Passed in Senate: gay conversion therapy prevention

TRENTON – The Senate passed a bill Thursday preventing so-called gay conversion therapy counseling for minors.

S2278/A371 protects minors by prohibiting counseling attempts to change sexual orientation. It passed 28-9.

Sen. Ray Lesniak said someday we may not have a need for legislation like this, and “it’ll be OK to be gay. That’s what the Supreme Court said yesterday,’’ but until that day, children must be protected from this harmful counseling.

Sen. Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, said the high court ruling ushered in a new era for Americans. “If we as elected officials don’t stand up for them who will,’’ she said regarding gay minors.

Other bills passed in the Senate:

ACR199 – Says job-banding is inconsistent with legislative intent. It passed 24-13.

Democratic Sen. Robert Gordon said hiring decisions used to be based on who you knew, not what you knew, otherwise known as the spoils system. But by the end of the 19th century that flawed system gave way to Civil Service.

He said the administration’s attempt to change Civil Service with the so-called banding system will reintroduce cronyism and weaken Civil Service protections. Under the system, job “bands’’ will replace the traditional targeted job titles and promotions systems in place for a century.

And Democratic Sen. Ray Lesniak warned banding will dismantle Civil Service preference for veterans.

Republican Sen. Diane Allen responded, though, that too-specific job titles provide no leeway, hurt workers and show that there have been a number of cases in which Civil Service has actually been an impediment.

S570: Passed 38-0. Permits a municipality to enact an ordinance regulating where sex offenders may reside; restricts locations of certain child care centers and school bus stops.

S2121: Passed 32-2. The “Green Building and Infrastructure Tax Credit Act”; provides tax credits for certain green buildings and wood utility poles.

S2427: Passed 32-2. Requires court to order a convicted drunken driver to install ignition interlock device or to suspend the offender’s driver’s license.

S1781/A2675: Passed 37-0. Reappropriates $3 million from “Dam, Lake, Stream, Flood Control, Water Resources, and Wastewater Treatment Project Bond Act of 2003” to fund State flood control projects.

S2576/A3061: Passed 21-14. Exempts certain persons from heating, ventilation and air-conditioning  licensing requirement; clarifies definition of HVAC and refrigeration.

S2680: Passed. 34-2. Allows development on piers in coastal high hazard areas in certain urban municipalities. Passed in Senate: gay conversion therapy prevention