One proposed new law is in two identical bills that will be voted on by both the State Senate and Assembly tomorrow afternoon. ?They are Senate Bill S2855 and Assembly Bill A4429.? These bills would allow towns, school districts, and other public bodies to publish their meetings and other public information on their own websites, rather than in local newspapers.??? They would also no longer require local newspapers to be notified of public meetings.?? Posting meeting notices on their website would be good enough.
There are dozens of town councils, commissions, school boards, and authorities in every county. ? Will your local newspaper pay reporters to check the website of every one of them every day to see if any of them are holding meetings that week?
The Senate bill is S2855 and is sponsored by Atlantic County Democratic State Senator Jim Whelan and Republican State Senator Mike Doherty. ? Click here for the full text: ?http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/S3000/2855_I1.PDF
The Assembly bill is A4429 and is sponsored by Democratic State Assembly Majority Leader Vincent Prieto and Republican Assemblymen John Bramnick and Michael Patrick Carroll. ?Click here for the full text: ?http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/A4500/4429_I1.PDF
Most sources in Trenton say that Republican Governor Chris Christie is the main force pushing this legislation so quickly. ? Even some of the sponsors seem unfamiliar with the proposed laws they are introducing.
The bills were introduced for the first time in both the State Senate and Assembly ?last Monday, December 12.? They were both approved by Senate and Assembly committees last Thursday, December 15.??? They are both scheduled for final vote tomorrow, Monday, December 19.?? See more information about this proposed new law at:? http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/12/christie_pushing_bill_to_pull_to_pull_legal_ads_fr.html
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR AND ASSEMBLY MEMBERS BY EMAIL AND PHONE BEFORE THEY VOTE TOMORROW!
Click here for contact information: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp? ??
Talking points on why this proposed new law is bad:
- It changes the Open Public Meetings (Sunshine) Law so that public bodies no longer need to notify newspapers of their meetings.??? Last July, Atlantic City residents knew its City Council was borrowing $73 million and hocking its water department only because the City was forced to send notice to local newspapers before the meeting.?? If the law is changed, notice would have been posted on a web site that very few people would have checked. ? Residents would not have found out what was happening until it was legally too late to challenge it.
- Many people read legal notices in the newspaper. Almost everybody at some time learned that the state was holding abandoned property, or that a friend was about to lose his or her home in a tax sale because someone noticed the legal notice in the newspaper.?? Under the new law, many people will never find out when they are about to lose important rights or valuable property until it is too late.
- Newspapers will have less money to discover and report ?important news. Although many conservatives don?t like biased stories and editorials in daily newspapers, we often rely on them for important information we can?t find anywhere else.?? Already, we are missing much information because newspapers are struggling to pay their reporters.?? Without money from this advertising, newspapers will have even fewer reporters, and give us even less information.?? It is no coincidence that newspapers will be giving us much less information just before the important elections in June when the Governor, all 40 NJ State Senators, and all 80 NJ Assembly members will be up for election.
- There is no evidence that online notices will save money for taxpayers. ? The cost for each county, town, and school district to upgrade its website, and for a new government bureaucracy to supervise them may even cost more than what public bodies are now spending on newspaper ads.
- Governor Chris Christie is directly pushing this new law for all the wrong reasons. Christie is also pushing two other laws that will let him make millions on a book deal, and give $10 million in pay hikes to state government insiders.?? In the past, politicians were paid millions for phony books that were bought only by lobbyists and special interests as a legal way to bribe politicians.? Many Trenton insiders think there is a connection between these laws.?? Also, Christie often threatened to punish newspaper for exposing his role in shutting down traffic on George Washington Bridge to punish political opponents in Fort Lee.
Most legislation is adopted at a leisurely pace.? One legislator in one house of the legislature proposes a bill.? It is then reviewed and discussed by a committee of that house in the legislature.?? If it is approved by the committee, it is then sent to a committee in the other house of the legislature for review and discussion.??? Once it is approved by committee in both houses of the legislature, it is sent to the full State Senate, and full State Assembly for approval.?? If adopted by both houses, it is then either adopted or vetoed by the Governor.?? This usually takes several months so the public has plenty of time to participate.
If your Legislator ignores you, there is another solution.?? The Governor, all 40 State Senators, and all 80 State Legislators can be removed and replaced in Primary elections on June 6–less than six months from now.? It is much easier for inexperienced, underfunded candidates to upset incumbents in June Primary elections than in November elections.
You can be a winning candidate in the June Primary Election–if you start working now.?? We can help you get the training and networks you need.?? Please contact us!
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