Author: NJ Assembly Republicans

O’Scanlon’s Proposed Amendment Would Allow NJ Governor To Retain Powers When Traveling

Source: CBS New York -

A New Jersey assemblyman says a law requiring the governor to sign over his powers to the lieutenant governor when traveling out of state is outdated.

Declan O'Scanlon

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said the 1947 amendment was approved at a time when communication was more challenging.

“Today, unless you’re in the Outback or in the middle of the desert, you’re not out of communication,” O’Scanlon told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

“It’s a different world now. This doesn’t mean that we don’t need a lieutenant governor. We absolutely do need that position,” the assemblyman said.

O’Scanlon said he is proposing that voters decide on an amendment to allow the governor to remain in control while out of state.

A possible 2016 presidential candidate, Gov. Chris Christie has been traveling more in recent months — which could increase if he throws his hat into the ring.

O’Scanlon said the amendment could not take effect until January 2016 at the earliest.

Gov. Chris Christie took issue with the current law at a news conference last month.

“When I’m in New Hampshire, I’m the governor,” he said. “When I’m in Iowa, I’m the governor.”
Christie added, “If you want to narrowly tailor something that if the governor is incapacitated, under anesthesia,” or in any case where they cannot communicate, then he said it’s fine having an acting governor.

Otherwise, he said, “I’m in communication. I have Wi-Fi on the plane. When I am on the plane, I have a cellphone with me at all times.”

“It’s not like I need someone to get the Pony Express to come and bring me a message,” he added.

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Carroll: Allowing Driving Privileges for Undocumented Will Not Make Roads Safer [video]

Source: NJTV -

The Pew Research Center found New Jersey is in the top five states that attract the most immigrants. Legislation working its way through the Assembly would give the undocumented driving privileges. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25) told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams he does not believe that if undocumented residents were given driving privileges, that it would make the roads any safer, even if they have insurance.

Michael Patrick Carroll

“Having insurance doesn’t make the roads any safer either and ultimately I think that the question that we have to answer as a society is are we going to extend sort of a welcome mat for people who came here illegally? Are we going to insist that they go back where they belong?” asked Carroll.

Although he does not agree with giving driving privileges to the undocumented, Carroll said that he does agree with the DREAM Act, which lets undocumented students in good standing attend college, to an extent. He explained that he has spoken with some students that are behind the DREAM Act and they are Americans in all but name. Carroll says that he believes an exception should be made and that he would agree to give them citizenship if they served in the military.

As for the driving privileges card, Carroll said that one aspect of the bill is problematic. He said that if names are going to be put into a database for the driving privileges, it would make it easy for the government to find people in the country illegally and send them back to their country of origin.

“With one aspect of the bill that’s always problematic and I would be kind of fearful if I were here and wanted to stay here is that promises the government makes are not the kind of things you can really rely upon necessarily and if you’re part of a database that says you’re here illegally it should be relatively easy to find you and send you home if that’s what the government eventually decides it wants to do,” said Carroll.

Similar bills have gone through the legislature since 2006 but have yet to pass. According to Carroll, the current bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano is similar to bills from the past.

“I think this one is probably very similar in a lot of respects to the ones that came before,” Carroll said. “But if you ever tried to get a driver’s license in New Jersey, you know it’s kind of a belly ache and this one for example specifically says you can’t use this particular card for ID as anything other than a driver’s license. And again it strikes me that if you’re relying upon foreign documents that an American citizen wouldn’t have the right to use, that’s problematic in the extreme.”

Carroll said that the bill has not changed since it was introduced.

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Rible Blasts Ruling Freeing Cop Killer

Assemblyman says Acoli’s release would be a great injustice

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Conference Leader and former police officer Dave Rible said he was appalled to learn this week that a court ruling cleared the way for Sundiata Acoli, who was found guilty of murder in the 1973 shooting death of a New Jersey state trooper, to be released on parole.

Dave Rible

“I am profoundly appalled at the mere thought that someone who committed such a heinous crime should be allowed to re-enter society, even after serving decades behind bars. Not only would his release be a great injustice to the family of Werner Foerster, it would also be an injustice to all law enforcement officers,” Assemblyman Rible said.

Assemblyman Rible also lauded the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s [FBI] efforts to capture Joanne Chesimard for her part in the 1973 murder by naming her one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists.

Chesimard and Acoli were both found guilty in connection with the death of Foerster while he was conducting a traffic stop along the New Jersey Turnpike. Chesimard escaped prison in 1979 and allegedly fled to Cuba, where she is believed to remain today.

“Law enforcement officers put their safety on the line every day while protecting and serving the public. As seen in the 1973 murder of Foerster, no traffic stop is routine. While justice was served with the guilty conviction of Acoli decades ago, we must ensure justice continues to be served by keeping him in prison where he belongs,” Assemblyman Rible said.

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Brown champions NJ State Assembly resolution in support of Israel

Source: Jewish Community Voice -

Chris A. Brown

“Chessed.” That is the intent behind NJ resolution AR154—a resolution recently introduced into the NJ state legislature supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against unprovoked attacks by Hamas, according to Assemblyman Chris Brown, the resolution’s first prime sponsor.

The Hebrew word chessed “truly describes how I feel about our relationship with Israel,” said Brown, adding that he did “homework” to find a word that expressed the sense of responsibility, friendship, concern and loyalty that he feels for Israel at this critical time. “The ability of our friend Israel to defend itself against terrorism is a fundamental right,” said Brown, a Gulf War veteran who is not Jewish.

Brown, a Republican representing Atlantic County, was among the many New Jersey assemblymen, state senators and other dignitaries to publicly express support for the resolution and their solidarity with Israel at the State House on Monday, Sept. 15. The gathering, convened by the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations, brought together representatives from Jewish communities throughout the state, including that of Atlantic and Cape May counties.

Amy Handlin

“Having all these people gathered here today sends a strong message that when it comes to Israel’s right to exist, we are undivided by party,” said State Assemblyman Amy Handlin, a Republican representing Monmouth County. “We need to tamp down the feeling that there’s moral equivalency here” between Israel and Hamas, she added.

Brown added: “This resolution fully supports the state of Israel as it defends itself against attacks from Hamas, while supporting additional aid for the Iron Dome program and permanent demilitarization of Hamas. I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join this bipartisan effort in supporting Israel.”

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Webber Resolution Changes Assembly Rules After Members Were Marked Present Without Knowing It

Source: The Star-Ledger -

The state Assembly has changed its attendance rules, a few months after several lawmakers found out from The Star-Ledger that they were marked as present at the Statehouse on a Friday evening in July when they were nowhere near it.

Jay Webber

 

“When you have a citizen Legislature and need to do routine things like introduce bills so committees can hear them and debate them, it just seems like an anachronism to bring everybody down there and have a quorum. Let’s all just consent, either in person or by telephone, and they can go about their routine business.” – Assemblyman Jay Webber

 

A resolution (AR166) that was hastily introduced and immediately passed by a vote of 72-0 on Monday will allow members to use phones, email and possibly other devices to give their consent to be marked as present in order to form a quorum — or a majority of members — so they can conduct “routine business” like introducing bills or laying constitutional amendment resolutions on members’ desks.

“This resolution recognizes the current common use of communication equipment that did not exist in 1947 when the Constitution was adopted and provides clarity,” it reads. “It also maintains transparency in the legislative process and requires the direct consent of at least 41 members of the General Assembly, present within the State of New Jersey, for the conduct of routine business.”

Members who attend committee meetings at the Statehouse on quorum days will also be automatically considered present, without having to walk to their desks and press a button.

The resolution was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) and Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris), and came about two weeks after Webber introduced a similar resolution.

Webber had been one of 70 Assembly members who were marked as present in order to form a quorum at 5pm on July 11. But only one member — Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) — actually showed up to the Assembly chamber that evening.

Webber and several other Assembly members called by The Star-Ledger that night said they had no idea they were marked present.

The quorum was necessary to get the clock ticking on a constitutionally-mandated 20-day waiting period for a proposed constitutional amendment to allow judges to deny bail to some defendants.

In a phone interview earlier this month, Webber said members should have to consent to be marked present, but requiring them to actually go to Trenton for the purpose is outdated.

“When you have a citizen Legislature and need to do routine things like introduce bills so committees can hear them and debate them, it just seems like an anachronism to bring everybody down there and have a quorum,” Webber said. “Let’s all just consent, either in person or by telephone, and they can go about their routine business.”

Assembly members will still have to be present to vote on legislation.

According to the resolution, the use of electronic equipment to attend a meeting is already permitted under the Open Public Meetings Act.

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O’Scanlon Proposal Would Let Gov. Keep Control When Out of State

Source: The Star-Ledger -

As the state’s first lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno hasn’t had a chance to exercise a lot of executive power.

Now a Republican lawmaker has introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would give her even less of it.

Declan O'Scanlon

Under Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon’s proposal, introduced Monday, the governor would no longer have to sign his power over to the lieutenant governor every time he crosses state lines.

O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) in a phone interview said it was nothing personal against Guadgano.

“This is no way a reflection on our present lieutenant governor. In fact, as our first lieutenant governor, she has turned the position into a substantive and effective one,” O’Scanlon said. “She’s been absolutely outstanding.”

If Gov. Chris Christie runs for president, and most insiders and observers expect him to, the amendment would allow him to keep his powers — including signing and vetoing bills and issuing executive orders ­no matter where he is.

Voters, however, would need to approve the amendment. And the earliest the Legislature could get it on the ballot would be November 2015 — months before the first presidential nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The idea springs from Christie himself, who at a Sept. 21 news conference said he thought the law should be changed so that he retains official power during his frequent out-of-state travels.

“I’m the governor, and I don’t think there’s any confusion among anybody in the state about who the governor is. I don’t really think people think Kim is the governor when I’m not here,” Christie said, according to New Jersey 101.5.

Under O’Scanlon’s proposal, the lieutenant governor would only take over if the governor becomes incapacitated, resigns or dies.

The resolution (ACR197) would apply to not just Christie and Guadagno but all future governor/lieutenant governor duos. But Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montlclair State University, said it looked like an attempt to create a “Christie exception” to the state Constitution.

“There’s a constitutional protection there. In my mind, this is really a slap in the lieutenant governor’s face,” Harrison said.

Guadagno assumed the newly-created lieutenant governorship in 2010, after voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment establishing it.

Until Guadgano, the next person in line to be governor was the senate president. Two gubernatorial resignations — by Christie Whitman in 2001 and Jim McGreevey in 2004 — led to senate presidents taking over as governor for an extended period of time, blurring the line between the executive and legislative branches. Another crisis — Gov. Jon Corzine’s near-fatal car accident that left him incapacitated
for weeks — also spurred lawmakers to ask the public to create the position.

Even on the day O’Scanlon introduced the resolution, Christie was in Wisconsin to campaign for Gov. Scott Walker.

And expect plenty more out-of-state trips. As this year’s gubernatorial elections approach in other states, Christie said he would increase his travels in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. So far this year, the governor has visited about 30 states and spent all or part of at least 80 days on the road.

But while it’s possible that voters could decide on the constitutional amendment in the middle of a Christie presidential run, O’Scanlon doubted the Legislature would move that fast, and that it would be more likely to happen in November 2016 or even later.

“It’s much more likely that this will start a discussion and it will happen a couple years down the road,” O’Scanlon said.

But even if it were to happen during a Christie presidential run, O’Scanlon said he didn’t think it would help his campaign.

“It’s a way to make things run smoother, less complicated,” O’Scanlon said. “But I don’t think it¹s going to make it much easier on the governor. It might make it harder, because it wouldn¹t be able to just leave and have it be ok to be somewhat disengaged. If anything, it might make his presidential campaigning slightly more complicated.”

O’Scanlon added that President Obama doesn’t relinquish his power to Vice President Biden every time he leaves the country.

So how does Guadgano feel about the proposal? Her spokeswoman said she would not comment on pending legislation.

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), who decides what goes up for a vote in the lower house, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Angelini Commends Governor Christie for Working to Combat Substance Abuse

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Applauds Governor for Addressing Stigma Associated with Addiction, Increasing Awareness of Drug-Related Issues

Mary Pat Angelini

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini commended New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for holding a drug recovery conference focused on reducing the stigma associated with addiction and treatment and to raise broader awareness of drug-related issues.

The conference, co-hosted by Pastor Joe A. Carter, was held on Tuesday, Sept. 30th at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ and brought together advocacy groups, individuals who have battled addiction, and organizations involved in treatment work.

“This call to action by Governor Christie to put an end to the stigma associated with drug addiction is another giant step forward in New Jersey’s battle against an insidious drug abuse epidemic that is affecting so many people in our area,” said Angelini. “I applaud Governor Christie for making it a top priority of his to further educate the public about substance abuse and for focusing on long-term solutions such as recovery and treatment options.”

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Bramnick tours farm, wants to hear more from residents

Source: Burlington County Times -

New Jersey Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick wants changes at the state level such as the formation of long-term strategic planning committees to address such major issues as school funding and public employee pensions.
Yet Tuesday, during a tour of Johnson’s Corner Farm on Hartford Road, Bramnick appeared more interested in talking about the concerns of small-business people like Eric Johnson, co-owner of the farm that is more than 60 years old.

Jon Bramnick

“Farmers are job creators,” said Bramnick, R-21st of Westfield, Union County. “Although their business burdens may be different than traditional small businesses, the burden that Trenton places on them to hire additional employees is just as daunting.”

“We need to freeze additional mandates, regulations and taxes that cripple their ability to grow jobs and unfreeze the potential of these entrepreneurs to get New Jersey back to work and jump-start our state economy,” he said.

Under sunny skies and with dozens of customers milling around the farm known for its agritourism, Bramnick, along with 8th District Republican legislators Dawn Marie Addiego and Chris Brown, toured the complex. They even took a hayride around portions of the farm, guided by Eric Johnson.

Bramnick visited the farm as part of his “fiscal sanity” tour, launched this past summer.

Asked about the issue of funding for the state Transportation Trust Fund, Bramnick said he wanted to hear a number of ideas before making a decision.

“I’m not in favor of raising the gas tax, but I’m not ruling it out,” he said.

Pressed about where he would find revenue for infrastructure, Bramnick said he would not specify one funding source over another until further study and hearing from other legislators.

As for Johnson’s farm, the lawmakers on the tour were strong in their praise for the family’s efforts to stay in business — and provide jobs, including for young people.

“Johnson’s farm is a success and one that needs to be told,” said Addiego, an Evesham resident who serves in the state Senate. “It’s a landmark.”

Chris A. Brown

Assemblyman Chris Brown said it was great for Bramnick to visit Johnson’s because it showed the value of little businesses that get overlooked.

“Small-business people feel they aren’t being heard in Trenton,” said Brown, owner of a real estate company in Evesham.

Bramnick said he was concerned about the increasing impact of state mandates — such as minimum wage laws — on businesses.

Before leaving the farm, he said the only mandate he would impose in Trenton would be to require legislators to travel to places outside their districts such as Johnson’s and see what small-business people and residents are saying and feeling about state government.

“We want to make it easier in this state to create jobs,” he said.

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Brown Joins Bramnick for Day on the Farm, Latest Stop of the ‘Real Talk to Restore Fiscal Sanity Tour’

Source: PolitickerNJ -

Chris J. Brown

Jon Bramnick

The scene was almost comical, three casually-dressed pols and a few press people trying to look cool in a covered wagon with hay-covered floorboards that bumped awkwardly along the dirt road as an old John Deer tractor out front chugged its way around this corn field-dense, 150-some-odd acre property where Assemblyman Jon Bramnick hosted the latest leg of his Real Talk to Restore Fiscal Sanity tour.

Joined by LD8 legislators Assemblyman Chris Brown and state Sen. Dawn Addiego, Bramnick sat upright in blue slacks and a polo, making a passionate plea for the small business owners in South Jersey like this one, Eric Johnson, co-owner of Johnson’s Corner Farm in Burlington County, who he said are routinely ignored by legislators in Trenton.

“Once it gets to Trenton, and all the lobbyists get their hands on it, something gets lost,” Bramnick said of the legislative efforts around the state aimed at fostering small business. “But come down here and Farmer John will tell you the truth.”

All three Republicans bemoaned the state regulations they say are stifling business in New Jersey, with Bramnick again calling on legislators to put a “one year freeze on mandates, new regulations, new restrictions” for small businesses in the state. It’s the third time he’s done so, having traveled in recent weeks — once in Atlantic City and later in Middlesex County — to call attention to job creation and smarter economic policies for businesses.

“I have a new mandate,” Bramnick said after the tractor wheeled into the parking lot following a tour of the farm, complete with stop where everyone got off to pick apples. “Every legislator in Trenton should come down here and go on a hay ride, then we should go to an urban center, then we should go to Sussex County, then we should go to Bergen County, then we should go to Cape May County.”

Both former Burlington County Freeholders, Brown and Addiego commended Bramnick’s leadership on the issue, and emphasized its importance here in Burlington, a largely rural county where agriculturally-based businesses like Johnson’s speckle the landscape. It’s an especially pertinent subject this season, considering seats on both the county and district level are in play in November.

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O’Scanlon Introduces Legislation Allowing Governor to Retain Powers When Out-Of-State

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon today introduced legislation that proposes a constitutional amendment allowing the Governor of the State of New Jersey to retain his/her executive powers when traveling out-of-state. Currently executive authority is passed to the Lt. Governor while the Governor is out of the state.

Declan O'Scanlon

“In today’s world with constant communication and nearly instant access to phones and computers, the thought that Governor is somehow out of communication with the State while travelling is ridiculously dated,” said O’Scanlon. “Whether in New Jersey or out of the state, in 2014, the Governor is able to perform all of his duties with equal amounts of efficiency thanks to modern technology.”

The bill is in response to Governor Christie recent comments while out of the state, “wherever I am, there’s Wi-Fi and cell phones – I’m the governor when I’m in New Hampshire. I’m the governor when I’m in Iowa. I’m the governor when I’m in Texas. I’m the governor when I’m in South Carolina. I’m the governor – and I don’t think there’s any confusion among anybody in the state about who the governor is.”

O’Scanlon added, “This bill allows for the Governor to maintain the executive powers allowed in the office, while still preserving the office of Lt. Governor in case of incapacitation, or a vacancy of the office. The Vice President does not become the President when the President travels out of the country, so this is not a revolutionary concept.”

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