New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

  • Senator Declan O’Scanlon took the oath of office on January 9, 2018 to become the new senator of the 13th Legislative District. (Facebook)

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Continues to Lead Municipal Justice Reform Efforts

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As part of his aggressive push to reform the municipal justice system, Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) introduced legislation today that would require municipalities to be more transparent in reporting penalties imposed at the local level.

As part of his aggressive push to reform the municipal justice system, Sen. Declan O’Scanlon has introduced legislation that would require municipalities to be more transparent in reporting penalties imposed at the local level. (©iStock)

“You can’t improve what you can’t measure,” said O’Scanlon. “When towns use the justice system as a means of raising revenue, they erode the public’s trust in government. Our local police and courts should not be used as ATM’s by misguided municipal officials. I’ve been vocal about my attempts to reform our municipal court system. This is another step of many that the Legislature must undertake to address the critical issues here.”

Two weeks ago, O’Scanlon introduced a package of three bills aimed at reforming several of the problems highlighted in a municipal court report issued by the State Supreme Court this summer. This bill is another piece of the package.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Releases Justice Reform Bill Package

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“This is only the beginning.” – Senator O’Scanlon

Senator Declan O’Scanlon has introduced three bills aimed at keeping financial incentives out of municipal courts. The bills (S-3059, S-3060, SR-108) were introduced in the wake of direct recommendations from July’s Supreme Court Subcommittee on Municipal Court Fines, Operations, and Revenue.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon has introduced three bills aimed at keeping financial incentives out of municipal courts. (©iStock)

“The courts should be upholding justice, not in the business of raising revenue,” O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) said. “The purpose of my legislation is to take financial incentives out of the equation. Our judges and police officers should welcome these reforms, as enforcers of justice we will be taking the pressure off them to be the tax collectors the status quo incentivizes.”

O’Scanlon has been vocal about the need for municipal court reform, and his support of Chief Justice Rabner’s efforts to take this on.

“Too many of our towns have come to rely on fines to fund their budgets,” O’Scanlon added. “Police officers and municipal judges consistently feel pressure to write more tickets and give out more fines. Municipal judges wind up being chosen based on how many fines they’re likely to give out.

“Profit is the mortal enemy of justice. This is a completely unacceptable practice that must be stopped.”

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District 13

O’Scanlon & DiMaso Warn Voters to Be Vigilant

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Say New Voting Laws May Lead to Confusion

Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (both R-Monmouth) issued the following statement today regarding recent changes to voting laws:

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon and Asw. Serena DiMaso warned voters to be vigilant this year following changes to New Jersey election law that will result in vote-by-mail ballots being sent automatically to some voters. (©iStock)

“Any resident who requested a vote-by-mail ballot in 2016, or later, must be vigilant this year before voting. The Governor and legislature have instituted a new policy wherein vote-by-mail ballots will be sent automatically to anyone who had previously requested them in 2016.

“Voters should check their mail and if a vote-by-mail ballot is delivered to their home, residents should use that to vote in this years’ election.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

New O’Scanlon Bill Would Up Penalties for Animal Abuse

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In light of recent reports of violent animal abuse in Monmouth and Ocean County, Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) announced plans to introduce legislation establishing aggravated animal abuse as a new criminal offense, thereby increasing penalties for the cruel treatment of animals.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon announces plans to introduce legislation establishing aggravated animal abuse as a new criminal offense. (©iStock)

“Only a cruel coward would have the audacity to abuse or kill an innocent dog. I was appalled to read what happened to the dogs in Ocean County. No living creature should suffer through such catastrophic levels of abuse,” Senator O’Scanlon said. “For many of us our pets are family. Regardless, these are living creatures. We have to do everything we can to stop malicious people from endangering them. It is high time that the punishment for animal cruelty fits the crime. The cases we have seen throughout New Jersey prove that a stronger deterrent is necessary to keep our pets out of harm’s way.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Sacco, Scutari & O’Scanlon Introduce Camera Enforcement Inoculation Act

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Senators Nick Sacco, Nick Scutari and Declan O’Scanlon joined together to introduce S-2893, which they have titled the “Camera Enforcement Inoculation Act.”

“We now have overwhelming proof that red light and speed cameras don’t improve safety,” Senator O’Scanlon said. “Every competent, independent, rigorous study done to date has shown that there is a net decrease in safety when these systems are employed. There is absolutely no reason why New Jersey should be complicit in these corrupt, highway robbery schemes.”

Senators Nick Sacco, Nick Scutari and Declan O’Scanlon joined together to introduce S-2893, which they have titled the “Camera Enforcement Inoculation Act.” (SenateNJ.com)

“These cameras are almost invariably placed where they’ll generate the most money, frequently at intersections with shortened yellow lights or roads with speed limits set to guarantee huge numbers of tickets. Profit-motivated enforcement is invariably corrupting. These tickets are an annoyance to those that can afford them. The people most impacted by these systems are the poor and working middle class. The impact can be devastating to those living paycheck to paycheck. New Jersey shouldn’t facilitate such theft from our citizens” O’Scanlon said.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Editorial: Time to Solve NJ’s Financial Crisis

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The following editorial by Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) addressing the importance of bipartisanship and public employee benefit reforms in the fight to solve New Jersey’s financial crisis was published by The Asbury Park Press on August 22, 2018:

New Jersey is at a crossroads. The warnings and predictions some of us have made for years are coming to fruition.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon addresses the importance of bipartisanship and public employee benefit reforms in the fight to solve New Jersey’s financial crisis. His editorial on this topic was published by The Asbury Park Press on August 22, 2018. (SenateNJ.com)

We are nearing the brink of fiscal insolvency and if we do not act immediately to address this crisis, every family, every business owner, every public worker and every taxpayer in New Jersey will suffer the consequences. Taxes will skyrocket, services will be slashed and our pension system will be in shambles. Everyone has a stake in this fight for fiscal survival.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Announces Funding to Rebuild Monmouth County Bridges

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Monmouth Awarded Most Funding of Any County in NJ

Senator Declan O’Scanlon announced that Monmouth County will receive $6 million in “Local Bridge, Future Needs” grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to undertake bridge reconstruction projects.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon announced that Monmouth County will receive $6 million in “Local Bridge, Future Needs” grants. (SenateNJ.com)

“This award demonstrates how the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund is employed to support vital local projects,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). I want to commend NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti and Monmouth County Engineer Joe Ettore for their efforts to ensure that this grant program funds bridge projects around the state in a fair and appropriate manner.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Introduces Fact-Based Speed Limit Bill

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Says Engineers Should Set Proper Speed Limits

Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) has introduced legislation requiring speed limits be set according to the nationally recognized ’85th percentile’ formula, the speed at which 85 percent of drivers are traveling.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon’s legislation requires speed limits be set according to the nationally recognized ’85th percentile’ formula, the speed at which 85 percent of drivers are traveling. (SenateNJ.com)

“There are two critical take-always from the initiative I announce today. First, I’m not arguing for the raising or lowering of any speed limit. On the contrary, my position is that we need to remove legislators and bureaucrats from the speed limit setting process and empower highway traffic safety engineers to do their jobs unencumbered by political influence,” said O’Scanlon.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Praises Supreme Court’s Proposed Municipal Court Reforms—Will Introduce Legislation to Take the Profit Out of Policing and Local Courts

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) issued praise to the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Court Operations, Fines and Fees for their comprehensive report which, after a 16 month investigation, “revealed a number of significant concerns where aggressive reform is needed. Many of those issues identified by the Committee undermine both the administration of justice and the independence of the Municipal Courts.”

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon praises the Supreme Court’s proposed Municipal Court Reforms. (SenateNJ)

“In law enforcement and judicial systems, profit is the mortal enemy of justice,” Senator O’Scanlon said. “We must take real steps towards reforming municipal court and ticketing procedures. Policing for profit is an unacceptable practice that tarnishes the reputation of all our upstanding police officers and often results in devastating consequences for petty infractions.”

“Municipal Courts should be about the administration of justice, not a profit center to plug holes in local governments’ budgets,” O’Scanlon continued. “In the twenty-five years since our Courts were last reformed, too many towns have come to rely on fines to fund their municipal operations and too many local judges have turned into de facto tax collectors. This is not justice and it has to stop.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson Call For Reforms At Palisades Parkway Police

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) today joined forces in calling for reforms to the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department in light of a scathing report issued by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office following an eight month investigation.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon and Asm. Gordon Johnson call for reforms to the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department in light of a scathing report issued by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. (SenateNJ.com)

The 28 member department patrols 11 miles of the poorly maintained highway along the Palisades between the George Washington Bridge and the New York/New Jersey border in northern Bergen County.

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