Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, testifies during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing regarding the Opportunity Scholarship Act.

17 May: Rice Bill To Crack Down On Blighted, Foreclosed Properties Approved In Committee

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, which would create a mechanism for municipalities to fine creditors when foreclosed properties fall into disrepair was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee today by a vote of 5-0 with one abstention.

“New Jersey, like the rest of the country, is in the middle of a foreclosure crisis, and when these foreclosed properties fall into disrepair, they can have a negative impact on the property values and safety of the surrounding neighborhood,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “When a creditor forecloses on a property, they still have a responsibility to the municipality to ensure that the property doesn’t become a burden on the rest of the community. This bill would give local officials the authority to issue citations and impose fines to make sure that creditors live up to their responsibilities.”

26 Mar: Weinberg Calls For Changes In Government Entity Lobbying Process

TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) today called for changes in the laws governing the use of taxpayer dollars to lobby state government, citing the release of a report by the Office of the State Comptroller that found towns, counties, authorities and other public agencies spend millions of dollars to lobby the state.

“According to the Comptroller’s report, most of the spending goes toward lobbying the Assembly and Senate on pending legislation,” Sen. Weinberg said. “This begs the question: Why are they spending the public’s money to lobby lawmakers when they should have access to them free of charge?”