NJ Law Would Force Governor, Top Lawmakers to Meet and Talk
Are New Jersey leaders communicating with each other and the public the way they should be?
Would it help if the governor and representatives from the Legislature were forced to sit down, face-to-face, every three months and discuss important issues? And then open their meeting up to members of the public and take questions?
This might sound like a wild and crazy idea in a state where leaders of the same party don't always get along, but that’s exactly what one lawmaker is proposing.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, is sponsoring legislation that would require the governor, the state Senate president, the Senate minority leader, the Assembly speaker and the Assembly minority leader to meet at least once every quarter at the State House in Trenton for at least two hours.
He said this would help to foster better communication.
“They’d talk about the state of New Jersey, what progress we’ve made in the last quarter and what we expect to do for the citizens in the next quarter or the next year," Bramnick said.
“What we get now is separate press conferences. There’s antagonism between the branches of government and it’s not Democrat versus Republican — some of it is Democrat versus Democrat. People must be in that same room.”
Bramnick pointed out that “this is no different than a corporate leadership board."
"We have to show unity both to the business community, to average citizens, that we’re working together. These quarterly meetings should be mandated, and they should be part of the Constitution.”
He said after they meet behind closed doors, his bill would require elected leaders to open the meeting to the public.
“Why shouldn’t we meet quarterly and report to the citizens and let their representatives ask questions? What’s wrong with that? I mean, that’s basically what we’re elected to do," he said.
The legislation specifies that each leader would be required to attend each quarterly meeting and they would not be allowed to have representatives attend in their place.
So far the measure has not been assigned to any committee.