Thanks to a grant, the Trinity Church Community Garden has a new look. The garden, which is supported by a number of local institutions including the Bayonne Women’s Club, will be up and running on May 18 when local gardeners begin planting. Volunteers from various organizations as well as people from the HIGHWAYS program will help maintain the garden during the summer.
Council approves $1.5 million PILOT with Port Authority
At a special council meeting held on May 6, the City Council approved an agreement with the Port Authority that will bring in $1.5 million in payment in lieu of taxes for the Bayonne portion of Global Terminals that the PA purchased three years ago. The agreement also covers a warehouse owned by the PA in the same general area.
O’Donnell may become new chair for state Democratic Party
Backed by state Senator Barbara Buono, Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell may be poised to become one of the most powerful Democrats in the state if he is named to become the chairman of the Democratic Party in New Jersey. O’Donnell already serves as the chairman of the Bayonne Democrats and said last month that the decision rested largely in the hands of powerful Democrats in Southern New Jersey. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is currently chairman, said he will not seek another term.
Brown to speak at HCCC commencement
J. Noah Brown of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) will deliver the keynote address at Hudson County Community College’s (HCCC) 35th Annual Commencement Ceremonies. The event will be held on Thursday, May 23, at 6 p.m. in Prudential Hall at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. At least 850 students are expected to graduate that evening. An experienced association executive specializing in public policy, legislative advocacy, and strategic planning, Mr. Brown is president and Chief Executive Officer of ACCT, the nonprofit organization of governing boards. ACCT—which represents more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees from more than 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond — acts as a major voice of community-college trustees to the presidential administration, United States Congress, Departments of Labor, and more. The organization also provides trustee education and board-leadership services for its members.
In his work with ACCT, Mr. Brown has focused on strengthening strategic ties between community college boards and those national and state organizations that are key to supporting the mission of community colleges. He represents ACCT on the Washington Higher Education Secretariat and Committee for Education Funding, and has served as an appointee on the Steering Committee for the United States-Denmark Partnership for Vocational Education, U.S. Department of Education, and as Commissioner on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, U.S. Department of State. “Trustees play a very important role in the college and within the community,” said HCCC President Dr. Glen Gabert. “We look forward to having Mr. Brown address our graduates who, as the leaders of tomorrow, may very well be seated on this college’s Board of Trustees at some point in the future.”
Payne co-sponsored legislation for background checks on gun purchases
U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. has cosponsored bipartisan legislation to help prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Expanding the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, H.R. 1565, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 ensures that criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill cannot slip through background-check loopholes that endanger the safety and rights of every American. “This legislation is desperately needed, and a strong majority of New Jerseyans want common-sense legislation that prevents criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill from getting their hands on guns,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. “This bill is anti-crime, it will save lives, and it will strengthen the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The victims of gun violence and their families are waiting for Congress to act, and they deserve a vote on this bill in the House right away.” Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced this bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1565), which is identical to the bipartisan agreement on background checks struck by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). The bill greatly reduces the number of places where a criminal can buy a gun. Right now, a criminal can buy a firearm in the parking lot of a gun show, over the Internet, or through a newspaper ad without needing a background check. The bill closes these loopholes while ensuring that background checks are conducted in the same way federally licensed dealers have for more than 40 years.
The legislation also strengthens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners by banning the government from creating a federal registry and makes the misuse of records a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It provides reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers and allows active military personnel to buy guns in the state in which they are stationed. It lets gun owners use a state concealed-carry permit issued within the last five years in lieu of a background check and permits interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers. The bill also improves the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by incentivizing states to improve reporting of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill and by directing future grant funds toward better record-sharing systems. The bill will also reduce federal funds to states that do not comply.