New Jersey Governor Murphy Signs Legislation to Enhance Safety and Security at Schools

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Governor Phil Murphy signed two pieces of legislation on January 8, 2019, to enhance the safety and security of New Jersey residents at schools, houses of worship, and community centers.

Assembly Bill No. 4597 makes a supplemental appropriation of $11,300,000 from the General Fund to the Department of Education to increase per pupil funding for nonpublic security aid from $75 to $150, and Assembly Bill No. 3906 makes a revision to the New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program to expand the type of protective measures that can be installed or constructed at houses of worship and community centers.

“Our Administration is tasked with the vital responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of all New Jerseyans,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Working with our partners in the Legislature, we are taking significant steps to dramatically improve security measures for New Jersey’s children and families. I am proud to sign two bills into law that help ensure that anyone visiting a school, house of worship, or community center may be free of fear and intimidation.”

Primary sponsors of Assembly Bill No. 4597 include Assemblymembers Gary Schaer, Lisa Swain, P. Christopher Tully, and Benjie Wimberly, and Senators Joseph Lagana, Vin Gopal, Paul Sarlo, and Steven Oroho. Primary sponsors of Assembly Bill No. 3906 include Assemblymembers Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Jamel Holley, and Robert Karabinchak, and Senators Joseph Cryan and Kip Bateman.

“Keeping all of New Jersey’s children safe is our number one responsibility as parents, leaders in the community, and legislators,” said Assemblyman Schaer. “The allocated funds will double the amount spent on security services, equipment, or technology, and will ensure a safe and secure school environment for all students.”

“A primary and essential function of government is providing security for our residents. Nothing could be more important than protecting our children and ensuring parents have peace of mind and full confidence that their schools are equipped to keep students safe,” said Senator Lagana. “All New Jersey children are deserving of a safe place to learn and with this legislation being signed into law we move closer to that ideal.”

“We have witnessed a disturbing increase in the number of incidents of hate and bigotry based on race, religion and ethnicity and the targets include churches, synagogues, mosques and non-profit agencies that serve the needs of the most vulnerable, including families and children,” said Senator Cryan, the former Sherriff of Union County. “We can’t ignore these threats and we should not tolerate any acts of violence or intimidation. This new law will help places of worship and other non-profit service organizations to better protect themselves so they can continue to serve our communities without fear. We will not allow any expressions of hate or discrimination to prevail. As Americans, we value our diversity, our freedoms and our security."

“The mosque attack in New York last year led to threats for many Islamic worship centers across the country and here in New Jersey. The same has happened for synagogues and Jewish community centers after the tragic shooting last year in Pittsburgh,” said Assemblywoman Quijano, who is chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. “Non-profit organizations that support residents within our communities are at risk of becoming targets of hate and discrimination more and more these days. With the potential of threats increasing at events and online, certain organizations would benefit from additional funding to bolster security measures. This new law will help to keep organizations, their staff, and the people they serve safe.”

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