Tag Archive: Reed Gusciora

Marriage equality whip count

Where does your delegation stand?

FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY SUPPORTERS
Senate
Bernard Kenny (D-33) (Majority Leader) (Star Ledger 10/27/06)
Loretta Weinberg (D-37) (Star Ledger 10/27/06)
Barbara Buono (D-18) (Asbury Park Press 10/27/06)
Assembly
Reed Gusciora (D-15) * (Garden State Equality PR 10/25/06)
Brian Stack (D-33) * (Garden State Equality PR 10/25/06)
Wilfred Caraballo (D-29) * (Speaker Pro Tem) ( ”  ” )
Mims Hackett (D-27) * (Blue Jersey 10/26/06)
Jerry Green (D-22) (Blue Jersey 10/26/06)
Joe Roberts (D-05) (Assembly Speaker) (Trenton Times 10/27/06)

* indicates the legislator will sponsor the Caraballo/Gusciora/Stack marriage equality legislation

The rest below the fold.

Who Wants to be a Profile in Courage?

As Tom Moran reports in the Star Ledger today, legislators in Trenton are running scared from “the M-word” whether they believe in marriage equality or not. Let’s face it, doing the right thing isn’t always easy. But, now is no time to get cold feet. 

Right after Wednesday’s decision, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora pledged to join with Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Caraballo and Assemblyman Brian Stack as a co-sponsor of a marriage equality bill. They were quickly and publicly joined by Assemblymen Jerry Green and Mims Hackett, as other legislators have begun to line up behind the scenes for marriage equality.

But today, Gusciora is quoted in the New York Times as saying that “When you talk about civil rights, sometimes you have to do things incrementally.” I can only hope he was misquoted, because if not, it’s reason for progressives to be disappointed.

The time for incremental change was 1999 in Vermont – before Massachusetts (and Canada and Spain and others) took a stand for full equality, before polls revealed strong support for marriage equality in New Jersey, and before our Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples are entitled under our constitution to equal treatment.

Separate is not equal. Chief Justice Deborah Poritz made it about as plain as it could be when in her dissent, she asks us to imagine if the response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1967 decision striking down laws banning interracial marriage was as some propose today. Tom Moran again:

Imagine if we told those couples they were entitled to all the legal rights, but that states were free to label their unions as something less than marriage

It would have been outrageous then, and it is absurd now.

Now is not the time to repeat mistakes from the past – when we used to pretend that “separate but equal” was ok. Now is the time for our elected leaders to do the right thing, because they know it’s right. That’s what defines leadership.

The clock is ticking on the Senate Majority Leader et al

Rather than give the Democratic majority 6 months to establish marriage equality, the progressive community should give them 6 weeks.  As far as I am concerned, the clock is ticking on Trenton Democrats.

If marriage equality has not been established by Wednesday, December 6, and/or our State Senators or State Assemblypersons have not at the very least stood up and been counted as supporters of marriage equality by then, progressives need to begin shopping around for alternative representation.

I don’t know when the filing deadline is for the 2007 legislative primaries, but I do know that April 25 is definitely too late to begin launching primary challenges.

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, October 10

  • Apparently, the Kean JUNIOR camp is “outraged” about the video of him ducking Jo Ann Sohl this past weekend. They say it’s “inappropriate” for Mrs. Sohl to be there ask Tommy to explain himself. (I guess that’s “inappropriate” because she didn’t pitch softball questions and take his empty answers with a smile.)
  • Bush is somewhat to blame for North Korea’s escalating nuclear program, according to Senator Menendez: “Today’s nuclear test by North Korea confirms our worst fears and illustrates just how much the Bush administration’s incompetence has endangered our nation.”
  • Assemblyman Reed Gusciora has requested an investigation of Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck (R-12) and her lobbying firm, which helped the state lottery operator get a new contract, despite the fact that it bid millions more than the closest competitor. Hey, the Republicans wanted a focus on ethics, didn’t they?
  • Former Times of Trenton editor and current columnist Harry Blaze died yesterday at home. He was 70.
  • Natural gas heating bills should dip a little this winter, but won’t do the big slide that gasoline prices are doing. Hey, every little bit helps.
  • Good apples this year! Woo-hoo!

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

Under the Dome with Assemblyman Gusciora

Asm Reed GuscioraWe’re excited to present the second “Under the Dome” podcast from Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (click for all past segments). In this segment, Reed interviewed Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John McKeon. Reed will attempt to interview all caucus members, so keep checking back for updates. Click below to listen, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Blue Jersey podcast to automatically get these podcasts in iTunes as we release them.

Loretta Weinberg John McKeon
Loretta Weinberg John McKeon

Under the Dome with Assemblyman Gusciora

Asm Reed GuscioraAssemblyman Reed Gusciora was on assignment for Blue Jersey. During all the madness in the State House, he found time to briefly interview Assemblymen Lou Manzo, Fred Scalera and Paul Moriarty earlier today. We’ve spliced together the three short interviews into one convenient 5 minute podcast. Reed asks the hard-hitting questions the Star Ledger is too afraid to ask, including “what is the best rock band of all time?” Click below to listen, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Blue Jersey podcast to automatically get these podcasts in iTunes as we release them.

Lou Manzo Fred Scalera Paul Moriarty
Lou Manzo Fred Scalera Paul Moriarty

Michael Panter v Ann Coulter Tonight on Fox News

Update: Assemblyman Gusciora had to cancel tonight. He has other commitments he wasn’t able to get out of. He’ll be on Alan Colme’s radio show tonight at 11:00PM.

Update 9:32PM: Assemblyman Michael Panter is on the show in Gusciora’s place.

Update 9:41PM: Assemblywomen Linda Stender and Joan Quigley were on Larry King.

Tonight on Hannity & Colmes, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora takes on Ann Coulter and her hate-filled comments about a group of 9/11 widows from New Jersey:

“These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them.

These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.”

Tune in at 9:00PM to watch Ann Coulter continue to make an idiot of herself, Sean Hannity defend her, and Alan Colmes drool on himself.

DUCK!

As many of you know, Dick Cheney is helping Tom Kean Jr. shoot people in the face raise money today.

This prompted Assemblyman Reed Guscoria to call for stronger drunk hunting laws. The hilarious press release complete with Elmer Fudd comparisons follows the break in full glory.

A Step in the Right Direction

“All [we] had to do was look at the stacks of reports that government agencies constantly send to our district offices. These glossy reports are like a constant tidal wave of wasteful and needless spending…Before any legislator can even think about raising anyone’s taxes, we need to cut waste. The printing of these reports is a prime example.”

Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and Reed Gusciora want to eliminate what they call the “unfathomable” costs associated with reports from government agencies by requiring that agencies publish their reports online.

“In this age of e-mail and Internet-based communications, these publications have outlived their usefulness,” said Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic). “The days of glossy paper, colored pictures, and fancy bindings are over: we simply can’t afford it.”

Van Drew and Gusciora said many of the reports have color photographs and can cost more than $6 to mail. The two legislators said that the costs of these reports are so exorbitant that the Office of Legislative Services is unable to put a final cost on the amount of state funds being spent on annual reports and brochures.

These reports are symbolic of inefficient government spending and this proposal is a common sense measure to cut costs. Beyond trimming costs, this measure should improve the efficiency and transparency of government by speeding up the flow of information and making it more easily accessible. Publishing reports online won’t balance the budget, but it’s a welcome step in the right direction.

Huge: NJ Appeals Court Rules Against Electronic Voting Machines

A suit filed in 2004 on behalf of Assemblyman Reed Gusciora by the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers School of Law-Newark challenging the accuracy of New Jersey’s electronic voting machines was initially dismissed by the trial court. Today, the Appellate Division agreed with the plaintiffs, and has reinstated the case.

The lawsuit is the first in the nation to successfully challenge electronic voting machines…”Despite clear evidence that New Jersey’s voting machines are insecure, the other branches of government failed to take appropriate action. That is why the Court stepped in,” [lead counsel Penny] Venetis added.

The same voting machines used by almost all of New Jersey’s five million registered voters have been found too insecure to use and have been de-commissioned by California, Ohio, Nevada, and New York City. New Jersey does not check the software of electronic voting machines to determine whether they have been tampered with or whether they are faulty.

Nearly every voting machine in the state is electronic, but none of them provide a voter-verifiable paper trail. If the courts agree that rights are being violated and that the integrity of the election cannot be guaranteed by these machines, then by law, the machines must be scrapped.

Although a bill was passed last year calling for a voter-verified paper trail on electronic machines, the leadership in the legislature demanded that the bill be modified to go into effect in 2008, because the state didn’t have the money to fix or retrofit them. Not only that, but they also snuck in a loophole to completely get around the 2008 deadline. The Appeals Court’s decision seemed to be influenced by these provisions in the bill:

The Court was concerned with protecting the hundreds of millions of votes that would be cast on voting machines between now and 2008. The Court also expressed its concern that the Attorney General’s office would use a loophole in the statute and issue waivers to the 2008 voter verified paper ballot requirement – further jeopardizing the franchise.

It seems like the state has been strong-arming the counties into buying electronic machines only from Sequoia Voting Systems (someone up high must be good friends with the Sequoia folk). This despite the fact that the company has repeatedly failed to live up to its promises of providing a paper trail retrofit option for the machines, while other companies already provide such an option. After all these years of stalling, looking the other way and insisting on these flawed machines, the state may soon be faced with the horror of scrapping all of them. It’s hard to feel sorry for that kind of incompetence.