Governor Christie has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to require school board candidates to swear that they have not been convicted of a crime that would disqualify them from office.
Sen. Anthony Bucco’s bill, now law, prevents ex-cons from running for school board, by requiring candidates to swear that they haven’t been convicted of a crime that would disqualify them from serving. (©iStock)
In the last five years, dozens of school board members have had to give up their seats because they committed a crime that disqualified them from serving, proving the need for Senator Bucco’s legislation.
“It is a shame that so much taxpayer time and money has been wasted on power-hungry politicians who clearly couldn’t care less about our schools,” Senator Bucco said. “This law will help us root out the bad actors before they have the chance to botch an election.”
Senator Bucco’s S-2676, would require school board candidates to file with their nominating petitions specific affirmation that they have not been convicted of crimes that would disqualify them from office.
Prior to the August 7th signing of S-2676, a sitting school board member has to undergo a criminal background check no more than 30 days after they have been elected or appointed. The law also requires them to take an oath of office that includes an affirmation that they have not been convicted of a disqualifying crime. Failing to disclose a disqualifying conviction during the oath is a fourth-degree crime.
In 2012, the first year after that law took effect, 29 school board members were disqualified from serving, after the Department of Education performed more than 5,000 background checks.
“An ex-con who cannot legally serve on the board of education has no business running in the first place,” Senator Bucco said. “This law is a commonsense change that will protect the integrity of our elections and of the people charged with making decisions that will affect every parent, child and taxpayer in the community.”
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