The ACLU of New Jersey commended the passage of measures in the Senate today that could expand financial aid eligibility to a larger number of immigrant students and a measure that could lead to more impartial investigations when individuals are killed during an interaction with law enforcement.

The financial aid bills, S699 and S700, passed the Senate with votes of 26-10 and 36-0, respectively. They have not yet come up for a vote in the Assembly.

“Today, the Senate sent a clear message that all of New Jersey’s students should have access to financial aid, no matter their immigration status,” said ACLU-NJ Senior Staff Attorney Farrin Anello. “Access to in-state tuition was an important first step, but without eligibility for financial aid, college simply is not attainable for most students. No student in New Jersey should be prevented from pursuing their dreams because of where they were born or where their parents came from, and the Senate has gotten us closer to making those ideals a reality in our state.”

S1036, a bill to require the attorney general’s office supersede local prosecutors in investigating and prosecuting when someone dies during an encounter law enforcement, passed in the Senate. It has not yet been scheduled for an Assembly committee hearing.

“The Senate took an important step today toward greater accountability by voting to eliminate the possibility of a conflict of interest when prosecutors investigate the local police departments they regularly rely on in other cases,” said ACLU-NJ Policy Counsel Dianna Houenou. “Our lawmakers have an opportunity to foster trust between police officers and community members with this legislation, and we hope that the Assembly advances this legislation soon.”