NJDSC Week in Review for February 18, 2011
Welcome to the latest installment of the NJDSC's week in review. Here's a look back at some of the news from this past week:
Christie plays politics with veto of job creation bills
- Chairman Wisniewski: “This Governor defends giving money away to millionaires saying that it will create jobs, but then when he has bills to directly help put people back to work he vetoes them."
- Senate President Sweeney: "Don't be surprised if I don't move some veto overrides. And (Republicans) are going to vote on them. I'm telling you now: I'll be putting the house on call for every one of those votes."
- Senate Majority Leader Buono: “While the governor seems to be stuck in this mindset that only big businesses matter, the reality is that the majority of new jobs will be created by small businesses – and they’re just as deserving of a tax break. After receiving unanimous support at every step in both the Senate and Assembly, the governor today became the only elected official to oppose this bipartisan bill since its introduction."
- Senator Sacco: “Not every business needs the same thing, and ‘Back to Work NJ’ recognized the unique challenges that face businesses of every size. Unfortunately, the governor couldn’t or wouldn’t.”
- Assembly Speaker Oliver: "Today it’s obvious that the renewed pledge of bipartisanship that the Governor made in his State of the State Address was nothing more than lip service.
- Assembly Majority Leader Cryan: "Vetoes like this may continue to put him on Fox News, but they're also going to keep New Jerseyans on the unemployment line. That's disgusting, even for an ideologue."
- Assemblyman Greenwald: This Governor has made it painfully obvious for quite some time now, that the plight of our unemployed is not a very high priority for his administration.
- Assemblyman Coutinho: "I don't understand why the governor won't make job creation a top priority. I'm severely disappointed..."
- Workers can't get one job, but Christie is out looking for another.
- Assemblywoman Pou: "The progress that has been achieved has been attributable to the Democratic Party, which has recognized the diversity of our communities."
- Politickernj.com: "The GOP and renegade Latino Democrats have forged a relationship to create a vision for at least two beefed-up Hispanic districts that would simultaneously free Republicans to try to win control of the suburbs."
- Chairman Wisniewski on GOP plans: “I think that notwithstanding the Republican protestations to the contrary about packing and their statements that they have never been advocates of packing, the map as I understand it is doing just that,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is chairman of the Democratic redistricting team. “They want to rearrange minority communities to compress them into as few districts as possible and the consequence is to create more non-minority districts for Republicans.”
- Assemblywoman Watson Coleman on GOP map plan:“We now know for sure exactly what this group stands for – the bleaching of legislative districts and the packing of minorities into separate districts that will slash the overall influence of African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans. The evidence is becoming more and more clear – this secretive group is not looking out for the best interests of minorities living throughout New Jersey. It’s becoming quite obvious that the Center for a Better New Jersey’s name does not match its reality."
- WNYC: "So what these guys do in the next few months is really going to determine the winners and losers for the next 10 years,"
- Philadelphia Inquirer: Center for a Better New Jersey funding is a mystery.
- Blue Jersey slammed the Center for a Better New Jersey: Shadow Armies Eviscerate Disclosure and Pay to Play Rules.
Christie continues war on workers with call to end collective bargaining
- Chairman Wisniewski: “Governor Christie’s support of Governor Walker’s plans to end collective bargaining were a declaration of war on workers, said Wisniewski. “This reveals a deeper and darker side of Christie: he has a disdain for the working man and woman, knows nothing of what they need and will do anything to promote his right wing agenda at the expense of the people of the state of New Jersey. The right to collectively bargain has ensured that workers rights are treated fairly. Attempts to silence workers, through the elimination of their right to collectively bargain, would dramatically alter the partnership between employees/workers and are not acceptable."
- Senate President Sweeney: “Any attempt by Gov. Christie to mirror Gov. Walker will die at the doorway of his office. I have worked with the Governor on reforms to public employee pensions and benefits, and I will continue to do so. But collective bargaining is an essential right of labor, and I will not let New Jersey follow the dangerous trail being blazed in Wisconsin, where workers rights can be tossed aside in the name of right-wing, tea party politics.”
- Senate Majority Leader Buono: “For those of us who had hoped that the governor’s never-ending, callous negativity towards public employees was just bravado, today’s comments were an eye-opener. Asking public employees to accept tough reforms is one thing, but openly and actively supporting the wholesale elimination of the right to collectively bargain is another."
- Assembly Majority Leader Cryan: “At least we now know the full truth about this governor, he favors the complete decimation of worker rights.”
Rolling Back Christie's Toll Hike
- Capitol Quickies: Toll roll-back opposed by Christie passes, with GOP support.
- Senate President Sweeney: “If Gov. Christie wants to use a toll hike to pay for his transportation infrastructure plan, he needs to take his case directly to the public, and give them a chance to voice their concerns."
- Senator Sacco on Toll Roll Back: “This bill is extremely simple: No tunnel, no toll increase”
- Chairman Wisniewski: "The governor is not building the ARC tunnel, so now we don't need that money."
- Paul Mulshine in the Star Ledger: What happens next? That should be real fun. I doubt Christie wants to veto the bill. That would leave him open to a charge he is raising taxes. And of course the subsequent veto-override vote would be an embarrassment for every Republican legislator up for re-election – which is all of them except for Andy Ciesla of Ocean County. He's retiring. If the toll hike is reversed, there goes the Gov's whole scheme for replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund. He'd have to endorse a gas-tax hike.
- MyCentralJersey.com: When Christie shut down ARC, he had no plan B, except to keep wishing and hoping somebody else would come up with one. It's a bit disingenuous for him to now try to lead the parade.
Opposing Christie's Assault on Seniors
- Chairman Wisniewski responded to Christie's call to raise the Social Security Retirement age: “If the Governor hadn’t done enough damage raising taxes on seniors, now he’s threatening anyone who doesn’t go along with his new plans to target seniors once again by raising the retirement age on social security. What’s next for Christie, privatizing the system and putting their future in the hands of his Wall Street cronies?”
- The Chairman called on Republican Legislators to pledge they would stand up for Seniors against Chris Christie's latest assault and threats.
- Chris Christie's Not Telling the Truth--Ugly or Otherwise.
- Huffington Post -Chris Christie: The Biggest Sham in Politics.
- Blue Jersey - Christie: Seniors have it too good.
Questioning Christie's Education Plans
- Assembly Speaker Oliver: "One cannot claim to be helping poor children when they're also cutting the school breakfast program, raising income taxes on working poor parents, and reducing access to health care for low-income mothers and their newborn babies. She noted that "the Assembly is prepared to work cooperatively to advance responsible education reforms, but is not ready to cast blame on teachers who in many of these failing schools are quite simply real-life heroes."
- More from Assembly Speaker Oliver: "Slogans” and “blaming teacher job protections” would not fix the deeper issues of students in poverty.
- Assemblyman Diegnan blasted Christie's School Construction Plan: “It’s an inadequate response to a severe problem facing the schools in New Jersey.” In addition, he said "it appears as though it’s a Band-Aid on what is really a major wound, but let’s wait and see."
- Capitol Quickies - Piscataway super: Cuts in aid have harmed education.
- Braun in the Star Ledger: The Christie Administration’s case against the state’s school aid formula has exploded like a trick cigar in the faces of the state lawyers trying to make it. Worse, it all happened while a woman thought to be the state’s star witness was testifying. The state Department of Education’s chief statistical expert ended up agreeing on an essential point the lawyers challenging the administration’s view are trying to make—that money spent on schools does matter.
- More Braun: Gov. Christie releases limited N.J. schools data to spin, promote controversial policy.
- Senate Majority Leader Buono: Fighting for Public Education.
- Home News Tribune Editorial: The vast majority of New Jersey public schools are succeeding. That should be the starting point of any debate on how to improve education in the state.
Democrats fight National Republican attacks on Women's Health
- Video of Congressman Pallone on the House Floor in opposition to the defunding of women's health.
- Video of Congressman Holt: "The resolution we're considering would cut care to Americans who need it most...for many, this is the only medical care they receive." He also shared his letter to Speaker Boehner on the "dangerous and far reaching bills."
Looking to Christie's upcoming Budget
- The Governor will deliver his budget address on Tuesday, February 22 at 2pm. You can watch live by clicking here.
- Assembly Speaker Oliver: “The governor cannot present another budget that places the heaviest burden on the backs of working-class New Jerseyans.”
- Assembly Majority Leader Cryan: “Gov. Christie once said taking away property tax relief from people in a difficult economy was the wrong decision and an assault on the middle-class. We couldn’t agree more, but we hope Gov. Christie follows his own advice this time. We want property tax relief and access to quality health care to be a focal point.”
- Assemblyman Greenwald: “Under Gov. Christie, working class residents aren’t just paying more in property taxes & getting less, but they’re also now paying a Christie school activity tax just so their children can join valuable after-school activities. The governor must do better, & that must start with a budget plan that meets the needs of working class residents & avoids more property tax increases and health care cuts."
- Assemblyman Coutinho on impending budget: "I'm concerned about the trial balloon that was put out on preschool funding. We can't be demagogues and come up with election year budgets."
- Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle: "Gov. Christie will deliver his budget address later this month, marking a year since he first alerted New Jersey that he would follow his personal ideology instead of acting in the best interest of the state."
A closer look at the Governor's style and lack of substance
- In Case You Missed It From the NY Times: Connecticut Governor, Tackling Budget, Criticizes Christie’s Approach.
- Assemblywoman Stender - The Governor Has No Clothes: A Primer On The Real Chris Christie.
- Manahan in the Star Ledger: The Governor who lives in a mansion says I'm an elitist. Isn't that rich?
- Senator Lautenberg joined Senator Durbin urging the heads of Major League Baseball and the players union to ban the use of smokeless tobacco products on the field and in the dugout and the locker room.
- Senators Menendez, Lautenberg: New resources will boost New Jersey Trenton Road Safety.
- The League of Conservation released their report card and all New Jersey Democrats scored a 90% or above.
- Senator Menendez called for ending $20B loopholes, tax breaks for oil producers.
- Senator Lautenberg blasted House Republicans for threatening NJ Education programs.
- Senator Menendez criticized proposed cuts to low income families and seniors: "It defies common sense to shut off the heat to seniors and low-income families. Cutting these resources is colder than this winter. We need to get our fiscal house in order. But we should do it responsibly.’’
- Congressman Pascrell joined Leader Pelosi, members of the Democratic Caucus and firefighters from Camden, NJ to talk about the importance of preserving federal funding for public safety jobs and the passage of his amendment to the Republican's continuing resolution preserving funding for the FIRE grant program.
- New Jersey Newsroom:
Pallone says Obama's proposed budget includes $3 million for Port Monmouth beach replenishment.
- Congressman Sires has been tweeting details of the Republicans plans which would cut job training by more than $3 billion, closing 3,000 One Stop career centers. He also noted that they would cut Pell Grant awards for 185,000 NJ students by average of $712, req them 2 take more loans for education.
- Congressman Andrews also took on the House GOP proposal: "I think what the Republicans are proposing is a reckless plan that will cost us jobs,"
Under the Dome
- The N.J. Senate called on Supreme Court Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto to resign.
- A look by USA Today at efforts to create next-of-kin registry program for use after serious accidents, which passed the Assembly this week.
- Legislation that would establish assisted living facility and comprehensive personal care home resident rights has been approved by the full Senate.
- Assemblymen Cryan & Diegnan on Christie privatization: "The only guaranteed winner in the process are the corporations who will be awarded the contracts. They will reap millions of dollars in profits..."
- The Senate passed a bill that would refine unemployment benefit instructions.
- Assembly Democrats passed a 3-bill package to promote electric vehicles ni New Jersey through tax credits.
- A bill to help provide school districts with a tool to maintain adequate staffing received final legislative approval by the Assembly and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
- A bill sponsored which would allow pharmacies in New Jersey to sell hypodermic syringes and needles without a prescription was approved by the Senate.
- A bill to provide military and overseas voters more time to vote by mail during a federal election received final legislative approval.
- Legislation to strengthen the role and membership of the New Jersey Public Health Council was passed by the Senate.
- Legislation that aims to give law enforcement enhanced tools to effectively combat drug crime received final legislative approval.
- Citing a new survey in which the overwhelming majority of domestic violence programs statewide reported an increase in the demand for services, Senate Majority Leader Buono renewed her call for allowing victims of domestic violence to be able to disable their cell phone's GPS monitoring capabilities.
- Legislation to help New Jersey’s horse racing industry continue to create jobs and economic development was approved by the Assembly. The bills would expand off track wagering and simulcasting, reduce the required racing dates at the Meadowlands and Freehold tracks to create bigger events and allow the state to jointly run racetrack operations with a racetrack lessee during a transition period, as has been proposed at the Meadowlands.
- Weinberg To Christie And Xanadu Negotiators: ‘Where’s The Beef?’
- Assemblyman Greenwald and Assemblywoman Quijano (D-Union) announced they have introduced legislation which would protect New Jerseyans and reduce violent gun crimes by imposing tighter limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines for firearms.
- Assembly Speaker Oliver op-ed in The Record: 'Missing a Chance at a Safer New Jersey.'
- Legislation that would modify New Jersey's Local Option Consolidation Act to allow municipal consolidation studies to occur via a "hybrid application" process was released by an Assembly panel.
- A bill in the Assembly would move fire and school elections to November.
- Legislation that would compel animal shelters and pounds to neuter dogs and cats before releasing them for adoption has cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
- A Star Ledger Editorial agrees that Archaic, sexist laws need to be updated to reflect the times.
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John Wisniewski, Chairman
New Jersey Democratic State Committee