Volume 5/Issue 26

  • Legislative Leaders Retain Posts
  • PANYNJ Aims to Hire New CEO by End of 2015 
  • Education Law Center Calls for Additional School Construction Bonding

Legislative Leaders Retain Posts

Following the Assembly elections last week, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick all received the support of their respective caucuses to continue in their leadership positions.  Senate and Assembly Majority Leaders Loretta Weinberg and Lou Greenwald will continue to serve in their capacities, as will budget committee chairmen Senator Paul Sarlo and Assemblyman Gary Schaer. 

The Speaker cited the need to resolve the state's transportation funding crisis and completing work on earned sick leave, tax relief, college affordability and the future of gaming in New Jersey as key Assembly priorities in the remaining months of the current session and when the new Legislature convenes.  He also pointed to the impending override attempt on legislation to require local law enforcement be notified before the expungement of mental health records of prospective gun buyers. 

One Assembly election remains unresolved.  Incumbent Republican Assemblywoman Donna Simon trails Democratic challenger Andrew Zwicker by approximately 78 votes after all of the provisional ballots have been counted.  The Assemblywoman will now need to decide whether to request a recount or concede the race.  If Mr. Zwicker prevails, the Democratic caucus will be comprised of 52 members, two short of a veto-proof majority. 

PANYNJ Aims to Hire New CEO by End of 2015 

Appearing before the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee last month, Port Authority Board Chairman John Degnan informed the Senators that the agency is aiming to hire a new CEO by the end of December. 

The new CEO position will replace the current position of executive director and be chosen by the Port Authority’s board of directors. Traditionally the top staff position is chosen by the Governor of New York with the deputy director position chosen by the New Jersey Governor, but the process has changed under new reforms being instituted at the agency. 

According to the Star Ledger, the Chairman also informed the committee that other changes would be instituted once the CEO position is filled, including rotating the chairmanship of the PANYNJ between the States.  

Education Law Center Calls for Additional School Construction Bonding 

The Education Law Center (ELC) recently sent a letter to State Attorney General John Hoffman requesting that the Commissioner of Education and the CEO of the Schools Development Authority urgently seek additional school bonding authority from the Legislature to complete the construction of needed capital, capital maintenance and emergent repair projects for poorer urban “SDA districts," or risk meeting its constitutional obligation under the Abbott v. Burke ruling.  The ELC were plaintiffs in that court case. 

The letter notes that “thousands of children in these districts continue to attend school in facilities that are unsafe, overcrowded and educationally inadequate.” 

The ELC points out that although the State issued a strategic plan in 2011 that cited 110 “SDA districts” that are of the highest priority of need, “the State has depleted all available funds to undertake priority major capital projects beyond the 40 projects in the construction pipeline, and for capital maintenance and emergent repairs to existing school facilities."