Bill Baroni

ELEC director says new law creates no immediate impact on state elections, but philosophical groundwork unmistakable

Following today' 5-4 Supreme Court monumental ruling enabling big business, unions and nonprofits untrammeled access to federal campaign contributions, Jeff Brindle, executive director of the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), said his office is reviewing the decision and its effects on New Jersey. 

The ruling enables campaign spending at the federal level that is allowable under law at the state level, Brindle said.

"We're looking at the decision as we speak," said the ELEC director. "I really don't see any vulnerability to campaign finance statutes involving candidates for state office in New Jersey. This decision states that a ban at the federal level is unconstitutional. Here in New Jersey, no such ban on corporations or unions exists. With regard to federal spending, it very clearly lifts the ban on independent spending."

A professor of elections law at Seton Hall University, state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) pointed out, however, that campaign finance laws govern how much a corporation or union can spend, when and to whom - specific measures that philosophically clash with the federal decision. A corporate supporter of a campaign in New Jersey can't donate more than $2,600 per election, for example.

"Somewhere, John D. Rockefeller is smiling," Baroni said of the decision, referring to the robber baron brazeness that triggered early early campaign finance bans.

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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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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 2nd

Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080  ...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

Poll

Governor Chris Christie's trip to Mexico...:

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