What a career: Clean air on planes; gun safety; raising drinking age; protecting women’s access to health and reproductive care; protecting workers’ rights; fighting for aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy! We could go on and on. Congratulations to Senator Frank Lautenberg for making his future retirement announcement exactly where and when he chose. The last of those sitting members of Congress who served in World War II, a member of the “greatest generation” who, while celebrating his humble beginnings, became a very successful businessman and went on to become a strong voice for progressive values in our state. Feisty, sometimes acerbic, taking no prisoners among his foes, he’s known as a tough and disciplined opponent.
Yes, Senator Lautenberg, it is not the end, but the beginning of the next two years of a great and appreciated career! Here’s to many more accomplishments and here’s a great big thank you to a great representative from “the kid” (which you affectionately call me).
Gun safety and another week goes by. A rather spirited and unruly hearing was held on Wednesday by the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee. The hearing was packed with two or three overflow rooms also filled. Testimony came largely from those who want the State to do nothing to improve our gun safety laws. Passions ran high with loud boos and comments from the audience. However, the Assembly Committee released the package of bills with votes along party lines.
Yesterday, the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee hosted another panel with representatives from the Million Moms, a speaker from the Second Amendment supporters, Congressman Bill Pascrell, and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, along with me. This time the “let’s not add any more laws in NJ” crowd were a little more restrained and we had a very few moments of actual dialogue on ideas. But it was impossible to get any agreement even on the most logical of issues to require gun safety training for firearm purchasers, or banning gun purchases by those on the Terrorist Watch (no fly) list. I do think some of the bills in the package need a little more fine tuning! But it would be nice if more folks, particularly responsible gun owners in our state, will join the dialogue to find common ground. The package goes before the full Assembly on Thursday.
Looking forward to Legislative Oversight Meetings by the end of the month on Sandy clean up efforts and AshBritt. Stay tuned.
Happy President’s Day!