Daily Archives: December 8, 2009

There’s Still Work To Be Done On NJ Marriage Equality Bill

As we know from my last post, the state Senate Judiciary Committee last night narrowly approved historic legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey by a 7-6 margin.

It was a bold move on their part but the fight for marriage equality does not end there, there is still work to be done. The Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act now moves to the Senate floor for a full vote on Thursday.

It has been pointed out to me that one of the main reasons why New York’s marriage equality bill was defeated recently was because New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. who is usually a gay rights supporter voted no on the the NY state gay marriage bill. He stated the reason for his “No” was over 70% of the email, calls and letters on the subject were against the bill.

The roll call vote was made it was carried out in alphabetical order, so his early no vote was an excuse for others to vote no and defeat the bill.

We can’t allow this type of situation to happen again here in New Jersey, it’s time to contact your NJ State Senate representatives and let them know that marriage equality for same sex couples is not a religious issue but a civil rights issue that is morally right.

Alphabetically Monmouth County’s represntative Sen. Jennifer Beck(R-12th), would vote 5th and there for could sway others vote for or against this legislation. Call or email her office and tell her to vote in favor of marraige equality on Thursday unlike her vote Monday night against it.

Then do the same for each of Monmouth County’s other State Senators Joe Kyrillos (R-13th) and Sean T. Kean (R-11th). Let them know that the rights that all opposite sexed couples share should be passed on equally to all couples that love each other irregardless of their sexual preferences.
If you don’t live in Monmouth County but wish to contact one of your State Senators to express your support for the Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act, here is the contact list for all of New Jersey’s legislative members

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Filed under Jennifer Beck, Joe Kyrillos, Marriage Equality, Monmouth County, Sean T. Kean

After grueling hearing, state Senate committee approves New Jersey gay marriage bill 7-6

NewJerseyNewsroom.com/Tom Hester Sr.

After nearly nine hours of testimony and debate the state Senate Judiciary Committee Monday night narrowly approved legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey.

The panel voted 7 to 6 in support of the measure, the Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act, at 10:07 p.m. and sent to the full Senate for a floor vote on Thursday.

The vote was met with loud applause and cheers by most of the people in the hearing room.

Voting in favor of the proposal were Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer), Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex), Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a co-sponsor of the measure, Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), Sen. Bob Smith, (D-Middlesex), Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson), and Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), the other co-sponsor. Voting in opposition were Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), Sen. John Girgenti (D-Passaic), Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Somerset), Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen), and Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth).
The hearing at the Statehouse Annex in Trenton grew testy at times as committee members and proponents and opponents of the legislation snapped at each other. At one point, Cardinale called a lawyer who was testifying a liar and moments later Gill, an attorney, apologized on behalf of the panel.

Proponents and opponents of the bill on the committee agreed to end public testimony at 9:10 p.m. Testimony began at 2:28 p.m.

Read More >>>Here

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Filed under Marriage Equality, New Jersey

It’s Payback Time In Middletown: So Far Township Facing $4 Million Budget Shortfall For 2010 – Layoffs Pending

I attended the Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting last night to hear what would be said about the Emergency Appropriation Resolution 09-277.
This resolution was for the purpose of borrowing ~ $1.5 million from next years budget to pay for worker’s compensation claims and other employee medical benefits that the township did not budget for this year.
There was a lively discussion on the subject that lasted nearly an hour. Committeemen Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short questioned the Township Administrator about how and why, with less than 30 day left in the calendar year, did the township find that it needed to borrow such a large amount of money against next years budget when the projected budget for next year was already a few million dollars short.
The simple answer was the Township did not foresee that worker’s compensation claims and other employee health benefit claims would be at such a level as to need more money than budgeted for in the previous year’s (2008) budget. And after all, the bills needed to be paid.
The money that was set aside this year for health benefits and claims was ~ $2 million less than last year. The reason being was because recent trends over the past several years showed that health claims rose and fell from one year to next. With this in mind, the powers that be who shaped the 2009 budget decided to gamble on the trends downward slope and under funded the Township’s health care plan.
In the 2008 budget ~ $6 million was appropriated for benefits but at the end of the year, much like this year, an emergency appropriation 0f $500,000 was needed as opposed to an ~ $1.5 million. I would say that their gamble did not pay off.
Committeeman Byrnes was relentless in his questioning and would not support the resolution as written without assurances from the rest of the committee that further review of township finances would be made before the end of the year. To get these assurances Byrnes only agreed to support a resolution for $800,000 of the $1.5 million emergency appropriation at last nights meeting. The other $700,000 will be appropriated through a new resolution at the December 21st committee meeting if Byrnes receives proper answers to his questions about how next years budget will be addressed.
The reason why Sean Byrnes is being such a stickler over the 2010 budget is because at this present time it is being projected by the Township Committee, that there will be a minimum of a $4 million shortfall in revenues next year with this resolution and by the time January or February comes around it could be a couple of million more dollars short.
When Byrnes pressed the Township Administrator over what plans he intends to present to the Committee to curtail costs next year the administrator, Tony Mercantante said that among other things, plans were in the works for employee layoffs starting in either January or February of 2010 but paper work must first be filed with the State before any layoffs could take effect.
With this in mind I have to ask once again, why not listen to Sean Byrnes and establish a nonpartisan Finance Committee that could identify problems like this in advance and work towards budget solutions before they become problems in the first place?

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Filed under anca, budget resolution, Budget Shortfall, Finance Committee, Middletown, Patrick Short, Sean F. Byrnes, Tony Mercantante