Tag Archive: Barbara Buono

Hate Crimes Legislation Signed

Sen. Barbara BuonoSenator Buono: “As a mother of four, I refuse to allow this sort of discrimination  to go unaddressed.”

Hot off the press release press: Buono/Weinberg bill to strengthen hatecrimes laws signed into law by Governor Corzine.  This measure adds protections to transgender youth in NJ schools.

Says Barbara Buono, primary sponsor:

The signing of this legislation shows New Jersey’s commitment to protecting its residents from the ignorance that fuels hate crimes, bullying and other similar actions.

In addition to gender and identity expression, national origin and disability are also included under the measure.

Added Loretta Weinberg, another primary sponsor of the new law:

Enacting this legislation shows that we in New Jersey refuse to tolerate discrimination and intolerance on any level.

You Can’t Fix Things with Bad Policy

Promoted from the diaries by njdem:  I think this is an interesting discussion

As an employee of a state university, I was particularly struck with the horror that unfolded at Virginia Tech several months ago.  At the time, I was teaching one class that met in a basement room with windows that were designed not to be opened located about nine feet above the floor.  Another class met on the fourth floor of a building.  I’m well aware of being the leading authority figure in the classroom and that even student-on-student violence is likely to involve me as well.

I’m glad that the all-too-obvious vulnerability of students and faculty at our schools is being taken seriously.  I can’t help but think, though, that Barbara Buono’s proposal to put internal door locks on doors isn’t going to do much good – and it could cause some very real problems.

“With the escalation of guns and violence in our schools, we need to be proactive and rethink our strategies to keep our
children safe and secure,” said Buono, a Middlesex County Democrat. “No strategy is foolproof. This adds a layer of
protection that security cameras and metal protectors do not provide.”

She’s right that no strategy is foolproof.  But door locks are not the protection she seems to think they are.  Join me after the page flip.

Living Green is a Regional Thing

A Fascinating story came over the airwaves today via National Public Radio that’s worth sharing.  As you all know, Jon Corzine recently signed the Global Warming Response Act into law.  Since this bold move by our state is a collaboration with other (blue) states here in the Northeast, it’s worth updating what’s going on regionally.

It’s also worth underscoring that these initiatives are in lieu of the anemic Federal response to climate change.  Frankly, treehuggers and wonks alike agree that a national strategy would be best.  But since the Bush Administration is too preoccupied with fags, flags and fetuses to bother with OO2 emissions, regional initiatives will have to do.  For now.

This radio short checks up with an environmentalist and a power plant exec from our own PSE&G about the preparations for the upcoming transition.

 
NPR:

The Northeast region of the United States is the world’s seventh biggest emitter of climate changing carbon dioxide gases. But, 10 Northeast states have signed up in a regional compact called “RGGI” (Reggie) the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to set mandatory caps on carbon emissions on power plants and a cap and trade program to help industry meet the reduction goals.


For a tutorial on the economics of Cap and Trade, check out this video blog from last month.

Statements on Global Warming Legislation

Governor Jon Corzine:

“In the absence of leadership on the federal level, the burden of reducing greenhouse gases has now fallen upon the states. I’m proud that New Jersey is one of the first among a handful of states that are leading the nation to combat global warming and I hope more states will follow in our model.”

Senator Barbara Buono:

“Global warming is the issue that will define the early 21st century. It touches every aspect of American life – economics, the environment, international security – and is a problem New Jersey can no longer afford to avoid.  Our children and grandchildren will look back to today and recognize it as one of the major turning points in the battle against climate change.”

Assemblywoman Linda Stender:

“Today, New Jersey becomes a leading force in the global fight against climate change and promoting new technologies and strategies to counteract greenhouse gas emissions. Our country has come to a critical juncture on global warming: we can take action now to protect public health and our environment, or we can dawdle and pay a steep price later for failing to act. President Bush may be in denial about global warming, but New Jersey isn’t.”

Green Jersey

Wondering what’s going on with the Global Warming Response Act?  Me too.  So I asked the Senator who sponsored the bill for an update.

(Note: this was recorded live, streaming onto You Tube.  It makes it a little scratchy, but boy it sure is versatile!)

Is that Budget in your Pocket or are you just excited to see me?

(Trenton)–

*Updates in Bold*

It's all budget stuff all the time this week at the Statehouse.  I am sitting waiting for the Senate Budget Committee which is taking up a slew of stuff that you all might be interested in including:  the Global Warning Response Act (slightly ammended and released to the full Senate); charity care; and a $200m bond to protect Green Acres, Bue Acres, farmland and historical preservation.Passed and released

Also:  an initiative to replace oldschool lightbulbs with compact fluorescents state-wide.  How's that for a bright idea? Passed and released!

Now if any of this lesislations sounds familiar, there's a reason.  Last week, the Assembly took up their version of many of the same bills on the Senate docket today. 

Likewise the $33b in state funds and $10b in federal monies that make up the state's annual budget is up for advancement.  Just passed, easy as pie and way early. 

There is some heavy lifting on the agenda including consideration of a constitutional amendment to dedicate the full penny of last year's sales tax hike to propTax relief (Passed, released to the full Senate!).  Something tells me its going to be a long morning.  I should have brought a Snickers bar.Wow, we're out of here by 1pm with the budget on track.  A far cry from last year when the legislators (and the press) were burning the midnight oil!

On a lighter note, Sen. Barbara Buono just arrived and I think it's safe to award the Best Dressed Legislator award early this week.  Looking impossibly chic in a peach colored suit and matching headband, Sen. Buono proves you don't have to sacrifice fashion just to legislate progressive policy. 

Busy Day on Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee

UPDATE!!It’s 12:28 and the final count is in.  The bill was released to the full Senate by a vote of eight to six. 

(Trenton)–  The Committee is getting ready to take up the issue of family leave and temporary disability.  Sens. Sweeney and Buono sponsored the bill.

But first they are voting to release Sen. Sarlo's digital media bill to the full Senate.  Which just easily passed.

Now onto family leave (aka Senate bill #S2249)…..
Sweeney opens by noting the US is the only nation in the western world that doesn't make allowances for workers to take leave to care for ailing members of their family.  Or to have a baby

This bill, according to Sweeney, is “to protect families” with (ten weeks) paid leave to care for a newborn or to look after a sick relative.  (For especially difficult pregnancies, workers would be given up to 26 weeks.)
More soon……
(updates below the fold)

NSA mining our Phone Records, an update

(Trenton)–

Public Advocate Ron Chen met with the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today to hash out Chen's office's budget for next fiscal year. 

(According to their website, Chen's Department of Public Advocacy is the “principal executive department of the state dedicated to making government more accountable and more responsive to the needs of average New Jerseyans.”)

Today  most committee members wanted to discuss Eminent Domain (more on that later) but one Senator had other things on her mind. 

Senator Barbara Buono used today's hearing to gently nudge Chen on the status of an Amicus brief Chen filed after learning the NSA was sorting through the phone records of NJ residents, in violation of state law.

(Some quick background: When the NSA's domestic spying follies came to light way-back-when, then-AG Zulima Farber wanted some answers.  After all, the Attorney General is  charged with protecting New Jerseyans from consumer fraud.   In this case, the questions surrounded whether telecom companies violated their own privacy statements by releasing this information to NSA. According to Chen, the current AG Stuart Rabner was keen to pursue this after taking over.)

When Sen. Buono asked about the status of that suit — and the Amicus brief that went with it — Chen's answer was pretty shocking.  

Apparently, Rabner's efforts have most recently been met with Federal intervention as the Department of Justice moved to block the AG's enforcement of the telecom companies' privacy agreements, citing “state secrets.”

How crazy is that?

Anyway, stay tuned.  This is currently playing itself out in the courts.  In June the case will be heard by a judge in California, which is one of a half dozen states to join NJ to press forward with the issue of telecom's roll in domestic spying.

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, January 23, 2007

  • The Senate passed a bill to create a commission to study town mergers and a bill to eliminate (at least partially) pensions for elected officials convicted of corruption charges. Action on the proposed 20% propTax cut and the 4% cap on propTax increases stalled. Voting on the comptroller bill also stalled when, according to Senate Pres. Codey, the Republicans refused to vote for it. Sen. Barbara Buono also refused support because it had been too watered down.
  • The pot calling the kettle: also in the Star-Ledger article, Sen. Sharpe James, who held the office of mayor of Newark for six of his seven years serving in the Senate, will re-introduce a bill to ban the holding of two elected offices at once.
  • A compromise is being proposed so that Atlantic City could ban smoking in casinos but allow up to 25% of the gambling floor to be designated a smoking section, enclosed and with separate ventilation. Councilman Bruce Ward pointed out that there will still have to be people who have to work in the smoking sections.
  • The mayor and two councilmen of Logan Twp. left the Republican party and became Democrats due to dissatisfaction with their local party leaders. Apparently the move was a surprise to Gloucester County Dem officials.
  • In an effort to improve science education in high schools, tests on specific sciences will be added to the high school graduation requirement, starting with biology in 2008.
  • The Corporation for Enterprise Development, an economic development research group, has given Our Fair State a grade of B for quality of life and work for 2006. We ranked high in education, personal income and job quality, but lower in pay growth, income distribution, and the number of people moving away.
  • But starting this year, you can get divorced quickly! Irreconcilable differences divorces can be completed in six months, according to a new law signed by Gov. Corzine yesterday. The AP reports that “It was supported by the New Jersey Bar Association and opposed by the New Jersey Catholic Conference.” No kidding!
  • You’re on candid camera: new buses which NJ Transit plans to purchase will come equipped with security cameras. Big Brother is always watching.

Open Thread: What’s on your mind today, Blue Jersey?

Joint Legislation Combats Climate Change

Senators Lautenberg and Menendez were two of eleven co-sponsors of new federal legislation to combat climate change by significantly reducing polluting emissions.

The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, first introduced last July by now-retired Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT), would reduce U.S. emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (a 15% reduction from today’s levels) and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  To achieve these emission reductions, the bill calls for a greater reliance on clean, renewable energy and improved energy efficiency.

The Senate bill is mirrored by the New Jersey Global Warming Response Act (A3301/S2114), sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-22) and Senator Barbara Buono (D-18), requiring statewide emissions reductions are below 1990 levels by 2020 (about a 20% reduction from New Jersey’s emissions levels today).

Environment New Jersey is urging all members of the state legislature to co-sponsor this legislation and is also calling on Governor Corzine to issue an Executive Order to reduce statewide emissions by 80% by 2050 and develop a plan to start cutting emissions right away.

Of several sponsors, one is Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle, who is fulfilling her job on the Weinberg Team by advocating progressive, good citizen policies.