Making a Good Bill Bad

The Question is: Why?

By Carolee Adams, President, Eagle Forum of New Jersey

In 2001, former NJ State Assemblyman Scott Garrett (now Congressman R-5) and State Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39) worked with Eagle Forum of New Jersey, Ridgewood parents, and others to stop nosy, intrusive student surveying of their children without “written, informed, parental consent”. That meant a parent had to, not only be “notified” of such surveys that could be administered to their children, but to be able to review that survey in advance and signify, in writing, with their signature, if they approved or not. It’s as simple as that – akin to a parent giving written consent for a school trip after being satisfactorily advised about the complete details of that trip.

However, over and over again since the 2002-3 legislative session, state legislators have sought to remove “written, informed, parental consent” from the exceptional language used in the 2001 Bill reverting back to only “notification”. “Notification” only used pre-2001 was the reason why “written, informed, parental consent“ was sought! Ridgewood parents claimed they never received “notification”; would never have signed off on such a survey had they been able to review it; and they justifiably sued – twice – and won based upon violations of a student’s rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and even Fourteenth Amendments.

In testimony, among many other factors presented in writing, I reminded Assembly Education committee members of those historic suits, and how costly to local Boards of Education and the State should a parent claim s/he did not receive notification and, consequently, did not grant express written permission. Even though one Assemblyman claimed how he wanted more “proactive” parental involvement, all but one Committee member was, obviously, foolishly satisfied or unconcerned with the sponsors’ assurance of “notification” only.

Further, and not publicly aired, in private conversation with one Republican Assembly member of the committee, an aid commented to me that Municipal Alliances favored the Bill; they needed money for their drug/alcohol abuse programs, etc. When I responded: “Do you mean you would disrespect parental rights and sacrifice a student’s privacy for money,” she and her Assembly member walked away from me prior to a vote of “yes” to approve the Bill and move it out of Committee. Only Assemblyman Scott Rumana voted “No”.

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Posted: February 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature, Parents, Parents Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Assemblyman Sean Kean Weighs In On Judge Paul Escandon, Alimony and Child Support Reform

Assemblyman Sean Kean

Assemblyman Sean Kean says he and Judge Paul Escandon do not share a political agenda, that his proposed legislation to reform alimony and child support is not anti-women, and that he believes in the integrity, ethics and fairness of Escandon.

Kean was responding to Rachel Alintoff’s comment to Governor Chris Christie, “Judge Escandon is the former law partner of Assemblyman Sean Kean whose main platform is reducing Alimony for women. What will you do as Governor to make sure that Judges are kept from carrying out their own political agendas from the bench?”

“Alintoff has been having lots of people call my office about her case,” said Kean, “we tell them we are not familiar with the case and it would be inappropriate for a legislator to call a Judge about a case.”

Kean is the sponsor of two pieces of legislation regarding alimony and child support.  

A685, which is co-sponsored by Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon.  The companion bill in the Senate, S1388 is sponsored by Democratic Senator Nicholas Scutari, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Republican Senator Gerald Cardinale.   The bill provides for modification of child support and certain alimony cases due to changed circumstances.  Kean says this bill makes the Lepis decision, a 1980 NJ Supreme Court decision that defined “change of circumstances” for alimony cases legislated law rather than case law. “This bill puts the current case law into legislation,” said Kean.

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Posted: May 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Alimony and Child Support, Judicial Reform | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments »