Weinberg hits Christie administration with 3 OPRA requests

Loretta Weinberg has had it with the Christie administration’s delaying tactics.

Weinberg – prime Senate sponsor of legislation to restore $7.5 million in state funding to women’s health and family planning programs – has filed 3 Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests with State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristof, looking for information behind the Christie administration’s objections to budget-neutral funding source identified in her bill (S-2139). Weinberg:

If the Treasurer can’t bring himself to work with us to identify funding solutions for critical women’s health programs, than we’ll use the tools at our disposal to access public information and hopefully dispel the myth that our funding source doesn’t work.

State funding was cut from the budget by the governor. An alternative revenue-neutral source suggested by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS), taps surplus funds in the State Employee Prescription Drug Program. The funding would provide greater access by women and men to basic health services including cancer and high blood pressure screenings, HIV testing, pre- and post-natal care, treatment for sexually-transmitted disease, and contraception. Abortions are off that list; the funding does not cover their payment.

Weinberg’s right to get to the bottom of the Christie administration’s truculence. If Sidamon-Eristoff has reason to dispute the alternative funding source, he should be able to provide those reasons beyond the vague and unspecific short letter he provided to Weinberg (the Treasurer skipped a request to answer questions publicly before the Senate Health Committee, which Weinberg chairs).

What Weinberg is looking for, if the funding source is faulty as they say it is, is cooperation from the administration to work with her and Asw Linda Stender – the go-to in the Assembly – to replace that funding with a better solution. The OPRA requests, she says, are the administration’s opportunity to either produce documentation for their objections or admit Christie’s real opposition is driven by “his out of touch, far-right political ideology.”

Ball’s in their court.  

Comments (4)

  1. Bill Orr

    In the governor’s veto message he said, “The sponsors of the legislation claim that there is $7,453,000 available in the State Employees Prescription Drug Program account. Based on the information provided to me by the Treasury Department’s Office of Management and Budget, the sponsors’ assertion is incorrect.”

    Good for Sen Weinberg, seeking to find the truth in this matter. Let the sun shine in.  

    Reply
  2. chujb

    while we’re at it, how about some info on why all these highly paid people are needed?  Who are they and what did they do for Christie?  what are they doing, and what are their qualifications?

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.s

    I’ve been looking for follow-up on this, but none has been done

    Reply
  3. Couch Potato Politics

    Here is a short list of political appointments in just a few divisions.

    And many of these appointments, like the microbiologist in PERC, have almost zero experience or understanding of the department and divisions they are being paid, some in 6 figures, to lead:

    http://www.cwa1038.org/PDF/chr

    Reply

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