By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog
After Assembly Democrats failed to complete the Senate-initiated override of Governor Chris Christie‘s veto of S2360, Save Jerseyans, their Republican colleagues are dropping what they described as a simplified version of prior proposals to streamline reporting for mental health expungements.
It’s all happening in the context of the larger gun control debate fueled by presidential politics, terrorism and so-called mass shootings.
On Thursday, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick was joined by Republican Whip Scott Rumana on an eighteen minute tele-press conference call to discuss the new proposal with the Trenton press corps. If adopted, it would require law enforcement to be notified whenever a mental health record is expunged as opposed to only when the expungement is related to a Garden State gun purchases.
“I’m calling on the Speaker, Vinnie Prieto, my friend, to put aside politics and simply do the right thing,” and Bramnick, “and that is to make a minor change to this expungement bill that I sponsored, and I think now, and I thought then, it was a good bill; but as the Legislative calendar continued, and the governor’s council pointed out some issues, and Senator Kean pointed out some issues in the Senate, it became clear that a small change to this piece of legislation would have significant expanded consequences. It would close a loophole and we could simply pass it immediately.”
“So the question is simple; if you want to do the right thing, do it,” added Bramnick. “If you want to do the political thing, then keep posting overrides. But we know why they do that; they do that because they want to override and an override is more important than policy.”
The newly-strengthened Democrat majority will picked up four new members in January; consequently, few Trenton-watchers expect them to heed the minority’s advice on a compromise at a time when 2017 gubernatorial politics is catapulting to the fore of every Trenton politicians’ mind. For Rumana, the proposal’s sponsor, it’s a very simple issue outside of the politics.
“By pursuing a bill of this nature, it closes all loopholes and doesn’t leave anything open. We pointed this out in the last voting session (held December 3), it’s a loophole you could drive a Mack truck through,” opined the veteran Passaic legislator. “It’s a shame we didn’t see that at first, when we first voted on the original bill. The administration obviously took another look at it and now that we’ve looked at the record produced by the administration as far as the CV (conditional veto) message, it is very clear now that this is a much better way to go and protects the public.”
“I am convinced the governor would sign a piece of legislation that expanded the roll of law enforcement in determining whether expungements are appropriate,” concluded Bramnick when asked about the Governor’s position. “I believe that my caucus is fully behind this slight change. We can do it before December 17th or we can do it on December 17th.”
“So, is it politics or is it policy?”