Despite NJ legislative changes, Singer expects continued bi-partisan support
Even though New Jersey's 11th Legislative District will be represented by two Democratic Assembly members for the first time in 10 years following Tuesday's General Election, Republican State Senator Robert Singer expects his proposals to continue receiving bi-partisan support.
Singer was a guest Wednesday on WOBM News Talk 1160 & 1310 AM's "Ask The Senator" with host Tom Mongelli and discussed the Assembly election results, legislation he is co-sponsoring, and other issues facing New Jersey.
Singer said he's never really had a problem receiving backing from Democrats to get legislation passed, noting that when legislation is good, party affiliation shouldn't matter.
One example is legislation he's co-sponsoring with Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney to stiffen penalties for those who victimize individuals with special needs. The proposal stems from an incident in Manasquan last February involving two men accused of coaxing an Autistic man they knew to jump into the ocean. Singer credited Sweeney for bringing various groups and advocates of special needs people together for input.
"We crafted, we think, a good piece of legislation they're all supporting it, all the special needs groups are behind it, and incidents like this will go where it belongs," Singer said.
He said the Manasquan case is being handled in Municipal Court because there is currently no law for such incidents to move to Superior Court.
Singer said he would support a gasoline tax hike to help replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, if the money would be used to benefits projects for Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
Singer pointed out he voted for a gas tax hike in the 1980's because it helped pay for the dualization of Route 37 in Toms River and Route 70 in Lakewood. He doesn't feel the Shore area is receiving its fare share of funding, and noted that Route 9 needs to widened south of Lakewood.
"Every excuse in world about how expensive it is. You know, they spend $One million a mile for noise barriers in North Jersey, and they won't spend the money here to make us have at least some peace of mind. That's unacceptable," said Singer.
Singer believes the cost to expand Route 9 from Lakewood down to the Garden State Parkway in Toms River would be minimal.
"You won't break the bank. The problem is that every year that they let it go, it's just more expensive," Singer said.
Singer touched upon other ways New Jersey could be generating money, such as doing more to boost tourism, including legislation for the creation of a smart phone application for New Jersey that would allow visitors to access information on everything the state has to offer tourists, right at their finger tips. He said work is finally happening to make that become a reality.
"We don't sell that. We've got great restaurants. We got great places to stay, and we have great things to do, and we don't sell enough of it," said Singer.
Singer said he angered state tourism officials when inquired about the department's budget.
"Last year their budget was $9 million. They spent $6 million. How dare you leave money on the table when tourism is struggling in our areas?" Singer pointed out the state's Tourism Board has not been fully functional in 10 years under three governors, adding the hotel and motel industry is more than willing to do joint-advertising, but there is no one for them to talk to.
Singer also is sponsoring bills to make third party energy suppliers more accountable by requiring them to disclose information on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities website, and one to create a task for to study COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a chronic inflammatory lung disease afflicting many older residents.