PRESS RELEASES

Diegnan Bill to Requiring School Districts To Provide Daily Recess for Students Clears Senate

 

Trenton -Today, the Senate approved legislation, sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan Jr., to require public school districts to provide a daily recess period to elementary school students.

“Our children need to socialize and in today’s world it is seemingly harder and harder for our children to find time just to play and to be kids,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “This legislation will address this common sense goal.”

 The bill, S-847, will require public school districts to provide a daily recess period of at least 20 minutes for students in grades kindergarten through 5. The recess period would be required to be held outdoors, if feasible. Under the bill, a student could not be denied recess for any reason, other than as a consequence of a violation of the district’s code of student conduct, including a harassment, intimidation, or bullying investigation. Additionally, a school district should avoid denying a student recess more than twice per week. A school district would not be required to provide a recess period on a substantially shortened school day. Recess would not be permitted to be used to meet the current statutory requirements regarding the provision of health, safety, and physical education courses in public schools.

The bill will take effect in the 2019-2020 school year.

 On December 31, 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement highlighting the importance of a recess period for students in grades K to 5. According to the APP, recess is a vital part of children’s development and serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated work in the classroom.The report states that recess provides cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits that may not be appreciated with the decision to diminish it in favor of more time for class work.

In the 2015-16 legislative sessions, a similar bill was passed by both houses on January 7, 2016. Governor Chris Christie pocket vetoed the bill on January 18, 2017.

The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 38-1. The bill next goes to the Assembly for further consideration.

Diegnan Bill To Have NJ Join State Coalition for Climate Protection Clears Senate

 

TRENTON – Today, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan Jr. that would have New Jersey uphold the tenets of the Paris Climate Accord by joining with other states in a newly-formed alliance of states committed to the environmental goals of the international agreement.

The bill, S-598, would have New Jersey join with California, New York, Washington and a dozen other states in the “United States Climate Alliance,” formed in the wake of President Trump’s decision to have the United States withdraw from the Paris agreement.

After President Trump abandoned the responsibilities embodied in the international agreement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced the formation of a state-based alliance to fill the void on climate protection standards. Together, New York, California, and Washington represent approximately 68 million people, nearly one-in-five Americans. New Jersey is home to more than eight million people. A total of 15 states have now joined.

“The President’s disastrous decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord should in no way prevents New Jersey from moving forward with sound environmental policies aimed at protecting our planet,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “With this legislation, we are sending a message that we are committed to doing all we can for future generations and for our state.”

In the 2016-17 legislative sessions, a similar bill was passed by the Senate on June 26, 2017, with a vote of 25-14 and by the Assembly with a vote of 46-19-3 on January 8, 2017. Governor Chris Christie pocket vetoed the bill on January 16, 2018.

The bill was approved by the full Senate with a vote of 26-11. The bill next goes to the Assembly for further consideration.

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