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Weinberg Welcomes Assemblyman Rumana To The Reform Party

Senator Says She Has Been Pushing for Governor Veto Power over Authorities for Years

TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg, a leading champion of ethics reform in the State Legislature, today congratulated Assemblyman Scott Rumana for joining the ethics reform movement, saying that his calls for reform at the State’s quasi-governmental authorities echo many of the initiatives she’s tried to push through in the last few legislative sessions.

“With the ethics reform movement, we typically take all comers, and it’s always been the more the merrier in my book,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “Whether it’s deathbed conversions, reform for the sake of political expediency, or an honest-to-goodness epiphany, anything that moves us closer to the goal of more ethical government is a welcome development. I look forward to working with legislators and policymakers across the political spectrum – including our new Governor – to reduce government waste and give the taxpayers of New Jersey a government they can be proud of.”

Senator Weinberg said that she has pushed for more openness and accountability of State spending at State authorities in particular because of accounts of wasteful, unethical and inappropriate spending, documented in years of SCI reports and dozens of articles in newspapers across the State. She said that not only do these quasi-governmental entities spend tax dollars without consideration of the State’s economic and budgetary constraints, but most of the people serving on these agencies qualify for full health and pension benefits for part-time work.

“This is not a problem confined to one political ideology or one individual State authority,” said Senator Weinberg. “We need widespread, top-to-bottom reform of State agencies and authorities that have simply run amok for many years on the taxpayer’s dime. I hope the time has finally come to make reform a reality in Trenton and around the Garden State.”

Senator Weinberg said that she has introduced S-360 – the “State Authorities Reform Act” – specifically to address many of the problems that Assemblyman Rumana identified in a press release calling for reform. The bill, which was pre-filed for introduction and which Senator Weinberg also sponsored in both the 08-09 Legislative Session and the 06-07 Legislative session, would require State authorities to adopt various spending reforms, including standardized hiring practices, spending transparency, and contract reform. The bill would also give the Governor veto authority over the minutes of all State authorities, thereby giving the State’s chief executive ultimate authority to block any questionable spending. Senator Weinberg is also prime sponsor of S-359, which also provides for a gubernatorial veto for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission and North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.

“I urge Assemblyman Rumana to join with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle in sponsoring the Assembly version of this bill,” said Senator Weinberg. “With the Governor’s transition team reporting the need for authorities reform, and bipartisan agreement for the need for such reform, we may finally have the momentum to push this bill to the forefront. Reform at our State’s authorities is long overdue, but I’m encouraged and optimistic about the latest bipartisan interest in the subject.”

Senator Weinberg said that the “State Authorities Reform Act” is currently pending before the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

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