to ask for subpoena power. Right on Senator Buono! Let’s finally get the truth out about the Race ToThe Top and the sorely needed $400 million lost to our students. According to news reports, Brett Schundler said he would testify under a subpoena. Now let’s see if the rest of the administration persons who can fill in the blanks in the Governor’s office are willing to do the same. What role did the consultants play? What happened in the “rush” between the first application which the Governor refused to file and his insistence on a second application dropping the NJEA’s support? Lots of questions and now with subpoena power, perhaps the Legislative Oversight Committee under Senator Buono’s direction will get us some answers. We will be voting on this request today.
The only other agenda item at today’s Senate session is the override attempt of the governor’s veto of family planning money. This bill is about poor women’s access to birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy; it is about HIV testing; it is about cervical cancer screening; and yes, Governor, it is about screening for mammograms. On a 101.5 interview, Governor Christie kept repeating “Do not say this is about mammograms. It is not about mammograms.” Even the Governor cannot change these facts much as he seems to want to do so.
The women of New Jersey have received enormous support on this issue from organizations such as Catholics for Choice, National Council of Jewish Women, Women of the Unitarian Church, The League of Women Voters, National Organization for Women, Health Professional and Allied Employees, the American Academy of Family Physicians, 100 Black Women and the list goes on! We have heard from only one group in opposition – Right to Life. Need we say more? Yes, we do: This bill is not about abortion. In fact it specifically prevents any funds being used for abortion services.
And what about our request to the Treasurer for additional information to back up his assertion that the budget line item we suggested is insufficient? He refused to appear before the Senate Health Committee to answer questions in person. His reply to my OPRA request was “sorry, we don’t have to give you the documents”. He claims the figures I requested about the employee prescription program are “unaudited” and “speculative”, and, therefore, not covered by OPRA. This reply came after a more than three week wait. When I met just about a week ago with the Treasurer’s communication man, Andy Pratt, I was also promised a letter from the Attorney General backing up their claims that these documents are not covered under OPRA. That letter has never been forthcoming.
This administration seems to be having a problem living up to their rhetoric about transparency. Gannett Newspapers as well as Senator Buono have also not gotten information based on OPRA requests.
And so now it is up to Senators Allen, Beck, Bateman, Cisela, Connors, Sean Kean, and Singer. Will they stand up to their Governor and for the women of New Jersey? They know this is the right thing to do. They also now know that the Treasurer has refused at least twice to supply us with the information which can back up his funding assertions. Come on Senators, the Governor is on a winning streak. This override will not tarnish him! It will, however, prove that on a bipartisan basis, we all believe that poor women need access to basic primary care. We can stand together for the right things.
Keep your voices heard!