Dear NMA New Jersey Members,
Last week we informed NJ members that efforts were underway to defeat legislation to authorize the use of automated school bus camera enforcement and we enlisted your help. It was a close battle but we won Monday night when the Senate didn’t post the bill passed by the Assembly earlier in the day, much to the dismay of the lobbyists for the proponents.
The legislation was ready for the last days of the lame duck session and was backed by many institutional and special interest organizations. The bills had been endorsed by parents, teachers, principals, school boards, superintendents, and medical professionals from around the state, including from the New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Parent Teacher Association, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, and the School Transportation Supervisors of New Jersey.
Despite all those endorsements, NMA efforts prevailed through both the public and behind-the-scenes methods required for such a result. It started with committee testimony and moved to convincing newspaper editorial boards to come out in opposition to the plan. Then, when the bills were scheduled, our partner in motorist advocacy, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, ramped up his efforts by working with key legislators in both houses.
It turned out success came in the upper house when Assemblyman O’Scanlon helped ensure there weren’t enough votes for passage, so the bill was never posted for the last necessary vote. One might say Declan was preparing for his new role as a state Senator that would become official the next day with the start of the 218th legislative session.
Upon reflecting on this win, NJ-NMA’s Steve Carrellas, Director of Government and Public Affairs, recalled the final senate vote that authorized the red light camera pilot program. “It made it by just one vote after the third attempt to get that vote. I wasn’t going to let that happen again so this time we just worked to make sure they didn’t have the votes.”
Many thanks to Declan and Steve and to all members who responded to last week’s alerts and contacted their legislators. All the hard work paid off!
Thank you for your support of motorists’ rights in New Jersey!