Tag Archive: Joseph Egan

Koch Conspirators

There’s an old Middle Eastern saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I don’t buy into this philosophy, but it does provide a starting point for evaluating that enemy of my enemy.

Today, the Koch Brothers’ organization, Americans for Prosperity, released a 2014 scorecard of New Jersey legislators. AFP has a simplistic philosophy – government and taxes are bad. However, the real world is more nuanced than that, but it’s interesting to see how AFP rated some of our New Jersey legislators.

A Time for Change: Day Laborer Treatment

“Few in our society are as vulnerable as recent immigrants who seek work on a day-to-day basis and have limited English proficiency.”    

            – NJ Governor’s Advisory Panel on Immigration Policy

“It’s a hard life…. We’re just looking for work. We need more people with good hearts who know why we’re here.”

            – Newark Ironbound day laborer

In August 2010 Seton Hall Law School released a report entitled Ironbound Underground which documented that in Newark’s East Ward 96% of local immigrant day laborers have been victims of wage theft, 27% assaulted by an employer, 80% not given safety equipment, and 20% hurt on the job. Then in January 2011 the Law School issued All Work and No Pay in which it expanded its research to Elizabeth, Freehold, Morristown, Orange, Flemington, Bridgeton, and Palisades Park. There it documented among day laborers 48% not paid, 54% underpaid, 26% injured, 35% abandoned and 26% assaulted.

Ironbound Underground concluded, “Our findings demonstrate a staggering degree of workplace violations and exploitation of day laborers by local employers in violation of federal and state law, resulting in a loss of dignity for the day laborer population and a loss of revenue to the public. Yet the day laborers in Newark have found few effective avenues to address the violations of their rights.” The more extensive All Work No Pay concludes: “Community organizations, municipal courts, prosecutors, and state and local officials all have essential parts to play in enforcing labor standards and further safeguarding the rights of workers.”  

With the current tough economy the number of day laborers is increasing, and they are not only immigrants. Local officials should establish hiring halls for day laborers, as they decrease worker abuse. State legislators, in particular the Labor Committee chairs Sen. Fred Madden and Assemblyman Joseph Egan, and Judiciary Committee Chairs Sen. Nicholas Scutari and Assemblyman Peter Barnes, should draft new legislation. Bill S1588, which seeks to set up a division to investigate and address disparities and civil rights violations suffered by immigrants, could be a start. The All Work No Pay report recommends that New Jersey’s Wage Theft statute be updated and include standardization of the procedure which allows workers to file complaints directly with municipal courts, criminal sanctions against employers who retaliate against employees who file complaints, and sufficient fines and damages to deter wage theft.

Vote and Win the Lottery! An idea that AZ voters rejected

Glad to see my Assemblyman, Egan, is working hard on getting voters involved. LOL  I have to agree with Corzine, Codey and Cryan who are not coming out in favor of the proposal that voting would make people eligible for unclaimed lottery money .  APP:

“I know there’s going to be some folks who will pooh-pooh it, minimize it, but anything we can do to encourage people to vote, we should consider,” said Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr., D-Middlesex, one of the bill’s sponsors. “So many folks at this particular point just don’t pay attention to the process, feel a disconnect, and maybe something like this will have people paying a little bit more attention.”

But don’t start dreaming of parlaying a minute in the voting booth into riches. Little support is expected.

“I appreciate any attempt to increase voter participation, but I don’t think rewards are a way to go,” said Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, D-Union, the Democratic Party’s state chairman. “Civic responsibility and the impact government has on people’s lives should be enough of a motivating factor.”

Republican Party state chairman Tom Wilson was less diplomatic.

“That is a ridiculous idea,” Wilson said. “With all due respect, I think we’ve got a lot bigger problems to deal with and a lot better ways to spend $1 million in New Jersey than on creating a voter lottery.”

A spokesman for Gov. Corzine said the governor is focused on addressing the state’s property tax problem.

“I’m pretty sure most New Jerseyans would rather see significant and sustainable property tax relief,” Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley said via e-mail…

The proposal calls for the prize to be funded with 20 percent of the unclaimed winnings from the regular state lottery, voluntary donations and investments of the prize fund. Prizes would be $1 million or more, depending on availability of funds. In fiscal year 2005, $30.6 million worth of winnings went unclaimed.

The bill is also sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Egan, D-Middlesex, and co-sponsored by Assemblymen Peter Barnes Jr. and Joseph Vas, both D-Middlesex, and Assemblymen Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, and Frederick Scalera, D-Essex.

And it gives the Repugs a chance to say that Dems have always paid for votes — NY Times.  According to their article, Codey reacted ‘coolly’ to the idea.

Wally Edge’s Primary Targets

Wally Edge discusses potential primaries for Democratic state legislators over their votes (or lack thereof) on civil unions.

At the top of the list of potential targets is the Rev. Alfred Steele, the Assembly State Government Committee Chairman who is seeking a seventh term in the solidly-Democratic 35th district next year. Steele abstained on the Civil Union vote, and the conservative New Jersey Family Policy Council said that Steele will sponsor the “Equal Benefits Act” — legislation that would offer civil benefits to same-sex couples but also define marriage as being between a man and a woman. (Steele has not confirmed or denied his agreement to sponsor this bill.)

Also on the possible target list is Assemblyman Joseph Egan, the Assembly Labor Committee Chairman. Egan’s political base, New Brunswick (where he has been a City Councilman since 1981), has a large gay population, and Democratic primary voters in Highland Park are considered fairly liberal.

Nilsa Cruz-Perez, a Camden County Democrat, and Gary Schaer, a freshman Democrat who represents parts of Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties, were the other two Democrats to abstain on Civil Unions.

Democratic State Senators Wayne Bryant, Joseph Doria and Ronald Rice also abstained on the vote. There is a strong chance that all three could lose Democratic Party support for re-election next year, but not because of Civil Unions. Bryant is reportedly under investigation by federal prosecutors, Doria has local political problems in Hudson County, and Rice is expected to be replaced at the request of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who won 75% of the vote against Rice in the May 2006 mayoral election.