Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dozens of Bills Await Action by Christie

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dozens of Bills Await Action by Christie

Article excerpt

Bills to better track stolen jewelry, encourage inner-city neighborhood stores to stock healthy foods and keep tabs on the graduation rates of scholarship recipients are among the measures awaiting action on Governor Christie's desk.

The bills are among about two dozen that Christie must sign or veto by the time lawmakers return to Trenton after Labor Day. Christie signed 10 relatively non-controversial bills last week and vetoed two others relating to voter registration.

Among the bills awaiting action is one that sponsors say is aimed at making it easier for local law enforcement to track and recover stolen jewelry.

Currently, businesses that buy gold or jewelry are required to keep a written record of the transaction and make records available to their local police department.

But sponsors of the bill say there is no centralized systematic way for law enforcement to search for stolen goods across jurisdictions. They said many of those records are kept on paper and not available online.

"I know a number of constituents who had heirloom pieces from their parents and of course -- with a break-in and entry -- they were unable to recover them," said Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, D- Paterson, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.

"We need to come up with a better way to track those assets," Sumter added. "This is a very logical and heartfelt piece of legislation."

The bill won unanimous approval in both the Senate and the Assembly. It calls for an 11-member task force including representatives of the attorney general and the state police superintendent, three county prosecutors, three municipal law enforcement officers and three public members appointed by the governor.

One of the public members would be a jewelry retailer or wholesaler, another would be in the business of buying precious metals and a third would be a licensed pawnbroker.

The group would be required to issue a report within six months of their first meeting.

Fresh produce

Another bill on Christie's desk would direct the state Health Department to create the "Healthy Corner Store Program" which would help small food retailers provide fresh produce and other healthy food in low- and moderate-income urban and rural neighborhoods at affordable prices. …

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