TRENTON – A bi-partisan measure sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg and Diane Allen which would require county political committees to adopt and distribute a constitution and bylaws ensuring fairness and the rights of members was approved today by the full Senate by a vote of 31 to 2.
“This legislation is an important step in the right direction toward full accountability on every level of government,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen, who is a long-time advocate of open government. “The fact that this measure has the bi-partisan support of Senator Allen and myself, as well as that of a number of county leaders shows that greater transparency is long-overdue.”
The Senators’ measure, S-930, known as the “Party Democracy Act,” would also require a committee member’s written request for a copy of the constitution and bylaws to be fulfilled within 48 hours.
Under the bill, municipal clerks would be required to file an official list of committee members with the county clerk within 20 days after a committee’s first meeting following the primary.
County party chairs would have to report all vacancies, resignations and committee positions filled to their respective county clerk. All resignation letters would have to be signed and notarized by exiting members and all filled vacancies would have to be accompanied by a certificate of acceptance, signed by the new committee members when filed with the county clerk. Committee constitutions and bylaws would have to include procedures for removing committee officers who are unwilling or unable to serve his or her office.
All contested votes would be held by secret ballot to prevent tampering.
This measure now heads to the Assembly for consideration.