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ICYMI: Massive Opposition to Democrats’ Rushed Redistricting Scheme

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Numerous organizations have voiced their adamant displeasure with the latest scheme (ACR-188) proposed by Democrats to delay the legislative redistricting process through a rushed constitutional amendment. They have warned that the proposed constitutional amendment would disenfranchise voters and delay by years the opportunity for growing minority communities to be fairly represented.

Numerous organizations have voiced their displeasure with the latest scheme proposed by Democrats to delay the legislative redistricting process. (SenateNJ.com)

The following is a roundup of statements and testimony by nonpartisan election experts, academics, journalists, and representatives from a variety of good-government organizations spanning the political spectrum that have opposed the legislation.

Here’s what they’re saying…

“Today’s bill is not in the best interest of the people of New Jersey generally, and its people of color in particular. We oppose the proposed bill today because it will exacerbate the cracks of structural racism in our foundation by using the existing, outdated legislative maps, which do not include the substantial growth of people of color in New Jersey since 2010, thereby diluting the political strength, influence, and power to which people of color are entitled based on their composition of New Jersey’s population as it exists right now. This Legislature has had almost three months to work on a solution, and despite requests from advocates and the significant public interest about this issue, these discussions have been in backrooms. But instead of holding public hearings and discussions during this time, members of the Legislature have waited to the last minute to introduce and fast track a problematic constitutional amendment. This is not how democracy should work. …turning to the substance of the bill, the 2011 legislative map is no longer representative of New Jersey. This bill, unfortunately, ignores the interests of communities of color in a manner that may violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Finally, this bill inappropriately seeks to make a permanent change to our redistricting process. Today’s bill does not serve the interests of communities of color now, and will undermine those communities in the future. For these reasons, we oppose this bill. We urge you not to pass it.” Henal Patel, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice; Rev. Eric Dobson, Deputy Director, Fair Share Housing Center; Richard T. Smith, President, NAACP New Jersey State Conference; Rev. Dr. Charles F. Boyer, Executive Director, Salvation and Social Justice; and Elise Boddie, Founder, The Inclusion Project, Rutgers Law School

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: ‘Doesn’t Anybody Care About the Deaths of 6,700 Seniors?’

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Reiterates Call for Creation of Senate Select Committee to Investigate

Senator Joe Pennacchio again implored the legislature to act on behalf of more than 6,700 elderly nursing home residents who lost their lives to COVID-19 and vote to create a Senate Select Committee to review the State’s response to the pandemic.

Senator Pennacchio urged the legislature to act on behalf of more than 6,700 elderly nursing home residents who lost their lives to COVID-19 and create a Senate Select Committee to review the State’s response to the pandemic. (CC0 Public Domain)

“The deplorable treatment of vulnerable seniors who were isolated, abandoned and exposed to this deadly virus was a pandemic genocide that stripped the lives of almost 7,000 fragile souls trapped in long term care facilities,” Pennacchio said.  “Now, this shocking nightmare is being compounded by apathy. These innocent victims have been be deserted by the legislature and forgotten by the press. Doesn’t anybody care what happened to these victims?”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman: Hypocritical Democrats Have Enough Time to Rush Redistricting Amendment onto Ballot, But Won’t Give Voters Choice on $10 Billion Borrowing Plan

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Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) said New Jersey Democrats are being utterly hypocritical by rushing a constitutional amendment onto this November’s ballot that would disenfranchise minority voters in next year’s legislative elections, while simultaneously seeking to avoid the voter approval that is required for a record-setting $10 billion borrowing plan they announced today:

Sen. Kip Bateman said Democrats are being utterly hypocritical by rushing a constitutional amendment onto this November’s ballot, while simultaneously seeking to avoid the required voter approval for their new $10 billion borrowing plan. (SenateNJ.com)

“Democrats say they still have enough time to rush a constitutional amendment onto this November’s ballot that good-government advocates say would disenfranchise minorities, but they somehow can’t manage to give voters a say on $10 billion of debt they plan to issue as our constitution requires.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Statements from Senate Republican Budget Members on Democrats’ $10 Billion Borrowing Scheme

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The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee issued the following statements in response to a private, partisan agreement between Governor Phil Murphy and Democrat legislative leaders to borrow $10 billion to fund State spending next year.

Statements from Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee in response to a private, partisan agreement between Gov. Phil Murphy and Democrat legislative leaders to borrow $10 billion to fund State spending next year. (Pixabay)

Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24): “My predecessor, Senator Bob Littell, called a debt issuance one-quarter this size in 1997 ‘wacko.’ Today, taxpayers are still paying off that debt. This debt issuance is ‘wacko’ on steroids. It’s billions of debt for operating expenses with tens of billions of interest more, and won’t be paid off for decades. It’s unbelievably irresponsible. I appreciate the magnitude of the fiscal crisis we are in, but we haven’t even exhausted other fiscal management practices. This borrowing scheme is reckless behavior that will only exacerbate our problems long term.”

Senator Michael Testa (R-1): “The Governor and Democrats agreeing to issue $10 billion of debt for operating expenses isn’t just unconstitutional, it’s insane. Taxpayers will be paying for this madness for the next 35 years.”

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Senator Bob Singer

Singer: No Rain Check for Restaurants in Inclement Weather

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Calls on Governor to Safely Reopen Indoor Restaurants at 25% Capacity

In light of inclement weather expected this weekend due to Tropical Storm Fay, Senator Robert Singer today called for the opening of indoor restaurants at 25% capacity with social distancing and CDC compliant sanitization measures in place.

In light of inclement weather expected this weekend, Sen. Robert Singer called for the opening of indoor restaurants at 25% capacity with social distancing and CDC compliant sanitization measures in place. (Pixabay)

“Sunshine and clear skies currently determine the fate of restaurant owners and employees across New Jersey,” said Singer. “A downpour should not put a damper on a restaurant’s ability to open and stay in business. Today and tomorrow’s rain and thunder are the perfect examples of why restaurants should be able to safely open and operate at a limited capacity indoors.”

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District 9

Connors, Rumpf & Gove Oppose Legislative Redistricting Scheme

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Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove will be voting NO on a legislative redistricting proposal that is being fast-tracked to avoid public scrutiny and deliberation.  The legislation (ACR-188) proposes to amend the State Constitution to allow for the legislative redistricting process to be delayed.

Connors, Rumpf & Gove announced they will be voting against a legislative proposal to delay the redistricting process that is being fast-tracked to avoid public scrutiny and deliberation. (SenateNJ.com)

The 9th District Delegation offered the following remarks:

“This is a Trenton-power play meant to keep control in the hands of the few and protect the status quo. They are going all-in to ensure that the majority of the Legislature remains composed of tax increasers and big-government advocates who want and willingly allow the bureaucracy to micro-manage too many aspects of our lives.

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Senator Mike Doherty

Doherty: Thank Gov. Murphy For Your Long Wait at MVC

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‘Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail’

Senator Michael Doherty released the following statement in response to the blatant failures of the Murphy administration as it neglected to adequately prepare for the reopening of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) that had been shut down since March due the COVID-19 lockdown:

Sen. Michael Doherty responded to the blatant failures of the Murphy administration as it neglected to adequately prepare for the reopening of the MVC. (Wikimedia)

“After a four-month lockdown, the MVC that New Jerseyans returned to was an utter nightmare. Long lines wrapped around the agencies, negatively impacting those waiting in the heat and humidity as well as the communities surrounding the centers. Many residents were turned away without any help or guidance. The failure to properly plan for this reopening is an absolute disgrace.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Pennacchio Questions Latest Murphy Executive Order on Wearing Masks Outdoors

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Asks Why Masks Weren’t a Priority for Nursing Homes?

At a time when the CDC is considering no longer calling COVID an epidemic because of a low mortality rate, the Governor is doubling down on his executive orders by mandating New Jersey Citizens wear masks outdoors.

Senator Pennacchio today questioned Governor Murphy’s justification for his order calling for mandatory wearing of masks outdoors. (Pixabay)

“As usual, the Governor’s latest decree is arbitrary and unsupported by data,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio. “The effectiveness of masks, especially those that fail to meet the most effective N95 standards, is debatable.”

National and International Health Institutes have been consistently sending mixed messages about wearing masks.

The World Health Organization advises the use of masks for those who are sick and people who are caring for the sick.

“For people who want to take an active role and feel safer in a mask, they should, but I’m concerned the Governor’s actions are based more on political science than science,” said Pennacchio. “The best way to protect yourself and others is to practice social distancing. Avoid close contact with others when possible, and limit the duration of exposure when maintaining space isn’t practical.”

Senator Pennacchio added that the focus of the administration should be on having sick Covid patients, and those recently exposed to those patients, remaining in home isolation.

Murphy’s order requires masks to be worn outdoors.

“Does the Governor know something we don’t know? Does he have evidence that masks are needed out of doors?” asked Pennacchio. “According to Dr. Angelo DeLucia, an epidemiologist and professor of molecular virology and cancer biology at Ohio Medical School, there is not enough data to make decisions about wearing masks outdoors. It seems the Governor knows something about wearing masks outdoors that the professor does not.”

Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Senate Republicans United Against Democrats’ New Effort to Hijack Legislative Redistricting & Disenfranchise Voters

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Says Proposed Constitutional Amendment Another Thinly Veiled Attempt by Entrenched Democratic Incumbents to Avoid Competitive Election Districts

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean announced that the entire Senate Republican caucus is opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment being fast-tracked by legislative Democrats that would disenfranchise New Jersey voters by delaying the upcoming redistricting process unnecessarily. He urged concerned citizens to weigh-in prior to a public hearing that was hastily scheduled for tomorrow.

Sen. Tom Kean warned that a proposed constitutional amendment being fast-tracked is another thinly veiled attempt by entrenched Democratic incumbents to avoid competitive election districts. (SenateNJ.com)

“This is just the latest in a series of efforts by Democrats in recent years to hijack the redistricting process for partisan gain,” said Kean (R-21). “Their past efforts were shot down with unanimous disapproval from the public, media, and good-government organizations. This newest effort is another thinly veiled attempt by Democrats to maintain an iron grip on the Legislature after two decades of control.”

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Senator Mike Doherty

Doherty: Murphy’s Mask Mandate Represents a Clear and Present Danger to New Jersey

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Senator Michael Doherty blasted Governor Phil Murphy for his arbitrary and unscientific approach to responding to the coronavirus, including a new mandate that will force New Jerseyans to wear masks even when outside.

Sen. Michael Doherty blasted Gov. Phil Murphy for his arbitrary and unscientific approach to responding to the coronavirus. (Pixabay)

“Governor Murphy has used the opportunity presented by the coronavirus to initiate a big government power grab,” said Doherty (R-23). “His unilateral and oppressive actions are destroying the economy and will now negatively impact everyday New Jerseyans outside in the summer sun.

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony M. Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Kristin Corrado

District 40

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Steven Oroho

District 24

Declan O'Scanlon

District 13

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Michael Testa

District 1

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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