Tag: Jon Bramnick

Bramnick: NJ Must Help AC Before Allowing Other Casinos [video]

Jon Bramnick

NJTV[video]  -

We have word that a Hard Rock casino could be headed for the Meadowlands. Hard Rock and Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment are pushing hard to get it on the November ballot. Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural promised the casino could create 10,000 jobs. And the state could make some $400 million a year from more than 50 percent tax on winnings. Lowering property taxes is a selling point aimed squarely at seniors, who vote. And telling Atlantic City voters it could fund their rebuilding efforts could take the sting out of ending Atlantic City’s casino monopoly in the state.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that lawmakers must help Atlantic City before deciding to open casinos in other parts of New Jersey.

Bramnick said there’s no bill or proposal on the table currently regarding allowing casinos in places other than Atlantic City. “What we do have to do is help Atlantic City. And Assemblyman Chris Brown down there is leading the effort. And what he’s doing is he’s making sure that we bring back Atlantic City to some place that it can survive. And that’s gotta be the energy,” Bramnick said.

Instead of siphoning money from Atlantic City, Bramnick said the state has to try to help the city. “We cannot let Atlantic City simply die and move on without facing the issues we have in Atlantic City. And that’s what the governor’s doing and that’s what Assemblyman Chris Brown is doing,” he said.

Those proposing the change say some of the tax money collected could go toward rebuilding Atlantic City. While Bramnick said that he likes that idea, he pointed out that there is nothing for legislators to review at this time.

Bramnick applauded Gov. Chris Christie’s efforts to make changes by appointing a manager to start making cuts to the city’s budget. “There’s been expenditures by the city of Atlantic City, before the new Mayor Don Guardian came in. It was out of control. Don Guardian came in, worked really hard, tremendous mayor. Let’s give Atlantic City at least a chance before we write it off,” he said.

Another area of contention in the state is the pension system. Bramnick said the Assembly is behind going toward a 401K style retirement plan in place of the current pension system. “That’s the way every private sector business is going, that’s the way that states have to go in the future,” he said, adding, “That does not mean that we’re not going to keep our promise to people in the pension program and that’s why we have to continue to look at reforms.”

When asked what will happen if the state Supreme Court decides New Jersey has to adhere to the deal cut in 2011, Bramnick said, “Well the state Supreme Court’s going to have to tell us where to get the money. And I have to tell you it’s not gonna be easy in two weeks in a budget session to find billions of dollars.”

Bramnick said the current budget has no new taxes thanks to Christie and many members of the Legislature. “We are giving more money to schools, education, than we’ve ever done. And we’re giving $1.3 billion to the pension. That’s good bipartisan work. I think it’s an excellent program,” he said.

He also said there is enough money to cover everything in the budget “as long as everybody acts reasonably” and that he believes the state is “on goal” with projections.

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Bramnick on Memorial Day: Honor and Remember

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, issued the following statement commemorating Memorial Day:

“Memorial Day is a time to thank our American heroes who made the greatest sacrifice to keep us safe and free. We honor their lives, salute their service and remember that we owe them gratitude for many of the liberties we enjoy. Our nation is stronger because of the brave patriots who paid the ultimate price for our country.”

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Bramnick warned drone regulations shouldn’t prohibit use in emergent situations

Source: Assembly Republican Video -

Jon Bramnick

Thursday, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick proposed amending Assembly bill A-1039, which sets standards for law enforcement agencies when utilizing drones, so that police and fire departments could utilize them in normal response activities without getting a court order.

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Bramnick talks about Assembly OK of bill limiting drone use by law enforcement

Bergen Record -

The state Assembly passed a bill Thursday limiting the use of aerial drones by New Jersey law enforcement agencies, but it remains unclear whether Governor Christie supports the restrictions.

Sponsored by Democrats and Republicans, the legislation would require all police departments and law enforcement agencies in the state to obtain a warrant before launching a drone to aid an investigation. Any data captured by the unmanned aerial vehicle would have to be deleted after 14 days, unless it pertained to an investigation.

The bill would also make it a fourth-degree crime to outfit a drone with weapons, and it would impose strict maintenance and record-keeping requirements on agencies flying the devices. Details on each flight would have to be reported to the state Attorney General’s Office and made available to the public.

There are a few exceptions to the warrant requirement in the bill. Fire and police departments, and state emergency-management personnel, would be able to deploy drones during events such as hurricanes, forest fires, searches for missing persons, terrorist acts or “civil disorder.”

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, said the bill should allow more exceptions.

“Clearly, in a world that’s now faced with drones, regulation is important,” he said.  “Some agencies, however, currently fly helicopters for general surveillance without warrants and it would seem to me it would be cheaper, less expensive, to send a drone instead of a helicopter.”

Bramnick voted yes on a similar bill in 2013, but abstained on the new version Thursday. The bill passed 66 to 1, and a companion measure is expected to pass the state Senate.

Gov. Christie let a similar bill expire last year without taking action on it, what is known as a “pocket veto.” The governor did not explain his decision.

Spokesmen for Christie declined Thursday to say what the governor’s position was on regulating drones. The new legislation would be reviewed once it passed both houses, they said.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that 30,000 drones will be flying above the United States within five years. The New Jersey State Police and other agencies have said they have no plans yet to use drones.

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Bramnick speaks about diversity training requirement for N.J. police

Star Ledger -

All county and municipal police personnel in new Jersey would be required to undergo cultural diversity training under legislation passed by the state Assembly on Thursday.

By a vote of 45-21 with 4 abstentions, the lower house voted to require police departments to “develop and adopt a cultural diversity training course that includes instruction and exercises designed to promote positive interaction with the racial, ethnic, and religious communities within each department’s respective jurisdiction.”

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said he appreciated the bill’s (A4343) goals but objected to the fact that it didn’t have a price tag.

“I think there is clear need to raise issues such as this, but until we know the costs, I’m uncomfortable placing another mandate on local municipalities when so many people in New Jersey are so overwhelmed with the tax burden,” he said.

The bill, which now moves on to the state Senate, does not apply to the state police, whose police recruits already receive “training and role-playing exercises focused on motor vehicle stops, domestic violence situations, human dignity, and cultural diversity.”

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Bramnick helps NJ League of Municipalities celebrate centennial

Source: NJTV News -

Few organizations get the honor of holding a centennial celebration. Let alone an organization created to bring municipalities and their local leaders together in a bipartisan way in a highly partisan state.

“It plays a critical role so that we get feedback from the local government on the things that we do because a lot of times you do legislation you think could be perfect, it could be very flawed and you don’t know it,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Jon Bramnick

 

“They normally have voting, they have policy people and they come to us and say this is what we need at the local level,” said Assemblyman Jon Bramnick.

 

 

“So a lot of things have happened here in the last 100 years and we’ve needed a lot of help in each of our municipalities we’ve grown exponentially. And the league has brought this all together,” said Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Many of the state’s most prominent leaders came out to mark the milestone and honor the man who’s been at the helm of the League of Municipalities for 41 years.

“A hundred years of helping you get your message across to Trenton,” said former Gov. Christie Whitman.

“I am humbled by the turnout here this evening and it’s bittersweet. I mean I’ve spent my entire professional career with the League of Municipalities,” said Bill Dressel.

Dressel announced he’d retire from the position several months ago. His name and face have become synonymous with the organization. As NJTV’s Michael Aron — who emceed the event — noted.

“When this organization was founded, Bill was just in kindergarten I think,” Aron said.

“As mayor of Woodbridge and as governor, there are few people who have been as dogged and committed to enabling mayors to do the things they need to do,” said former Gov. Jim McGreevey.

The role of the League of Municipalities is a fine balancing act, working with the governor, legislators and the 565 municipalities and mayors it represents.

It began in 1915 with just 51 charter member municipalities and its importance has grown as had the number of towns.

“They normally have voting, they have policy people and they come to us and say this is what we need at the local level,” said Assemblyman Jon Bramnick.

“Probably one of the most important thing the League has been involved in is making local government more efficient and more effective using the same or less resources,” said Mike Darcy.

After four decades of shifting state policies and government, Dressel said our problems haven’t changed much.

“Quite frankly is property tax relief. I spent 41 years trying to achieve broad based property tax relief for the citizens and taxpayers of this state and it’s a bear. I’m still hopeful that is going to be achieved at some point in time,” Dressel said.

So are the people of New Jersey.

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Bramnick discusses Bridgegate, Christie and Public Pensions on NJTV News [video]

Source: NJTV News [video] -

Jon Bramnick

The state Supreme Court hears arguments tomorrow over whether Gov. Chris Christie broke the law by refusing to contribute over $1.5 billion to the public workers’ pension system. The unions think so and they’ve sued the governor. The court’s decision will have huge ramifications for the state budget and for the governor’s presidential hopes which were likely not helped by the Bridgegate indictments. Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick spoke with NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams about the pension reform debate and Christie’s potential involvement in Bridgegate.

Bramnick believes there’s no evidence that Christie was part of the planning or execution of closing the lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013.

“Anytime someone’s indicted, a politician — Democrat or Republican — it just saddens me because I always feel for the family and the individual so that’s overwhelming to me, people being in trouble. It’s just a sad day,” he said. “If there was any evidence that the governor was involved in the past 16 months I guarantee that someone would have come forward with it. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a sad day for New Jersey with respect to the indictments.”

When asked what he makes of David Wildstein’s attorney Alan Zegas insisting that Christie “knew of the lane closures as they occurred” and “evidence exists” that Christie knew about the lane closures, he reiterated that if Christie was involved we would likely already know.

“I’m a trial lawyer too. Lawyers are advocates. I know Alan Zegas as well. What he said is he knew that the lanes were closed. I think those were his words. I don’t think he said he was part of closing them or the reason why they were closed. So look, they’re advocates. Mr. Critchley’s an advocate, so is Mr. Zegas. I’ll let them become advocates. I can tell you now that in 16 months, if Gov. Christie knew or was part of the lane closures we would know by now. I can guarantee that based on all of the people asking questions,” Bramnick said.

He thinks Bridgegate may not hurt Christie’s chances if he decides to run for president.

“I don’t think people in New Hampshire or northern Iowa are concerned with this issue,” Bramnick said. “I think what we have is a lot of candidates from the Republican Party in this race and therefore Chris Christie will stand on his own merits. When he gets into town hall meetings he’ll be very strong as he is in his town hall meetings in New Jersey.”

Democrats are pushing to reform the Port Authority starting with the old bill Christie vetoed. When asked if the indictments give reform new traction, Bramnick said that he thinks Sen. Tom Kean’s bill may be the solution.

“Tom Kean Jr. actually has a bill that’s a global bill, that means addressing many, many issues involving reform. We need reform and I support Tom Kean’s bill and I think that bill will clearly sail through both houses. If they want to try an override again, I think they’re wasting their time. I think we should move on with the Kean bill and just pass it,” Bramnick said.

Tomorrow the lawsuit against the Christie administration to fully fund the pension system will be heard in state Supreme Court. Bramnick says despite the ruling, the courts aren’t solving the crux of the problem: where the money is coming from.

“First, the court wants to order the state to pay money. That’s great but the court should tell us where we should get the money. The important thing is we need to save the pension system for the people who we’ve promised a pension. We need to work together and find the solution to the underfunded pension issue, but the court getting involved doesn’t tell us where the money is to save the pension,” Bramnick said.

Christie originally struck a deal in 2011 with Sen. Steve Sweeney to reform the pension system and make it manageable. Bramnick says many things have changed between then and now.

“In the private sector they’ve ended these defined payments, these long-term pension obligations. Almost no corporate entity has it so we’re just like the private sector now. We are going to have to change our ways as well so things have changed in a couple years,” he said. “The revenues aren’t there. We have high taxes in the state and people are moving out. We don’t have the revenues that we need so now we have to sit down and say, ‘How do we save the pensions for people that are in it?’ Maybe new people need to get a different deal than the people in the system, but just to say, ‘Hey go find the money,’ I don’t think that’s an answer.”

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Bramnick Statement on Passing of Sen. Martha Bark

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick issued the following statement on the passing of former state Senator Martha Bark:

Jon Bramnick

“Our state has lost a dedicated public official whose service spanned four decades. Sen. Bark served on the local Board of Education and as a mayor and freeholder before her election to the Legislature. We appreciate her commitment and service to the residents of New Jersey. On behalf of the Assembly Republican caucus, I offer our sincerest condolences to her family and friends.”

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Ciattarelli and Bramnick talk about future of NJ Legislature

New York Times -

At the height of his political celebrity, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey persuaded dozens of Democratic officeholders to back his 2013 re-election campaign. The implied transaction seemed simple: Support a well-liked Republican and win a measure of good will from him, perhaps even some acclaim by association.

One such attempted deal went notoriously wrong in Fort Lee, leading to the indictment on Friday of two former Christie appointees, and a guilty plea by another former associate.

Now, as Mr. Christie fights for his political future, it is New Jersey Republicans weighing how closely to associate with a governor whose popularity has faded in the polls. The issue is not some distant abstraction: The state’s entire General Assembly is up for election this year, and the next governor’s race looms in 2017.

Mr. Christie, who is considering a run for president, has denied any wrongdoing and disavowed any knowledge of the retribution scheme. Paul J. Fishman, the United States attorney for New Jersey who announced the indictments, said there were no plans to charge anyone else in connection with the bridge inquiry based on the evidence gathered so far.

The governor is still expected to play an important role in the legislative elections this year, as the party’s most visible figure and its most formidable fund-raiser.

Jack Ciattarelli

Jack M. Ciattarelli, a Republican member of the Assembly, called the indictments “infuriating and sickening.” He said he would take Mr. Christie at his word that he was not involved in the lane closings, but criticized the governor’s selection of associates. “People who work in his administration seem to have been intoxicated with his popularity, or their power, and they abused it,” he said.

Mr. Ciattarelli, who is viewed as a possible statewide candidate, added that Republicans would be wise to prepare for life after a Christie administration, likening the governor to a pair of presidents who largely defined their parties.

“Every party needs to move on and out from under the shadow of as dominant a figure as Kennedy was, as Reagan was, and here in New Jersey, as Christie is,” he said.

The Democrats are not without their own challenges, having done little to fix the woes that allowed Mr. Christie to win office in the first place: high state and local taxes, a budget deep in the red and a lingering perception of ethical lapses after a long string of corruption cases. (Many were prosecuted by Mr. Christie, in his days as a United States attorney.)

Jon Bramnick

Jon M. Bramnick, the Republican leader in the State Assembly and a potential candidate for governor, said the party planned to put Democrats on the defensive by focusing on their long record of tax increases. The main issue in this year’s legislative election, he said, would be making New Jersey an affordable place to live, and the Democrats’ record of doing the opposite.

Mr. Christie has agreed to play an active role in this year’s campaign for control of the legislative chamber, Mr. Bramnick said. “I think the overwhelming theme is not going to be Chris Christie,” Mr. Bramnick said. “I think the overwhelming theme is: Do you send back the same team that’s been there more than a decade?”

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Bramnick-Schepisi discuss Bridgegate

Jon Bramnick

Holly Schepisi

Star Ledger -

Friday’s federal indictment against his former allies involved in the George Washington Bridge scandal isn’t going to make governing in Trenton any easier for Gov. Chris Christie.

Since the scandal hit in January 2014, Christie’s second-term agenda — with the exception of an overhaul to the bail system and changes to state drug laws — didn’t get very far in the Democratic-led Legislature, which had worked with Christie to cap property tax growth and overhaul the pension system during his first term. The governor’s biggest initiative — further cutbacks to pension and health benefits for public workers — has thus far been a non-starter.

While there was little new information in Friday’s developments, it’s far from the end of the scandal. The specter of criminal trials now loom in which new information could be divulged, leaving open the possibility of more politically damaging revelations.

While Christie’s influence in Trenton is diminished from his first term, it hasn’t collapsed. Republicans in the Legislature, who have refused to join Democrats to override Christie’s vetoes even when it has put them in politically tenuous positions, show no signs of abandoning support for him.

“He did his own internal investigation which pretty much substantiates what took place today,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen), a member of the committee that investigated the scandal. “I really don’t think it impacts his governorship in any sort of way.”

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said that “now hopefully we can get back to the table with the Democrats and begin to get the job done we were sent down to do.”

“Chris Christie can speak for himself, but at this point there’s no evidence that he was part of this,” Bramnick said.

It’s also not clear whether Bridgegate will factor into this year’s Assembly races. All 80 seats are up in the lower house.

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