The Assembly and Senate are poised to pass a series of “it’s holiday time so the people won’t be watching” bills into law beginning with committee meetings today and full voting sessions on Monday.
The first of the series (A4430/S2851) would raise judicial salaries which is needed and appropriate, along with increases in legislative staff salaries. The latter would be welcome by most of our staffers also. However, as long as the $15 minimum wage bill has not yet been passed, this would send a really wrong signal to the working people of NJ. Even worse is the provision which would allow the Governor to receive outside money for writing a book. Under our current law, the Governor is not allowed to earn any outside income other than his $175,000 salary.
Most egregious is the bill lifting the requirements on both public and private entities from continuing to place required paid legal ads in newspaper. Rumor has it this was added by the administration to the bill package as a punitive measure. Who could have imagined that? It is an awful bill (A4429/S2855). The passage would undermine an already fragile press corps in our state, and provide those without Internet access from reading various public notices – whether bids being solicited, school board and council meeting calendars or various other items of interest to the public. Searching a myriad of web sites would put this information out of the reach of most New Jerseyans.
Call your Assembly members because it must start in that house and let them know how you feel about this attempt to undermine the public’s right to know.