Protecting Residents from Sex Offenders
- Senator Sweeney penned legislation for the development of a two year pilot program for the continuous GPS monitoring of high-risk sex offenders. This pilot program was made permanent in 2007.
- Assemblyman Burzichelli sponsored a law that requires records which contain the assessments of a sex offender’s risk of re-offense be made available to the Department of Human Services, county, and municipal welfare agencies for the exclusive use of placing homeless families and persons in emergency shelters, which include but are not limited to, hotels and motels.
Keeping People with Disabilities Safe
- Senator Sweeney has been a constant voice for the rights of the developmentally disabled community. He crafted a landmark law creating a central registry in the Department of Human Services of individuals known to have abused residents with developmental disabilities, ensuring they are not able to repeat their offenses.
- Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli sponsored a law which requires school buses transporting persons with disabilities to use flashing lights and establishes penalties for drivers who fail to yield. The flashing lights are activated while the bus is stopped to drop off or pick up a person, and remain activated until a child or person who has a developmental disability has reached a place of safety.
Protecting the Rights of Poor Defendants
- Legislation written by Senator Sweeney reforming New Jersey’s bail system was recently signed in to law. The measure is intended to address a number of deficiencies in the bail system, which was significantly biased against the state’s poorest defendants, keeping nonviolent offenders in jail simply because they could not afford to post while other more concerning defendants are released quickly simply because they could. The law requires bail decisions to be based on public safety and flight risk, rather than a defendant’s ability to pay. Further, the measure adds judges to a system that was grossly overloaded. By providing more timely pretrial hearings, the population of those in prison awaiting those hearings can be substantially reduced. This will cut down on costs to the taxpayer while providing greater fairness to defendants facing minor offenses. The Legislature is closely following implementation of this law for areas in need of addressing, since it is also critically important to protect the welfare of residents in cases where defendants may represent a potential danger.