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News from the District

From the office of Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney
March 2020 Newsletter
A Dear Friend,
The new year has been incredibly busy and I think we can all agree that we are thankful for the famous Punxsutawney Phil not seeing his shadow last month, which according to the legend, means an early spring and warmer temperatures coming.... Spring will be early, its a certainty.
The past few months were interesting down in Trenton especially with the Governor's budget address of 40.85 billion. His budget reflects an increase of more than 5 percent over the fiscal year 2021. Its a 2.2 billion dollar increase over the last budget. It leaves New Jerseyans frustrated more than ever with a historic tax hike and less affordability. I will continue fighting for my constituents and prioritize fiscal responsibility in order to keep hard working families and businesses from leaving our great state, I will update you on any new legislation as we carry forward in the new calendar year. 
I have also included a segment on Women's History Month. Please be sure to take a moment to read about why it's important that we honor the past, the present, and inspire the future. Also St. Patrick's Day is Tuesday, March 17th, 2020. Please be sure to check out our regular spotlight section as well.
Kevin J. Rooney
Message from the Assemblyman:
Recent News
New Chief of Staff

Nicole has worked in the auto and real estate industry with 20+ years of professional experience. Throughout the years she has volunteered for several New Jersey political campaigns and charities. She is looking forward to bringing her knowledge and expertise to this new roll.
New Legislative Aide

Scott Fisher worked for the Wyckoff Public Works Department for 32 years. He is N.J. Certified Public Works Manager since 1998. Scott is a N.J. Certified Recycling Professional since 2009. He joined the Wyckoff Volunteer Fire Department in 2001. Scott has held the position of Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief and three years as Deputy Chief in Protection Fire Co. #1. Scott is Certified in Engine, Rescue and Truck operations. In 2005 he received the Dana Hannon Distinguished Service Award with a fellow firefighter for rescuing a resident from a hazardous condition.

Assembly passes bipartisan bill recognizing out-of-state EMT certifications

TRENTON, N.J. – A bill (A516) sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney that allows emergency medical technicians from other states to work in New Jersey unanimously passed the Assembly. It is important that we make it easy for out-of-state professionals to get jobs they are already qualified for. EMTs provide a vital service to our communities and we should be finding ways to help people employ their life-saving skills in New Jersey.
First aid and rescue squads or corps in New Jersey have suffered from a shortage of volunteers. Rooney’s bill will make it easier for volunteers to join the EMT ranks, boosting first responders across the state. According to the EMS Council of New Jersey, their member emergency squads or ambulance corps in the New Jersey decreased to 275 from 400 over a 17-year period. In the 80s, there were more than 600 volunteer squads or corps. A common deterrent for volunteers is the time and cost it takes to become certified.
Many small hospitals and towns can’t afford to hire the necessary personnel to take care of residents, and residents can’t always afford the certification process. Enabling more volunteers who are already certified is a way to fill that gap. 

Senate committee advances Rooney measure addressing poll worker shortage

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney applauded a Senate committee for advancing a bill that supports efforts to help towns secure enough poll workers for elections. Towns across the state like Wayne and Wyckoff are having a hard time staffing their polling places. Poll workers are working up to 16 hours a day, ensuring the integrity of the election process. They do important work and we need to start to address the shortage by compensating them fairly. The bill (S598) voted on in the committee would increase poll workers’ wages to $300 per day from $200. The state would pay $225 and the county $75 toward the $300 per day wage. It appropriates $5 million to cover the increase.As a prime sponsor of the Assembly version (A1527), poll workers last received a raise 19 years ago in 2001. Their pay went from $75 a day to $200. According to  recent reports , Passaic County was short by about 225 poll workers approaching Election Day. Wayne stretched 108 poll workers across voting sites when it needed 164 for full staffing.

Committee advances legislation aimed at making it easier for state government to recycle

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Environment Committee advanced the bill (A1514) Monday, sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, to re-invigorate recycling efforts by state government. New Jersey’s recycling rate is still below the state’s goal set by the Legislature in 1992 to reduce waste by 50 percent. Recycling is second nature for the majority of families, schools and businesses. The state should be leading by example, but we are not. At the very least, we should be increasing the number of recycling bins in the statehouse. All state agencies must step up and start doing their part. The bill requires all state offices, colleges and universities to recycle and provide bins for cans, plastic bottles, paper, cardboard and glass. Recycling has a positive impact on the air, water and land. The benefit to the environment cannot be overstated. For every ton of municipal solid waste that is recycled, more than 1.5 metric tons of greenhouse gas is avoided. The use of recycled material feedstocks conserves natural resources. Recycling one ton of paper saves trees, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and 7,000 gallons of water. Over a ton of natural resources are saved for every ton of glass recycled, according to the DEP.
I served as the Honorary Chairperson for the 2020 event of AKA Meet the Breeds. It was a unique opportunity to meet and play with hundreds of adorable dogs and cats while learning about responsible pet ownership and canine good citizenship.
I joined Governor Phil Murphy, Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, Mayor Ari Bernstein, Council Members Liz Holman and Jim Strauch for a ribbon cutting ceremony of Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutics Solutions, LLC (“HCATS”), new commercial manufacturing facility in Allendale. The new facility was built solely to support the manufacturing and development needs of the now growing commercial cell and gene therapy market.
I had the honor of attending “Welcoming Winter” an evening celebrating the retirement of Eastern Christian Children's Retreat CEO Jayne Press, I presented Jayne with a joint Senate and Assembly resolution recognizing her commitment and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I presented Coach Rick Giancola for his 250th career victory in October becoming the 29th coach NCAA Football to reach that mark. Below are highlights from Rick's career thus far.
37th seasons as head coach - longest tenure of any coach in Montclair State athletic history. Currently ranks eighth all-time in NCAA Division III in wins 253 and 30th in winning percentage (.664)
At the NJLCA - New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association 2020 Trade Show and Conference, Attending this year’s show was actor Kelsey Grammer, Angelo M. Valente Executive Director Drug-Free NJ, New Jersey Department of Agruculture Secretarty Douglas H. Fisher, NJLCA Nelson Lee, Senator Kip Bateman, Gardener News Tom Castronovo.
I stopped by the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest New Jersey and Northstar New Jersey ribbon cutting for the Grand Opening of a brand-new student computer lab with Mayor Vergano.
March Observation
March is Women's History Month. It is important we honor the past, info the present and inspire the future. Showing how far women have advanced and how we as a country value equality and the contributions of all our citizens. Women now represent more than 50 percent of the U.S. population and this month we embrace and celebrate women business owners who dominate a larger piece of the global economic pie. If you're a woman and own a small business - 2019 ended on a high note - with strong growth according to a new study. That's according to Bank of Americas recent survey of small business owners. The number of women-owned businesses opening in the U.S. is on the rise, growing about two times faster than the rate of all businesses launching nationwide, according to a new report commissioned by American Express. The ninth annual State of Woman-Owned Businesses Report found that 42% of all businesses - almost 13 million are run by women. Women owned businesses employ 9.4 million workers and generate revenue of 1.9 trillion.

St. Paddy's Day started as a religious celebration in the 17th century to commemorate the life of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. This "Feast Day" always took place on the anniversary of Patrick's death, which was believed to be March 17, 461 AD.  

Consumer Tips

Tips, scam alerts, and other advice about every-day situations for consumers

There is a new scam alert going around some New Jersey towns... The Bernardsville Police Department on their Facebook page about various phone solicitations representing police related causes and organizations. Please be advised Police Departments will never solicit funds over the telephone. 

Rooney's Recipes
Assemblyman and winner of Food Network's "Chopped" shares his favorite recipes
Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

  • 2lb of plain flour 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 pint of buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
Mix ingredients into a bowl adding enough buttermilk to soften the dough.
Place dough on a lightly floured cutting board, knead lightly and shape into a round loaf.
Lightly butter a baking tray and place the shaped dough onto the tray careful using a knife to create a cross shape on top. Bake the soda bread between 20-30 minutes and serve warm by cutting the bread into slices. You may add raisins to recipe as desired
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