Bill Baroni

Baroni Calls for Bi-Partisan Commission on Campaign Finance Laws

Calls for Bi-Partisan Panel in Light of Supreme Court Citizens United v. FEC ruling

Senator Bill Baroni (R – Mercer, Middlesex) called for a bi-partisan commission to review New Jersey’s campaign finance laws after a landmark Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Baroni, who has been an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University Law School and taught campaign finance classes for the past decade, addressed a letter calling for this bi-partisan panel to Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

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Baroni says Supreme Court ruling could impact state pay to play laws and ban on casino contributions

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning a federal ban on corporate spending on political campaigns, State Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) has called for the immediate review of all state campaign finance laws – including those that prohibit contributions and independent expenditures from casinos, utilities, and other regulated industries.

Baroni, a Seton Hall law professor who teaches campaign finance, wants Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) to form a special bi-partisan legislative commission to review the effect of the Supreme Court decision on New Jersey.

“This is the most profoundly destabilizing campaign finance decision in decades,” Baroni said of the top court’s 5-4 ruling.

Baroni says the Supreme Court ruling could also affect the future of New Jersey’s pay to play laws.

“New Jersey needs to do all it can to keep corrupt dollars out of politics,” Baroni said.  “In light of today’s decision, Republicans and Democrats must work together to review every one of our campaign finance laws and regulations.”

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Baroni Statement Regarding Inauguration of Governor Chris Christie

Senator Bill Baroni (R-Mercer, Middlesex) released the following statement after attending the inauguration of Chris Christie as New Jersey’s 55th Governor:

“Today, New Jersey gets to start all over again. With Chris Christie as our new Governor, New Jersey can again be the great state where I grew up. We have a chance to start again to create jobs, keep people in their homes, and make New Jersey affordable again. We must work together, Republicans and Democrats to fix our state.

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Reaction to Christie's speech positive so far

TRENTON -- State Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) thinks that if anyone can stay popular while having to enact deep budget cuts, it’s Gov. Christopher Christie. 

“Governing is always difficult. Governing in tough times especially so.  But Chris has real determination, and anyone who has ever doubted Chris’s determination has been proven wrong,” he said. 

In the mean time, reaction to Christie’s speech was positive from members of both political parties.  Baroni called it “terrific,” saying that the it laid out a chance for the state to “start all over again.”  But he was also overcome with emotion on a personal level.

“It’s just great to see your friend up there. I’ve been friends with this guy since ’93.  It’s good to see a friend up there having this success,” he said.

Former Assemblyman Guy Gregg (R-Long Valley) said the address was “a ‘we can do it’ speech, as opposed to a ‘screw you’ speech.” 

And Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker – already talked about as a possible rivral to Christie in 2013 – said that the speech “hit a lot of the important notes.”

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Baroni switches to Sipprelle

Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre had state Sen. Bill Baroni’s (R-Hamilton) endorsement for the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D- Hopewell) in the 12th Congressional District. 

Until Princeton venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle decided to run. 

“I think Mike Halfacre is great. I think he’d make a great congressman,” said Baroni, who today formally endorsed Sipprelle and called him a “game changer.”  “I have the opportunity, however, to have a Mercer County Republican go for Congress. I know Scott Sipprelle and I’m supporting him.”

Baroni’s withdrawal of support became apparent Wednesday night, when Sipprelle formally kicked off his campaign with a rally in Princeton. 

Halfacre, who spent about a year toiling on the campaign trail unopposed by any fellow Republicans until Sipprelle’s interest in the race became known a few weeks ago, countered with press release listing dozens of elected and party officials who supported his candidacy.  Baroni’s name – still trumpeted on Halfacre’s Web site – was gone.

“It’s not a statement on Mike’s candidacy. It’s not a statement on Mike in any way. I think the world of him. And if he is the nominee, I will work just as hard,” said Baroni.  “I just think Scott Sipprelle’s background as a businessman and someone who can go down to Washington as a Congressman on day one and get to work.”

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Baroni’s NJ STARS Legislation Approved by Both Houses

Bill Increases Notifications to Students Regarding Tuition and Scholarship Program

Legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Baroni (R-14) that would require the provision of additional information to high school students regarding their potential eligibility to participate in the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS) Program was approved by the Senate and Assembly and currently awaits the Governor’s signature.

The NJ STARS I program provides full scholarships to high school students who graduate in the top 15% of their class, paying the full cost of tuition and fees for up to 18 credit hours at a student’s local county college.  The NJ STARS II program provides scholarships to those who participated in the NJ STARS I program and who have received an associate’s degree at a county college and continue their education at a state college or university.  Students who graduate from county colleges with a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average and who maintain that average at a state college qualify for scholarships of $3,000 to $3,500 per semester.

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Codey, Lesniak and Baroni advocate for marriage equality bill

TRENTON – In his floor speech in favor of the same-sex marriage bill, state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) attempted to put today’s vote in a long line of civil rights struggles.

Codey looked back to the struggles for women’s suffrage, interracial marriage and the elimination of segregation.

“Can you imagine that in our nation’s history, women and some men had to protest – had to march – so that women in this country had the right to vote.  It’s so hard to imagine that that movement took 70 years before females in this country had the right to vote,” he said.  “Looking back, you have to say to yourself, what were they thinking?  What were they afraid of?”

Expanding on the point of women’s suffrage, state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) used it to argue against the bill’s opponents call to put it to a referendum “just as the New Jersey legislature did in 1914, when the voters rejected women’s right to vote by a 58%-42% margin.”

Lesniak, who painstakingly polished his speech all day, listed several Christian denominations and other reilgius organizations that support same-sex marriage, arguing that not allowing it is akin some religions over others.

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Senate committee will investigate sexist comments made to judicial nominee

A nominee for a Superior Court judgeship testified today that a member of the Essex County Bar Association who interviewed her during her nomination process asked her if she planned to act like a bitch once she got on the bench.

State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) has asked that the Senate Judiciary Committee and the state Administrative Office of the Courts to investigate the circumstances surrounding the interview of Cathy Wasserman, a career public defender.  Wasserman said the lawyer who interviewed her said he was concerned that once she became a judge, she might “assume the persona of the wicked Queen of Snow White.”

“It was an unnerving experience,” Wasserman told the Senators.

The lawyer was not identified.

“I will not tolerate that, nor do I think any female candidate for judge or any other position should have to put up with that kind of conduct,” Gill said.

State Sens. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) and Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) suggested that this incident warrants a new review of the compact between the Governor’s office and the state Bar Association, which allows local lawyers to interview judicial candidates and effectively gives the Bar Association sign off power on judicial nominations.

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Baroni’s Silver Alert Legislation Signed into Law

Legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Baroni (R-14) which establishes a system to help locate missing persons who suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairments has been signed into law by Acting Governor Richard Codey. The measure, S-1551/A-2844, creates an emergency Silver Alert System for providing public notification of those missing persons, in a manner that is similar to the Amber Alerts that are used nationwide to locate missing children.

“The Silver Alert System is designed to help us to quickly and safely locate people who go missing who may not be able to care for themselves,” said Baroni. “People suffering from dementia and other cognitive disabilities may not be aware that they have become lost or entered into potentially dangerous situations. By sending out Silver Alerts, similar to the Amber Alerts that most people are already familiar with, the public can help us to quickly locate these individuals and keep them out of harm’s way.”

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Marriage equality legislation clears Senate Judiciary committee

Marriage equality legislation clears Senate Judiciary committee

TRENTON -- Advocates of marriage equality savored a victory tonight after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass same sex marriage legislation on to the full senate. 

The vote was seven in favor and six opposed. 

The bill's ultimate passage, however, is far from certain.  The Senate will take it up on Thursday in a vote that is expected to be close and not strictly along partisan lines. 

Two Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted against forwarding the bill for a vote of the full Senate - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-ridge) and Vice Chair John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne), while one Republican - state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) voted in favor of moving it.

The committee also unanimously voted to accept Baroni's amendment expanding the scope of protection from legal culpability for refusing to perform, give space or solemnize gay marriages from just clergy to religious societies, institutions and organizations.   Baroni called it the "most profound, far reaching religious protection amendment anywhere in the country."

State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman - who was said to be a possible vote in favor of the legislation until he faced conservative pushback - tried to find a middle ground, saying that although he would voted against the legislation, he would work to rectify shortcomings in the current civil union law. 

"I think this legislation has an obligation, if this legislation should fail on Thursday, I would recommend to work in a bipartisan manner to come up wit a new bill that will give equal rights to everyone," he said.

But state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) - one of the bill's chief sponsors - argued that Bateman's idea was impossible.

"I don't know how you can change a law to accept couples as equal by making them different," he said. 

Girgenti was considered a possible yes vote by marriage equality supporters, but he dashed those hopes with his no vote and the comments that accompanied them.  He said that passing the bill would "fundamentally" change the definition of marriage, and that such a change should be put before the voters. 

"By supporting this measure, I would not only be violating

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The Back Room

National progressive group backs Watson Coleman in CD12

The Progressive Democrats of America Co-Founder and National Director Tim Carpenter and State Chair Mary Ellen Marino today endorsed Bonnie Watson Coleman for the Democratic nomination in the 12thCongressional District.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 24, 2014

Organization to honor Gov. KeanAn event next month for Community Options, Inc. will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the organization's founding and honor Governor Tom Kean, Sr., a was an advocate over 25 years ago for bringing individuals with developmental disabilities out of state institutions into small group homes.Robert...

Op-Ed

How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >

Contributors

(4-23-14) Bridgegate Witnesses Not "RATS" if Testimony is Forced -Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision last week was covered in most newspapers and blogs as an affirmation of the... more »
(Absecon Island, NJ) --With his shocking win in last year's election, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the New Jersey political... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is the only Tea Party group that endorsed Mitt Romney. These guys are the Vichy French of the Tea Party movement. They're the guys who say 'Viva la France,' and then you can't find them when the fighting starts. Come on." - GOP strategist Rick Shaftan, on the Independence Hall Tea Party group.

- PolitickerNJ.com

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