TRENTON – Having already introduced what he said would be a legislative priority this term, a so-called Sandy Bill of Rights, Senate President Steve Sweeney said today he would tour hard-hit areas, including Perth Amboy, Toms River and Moonachie.
“There are still too many people who have yet to fully recover from the devastation of Sandy,” said Sweeney, who announced when the new legislative session began that he would sponsor a bill to push for better accountability and transparency for Sandy victims.
“By allowing them to tell their stories, we highlight why a ‘Sandy Bill of Rights’ is necessary,” Sweeney said in a release. “As we will see, people have been denied aid for no reason, or have no idea where they stand on a waiting list. That is unacceptable and must change.”
Last year, the joint Environmental committees held four hearings around the state at which they heard numerous accounts of those who had been left behind by the bureaucracy.
Last week, Sweeney – a rumored gubernatorial candidate in 2017 – introduced the bill. Among other things, it would require a plain language explanation of eligibility requirements, and it would mandate rejected applicants be given answers as to why they were turned down for aid.
The increased attention to Sandy aid comes as the state announced this week it is pursuing $1.4 billion in second-round Sandy federal funding.
Sweeney’s scheduled stops will be in Perth Amboy on Feb. 19, Toms River on Feb. 21 and Moonachie on Feb. 22. Exact locations and times are to be announced.