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A2233 Passes!

As the state finished off a slaughter of animals, it is now allowing students to abstein from doing so.

The bill would require schools to provide alternative education projects for pupils in kindergarten through 12th grade who choose not to participate in dissecting or capturing an animal or experimenting on it. The students would not be penalized with a lower grade.

Under the bill, an alternative project could include the use of videotapes, models, films, books, computers, “or any other tools which provide an alternative method for obtaining and testing the knowledge…”

Schools would be required to notify students and their parents at the beginning of each school year of the right to decline to participate. Within two weeks of the receipt of the notice, pupils or their parents would have to notify the school if they want an alternative lesson.

Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) is a co-sponsor of the legislation. He said virtually all legislators receive complaints from students or their parents about the requirement to dissect animals when they do not need the experience to further their education or feel they can learn the lesson another way. He said some students object for religious reasons or dislike dissecting a cat, for example, when they have one at home.

“They feel why sacrifice an animal when they feel they are not learning much and will not major in biology,” Van Drew said.

John Zlock, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, said there is nothing in science or biology curriculum standards that mandate a student dissect an animal. He said dissecting is encouraged as a practice but some schools do offer alternatives.

The measure (A2233) now moves to the Senate for consideration.

My opinion after the break….

News Roundup (Dec 13)

  • Ocean County prosecutor Thomas F. Kelaher is urging the state to abolish the death penalty saying that “the history of nonapplication of the law has been a cruel hoax on the families of the victims and the citizens of this state”. Codey opposes abolishing the death penalty, but supports a moratorium while the issue is studied. Sounds like he’s dragging his feet to me.
  • Democrats lost control of the Winslow Township committee in November and during their lame duck session awared over $600,000 worth of contracts to political contributors who had given them $93,000. Sick. This is why we need comprehensive pay-to-play reform.
  • The Meadowlands may soon be home to the largest solar energy system in the United States. The 5 MW proposed plant would provide enough power for about 27,500 homes. The current largest system in the U.S. is a 4.6 MW plant in Springerville, Az. New Jersey consumes about 18,000 MW of power per day and currently has a total solar generating capacity of about 10 MW.

  • Meanwhile, the first wind farm on the east coast (and first coastal wind farm) has gone up in Atlantic City with a maximum capacity of 7.5 MW using just five very large windmills.

  • Sgt. Clarence L. Floyd Jr, son of a New Jersey family and father of five was killed in Iraq on Saturday. His father: “He didn’t go there because he wanted to go…He went there because he had to go.
  • A bill passed the Assembly today allowing students to be exempted from dissecting animals in biology class.
  • The state launched New Jersey HealthLink today. According to a press release “New Jersey is believed to be the first state to provide a central online repository for consumer healthcare resources…Over the last year, Codey’s administration has worked with the departments of Health and Senior Services, Human Services, Labor, Commerce and Banking and Insurance, as well as the state Office of Information Technology, in order to consolidate vital information spanning six Web sites into one easy to navigate, consumer-friendly Web site.”
  • Franklin Township School Building Budget

    A reminder to Franklin Township residents that there is a one-issue vote on today.  Polls open at 2PM and close at 9PM.  The vote is on whether to allow issuing a bond to cover an additional $7.9 million to complete the new high school  This bond will cost residents more money in taxes every year for the next twenty years.  The cost overrun is allegedly the result of higher building costs.

    There has been a change in the polling location for District 6, which will now vote at the Griggstown Firehouse.  Refer to the Franklin Township web site for additional details (this link takes you right to the information).

    News roundup

  • Perth Amboy mayor Joseph Vas will challenge Assembly Speaker Albio Sires for Bob Menendez’ open Congressional seat. Vas has raised nearly $300,000. Bret Schundler rules out running for the seat.
  • The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would create a bond referendum next November asking voters want to provide $350 million for stem cell research grants.
  • The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved a bill which will provide for $1.5 million to help low-income families pay their heating bills.
  • The Senate voted to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 19. It still needs approval from the Assembly.
  • The Assembly approved a bill that would remove the immunity protections from religious institutions, schools and other non-profits accused of sexually abusing children. The bill was opposed by the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Last, and most definitely least, everybody’s talking about Corzine’s love life.
  • Bring the Troops Home Petition Delivery

    For those of you interested in getting involved, Moveon is hosting a Petition Delivery in your area.

    Congress has reached a tipping point on Iraq. Over two-thirds of Americans want an exit plan to bring our troops home from Iraq. To make sure Congress gets the message, we’ve launched the Bring The Troops Home petition drive. On December 14th, MoveOn members will gather outside their representative’s office, speak about the need to end the war, and then deliver the petitions to congressional staff.

    They will be holding events at the offices of Congressmen Holt, Pallone, Saxton, Smith, Lobiondo, Pascrell, Garrett, Rothman, Payne and Menendez that I can see.  Find an Event near you

    Bring the Troops Home Petition Delivery

    For those of you interested in getting involved, Moveon is hosting a Petition Delivery in your area.

    Congress has reached a tipping point on Iraq. Over two-thirds of Americans want an exit plan to bring our troops home from Iraq. To make sure Congress gets the message, we’ve launched the Bring The Troops Home petition drive. On December 14th, MoveOn members will gather outside their representative’s office, speak about the need to end the war, and then deliver the petitions to congressional staff.

    They will be holding events at the offices of Congressmen Holt, Pallone, Saxton, Smith, Lobiondo, Pascrell, Garrett, Rothman, Payne and Menendez that I can see.  Find an Event near you

    Tom Kean Shrugs

    Tom Kean, Jr. refuses to take a position on Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

    Tom Kean, Jr. is wobbly on the Iraq War.

    And now Tom Kean, Jr. is unwilling to tell NJ Republican Chair Tom Wilson to be civil while saying the Kean campaign will be clean.

      So are we in for another nasty campaign, as Menendez gears up to run for a full Senate term next November?

    No way, says state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union), the likely Republican challenger.

    “The last race was the most expensive and nastiest statewide race we’ve had in many years, with the end result of having the lowest voter turnout in years,” he said. “We need to change that. I’ll be running a positive campaign focused on the issues.”

    Of course, Wilson could play the role of the bad cop, taking hard personal shots at Menendez, while Kean hovers above it all. When asked if he objected to Wilson’s statements out of the box, Kean dodged the question.

    “I can control what I can control,” he said. “I can only control my campaign.”

    Do we have a wimp factor here?

    Bear Hunt Done

    297 bears were killed harvested this year.

    Less than the 328 bears killed harvested in 2003.

    Wonder if there will be any fewer bear/human interactions (as Dr. Tavss report argues against) as a result.  Of Course, Dr. Tavss states that other Bear problem areas have achieved sucess with the simple act of bear proofing garbage cans.  But hey, we don’t even human proof our garbage in NJ so why Bear proof it. 

    Either way, don’t let your 12 guages get cold, it’ll soon be Goose hollocaust season!

    UPDATE: (Via Hester Jr.) Pigeons need not fear the wrath of the 12 guage:

    Meanwhile, … New Jersey statute 23:4-54 makes it very clear – it is still against the law to detain a homing pigeon. If you do, you’ll be subject to a fine of up to $25 or up to 30 days in jail.

    Pour Some Sugar on Bob

    The Jersey Journal is reporting on some of Senator Menendez campaign contributors – and it raises some questions.

    For example, we have this tidbit:

      The NNS analysis showed his single largest source of campaign cash was developer Charles Kushner and associates, who have contributed $167,500. In March, Kushner was sentenced to two years in federal prison for violating tax and campaign laws, and retaliating against an FBI witness – his sister – by luring her husband into a videotaped tryst with a prostitute.

    This is not a big deal.  Kushner gave money to pretty much everyone he could.  Moreover, Menendez did the right thing by giving the donation to charity when Kushner’s criminality came to light.