The infamous traffic jam last year on the George Washington Bridge — a bizarre political payback organized by aides to Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey — did one good thing. It focused lawmakers on the urgent need to reform the huge, secretive Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bistate agency that owns the bridge and other major facilities in the region.
ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — If you ever use a pet groomer, a new law has been proposed in New Jersey that could protect your dog or cat.
As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, a woman was prompted to take action after her dog was killed.Read more
By Matt Friedman NJ Advance Media
Rosemary Marchetto said she took her shih tzu, Bijou, to PetSmart for a routine grooming.
"The pet groomer told me ‘I hope this dog doesn’t give me a hard time. I’ve had a hard day,’” Marchetto, a Northvale resident, told the Assembly Regulatory Professions Committee today. “Forty-five minutes later they called me and told me 'the dog is dead.'”
The committee today debated a bill Marchetto has been lobbying for: “Bijou’s law,” which would require pet groomers in New Jersey to be licensed.
By Steve Strunsky NJ.com
NEW YORK — The New York and New Jersey sponsors of two Port Authority reform bills approved overwhelmingly by both state legislatures have scheduled a joint a press conference Tuesday to urge the governors to sign the measures into law.
Lawmakers from both sides of the Hudson River will gather at New York State legislative offices in lower Manhattan, following approval of the bills by the New Jersey State Assembly on Nov. 13. The Assembly's votes of 74-0 and 74-0 with one abstention made it the last of the four houses of both legislatures to approve the bills, following unanimous approvals by the other three.Read more
Editorial The Daily News November 30, 2014
The Port Authority would get a much-needed dose of sunshine under a pair of reform bills that have passed the legislatures of New York and New Jersey.
Govs. Cuomo and Christie should sign both into law.
The first measure compels the Port to abide by the freedom of information laws of both states — and, where the two statutes conflict, to follow the path of maximum public exposure.Read more
NOVEMBER 28, 2014
NCJW immigration panel decries “broken system”
President Obama’s recent speech on immigration — and his decision not to deport some 5 million people — most likely was driven, at least in part, by the advocacy efforts of groups such as the National Council of Jewish Women.
The Bergen County section, which held a forum on immigration reform last Tuesday, was in the process of sending a letter to the president when his formal statement was issued.
“It was a packed house,” Bea Podorefsky of Teaneck said of the forum, which drew 300 attendees. She and fellow NCJW member Joyce Kalman chaired the event.
Assembly passes Port Authority reform package, now on to guv’s desks Read more at Assembly passes Port Authority reform package, now on to guv’s desk
By Chase Brush PolitickerNJ.com
TRENTON – The legislative package aimed at reforming an embattled Port Authority cleared its final hurdle today, when it passed the General Assembly 74-0-1.
“Long before ‘Bridge-gate’ was even a term, we have been pushing for reforms at the Port Authority to address the gross mismanagement and abuse of taxpayer funds that have been well-documented. We finally have a chance now to put real reforms in place, and we can’t squander this opportunity,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-37), the bills’ primary sponsor. “These bills will help create unprecedented transparency and accountability at this multi-billion dollar agency in order to help protect the commuters of this state who have been paying the price for years of lack of oversight. I’m pleased my colleagues in the legislature have come together to support this overhaul, and I hope the governor will join us in doing the same.”
By Terrence Dopp Bloomberg News
New Jersey’s Assembly gave final approval to a bill aimed at boosting transparency at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which has been under scrutiny since allies of Governor Chris Christie ordered lane closings last year at the George Washington Bridge.
The measure would require the agency to file annual audits, protect whistle-blowers and create an internal inspector general’s office. It also would order the authority to hold at least six public hearings before raising tolls.
Lawmakers have called for more accountability at the agency, a source of patronage and perks for decades, since e-mails came to light showing the involvement of Christie allies in engineering traffic jams last September as political retribution. The Port Authority runs the New York area’s three major airports, four bridges, a bus terminal, commuter rail, two tunnels, ports and lower Manhattan’s World Trade Center.
“Last year’s traffic nightmare at the George Washington Bridge is an indication that it has only become more corrupt and less accountable to the people it’s supposed to serve,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a Democrat from Englewood who sponsored the bill. “This will promote transparency and prevent a Bridgegate from ever happening again.”
The measure is separate from a bill sponsored by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democratic co-chairman of the panel investigating the lane closings. His measure, introduced last month, would strip the state’s two governors of veto power over the agency and give the legislatures more power in making appointments. That bill has yet to receive a hearing and no action is scheduled.
Huttle’s legislation, which the Senate unanimously approved in September, passed the Assembly 74-0 today and heads to Christie’s desk. The measure is a bi-state effort that passed both houses of the New York legislature in June and awaits Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.Read more
BY DUSTIN RACIOPPI -STATE HOUSE BUREAU | THE RECORD
The state Assembly passed a bill to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, bringing the bi-state agency another step closer to stronger scrutiny and more transparency after last year’s George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal.
The agency’s overhaul would be accomplished through more than a dozen measures included in the bill, an identical version of which passed the Senate in September.Read more
Steve Strunsky NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
TRENTON — A pair of bills that would subject the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to both states’ public records laws, encourage whistleblowing and require financial reporting to lawmakers in both states are scheduled for a vote Thursday by the full Assembly.
The bills have already been approved by unanimous votes of the full state Senate and by both houses of the New York State Legislature. So approval Thursday by the Assembly would mean only the signatures of Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York were required to enact the first bi-state laws governing the Port Authority in 23 years — measures intended to enhance transparency and accountability in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal and a controversial 2011 toll hike.Read more