Atlantic County Democratic Chair Michael Suleiman said this week he has formed South Jersey Forward, a nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization that will explore public policy to move South Jersey forward.
The new group is not a political action committee and will not engage in partisan politics, Suleiman said in a news release.
Its first endeavor will be a live roundtable discussion on expanding middle-class housing in Atlantic City. Last year, Suleiman wrote an op-ed for New Jersey Spotlight in which he proposed housing incubator zones funded through casino taxes.
Panelists will include Orange Loop developer Pat Fasano and Pastor Alexander Smith of Community Harvest Church in Atlantic City.
“From Atlantic City to the Delaware Bay, the Pinelands to Cape May, we will research and identify solutions that will make South Jersey a better place to live,” Suleiman said in a news release.
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The new organization will host roundtable discussions, write public policy papers, conduct research and work with policymakers to enact good public policy, according to Suleiman.
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The roundtable will be 7 p.m. May 31 and will be livestreamed on the South Jersey Forward Facebook page.
Police, fire survivors' bill advances
A bill sponsored by state Sen. Vince Polistina, R-Atlantic, advanced this week to expand the eligibility of surviving children to receive pension benefits from deceased parents who were members of the State Police Retirement System and the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System.
Polistina’s bill, S2689, removes the requirement that the death must occur during active duty to allow a full-time college student under age 24 to be considered a child and be eligible for pension benefits.
“Surviving children already have to grieve the loss of a loved one. Their ability to receive benefits shouldn’t hinge on whether their loved one died in the line of duty,” Polistina said. “Allowing more children to benefit from their family member’s pension can provide a sense of financial security during a very difficult time.”
The State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Senate Committee approved the bill, which now goes to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Currently, a person is considered a child under the PFRS and SPRS when they are under 18, 18 or older and attending a secondary school, or under 24 and enrolled in college as a full-time student or disabled if the parent died on active duty.
REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post
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