Tag: Jon Bramnick

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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Bramnick: ‘I Think We Missed Something. Let’s Give it Some Review.’

Source: The Star-Ledger -

Gov. Chris Christie’s winning streak remains intact: State lawmakers have still yet to override one of his vetoes.

The Democratic-controlled state Assembly today attempted to override the Republican governor’s veto of a bill that would require the state to issue new annual reports on its debt obligations — a measure nearly every Republican member of the lower house voted for in March.

But the attempt fell nine votes short of the 54 needed for an override to pass. Forty-five lawmakers — including three Republicans — voted yes, five voted no, 23 abstained, and seven didn’t vote.

Many Republicans reversed course today after the Christie administration released a warning hours before the vote saying the state could face legal action if the measure went through.

Democrats have tried dozens of times to override one of Christie’s vetoes since he took office in 2010, but all efforts have failed.

An override could be embarrassing for Christie, a potential 2016 presidential contender, showing a sign of weakening power.

This bill (A961) wasn’t controversial when it passed 77-0 in the Assembly and 40-0 in the state Senate earlier this year.

But it does seek more detailed information about the state’s debt, and New Jersey’s financial health could be an issue if Christie seeks the White House. The state is $40 billion in debt, with only Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Connecticut the only states carrying more per-capita. New Jersey has also suffered two credit rating downgrades in recent months.

In his Sept. 11 veto message, Christie said the bill would force a state commission “to produce a speculative report that would be of little value in making future debt determinations, but may adversely and erroneously affect the state’s bond rating.”

Jon Bramnick

Then, as the Assembly prepared to vote on the override today, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) — a Christie ally — said the governor’s administration warned that the state could face action from the federal Securities and Exchange Commission if they put the debt information online, as well as lawsuits from bond holders.

Republican leaders asked to delay the vote.

“I think we missed something,” Bramnick said. “I think we need some leeway and some time to have a vote on an override that reflects all the information. I’m not defending the administration. Let’s give it some review.”

Democrats were outraged, saying Christie didn’t mention such a risk in his veto message last month.

Should the Assembly’s attempt had been successful, the state Senate still would have had to approve the override for it to take effect.

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Bramnick, Webber, Carroll Comment on Override Attempt

Source: Bergen Record -

Six months ago, every Republican in the state Assembly voted for a bill that would have required more detailed reporting by the state about the long-term impact of its soaring debt. The bill passed unanimously.

But Governor Christie, a fellow Republican, vetoed the measure, calling any such debt analysis “highly speculative.”

“Once we do it, we jeopardize a whole host of issues. …These are very technical issues.” – Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick

On Monday, when the Democratic majority tried to override that veto — which would have been a first since Christie took office in 2010 — those same Republicans had a change of heart. Most abstained or didn’t vote at all — and the bill died.

Christie’s veto, and the GOP lawmakers’ decision not to challenge it, marks the second time this month that the administration has sought to minimize the public release of economic data while the state’s finances continue to be tenuous — with an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly higher than the national average and a series of downturns in the state’s credit rating.

It also comes at a time when Christie’s record is attracting wider attention on the national stage amid indications that he may seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

Christie has sought to make the case that his fiscal policies and reforms — such as requiring public employees to pay more for benefits and rebuffing Democrats’ attempts to raise taxes on the highest earners — have rescued the state from years of fiscal mismanagement under Democrats. But critics have said that the New Jersey economy could be an area of vulnerability if Christie does seek higher office.

The measure under consideration Monday would have required a series of 10-year forecasts from the Treasury Department to help make it easier to gauge the affordability of New Jersey’s borrowing, which totaled more than $40 billion as of the latest official report, ranking it fourth highest per capita among all states. Ten days ago, Treasury announced that it would no longer release as much detailed monthly information about how state tax collections are measuring up to budget projections.

And earlier this year, the administration delayed the release of the annual state debt report, which showed the largest increase in borrowing during Christie’s tenure.

On Monday, the Republicans said they were persuaded by a last-minute warning from the administration that the measure could lead to lawsuits from bondholders and potentially violate federal securities law. They declined to offer much in the way of specifics about that warning and Treasury did not respond to a request for details. A spokesman for the governor, who was attending political events in Wisconsin and Ohio on Monday, declined comment.

The Democrats, meanwhile, said they’re still in the dark.

Jon Bramnick

Moments before the bill was posted for a vote, Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, urged sponsors to postpone the override vote.

“Once we do it, we jeopardize a whole host of issues,” Bramnick said. “These are very technical issues.”

Democrats, who control the Assembly by a 47-32 majority, needed only seven Republicans to stick with the bill for an override. But the final results were 45 in favor, 5 against, 23 abstentions and seven lawmakers recorded as “not voting.”

In his veto message Sept. 11, Christie had said the debt-reporting bill could result in the release of “highly speculative” information that could hurt the state’s bond rating, which has already been lowered by major ratings agencies this year. He said the current state debt reporting is sufficient, and added a promise that cutting borrowing and spending “will continue to be a primary focus of this administration.”

Jay Webber

Sponsor Jay Webber, R-Morris, was among the handful of Republicans who voted for the override. He said the information is important to get out, especially as lawmakers are expecting a new transportation spending plan from the administration that is likely to rely on more borrowing.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Webber said.

Michael Patrick Carroll

But Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris, said the best course was to hold off from voting until the technical issues could be addressed.

“It seems to be the appropriate thing to do would be for the administration to sit down with the sponsors and see if there isn’t some possibility of figuring out a reasonable compromise,” Carroll said.

Previous efforts to override Christie’s vetoes on bills to increase the income tax on the wealthy, legalize same-sex marriage and boost funding for women’s health clinics all failed. Environmental activists are also trying to rally enough votes for an override of a bill Christie vetoed in August that would ban the dumping of fracking waste in New Jersey.

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Bramnick, Carroll on Failed Override Attempt in the Assembly [video]

Source: NJTV [video] -

In general, there is no upside — for Republicans — to override a Chris Christie veto. In fact, it’s never happened to a Christie bill, although it’s been tried, like today’s attempt to override the governor’s veto of Assembly bill 961.

The bill — which passed both houses unanimously — calls for the state to issue an annual “debt affordability analysis report,” which would estimate state revenues and debt over the next decade. The idea being that with $90 billion in debt for pensions and benefits and about $40 billion debt for other state funding outstanding, it would be good to know what the state’s debt situation is before issuing any more debt. But this morning, Republicans got word from the treasurer’s office that it would be inappropriate for the state — as the issuer of the debt — to also issue an affordability analysis.

Jon Bramnick

“It is just something that is not done,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick. “Analysts do it. [Office of Legislative Services] does it. We could assign OLS to do it, but once we do it, we jeopardize a whole host of issues, including running afoul of the [Securities and Exchange Commission].”

But, even some Republicans looked at that rationale sideways.

Michael Patrick Carroll

“When you’re asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous and it’s got a hidden landmine that perhaps only an expert would see,” said Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, “It would sort of behoove those experts to tell us about that in advance rather than make us look a bit indecisive later on.”

Democrats scoffed at the notion of holding off on the override vote. They contend the administration had plenty of time to raise concerns. The real concern, it was suggested, was the governor’s political reputation, which would have taken a hit from a successful override.

In the end, Democrats fell two votes short of an override, with 23 members abstaining. One member confided that, of course, the governor played a role in the vote. The governor may give you some wiggle room on an override if you’re having a crisis of conscience, said the member, but on this vote there was no room for conscientious objectors.

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Bramnick Bill Targets Use of GPS in High-Tech Spying

Source: Asbury Park Press -

Installing a tracking device on another person’s car without consent takes place with surprising regularity. Another surprise: It’s legal in New Jersey.

But there’s momentum to change the law. A new bill in the Legislature would make it a fourth-degree crime to install Global Positioning System tracking devices on a motor vehicle owned or leased by another person unless there’s a written OK.

There would be exceptions, such as for parents who want to monitor children behind the wheel of a car, but the use of GPS devices for spying purposes has grown to a frequency where it’s become “a common problem,” said Steve Kaplan, a Colts Neck divorce attorney. “To me, it’s no different from wiretapping.”

Currently GPS spying isn’t specifically prohibited, unless it can be proven it violated a reasonable expectation of privacy or stalking laws.

Jon Bramnick

New Jersey is among the majority of states (California and Texas ban many uses of GPS without consent) where there’s little on the books regulating the use of tracking devices, said Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, a Republican from Union County who authored bill A-3747.

Bramnick’s legislation doesn’t apply to tracking by a law enforcement agency, and it doesn’t specifically upset the widely held standard that putting a GPS device on a spouse’s car is legal if the couple shares ownership of the vehicle.

Sandy Clark, associate executive director the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, said, “As an advocate for victims, we think it’s a very good measure. We need it. I’d like to see it clarified that people in a relationship can’t track each other no matter who owns a car.”

Bramnick called the bill an early draft and said changes are likely. The bill’s first public hearing hasn’t been scheduled.

“I’ve received a lot of interest from both Republicans and Democrats and I expect there will be some give and take,” Bramnick said.

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Republicans on Dems’ attempt to override Christie’s veto

Source: Star-Ledger -

Democrats who lead the Legislature have tried dozens of times to override Gov. Chris Christie’s vetoes of their bills — not once with success.

Jon Bramnick

But on Monday, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick has his work cut out for him to keep that perfect record going, when Assembly leaders attempt to cancel out Christie’s veto of a bill that almost every Republican voted for, and many even co-sponsored.

An override would be a political embarrassment for Christie, and a sign of weakening influence.

At issue is legislation (A961) that would have required the state to prepare an annual “affordability analysis” that would estimate state revenues and debt for the next decade. The purpose, according to the bill, was to “enable a more fully informed fiscal policy discussion on the State’s long-term debt portfolio to ensure sufficient financial capacity for essential capital projects.”

The measure was not controversial. It passed 77-0 in the Senate and 40-0 in the Assembly. The only people who didn’t vote for it — three Republican assemblymen – were absent that day.

To override the bill, Democrats need 54 votes in the Assembly and, if that’s successful, 27 votes in the state Senate. There are currently 47 Democrats, 32 Republicans and one vacant seat in the Assembly. It’s up to Bramnick (R-Union) and his leadership team to make sure Democrats don’t get the seven votes they need from his side of the aisle.

“Any issues between the Republicans can be worked out. I’m convinced. There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Bramnick.

Christie, in his Sept. 11 veto message, said the bill would force a state commission “to produce a speculative report that would be of little value in making future debt determinations, but may adversely and erroneously affect the State’s bond rating.”

Christie said the current method, in which the New Jersey Commission on Capital Budgeting and Planning prepares a State Capital Improvement Plan that includes an assessment of the state’s ability to increase its debt, can “reliably account for the affordability of its present debt.”

The conservative group Americans for Prosperity on Thursday came out in favor of the veto override. The group is tied to David and Charles Koch, who potential Republican presidential candidates like Christie court because of their huge campaign donations –

“Americans for Prosperity sees no reason for Gov. Christie to resist efforts to, in effect, open the books and allow for a robust, transparent assessment of the state’s debt problems” wrote the group’s state director, Daryn Iwicki.

A spokesman for Christie declined to comment on the override attempt.

Of the bill’s 22 sponsors in the Assembly and Senate, nine are Republicans.

Bramnick said Democrats are trying to gain political advantage from the vote.

“The Democrats, nationally and locally, are going to do everything they can to put wedges between Republican legislators and the governor. Bridgegate failed, and now they’re trying to find differences in Republicans so they can capitalize on that,” Bramnick said. “They’re not going to be successful in driving a wedge between Republican members of the Legislature and this governor.”

But it’s clear that Bramnick has work to do to convince some of his colleagues. Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris), who was a prime sponsor of the bill, declined to comment.

Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R-Sussex), a co-sponsor, said she was undecided.

“I think we will have a spirited discussion in caucus on Monday,” she said.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth), who co-sponsored the bill but was absent the day it was voted on, said he also hadn’t made up his mind.

“There’s plenty of time to re-think if something’s a good idea when you vote on it, and the governor comes up with a good idea as to why it’s not,” he said.

Indeed, Democratic legislative leaders have attempted to override Christie’s vetoes dozens of times, but never with success – even on bills that had wide, bipartisan support. For instance, in January, 27 Republicans reversed their votes on a bill that would have created a task force to study full-day Kindergarten after Chrisite vetoed it.

Asked what wisdom the governor has that 120 lawmakers do not, O’Scanlon acknowledged that there are political elements to the refusal to override him as well.

“There certainly is a component. We’ve got a relationship with the governor. There are things that are more or less important to us,” O’Scanlon said. “A lot of times I think there’s a political component on the Democrats’ side as to what they put up that we should override. You want to put up something that we have real passion for? Let’s talk about that. But I think they purposefully put up things that they expect us to decide that it’s not important enough for us to override the governor.”

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Bramnick Pleased Shaneen Allen Allowed to enter Pre-Trial Intervention

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick issued the following statement on the compromise reached by Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain and Shaneen Allen that allows her to be admitted into the county’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program.

Jon Bramnick

“I am pleased that an agreement was reached by the Atlantic County prosecutor and Shaneen Allen. New Jerseyans are fair people and I am convinced there will be wide-ranging support for the compromise.”

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Bramnick to Hold Cyberspace Discussion with Homeland Security on Oct. 20

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Event open to public at Kean University

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick will hold a public discussion on cyberspace security with state Homeland Security officials on Monday, Oct. 20, at Kean University, in the STEM Auditorium, Room 221. The event will begin at 1:00 p.m.

Home Depot reported a data breach earlier this month that involved 56 million credit and debit cards in the U.S. and Canada. Other stores including Target and PF Changs experienced similar security breaches. Bramnick will lead the discussion on what the public can do to protect itself from cyberspace theft with experts on the subject.

If you would like to attend the event, please contact Glen Beebe in the Assembly Republican Office at 609-847-3400.

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Bramnick bill would ban GPS tracking devices on cars

Star Ledger -

A bill introduced Thursday by the Assembly’s top Republican would make it a crime to put a GPS tracking device on a car without the owner’s consent.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said he only recently learned that it’s not a crime when he got a call from a constituent who said his ex-wife had placed a tracking device on his car.

Jon Bramnick

“He called the prosecutor, the police. They said it’s not a crime,” Bramnick said in a phone interview “That’s no different than wiretrapping someone’s phone. “

Bramnick said he’s working on exceptions in the bill, such as allowing parents to track where there children drive.

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