TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice that would establish statewide databases with information about every elected public official, including office contact information, gender and race was approved today by the full Senate.
The bill, S-358, would require every individual elected to public office at the state, county, and municipal level to submit personal information to the Division of Elections in the Department of State, through a form within seven days of their election being certified. The bill would require that elected public officials submit the following information:
- the elected public official’s contact information, including full name and the office mailing address, telephone number and email address;
- the individual’s gender; and
- the individual’s race, as categorized by the federal Bureau of the Census.
The Division of Elections would be required to form at least two databases on the information collected from elected officials: one sorted by race and one sorted by gender. The databases would be available on the Division’s public website and updated at least annually.
Supporters of the bill argue that sorting information like gender and race can be used to measure social progress. The databases will also streamline the information that can currently be found on different municipal, county and state websites.
“The database will not only streamline information already available on various scattered websites, but it will provide an easily accessible resource for residents to reach out to elected officials of minority groups. Perhaps most importantly, this bill would give our state a measuring tool to track our development in terms of social progress,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “Hopefully before long this database will reveal fair representation of our constituents.”
Individuals serving in elected positions in a special district, on a board of education or on a board of fire commissioners would not be included in the database.
The Senate approved the bill with a vote of 35-0.