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 Senate State Government Committee.
“I am pleased to note that this bill has the bi-partisan support of various county leaders,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “This measure is a small but important step toward increasing accountability and transparency in government and in our parties on the county level, by allowing members to ensure that the nomination process is as fair as possible.”
“It is vitally important that the county and state political committees are open, transparent and accessible to everyone,” said Senator Allen, R-Burlington. “In order to run an honest government first we must have a transparent government. We should expect no less from our political parties. It is the only way to regain the public trust, and it is the only way to open up government to everyone.”
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 in secret, with voting booths to prevent tampering.
This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.