Tag Archive: NJ Legislature

SL on Marriage Equality: There is simply no justification for denying equality under the law

Star Ledger ran an editorial yesterday on marriage equality that closed with a powerful ending:

And in the end, this is not about gut feelings anyway. Gay people in New Jersey are not asking the Legislature for love and acceptance. They want equality under the law. And there is simply no justification for denying that.

Governor Corzine is ready to sign marriage equality. But he can’t do that until the Legislature acts.

This is a gut-check moment. It’s time for the people who work in our statehouse to lead, as they promised the voters they would when they were elected. Our leaders should go on the record regarding whether they support equality under the law for all of New Jersey’s residents. Here’s what Senator Lesniak had to say:

“There’s no doubt that there are quite a few legislators who would rather see this go away than have to vote for or against it,” said Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), who supports gay marriage. “I don’t think we should duck this issue.”

There aren’t any acceptable reasons for delay or ducking. And we need that vote to say Yes to all our families. Gay and straight, we’re counting on them now.  

GOP chooses 21 year old Assembly candidate in 14th

In one of the most competitive districts in the state, the Middlesex County Republicans today picked a 21 year old college student to run for a seat in the NJ Assembly:

Brian Hackett, a Monroe Township resident who?s the College Republican President at The College of New Jersey, was unopposed for the Middlesex County Republican Organization’s endorsement, giving him the party line along with restauranter Rob Calabro of Hamilton.

If elected, he’ll spend the second half of his senior year in the legislature.

That will make for a busy senior year. It’s gonna be hard to have no Friday classes if he spends Thursday in Trenton. He recently made news over an invitation extended to Ann Coulter to speak at TCNJ. I’ll give him credit for stepping up when many others have chosen not to, especially for this seat.  I also won’t count anyone out because of their age, but it will certainly be a difficult fight.

I always encourage young people to get more involed, so I hope they’re not using him to keep the seat warm.  Here’s some speculation from the other day after their top two choices backed out:

Yaede’s decision has left party leaders scrambling to find candidates in time for the Mercer County Republican convention tomorrow night.  One party source said that they might have to come up with a placeholder to extend their recruitment window, then switch them out when they find suitable candidates.

Ah, leaving the door open for a little switcheroo. Hackett is already deflecting questions that he’s just holding the spot for someone else:

Hackett, who ran for the school board in Monroe in 2006, said that he is not a placeholder candidate.  He became the party screening committee’s unanimous choice after South Brunswick Municipal Chairwoman Lynda Woods Cleary decided to run for freeholder instead of assembly.

If they remain on the ballot, the two candidates will take on Linda Greenstein and Wayne DeAngelo in the November General election.

Courier News doesn’t like Scutari’s extended terms

A Courier News editorial from this past weekend takes apart Senator Scutari’s legislation that was heard in the Senate State Government committee last week to extend the terms of Senators of Assembly Members:

All of this is clearly intended to do nothing more than further entrench incumbents in their seats. Scutari is insulting the public by portraying this as a finance reform measure.

The committee Scutari chairs, the Senate State Government Committee, discussed the bill on Monday but took no vote. The change would ultimately require voter approval and take effect in 2011 if approved. But lawmakers should save themselves the embarrassment and ridicule by scuttling this idea right now.

A self-serving attempt by a state senator to extend legislative terms under the guise of campaign finance reform should be immediately rejected by fellow lawmakers.

My opinion hasn’t changed from my original post before the hearing:

If you’re going to undertake an effort like this, why not make the body a full time legislature increasing salaries and banning outside employment? Otherwise, I don’t see how you’re not just reshuffling when the contributions come in and changing who’s on the ballot together.

I just don’t see the huge savings from this change or how it changes campaign financing.  If those are the goals, there are other steps that can be taken besides extending the terms.

Longer terms?

Longer terms for our elected officials?  That’s the concept behind SC-126, which would move Senate elections from every three years to every five years and Assembly elections from every two years to every three years, then two years.  Are you confused yet?

The legislation is sponsored by Senator Scutari. There are no co-sponsors and there is no Assembly version of the bill, yet it will be up for discussion in Scutari’s Senate State Government committee on Monday. Scutari made his main arguments for the bill:

“I really think that if it’s passed it will be good for everyone,” said Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, the bill sponsor. “It will take more money out of contests … it will give elected officials more time to tackle issues.”

I don’t see how it takes money out of contests. Officials will still raise money for their next election, regardless of when the vote is held. It seems to me you just change when the money comes in. I could however see the argument for saving money by holding less elections. The problem is, we’ll still have county, local and school elections being held. Here’s what would have to happen to make the change:

Changing the term structure would take a constitutional amendment, which would ultimately need voter approval. The measure will be considered in the Senate State Government Committee Monday, which is chaired by Scutari. If passed, it would need the approval of three-fifths of the Legislature before it would go to the voters. If approved, the change would take effect for legislators elected in the 2011 general election.

I don’t know if now is the best time for this proposal and don’t know that the bill will get any traction. It would also change the order of offices that are on the ballot together. The Assembly and Senate would be up together ever five years.  The Governor, Senate and Assembly would be on the ballot together once every twenty years under the new plan.  I put a chart below the fold.

If you’re going to undertake an effort like this, why not make the body a full time legislature increasing salaries and banning outside employment? Otherwise, I don’t see how you’re not just reshuffling when the contributions come in and changing who’s on the ballot together.

No Kidding?

The NY Times hit’s the nail on the head with an editorial, New Jersey’s Timid Legislature (emphasis added):

Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey has thrown in the towel in his four-month effort to persuade the State Legislature to reduce his state’s colossal debt by sharply raising turnpike and parkway tolls. The Legislature, which does not share his sense of urgency, gave him no choice. Despite its merits, the plan had little support from Republicans or the Democrats, who control both legislative houses. …

Mr. Corzine is now devoting his energies to persuading the Legislature to accept a lean budget with no increase in overall spending. He will then offer plans to fund transportation needs. He also needs to come up with something to address Trenton’s long-ignored fiscal mess. What he needs most of all, however, is a Legislature with the gumption to match his own.

This is why many of us repeatedly call for a Constitutional Convention.  The legislature is not able to dredge up the sense of urgency or imagination to bring real solutions to fruition.  They are too involved in elections and politics to be leaders of the state, and as such the state is suffering.

Are all Corzine’s ideas good or right?  Nope.  But unless the Governor, or any governor, has a legislature that is willing to work with him and implement solutions the situation will simply continue to fester and worsen.

Racism and apathy in NJ legislature

A call to action; please call and write your legislator and especially the media.

The first “gun control” laws were written to keep blacks from owning firearms.

Today look at “gun control” in Wash DC, LA, Camden, Newark, NYC…what’s changed?

In every case you have selective “may issue” vs. “shall issue” for legal concealed carry.

“May issue” is an instrument of Old South oppression and unequal application of the law.

In NJ the reality is “may issue” is reserved for politicians and their cronies.

Am I to believe that the law abiding Black or Latino citizen who goes thru the neccesary background check and training required for “shall issue” concealed carry is less qualified than a White citizen?

We are all equal aren’t we?

The over-policing of communities is not the answer; they rarely prevent crime. They are law enforcement, not crime prevention. They usually show up after the fact.

The reality of the police is that all too often in their quest to get the bad guy’s, they regularly violate citizens civil rights.

I have been searched without cause, at least 2 dozen times in NYC during the Giuliani reign of terror.

Shall issue is currently law in 40 states, crime is down in every one of those states.

With hundreds of millions of guns in America, the choice is clear: I will take a few accidental shootings over the mass murder of un-armed students, teachers and innocent citizens by crazies and outlaws every day of the week.

In fact any NJ legislator working on “banning guns” in light of the facts is grossly irresponsible, again, there are hundreds of millions of guns in America.

If you were walking on any of NJ’s streets and were  approached by someone who intended serious bodily harm to you, would you like to be in posession of a firearm to defend yourself or a loved one?

Recently, those good young people murdered in Newark, never stood a chance, they have been denied their civil rights to self defense by a combination of racist and apathetic NJ politicians.

While Mayor Corey Booker and the Newark police did a great job in apprehending the animal (yes, someone who did what he did IS an animal), it still does not change the fact that those un-armed young people were shot dead.

I am less enthusiastic about Mayor Booker spending $3mm on “gunshot detection technology”, (so they can hear the gunshot, which to the uninformed means the bullet (s) have already struck the victim).

That $3mm would be better served in after school programs.

Lastly, with “shall issued” concealed carry becoming law in NJ the word gets around and the criminals are unsure as to who may, or may not be carrying, which benefits all NJ citizens, not just those citizens who decide to carry.

Self defense is a civil right.

Please call and write your legislator and especially the media, we need immediate corrective action here in NJ, it is a life or death issue.

Sincerely,
Tommy O’Rourke