TRENTON – On Monday, six Senate Committees will meet to discuss topics ranging from the nomination of Paula Dow to serve as New Jersey Attorney General, to a recent audit of Atlantic City municipal government by the State Comptroller’s Office, to the best way to move forward with the State’s obligation to provide access to affordable housing.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 1:00 PM in Committee Room 4 to consider the nomination of Ms. Dow to serve as the State’s Attorney General. If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Dow would be the first African-American woman to serve as the State’s top law enforcement official. Ms. Dow, who currently serves as Essex County Prosecutor, would be the first cabinet-level nomination made by the Christie administration to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee is scheduled to convene at 1:00 PM in Committee Room 7 to hear testimony from State Comptroller Matthew Boxer on his office’s audit report on financial mismanagement in Atlantic City’s municipal government. Committee Chairman Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, a former Atlantic City mayor, had pledged last week to conduct a hearing on the audit to determine if the State needs to play a larger role in the day-to-day operations of government in Atlantic City.
The Committee will also consider a constitutional amendment sponsored by Senators Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, and Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May and Cumberland, allowing for in-person and account wagering on sports events at Atlantic City casinos and racetracks. The lawmakers have previously called on Congress to repeal the federal ban on sports wagering in order to allow New Jersey casinos to continue to be competitive against gaming interests in neighboring states, and Senator Lesniak is leading a federal lawsuit effort to overturn the sports betting ban. They argue that a constitutional amendment is needed now so that the authorizing language is in place should they be successful in their efforts to overturn the federal ban.
The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to meet at 10:00 AM in Committee Room 6, and will consider legislation sponsored by Senators Ronald L. Rice and Sandra Bolden Cunningham to require the New Jersey Schools Development Authority to compile and report information about contracts awarded to minority and female contractors. New Jersey already has a law requiring that a portion of publicly-financed contracts in the Garden State be set aside for contracting firms owned by women and minorities, and this bill would require the Schools Development Authority to report compliance with that law.
Similar legislation sponsored by Senator Rice to expand the contracting standards to minority and women-owned financial institutions in New Jersey will be considered before the State Government Committee at 1:00 PM.
And finally, the Senate Economic Growth Committee, chaired by Senate Lesniak, will meet at 10:30 AM in Committee Room 4 to consider, for discussion only, his bill to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), and create a fairer, more effective mechanism for meeting the State’s affordable housing goals. This hearing will constitute the second hearing on the measure, with a vote to be taken at a later date. Senator Lesniak stressed that the bill is still “a work in progress,” and noted that he was open to input from all sides to ensure his proposal is more successful than COAH’s failed bureaucracy which has created unwieldy mandates on municipalities and failed to build necessary affordable unit for the State’s residents.