statement. "It's hard to believe that any legislator of either party could listen to that testimony and not feel compelled to act. All New Jersey students deserve the opportunity to succeed, and all of our residents deserve a fair shot at property tax relief through an equitable funding formula."

Doherty noted that some of the Senate Republican proposals would fix long-reported abuses that municipalities and school districts have used to game the school funding formula.

"We've seen instances where some districts have manipulated student enrollment in federal anti-poverty programs, which artificially increases the state school aid they receive under SFRA at the expense of struggling students in other districts," Doherty said. "We've also seen the abuse of PILOT agreements in rising cities like Hoboken and Jersey City, which further skews the funding formula in their favor by taking billions of dollars of new luxury developments off their tax rolls. This is a problem the Senate president has discussed, and an area where bipartisan agreement on reform is possible and necessary."


Governor signs job-creation grant legislation

PUBLISHED FEB 16, 2017 AT 3:36 PM (UPDATED FEB 16, 2017)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space enabling qualifying businesses to get a refund for the excess portion of their Business Employment Incentive Program tax credit was signed today by Gov. Chris Christie. 

“These businesses signed agreements with the state under BEIP to move or expand here with the understanding that they would receive those grants,” said Oroho. “We’ve already passed legislation that allows them to convert their grants into tax credits, but this now gives insurance companies the same opportunities that other businesses have to get a refund on those credits.”

“These are grants earned by companies for creating jobs and putting New Jersey residents to work,” said Space (R—Sussex, Warren, Morris). “If they are meeting expectations and hiring new employees, they should benefit from all of the money they have earned through BEIP. They can invest the refund in more growth and new jobs.”

A business paying the corporation business tax can convert their BEIP grants to tax credits and receive a refund if the credit exceeds their liability, while businesses paying the insurance premium tax cannot get that refund. The new law treats insurance premium tax-paying businesses the same as CBT-paying businesses, with both able to get refunds.

Now Law: Oroho Bill to Speed Up CDL License Process

February 6, 2017  Contact: Alex Young / (609) 847-3600

Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to speed up the process of getting a commercial driver license by using private third-party vendors to administer the test is now law after it was signed by Governor Chris Christie.

Sen. Steve Oroho’s legislation reduces wait times for CDL tests by establishing a pilot program to allow third-party vendors to administer the test. (Flickr)

Sen. Steve Oroho’s legislation reduces wait times for CDL tests by establishing a pilot program to allow third-party vendors to administer the test. (Flickr)

“Companies are always looking to hire new drivers, but because we have trouble keeping up with that demand because of the long wait to get a CDL,” Senator Oroho said. “We have a huge backlog of drivers just waiting to start working. This will help speed up the process of getting a CDL so we can get these people trained and on the road.”

Drivers in New Jersey have some of the longest waits to get their CDL, with some people waiting three months or longer. In the 39 other states that already allow private third-party testing, the wait time is as short as one week.

The legislation, S-2364, establishes a Commercial Driver License Testing Pilot Program and would allow three private, third-party vendors to administer the knowledge and skills tests for commercial licenses. One vendor would be located in the each of the southern, central and northern parts of the state.

Current New Jersey law already allows for third-party testing, but no such program exists because the State never implemented any regulations. This legislation will institute a pilot program until regulations can be formally adopted. Nine months after the pilot begins, the chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to submit an evaluation to the Governor with recommendations that will facilitate the permanent use of third-party vendors.

“A three-month wait to take a test is too long,” Senator Oroho said. “These drivers have spent the time and money to get the training they need, and we just have get them to the test in a reasonable amount of time so they can begin their careers. Other states are already seeing major reductions in those wait times, so it only makes sense for us to test it out and see if it’s a viable solution for New Jersey.”

Oroho Calls on Republican Legislators to Defend Trump

February 1, 2017  Contact: Jeff Spatola / (973) 300-0200

Calling it “a moment of truth” for our party and its leadership, Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) called on every Republican legislator to unite in opposition to a Democrat move to “condemn” President Trump’s efforts to create greater scrutiny of those entering the United States from countries in which Islamic terrorists are harbored and sustained.

President Donald J. Trump (WhiteHouse.gov)

President Donald J. Trump (WhiteHouse.gov)

“There are those who have called this a ‘Muslim ban’ but that is more a term of propaganda than of fact,” said Oroho. “The seven countries targeted by President Donald Trump in his executive order on immigration were initially identified as ‘countries of concern’ under the Obama administration.”

Trump’s order bars citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days. In December 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law a measure placing limited restrictions on certain travelers who had visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011.

Two months later, the Obama administration added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen to the list, in an effort, the administration said, to address “the growing threat from foreign terrorist fighters.”

“President Trump is simply acting on what earlier administrations have identified as threats to the security of our nation and lives of our people,” Oroho explained.

8 USC §1182 (or section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) is the legal foundation for President Trump’s executive order:

“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

The Congressional Research Service provides this explanation of the law.

President Trump’s executive orders also address so-called “sanctuary cities” that harbor undocumented persons who are illegally in the United States. Senator Oroho is the sponsor of Senate Bill S2945, which prohibits a municipality from passing an ordinance to create a sanctuary city and makes it an ethics violation for state or local employees to refuse to comply with a federal immigration enforcement request. Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) is a prime sponsor of the Assembly version, A1707

Oroho bill to protect consumers, support businesses passes

PUBLISHED FEB 7, 2017 AT 1:17 PM (UPDATED FEB 7, 2017)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho to protect consumers from price gouging during a natural disaster and support small businesses following a state of emergency declaration is now law after it was signed by Governor Chris Christie.

“The protections we put in place will deter businesses from taking advantage of consumers during a natural disaster by spiking prices for necessities, such as gasoline and groceries,” Senator Oroho said. “This bill will ensure business won’t be put at a disadvantage because of the inflexibility of the current protocol, while still protecting consumers from price gouging tactics that threaten their welfare and safety.”

The legislation amends existing law to provide that it would be unlawful for any person to sell any product at an excessive price for a 30-day period following the declaration of a state of emergency. It also allows for the Governor to extend the period during which the price gouging prohibition remains in force.

Under current law, excessive price increases are prohibited for a period that extends to 30 days after the termination of a state of emergency. An “excessive price” is defined as more than 10 percent above the price of the item or service as offered immediately before the state of emergency.

“Every disaster is different, and a rigid, 30-day period might work for every one of them,” Senator Oroho said. “We need to tailor these protections to fit each unique situation that arises. I think this will help us strike a balance between protecting consumers during a natural disaster and supporting businesses once the emergency is over.”

Oroho, Space lead fight to end human trafficking

PUBLISHED FEB 1, 2017 AT 12:51 PM (UPDATED FEB 1, 2017)

TRENTON — New Jersey is one of the lead states to propose the Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act. More than 30 other states are joining the effort. 

Senator Steve Oroho proposed the bill in the Senate (S-2928) and Assemblyman Parker Space — with Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz, Betty Lou DeCroce, and Amy Handlin — proposed it in the Assembly. More co-sponsors are expected in both chambers.

"The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a global problem that is happening in communities across New Jersey," said Senator Oroho, adding that "the commercial sex industry targets children regardless of their gender."

Commercial sexual exploitation of children occurs when individuals buy, trade, or sell sexual acts with a child; and sex trafficking is "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act... in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age." 

Assemblyman Space noted: "Children become victims through interaction with predators. According to a recent report, 75 percent of all children who are trafficked were lured into sexual exploitation through Internet porn."

This legislation requires Internet-connected devices to have digital blocking capability that can only be removed by an adult and would make it unlawful "to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, lease, or distribute a product" that makes pornographic content accessible "unless the product contains digital blocking capability that renders" certain obscene material "inaccessible" and ensures that "all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible on the product... prohibits the product from accessing any hub that facilitates prostitution; and render websites that are known to facilitate human trafficking... inaccessible."

The Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act is a nationwide, bipartisan effort to cut off the grooming and trafficking of children into prostitution through commercial, for-profit pornography. Senator Oroho gave the legislation the name it is known by and it is the hope that it will be proposed in each of the 50 states. 

“Sexually exploiting children causes long term, if not lifelong, damage and confusion," said Rev. Greg Quinlan of the Center for Garden State Families. 

The Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act was fashioned using directives from the United States Supreme Court regarding the use of digital blocking or filters. Great attention was paid to the arguments of libertarians and civil rights groups when fashioning this legislation.

Oroho/Doherty/

Thompson Statement on First School Funding Hearing

January 27, 2017  Contact: Emily Everson / (609) 847-3600

Senate RepublicansMike Doherty, Sam Thompson and Steve Oroho

Senate RepublicansMike Doherty, Sam Thompson and Steve Oroho

Senate Republicans Steven Oroho, Mike Doherty and Sam Thompson issued the following statement on the first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness. As committee members, the senators are working on a bipartisan basis to examine the state’s broken school funding system – a major component of New Jersey’s property tax crisis.

As members of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness, Sens. Steven Oroho, Mike Doherty and Sam Thompson will work on a bipartisan basis to fix New Jersey’s broken school funding system. (©iStock)

“This committee to examine school funding reform was created on a bipartisan basis, and I am encouraged by the fact that we seem to share a common goal,” Senator Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset) said. I’ve had a constitutional amendment in since 2011 to make school funding as equitable as possible. I’ve been in this fight to restore fairness to school funding and provide property tax relief to residents for years. Our taxpayers and our children deserve no less.”

“Our flawed school funding formula creates inequities that hurt students and taxpayers alike,” Senator Steven Oroho (R–Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “I am hopeful that this committee will not limit itself to making slight adjustments to the current formula or just look to throw more money at the problem when we already spend near the top nationally in state aid per pupil. We simply cannot address high property taxes without enacting more comprehensive school funding reform.”

“Finding solutions to fix New Jersey’s inequitable school aid formula is critical to easing the property tax burden for our residents, especially those who reside in one of the many woefully underfunded school districts in suburban and rural communities throughout the state,” Senator Thompson (R-Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington) said. “I am committed to working diligently with my fellow committee members to finally deliver long-awaited and much needed school funding reform.”

As members of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness, Sens. Steven Oroho, Mike Doherty and Sam Thompson will work on a bipartisan basis to fix New Jersey’s broken school funding system. (©iStock)

As members of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness, Sens. Steven Oroho, Mike Doherty and Sam Thompson will work on a bipartisan basis to fix New Jersey’s broken school funding system. (©iStock)

The bipartisan Select Committee on School Funding Fairness was created through the Senate’s unanimous adoption of SR-100 on Jan. 10. Oroho, Thompson and Doherty are among the four Republican members of the committee, who will serve alongside four Democrat members. The other Republican member is committee Co-Chair Senator Joe Pennacchio.

The committee has been tasked with examining the issue of school funding, through hearings held around the state, to produce recommendations for legislative changes that will enact necessary reforms.

The committee’s first public hearing was held on Friday, Jan. 27 in Woolwhich Township. The next hearing will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Middlesex County College. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Varsity letter bill passes committee

PUBLISHED JAN 13, 2017 AT 1:06 PM (UPDATED JAN 13, 2017)

TRENTON — Legislation co-sponsored by State Sen. Steve Oroho to extend opportunities to earn varsity letters to high school students that participate in competitive activities other than athletics was advanced by the Senate Education Committee.

“Students who are part of science or music clubs take so much pride in competing for their school,” Oroho said. “It’s time that our high schools recognize these hard-working kids and their important contributions to school spirit.”

The bill allows school districts to adopt policies allowing high school students who compete in any school-sponsored, interscholastic extracurricular activities to earn a varsity letter awarded by the district. Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Diane Allen are the prime sponsors of the legislation.

Oroho signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill after meeting with the robotics team from Newton High School. The team builds machines in order to learn more about science and engineering, and they represent the school in robotics competitions throughout the state.

“These students have to train and prepare for their competitions in the same way student-athletes have to prepare for their games,” Oroho said. “The fact they’re focusing academic competitions rather than sports doesn’t mean they are any less deserving of a varsity letter.”

Assembly passes price-gouging bill

PUBLISHED DEC 22, 2016 AT 3:37 PM (UPDATED DEC 22, 2016)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Steve Oroho to protect consumers from price gouging during a natural disaster and support small businesses following a state of emergency declaration is one step closer to becoming law after it was passed by the New Jersey General Assembly.

“The protections we put in place will deter businesses from taking advantage of consumers during a natural disaster by spiking prices for necessities, such as gasoline and groceries,” Senator Oroho said. “This bill will ensure business won’t be put at a disadvantage because of the inflexibility of the current protocol, and still protect consumers from price gouging tactics that threaten their welfare and safety.”

The legislation amends existing law to provide that it would be unlawful for any person to sell any product at an excessive price for a 30-day period following the declaration of a state of emergency. It also allows for the Governor to extend the period during which the price gouging prohibition remains in force.

Under current law, excessive price increases are prohibited for a period that extends to 30 days after the termination of a state of emergency. An “excessive price” is defined as more than 10 percent above the price of the item or service as offered immediately before the state of emergency.

“Every disaster is different, and a rigid, 30-day period might not work for every one of them,” Oroho said. “We need to tailor these protections to fit each unique situation that arises. I think this will help us strike a balance between protecting consumers during a natural disaster and supporting businesses once the emergency is over.”

Legislation to speed up CBL process passes Assembly

PUBLISHED DEC 22, 2016 AT 3:42 PM (UPDATED DEC 22, 2016)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Steve Oroho to speed up the process of getting a commercial driver license by using private third-party vendors to administer the test is one step closer to becoming law after it was passed by the New Jersey General Assembly.

“Companies are always looking to hire new drivers, but we have trouble keeping up with that demand because of the long wait to get a CDL,” Oroho said. “When you factor in things like the need for school bus drivers, there are a decent amount of jobs out there waiting to be had. We just need speed up the process of getting a CDL so we can train enough people to fill those positions.”

Drivers in New Jersey have some of the longest waits to get their CDL, with some people waiting three months or longer. In the 39 other states that already allow private third-party testing, the wait time is as short as one week.

The legislation establishes a Commercial Driver License Testing Pilot Program and would allow three private, third-party vendors to administer the knowledge and skills tests for commercial licenses. One vendor would be located in the each of the southern, central and northern parts of the state.

Current New Jersey law already allows for third-party testing, but no such program exists because the state never implemented any regulations. This legislation will institute a pilot program until regulations can be formally adopted. Nine months after the pilot begins, the chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to submit an evaluation to the Governor with recommendations that will facilitate the permanent use of third-party vendors.

“A three-month wait to take a test is too long,” Oroho said. “These drivers have spent the time and money to get the training they need, and we just have get them to the test in a reasonable amount of time so they can begin their careers. Other states are already seeing major reductions in those wait times, so it only makes sense for us to test it out and see if it’s a viable solution for New Jersey.”

Shared services bill passes state Senate

PUBLISHED DEC 22, 2016 AT 3:24 PM (UPDATED DEC 22, 2016)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho to encourage cost-saving shared services agreements between New Jersey’s military installations and neighboring governments was passed by the New Jersey Senate.

“Forging a strong bond between municipalities and adjacent military bases is so important,” Senator Oroho said. “With this measure, these entities can save a lot of money by working together on things like redevelopment, brownfield remediation and infrastructure expansion.”

The bill revises The “Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act” so that federal military bases are able to participate in a shared services agreement with other local units of government. The act was put in place to provide greater flexibility to local governments to enter into these kinds of agreements, as well as streamline municipal consolidation efforts.

The recommendation to include military bases in this process came from the 2015 report issued by the NJ Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force. The task force was created in 2014 to explore ways to preserve, enhance and strengthen the state’s military bases.

“There are already examples of this kind of agreement working in New Jersey,” Senator Oroho said. “Rockaway Township and Picatinny Arsenal have a long-standing relationship to share police and fire protection, as well as recreation space. This measure will help more communities and bases benefit from this kind of relationship and ultimately save money for taxpayers.”

Oroho bill to encourage shared services

PUBLISHED DEC 16, 2016 AT 3:20 PM (UPDATED DEC 16, 2016)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Steve Oroho to encourage cost-saving shared services agreements between New Jersey’s military installations and neighboring governments was advanced by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Forging a strong bond between municipalities and adjacent military bases is so important,” Oroho said. “With this measure, these entities can save a lot of money by working together on things like redevelopment, brownfield remediation and infrastructure expansion.”

The bill revises The “Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act” so that federal military bases are able to participate in a shared services agreement with other local units of government. The act was put in place to provide greater flexibility to local governments to enter into these kinds of agreements, as well as streamline municipal consolidation efforts.

The recommendation to include military bases in this process came from the 2015 report issued by the NJ Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force. The task force was created in 2014 to explore ways to preserve, enhance and strengthen the state’s military bases.

“There are already examples of this kind of agreement working in New Jersey,” Senator Oroho said. “Rockaway Township and Picatinny Arsenal have a long-standing relationship to share police and fire protection, as well as recreation space. This measure will help more communities and bases benefit from this kind of relationship and ultimately save money for taxpayers.”

The committee also released the Assembly companion bill, A-2514, which is prime sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris).

Oroho Bill to fight hunger passes committee

PUBLISHED DEC 16, 2016 AT 2:51 PM (UPDATED DEC 16, 2016)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho to fight hunger by providing a tax credit to farmers that donate produce to food banks was advanced by the Senate Economic Growth Committee on Monday.

“After a harvest, commercial farmers regularly end up with a surplus of crops that have some kind of cosmetic defect that makes it unmarketable but are still perfectly good to eat,” Senator Oroho said. “We want to encourage these farmers to donate these extra crops to people in need, rather than just let them go to waste.”

The bill, S-512, provides corporation business tax and gross income tax credits for the value of fruits and vegetable donations made by New Jersey’s Commercial Farmers over a five-year period. The amount of the credit would be equal to 10-percent of the whole sale value of the produce at the time of the donation.

The credit is intended to provide an incentive to farmers to donate surplus crops to local food banks. According to Feeding America, more than 1 million New Jersey residents were food insecure in 2014, about 11-percent of the state’s population.

“A lot of people count on these food banks to feed their families, and they do a great job giving help to people in need,” Senator Oroho said. “But they often rely on canned food, which is good, but it can’t match the nutrition or health benefits of fresh produce. At this time of year, it’s important to think about the less fortunate and ensure no one spends the holidays hungry.”

Oroho resolution on childhood cancer passes committee

PUBLISHED DEC 15, 2016 AT 2:31 PM (UPDATED DEC 15, 2016)

TRENTON — A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho to promote education and awareness about childhood cancer is one step closer to final passage after it was advanced by the Assembly Health Committee.

The resolution was inspired by Nicholas Da Silva, a Hardyston resident who was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma when he was just 5 years old. In the two years since his cancer has gone into remission, he has worked to help other children with the disease. Along with the other members of his family, Nicholas has raised money to help other kids through donations to the Valerie Fund and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

“Nicholas had to start fighting cancer at a very young age,” Oroho said. “Thankfully he’s never stopped. He and his family have given so much to others battling the disease. They truly are an inspiration. I can’t thank him and his family enough for helping us work on this resolution.”

The bill designates the third week in September as “Go Gold for Kids with Cancer Awareness Week.” While childhood cancer is rare, it’s still the leading cause of death from disease in American children under the age of 19. For kids battling cancer or those who have survived it, adjusting to school and other social settings can be difficult. They often experience anxiety and have concerns about their body image. As part of the special awareness week, schools with be encouraged to have activities that promote a better understand of childhood cancer and build compassion for kids with the disease.

“A cancer diagnosis is very scary for a young kid,” Senator Oroho said. “We need to show the fighters and survivors that they have our support and compassion. We also need to show others how they can get involved and help the same way the DaSilva family has.”

Oroho bill on pharmaceutical industry becomes law

PUBLISHED DEC 15, 2016 AT 2:35 PM (UPDATED DEC 15, 2016)
 

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho to make the registration process easier for pharmaceutical companies is now law after it was signed by Governor Chris Christie. 

The measure came out of the New Jersey Red Tape Review Commission.

“The seemingly never ending list of regulations and rules has handcuffed business in this state for far too long,” Senator Oroho said. “Six years after it was created, the Red Tape Review Commission is still finding ways to cut back the bureaucracy and make it easier for entrepreneurs and job creators to grow their businesses in the state. This law will reduce the time it takes for drug companies to set up shop in New Jersey.”

The Red Tape Review Commission was created by executive order on Gov. Chris Christie’s first day in office. It was tasked with taking a look at the state’s regulations and deciding if their negative impact on businesses outweighed their intended benefits. The commission has continued with this mission since it was made a permanent part of state government in September of 2010.

The legislation, S-2024, clarifies that approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not required when a drug manufacturer is filing a registration statement. Instead, at the time of filing, the company will only be required to submit a statement confirming that an application has been submitted to the FDA.

“We’ve heard from these businesses, and passing this legislation like this will be key to keeping more companies in operation in New Jersey,” Senator Oroho said. “If we can make government more efficient, we can make the state better for business and cheaper for residents. This law is another step toward that goal, but we must continue our efforts in order to ensure our economic prosperity."

Oroho co-sponsors measure to bring back death penalty

PUBLISHED DEC 2, 2016 AT 12:51 PM (UPDATED DEC 2, 2016)

TRENTON — Senator Steve Oroho and Senator Jeff Van Drew introduced legislation that would reinstate the death penalty in New Jersey for the most heinous acts of murder.

The bill specifically references five acts that law enforcement and juries can consider the death penalty as an appropriate punishment: (1) the death of a law enforcement or corrections officer while on official duty; (2) the murder of a juvenile under the age of 18 during the commission of a sex crime; (3) death by an act of terrorism; (4) the perpetrator had been convicted of a murder previously; and (5) serial killers.

“These murderous acts are some of the most heinous crimes against humanity that society confronts,” said Senator Oroho. “Victims’ families and the general public should know that such malicious, depraved behavior can be punishable to the same severity with which the criminals perpetrated their vile acts.”

The death penalty statute was repealed in the state in 2007 under Governor Jon Corzine and replaced with life without parole.

“More recently, we witnessed a maniacal serial bomber with direct New Jersey ties attempt to inflict great harm on the public,” Oroho said. “Such contempt for human life as exhibited by these radical terrorists should be met with the most severe punishment that could be allowable under the law – that is to pay for it with their own life.”

The individual in question, Ahmad Khan Rahami, is an Elizabeth resident who is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan. Rahami attempted to inflict mass casualties when he placed a pipe bomb in a trash can which was set to go off during a running race in Seaside Park to benefit a Marine Corps charity. Thankfully the race was delayed and the bomb detonated with no individuals in the immediate vicinity at the time. However, Rahami did place another bomb in Manhattan that injured 30 people and attempted another bomb detonation in Elizabeth.

“Only the grace of God prevented a Boston-style tragedy from happening in New Jersey,” said Oroho. “A militant jihadist who says he gains inspiration from Osama bin Laden and radical terrorists very nearly caused mass murder.”

Senate passes bill to protect crime victims

PUBLISHED NOV 22, 2016 AT 1:13 PM (UPDATED NOV 22, 2016)

TRENTON — The Senate today approved a four-bill package sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, Senator Brian Stack, Senator Shirley K. Turner and Senator Steve Oroho to strengthen crime victims’ rights laws in New Jersey. The passage of the legislation took place as the Senate marked the 25th Anniversary of enactment of the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment to the state Constitution, which cemented the right of crime victims to be treated fairly and their ability to be present at certain court proceedings.

“It is unconscionable to ask a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault to recount a traumatic experience in front of their abuser, when we know that forcing them to testify this way can inflict lasting emotional distress,” said Senator Oroho. “It is my hope that allowing crime victims of any age to testify on closed circuit television will encourage more survivors to come forward and help us bring to justice the people who commit such violent and despicable acts.”

Overwhelmingly approved by 1.2 million voters on November 5, 1991, the Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment made New Jersey the eighth state to amend its constitution to provide justice for crime victims. In conjunction with the enactment of amendment, the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center was established by Richard D. Pompelio Esq., an organization that has provided free legal assistance to more than 15,000 victims of violent crime. The Senate honored Mr. Pompelio today for his work.

The bills approved today address protections for victims and witnesses of sex crimes, allowing them — regardless of age — to testify in court proceedings via video if they meet certain conditions. They allow victims of sexual assault and the survivors of homicide victims to be present at certain post adjudication hearings to provide information to the court before a decision is made on matters such as relieving an offender from Megan’s Law registration requirements. In addition, they permit those who have a close relationship with a violent crime victim to make an in-person statement to the court at sentencing; establish housing and employment protections for crime victims; and provide witnesses and their families with relocation assistance.

“Facing a perpetrator in the courtroom can be an anguishing experience for victims and witnesses to violent crimes,” said Senator Turner. “By removing the age limit for testifying by video at court proceedings, we will better ensure that individuals are not revictimized by being forced into close proximity to an offender in the courtroom. This will also help to prevent those who have endured tragedies from having to suffer additional mental and emotional harm.”

Governor signs job-creation grant legislation

PUBLISHED FEB 16, 2017 AT 3:36 PM (UPDATED FEB 16, 20

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space enabling qualifying businesses to get a refund for the excess portion of their Business Employment Incentive Program tax credit was signed today by Gov. Chris Christie. 

“These businesses signed agreements with the state under BEIP to move or expand here with the understanding that they would receive those grants,” said Oroho. “We’ve already passed legislation that allows them to convert their grants into tax credits, but this now gives insurance companies the same opportunities that other businesses have to get a refund on those credits.”

“These are grants earned by companies for creating jobs and putting New Jersey residents to work,” said Space (R—Sussex, Warren, Morris). “If they are meeting expectations and hiring new employees, they should benefit from all of the money they have earned through BEIP. They can invest the refund in more growth and new jobs.”

A business paying the corporation business tax can convert their BEIP grants to tax credits and receive a refund if the credit exceeds their liability, while businesses paying the insurance premium tax cannot get that refund. The new law treats insurance premium tax-paying businesses the same as CBT-paying businesses, with both able to get refunds.

Oroho, Space lead fight to end human trafficking

PUBLISHED FEB 1, 2017 AT 12:51 PM (UPDATED FEB 1, 2017)

TRENTON — New Jersey is one of the lead states to propose the Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act. More than 30 other states are joining the effort. 

Senator Steve Oroho proposed the bill in the Senate (S-2928) and Assemblyman Parker Space — with Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz, Betty Lou DeCroce, and Amy Handlin — proposed it in the Assembly. More co-sponsors are expected in both chambers.

"The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a global problem that is happening in communities across New Jersey," said Senator Oroho, adding that "the commercial sex industry targets children regardless of their gender."

Commercial sexual exploitation of children occurs when individuals buy, trade, or sell sexual acts with a child; and sex trafficking is "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act... in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age." 

Assemblyman Space noted: "Children become victims through interaction with predators. According to a recent report, 75 percent of all children who are trafficked were lured into sexual exploitation through Internet porn."

This legislation requires Internet-connected devices to have digital blocking capability that can only be removed by an adult and would make it unlawful "to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, lease, or distribute a product" that makes pornographic content accessible "unless the product contains digital blocking capability that renders" certain obscene material "inaccessible" and ensures that "all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible on the product... prohibits the product from accessing any hub that facilitates prostitution; and render websites that are known to facilitate human trafficking... inaccessible."

The Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act is a nationwide, bipartisan effort to cut off the grooming and trafficking of children into prostitution through commercial, for-profit pornography. Senator Oroho gave the legislation the name it is known by and it is the hope that it will be proposed in each of the 50 states. 

“Sexually exploiting children causes long term, if not lifelong, damage and confusion," said Rev. Greg Quinlan of the Center for Garden State Families. 

The Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act was fashioned using directives from the United States Supreme Court regarding the use of digital blocking or filters. Great attention was paid to the arguments of libertarians and civil rights groups when fashioning this legislation.

Oroho bill to encourage shared services

PUBLISHED DEC 16, 2016 AT 3:20 PM (UPDATED DEC 16, 2016)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Steve Oroho to encourage cost-saving shared services agreements between New Jersey’s military installations and neighboring governments was advanced by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Forging a strong bond between municipalities and adjacent military bases is so important,” Oroho said. “With this measure, these entities can save a lot of money by working together on things like redevelopment, brownfield remediation and infrastructure expansion.”

The bill revises The “Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act” so that federal military bases are able to participate in a shared services agreement with other local units of government. The act was put in place to provide greater flexibility to local governments to enter into these kinds of agreements, as well as streamline municipal consolidation efforts.

The recommendation to include military bases in this process came from the 2015 report issued by the NJ Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force. The task force was created in 2014 to explore ways to preserve, enhance and strengthen the state’s military bases.

“There are already examples of this kind of agreement working in New Jersey,” Senator Oroho said. “Rockaway Township and Picatinny Arsenal have a long-standing relationship to share police and fire protection, as well as recreation space. This measure will help more communities and bases benefit from this kind of relationship and ultimately save money for taxpayers.”

The committee also released the Assembly companion bill, A-2514, which is prime sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris).

Panel advances package helping bees

March 7, 2017

A package of bills citing the importance of bees to New Jersey’s agriculture industry received Assembly Agriculture Committee approval by a 5-0 vote on March 6.

A3403, sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Burlington) and Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sussex), designates the common eastern bumble bee as the state native pollinator, according to a press release.

The second bill (A4606), sponsored by Dancer, provides a habitat for native bees and other pollinators in state parks and forests. The third measure (AR216), also sponsored by Dancer, encourages homeowners to plant native plants that support bees and other pollinators, according to the press release.

“The common eastern bumble bee is native to the Garden State and an important general pollinator for a wide range of crops our state is known for, including blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes and peppers,” Dancer said. “It is considered one of the most important species of pollinator bees in North America.”

“These bees are extremely adaptable,” said Space, whose family is well known for its agricultural commitment in Sussex County that spans eight generations. “They can live in the country, suburbs and urban cities, making them the perfect species to be named New Jersey’s native pollinator.”

Dancer said the key to a successful agriculture industry in New Jersey is a healthy bee industry. The state’s 20,000 bee colonies represent a $7 million honey bee industry that contributes to the production of nearly $200 million worth of fruits and vegetables annually.

“Providing nesting areas and habitats for bees helps us preserve our bee population which is vital to our agriculture industry,” said Dancer, “New Jersey’s state parks and forests are the perfect environment for nesting.

“Bees are crucial to our food chain, yet the public knows very little about their importance,” he continued. “Encouraging homeowners to plant native plants will help keep bees healthy and thriving.”

Space resolution to raise awareness to childhood cancer heads to governor after legislative approval

Posted on 15 Feb 2017

TRENTON – A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space (both R-Sussex) to promote education and awareness about childhood cancer is headed to the governor’s desk after it was passed by the state General Assembly. The bill passed in the state Senate in June 2016.

The resolution was inspired by Nicholas DaSilva, a Hardyston resident who was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma when he was just 5 years old. Since his cancer has gone into remission, he has worked to help other children with the disease. Along with the other members of his family, Nicholas has raised money to help other kids through donations to the Valerie Fund and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

“Nicholas and his family are an inspiration, and have done so much already to raise awareness to childhood cancers,” Oroho said. “With this resolution, we are looking to encourage school districts to participate in ‘going gold’ activities to help foster an understanding of childhood cancers among youth and build compassion for those battling the disease.”

The resolution (SJR49) designates the third week in September of each year as Go Gold for Kids with Cancer Awareness Week. While childhood cancer is rare, it’s still the leading cause of death from disease in American children under the age of 19. For kids battling cancer or those who have survived it, adjusting to school and other social settings can be difficult. As part of the special awareness week, schools will be encouraged to have appropriate activities and programs that promote a better understanding of childhood cancer. It also calls upon public officials and the citizens of the state to join in wearing a gold ribbon, which is the international awareness symbol for childhood cancer.

“Many children with cancer have a hard time readjusting to school and social settings during and after treatment. They are often anxious, concerned about their body image and social lives, and are at an increased risk of developing learning difficulties,” said Space. “A child’s classmates can be a tremendous help by being welcoming, compassionate and kind, but they too need help understanding what the child is going through.”

The DaSilva family have been encouraged in their efforts and sought guidance from another Sussex County resident, Hap Rowan of Frankford. Since 2008, Hap has been battling a rare carcinoid cancer known as neuroendocrine tumor, or NET, cancer. In 2012, Hal worked with Oroho and then Assemblwoman Alison Littell McHose and Assemblyman Gary Chiusano to annually designate Nov. 10 as Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer Awareness Day in New Jersey.

Wantage groundhog predicts early spring

BY LAURIE GORDON

PUBLISHED FEB 3, 2017 AT 2:47 PM (UPDATED FEB 3, 2017)

Assemblyman Parker Space holds Stonewall Jackson V. Sussex County's weather-predicting groundhog disagreed with the world-famous Punxsutawney Phil predicting an early spring.

Assemblyman Parker Space holds Stonewall Jackson V. Sussex County's weather-predicting groundhog disagreed with the world-famous Punxsutawney Phil predicting an early spring.

WANTAGE — Space Farms' groundhog, Stonewall Jackson V, vehemently disagreed with the world famous Punxsutawney Phil on Thursday morning. Where Punxsutawney predicted six more weeks of winter, Stonewall did not, forecasting an early spring. 

“When I took him out this morning for his radio interview at 8 a.m., he did not see his shadow,” said Assemblyman Parker Space, owner of Space Farms, on Thursday. “So this means it will be an early spring. Space Farms has been doing this each year for about 25 years.” Except for last year. 

Last year, Space went to get Stonewall Jackson IV out of hibernation the day before Groundhog Day only to find that he had passed away. “He had a long life for a groundhog, they usually live three to six years, and had come through with a Groundhog Day prediction for seven years. We were hoping to get one more year out of him, but I guess it wasn't in the cards," Space said. 

This year, his successor, Stonewall Jackson V was ready to go having been “nurtured in the art of weather predicting” The Groundhog Day prediction was started by Space's father who also came up with the name of Stonewall Jackson for the groundhog. 

At the Staten Island Zoo, groundhog Staten Island Chuck agreed with Stonewall. At Turtle Back Zoo, in West Orange, NJ, Essex Ed emerged on Thursday afternoon to the site of... his shadow. Ed concurred with Punxsutawney Phil about winter persisting for six more weeks. Ed is also somewhat of a soothsayer as he also predicts the winner of the Super Bowl. This year, he predicted that the Atlantic Falcons would defeat the New England Patriots. 

.According to folklore, if it is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from its burrow, winter-like weather will soon end, but if it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, winter weather will continue for six more weeks. 

In southern Texas, it isn't a groundhog who makes the prediction about spring: it's an alligator named Big Al. The 14-foot, 1,000-pound alligator's prediction is one of the most scientifically based as alligators are genetically unable to eat until all danger of winter's freeze has passed. If Big Al eats, spring is coming soon. Using his favorite food—Kentucky Fried Chicken — his handler tempted Al on Thursday, but he passed on the chicken, predicting six more weeks of winter.

Farm label bill wins Assembly approval

PUBLISHED JAN 25, 2017 AT 12:22 PM (UPDATED JAN 25, 2017)

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space allowing counties to create their own label for food grown or processed in that county was advanced today by the General Assembly.

“Many people today are health conscious, especially about the foods they eat. They want to know that their food is locally grown and is high in nutrients,” said Space. “A local county label incurs no additional cost to consumers, and is of great benefit to the state’s farming community. It lets people know that products are Jersey Fresh and grown at the farm down the road.”

Monmouth County has received an $80,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to develop such a label.

Space bills advance in Assembly

PUBLISHED JAN 24, 2017 AT 1:44 PM (UPDATED JAN 24, 2017)

TRENTON — A pair of bills sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space to help bring new farmers into the business earned the approval of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Space’s legislation creates a mentoring program for beginning farmers and establishes a loan program in the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for beginning farmers financing capital purchases.

“Farming is a risky business, and it is further complicated in high-cost metropolitan states like New Jersey,” said Space (R—Sussex, Warren, Morris), an eighth-generation farmer. “Anyone who wants to start a farm needs a boost to get over the hurdles. Farming is hard work, but it is the financial challenges that can be most formidable for newcomers.”

There are more than 9,000 farms in the Garden State, and New Jersey is one of the nation’s top producers of fruits, tree nuts, berries, vegetables and melons.

Pledge bill advances in Assembly

PUBLISHED JAN 24, 2017 AT 1:44 PM (UPDATED JAN 24, 2017)

TRENTON — Old Glory will fly high and public officials will recite the Pledge of Allegiance before public meetings if legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Jay Webber and Parker Space is signed into law. The bill moved a step closer to that reality today following approval by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee. 

“Displaying our flag and reciting the pledge is a show of respect for our country and the thousands of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Webber “It instills in us a sense of patriotism and reminds us that we are privileged to live in the greatest country on earth.” 

The bill requires public bodies such as school boards, township councils and committees, commissions, authorities and other government entities to display the U.S. flag and its members recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of a meeting. Current law requires only that boards of education display the flag in all classrooms and pupils recite the pledge.

“The U.S. flag is a national symbol, a reminder of the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” said Space (R-Sussex). “Those freedoms come at a tremendous price. It’s only right that all government officials acknowledge and honor our flag.”

Space noted that the state Legislature displays the U.S. flag in the Assembly and Senate chambers and members recite the pledge before each voting session.

Jersey Fresh bill approved by Assembly

PUBLISHED JAN 24, 2017 AT 2:45 PM (UPDATED JAN 24, 2017)

TRENTON — Assemblymen Parker Space’s legislation clarifying that the Department of Agriculture can solicit private donations to support the Jersey Fresh marketing program was approved by the General Assembly. 

The bill allows the secretary of agriculture to solicit contributions to promote the sale of New Jersey farm fresh products and passed with a 70-0 vote.

“Private contributions can help fund more effective promotional campaigns, further strengthening farms, orchards, fisheries and plant nurseries,” said Space. “Since Jersey Fresh branding was launched in 1984, it has benefited agriculture and small business across the state."

“The goal is to give small businesses and restaurants that have reaped the rewards of Jersey Fresh an opportunity to give back and support locally sourced fruits and vegetables in the Garden State,” Space concluded.

Assembly passes bill to allow retired cops to carry firearms

PUBLISHED DEC 28, 2016 AT 12:38 PM (UPDATED DEC 28, 2016)
 

TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space expanding the list of retired law enforcement officers who are eligible to receive a permit to carry a handgun was approved by the Assembly.

The bill adds retired Park Police Officers; special agents of the Division of Taxation; Human Services police officers; New Jersey Transit police officers; campus police officers employed by institutions of higher education; State conservation officers; Palisades Interstate Park police officers; Burlington County Bridge police officers; housing authority police officers; juvenile corrections officers; parole officers; and railway policemen.

“A cop is a cop. They may have retired from their jobs, but not their commitment to ‘protect and serve’,” said Space. “This legislation makes New Jersey more compliant with the federal retired law enforcement concealed carry law commonly known as HR 218 and will make our neighborhoods safer and more comfortable for everybody except criminals.”

In 1997, Gov. Christine Todd Whitman signed a law allowing retired police officers to carry concealed weapons in response to the murder of a retired policeman who attempted to stop a car-jacking at a Newark cemetery.

Space, residents push back against TPP

PUBLISHED DEC 21, 2016 AT 12:53 PM (UPDATED DEC 21, 2016)

TRENTON — Today, residents of Northwest New Jersey traveled to the State House in Trenton to advocate to members of the Assembly Labor Committee and other Assembly Members the need to pass a bill which memorializes Congress and the President to reform federal trade policy. 

Assemblyman Parker Space, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris, himself a member of the Labor Committee welcomed his constituents to Trenton and to show his support on the issue.

“The way the United States negotiates and enters trade agreements garnered a lot of attention from the campaigns of both President-Elect Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders to organizations that mostly do not see eye to eye with each other like Eagle Forum and many TEA Party groups to labor unions and Public Citizen,” Space stated. “I believe, as do my friends and neighbors who came to the State House today, that the time is now for the Assembly to take a stand against the way trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT, which created the World Trade Organization, have been negotiated and passed by our federal government.”

The bipartisan resolution calls on Congress and the President to reform federal trade policy in the following ways:

Improve the process of consultation between the Federal Government and the states;

Provide for state input into trade negotiations by allowing a state to give informed consent or to opt out if bound by nontariff provisions in a trade agreement and providing that a state is not bound to those provisions without consent from its legislature;

Provide state-level economic analysis of trade data and legal analysis on the effect of trade on state laws;

Form a new nonpartisan federal-state international trade policy commission to keep states informed about ongoing negotiations and information;

Require the United States Trade Representative to communicate with states in better ways than the current, insufficient state point of contact system; and

Provide that no state law subject to trade agreement provisions regarding investment, procurement, or services may be challenged by a foreign company or country as an unfair barrier to trade unless the state specifically makes the law subject to such challenges.

Wendy Goetz, a resident of Frelinghuysen, has been leading a grassroots movement in Northwest New Jersey against unfair trade deals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which has been scrapped by Congress for now.

“Activists here have been holding rallies and have been able to get municipalities to pass resolutions against the TPP,” Goetz. “Now it is time to get the Assembly to take a stand against unfair trade agreements.”

Space and Goetz noted that the Senate passed an almost identical resolution in 2012 (SR-29) by a voice vote without opposition.

Goetz has held 50 #NoTPPTuesday vigils on the Newton Green since last year. Through Goetz’s efforts, the municipalities of Frelinghuysen, Hampton (Sussex County), and Hardwick passed resolutions opposing the TPP.

“Grassroots activism does work,” Space said. “The TPP was not passed when every pundit thought it would sail through Congress. And through these same efforts, we will get AR-79 passed.”

Native Plant month becomes law

PUBLISHED DEC 15, 2016 AT 2:40 PM (UPDATED DEC 15, 2016)

TRENTON — A resolution sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space, signed into law today by Gov. Chris Christie, designates an annual Native Plant Appreciation Month in June. 

“It is appropriate to educate the public about the importance of native plants to the state ecosystem, and promote their use in public and private landscapes,” said Space. “Native plant species thrive in New Jersey’s weather conditions, and they are essential to the survival of native wildlife and insects, and benefiting food production through pollination.”

New Jersey is home to more than 2,100 native plant species, including nine plants that are only found here. In addition, 19 rare plants are mostly found in the Garden State.

“Programs protecting native plants have been crucial to successful foliation of places like the Delaware Water Gap, the Pinelands, and the Sandy Hook area,” said Space.

Assembly approves Space job-creation bill

PUBLISHED DEC 2, 2016 AT 12:54 PM (UPDATED DEC 2, 2016)

TRENTON — Assemblyman Parker Space’s bill enabling qualifying businesses to get a refund for the excess portion of their Business Employment Incentive Program tax credit earned Assembly approval today. 

A business paying the corporation business tax can convert their BEIP grants to tax credits and receive a refund if the credit exceeds their liability, while businesses paying the insurance premium tax cannot get that refund. Space’s legislation would treat insurance premium tax-paying businesses the same as CBT-paying businesses, with both able to get refunds.

“These are grants earned by companies for creating jobs and putting New Jersey residents to work,” said Space. “If they are meeting expectations and hiring new employees, they should benefit from all of the money they have earned through BEIP. They can invest the refund in more growth and new jobs.”

Space bill passes Assembly

PUBLISHED NOV 22, 2016 AT 11:27 AM (UPDATED NOV 22, 2016)

TRENTON — Assemblyman Parker Space’s bill enabling qualifying businesses to get a refund for the excess portion of their Business Employment Incentive Program tax credit earned Assembly approval. 

A business paying the corporation business tax can convert their BEIP grants to tax credits and receive a refund if the credit exceeds their liability, while businesses paying the insurance premium tax cannot get that refund. 

Space’s legislation would treat insurance premium tax-paying businesses the same as CBT-paying businesses, with both able to get refunds.

“These are grants earned by companies for creating jobs and putting New Jersey residents to work,” said Space (R—Sussex, Warren, Morris). “If they are meeting expectations and hiring new employees, they should benefit from all of the money they have earned through BEIP. They can invest the refund in more growth and new jobs.”

Wirths' Assembly bid opens 24th District race

By David Danzis New Jersey Herald

Posted: Jan. 12, 2017 12:01 am

HAL WIRTHS

HAL WIRTHS

A familiar face in local politics will once again be stumping the campaign trail in Sussex County, this time for a run at one of the 24th Legislative District's Assembly seats.

Harold J. Wirths, 51, of Hardyston, filed paperwork with the state on Friday declaring his intention to run in the Republican primary for state Assembly.

Wirths was a Sussex County freeholder from 2000 to 2010. He left the freeholder board in May 2010 after Gov. Chris Christie appointed him as commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In the summer of 2016, Wirths stepped down as commissioner to accept a position on the State Parole Board.

In a letter announcing his intention to run, Wirths said he would resign from the nearly $120,000-a-year job if elected. New Jersey Assembly members receive a yearly salary of $49,000.

Wirths said he would be running on a ticket with incumbent Assemblyman Parker Space, R-24th Dist.

"I am excited to have Hal as my running mate for the Assembly this year," Space said via email. "In the scenario that we will be back to fighting the Democrats for our constituents just like it was when (Jon) Corzine and (James) McGreevey were governors, Sussex County and District 24 needs the strongest team possible representing them in the post-Christie era. Hal was a terrific labor commissioner and will hit the ground running when he's elected along with me this year."

State Sen. Steve Oroho, R-24th Dist., confirmed that the three would be running as a team.

"I am very pleased to be teaming up with Assemblyman Parker Space and former New Jersey Commissioner of Labor Hal Wirths in this year's election," Oroho said via email. "I have worked a number of years with Parker and Hal in a many different capacities, and I know we will make a strong and united team focused on serving the people of Sussex, Warren and Morris counties."

The announcement leaves incumbent Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus, R-24th Dist., on the outside looking in.

Phoebus was elected to the state Assembly in 2015 when she ran on a ticket with Oroho and Space. The former freeholder and Andover Township committeewoman has not publicly announced if she would seek a second term.

Phoebus did not return a request for comment on Wednesday.

In what could have been an indication of the potential split in the 24th District office, Phoebus' name has been absent from press releases and announcements for several months. Even on Assembly legislation that Phoebus co-sponsored with Space -- such as the revised Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act -- her name did not appear on official releases from the joint office. More recently, requests for comment to the office would be returned with responses from Oroho and Space only.

Space was asked what prompted him to shift his support from his former running mate to his current one. He replied, "I was told she wanted to spend more time with her family and at her house in Colorado."

Even in Wirths' announcement letter, he lauded his running mates for proposed legislation on fair school funding, but neglected to mention Phoebus who, along with Space, was a co-sponsor of the Assembly legislation.

In his letter, Wirths said the team would "have to fight day in and day out for our shared conservative values and against Trenton's liberal progressive agenda."

"It is all about team work because it takes the political muscle of a region to get things done in Trenton for the benefit of that region," Wirths said in his letter. "If we face the nightmare scenario of a liberal Democrat occupying the governor's office next year along with continued Democrat control of the Legislature, we are going to need the strongest team of conservative legislators to represent us."

Wirths touted his fiscal record as both a freeholder and labor commissioner in his letter.

He also talked about his intention to preserve the "tax cuts won for us by Senator Steve Oroho," which was part of the agreement in the approved legislation that brought about the 23-cent gas tax increase implemented in November. Those tax benefits include increasing the threshold for the estate tax from $675,000 to $2 million in 2017 before eliminating it completely in 2018; an increase in the tax exemption for veterans; an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit from 30 percent to 35 percent; a graduated decrease of the state sales tax; and raising the retirement tax exclusion to $100,000 by 2020.

Wirths completed his state Election Law Enforcement Commission paperwork last week and the office received it on Monday.

Wirths has two daughters and lives in Hardyston with his wife, Deborah, who is listed as his campaign treasurer on the state filing. He is the adopted son of Wallace R. Wirths, a former Westinghouse executive, author, radio commentator and New Jersey Herald columnist.

Read Wirths' announcement letter in its entirety online at www.njherald.com.

Commissioner Wirths to Leave NJ Labor Department

Jul 19, 2016

By: Anthony Birritteri, Editor-in-Chief 

Governor Chris Christie announces that New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) Commissioner Hal J. Wirths is leaving his post next month after serving in this capacity since February 2010. One of the longest-serving cabinet members in the Christie Administration, Wirths will be nominated by the governor to serve on the State Parole Board.

“Serving under Governor Christie’s leadership for the last six and a half years has been an incredible honor,” Commissioner Wirths said.  “Together with the department’s talented staff, we have overcome tremendous challenges to make great strides for the people of New Jersey, including cutting the unemployment rate in half and restoring the bankrupt Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to solvency, triggering unprecedented tax savings for New Jersey businesses. I am proud of our accomplishments and confident in the department’s continued success.”

Wirths became LWD commissioner in the midst of the Great Recession. In 2010, the state unemployment rate was 9.6 percent, with 437,000 people out of work. Wirths also had to deal with Superstorm Sandy, which worsened the state’s unemployment picture as the destruction forced the closure of numerous businesses. Because of his actions in getting businesses up and running and people back to work in the storm’s aftermath, Wirths and LWD received a special SEAL award from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. As he leaves office, the state’s unemployment rate stands at 4.9 percent, five percentage points lower than the year-end 2010 rate.

Governor Christie commended Wirths for his strong sense of public service and for bringing the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund back to solvency. “Hal demonstrated great leadership during an economic downturn when our Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund was bankrupt and the Great Recession hit its peak. His staff introduced re-employment programs that involved private employers, and they launched fiscal reforms and anti-fraud programs to help restore the Trust Fund. Now, as Hal leaves, our Trust Fund is fully solvent, more than 258,000 private sector jobs have been added and the unemployment rate has been cut by more than half. I want to thank Hal for all his good work and wish him the very best.”

According to New Jersey Business & Industry Association President and CEO Michele Siekerka, “Commissioner Wirths was a vital liaison for NJBIA’s workforce development efforts and a true champion in fixing our broken Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. His tenure was a notable one and we thank him for his dedication to New Jersey’s businesses and workers.”

Melanie Willoughby, NJBIA chief government affairs officer, adds, “Hal Wirths was an outstanding LWD Commissioner. NJBIA had a great relationship with him in helping the department with many of its core programs, like unemployment insurance and job training. He oversaw a reengineering of workforce development to ensure that the department’s training dollars were coordinated with employers for jobs that existed.”

Commissioner Wirths and LWD built a nationally-recognized anti-fraud program designed to prevent unemployment insurance benefits from being improperly paid to fraudsters. The programs are conservatively estimated to have saved taxpayers approximately $800 million since March 2011.  The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund reached full solvency by May 1, 2014.

During his tenure, the LWD created the “talent networks” in partnership with higher education institutions and businesses with a goal of helping to train workers in the skills actually needed for jobs that employers are trying to fill. The networks cover several sectors, including advanced manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, technology, entrepreneurship, transportation and distribution, tourism and recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

“There’s nothing crueler than training people for jobs that don’t exist,” Wirths said in a previous interview with New Jersey Business magazine. “The talent networks show where the jobs are in each county, and then provide training for people in key industries.”

The LWD also created the Jobs4Jersey website, which consolidated a number of other job sites into one stop locations in an effort to help the state’s unemployed find jobs.

Wirths lives in Hardyston Township with his wife and two daughters.  He was a founder of Noble Community Bank, which is part of Highlands State Bank, and served on the Highlands Bank’s board of directors. He also owned and managed two furniture stores for 18 years before selling them in 2004.

He first met the governor at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Sussex County. A big fan of Christie’s, Wirths said, “It was a huge honor when the governor asked me to come and serve in his administration.”