NJ residents want transparency in government. That much is clear

April 22, 2024

Transparency ― opening a public window on the grinding gears of government and party politics ― is all the rage these days.

The clamor for a more open, democratic process is most evident in the fierce blowback lawmakers are facing over a plan to gut the state’s Open Public Records Act, a crucial yet imperfect tool used by the public and the press to keep tabs on the inner workings of government.

It’s the law that forces the public entities to release government documents, ranging from routine to sensitive and internal. They are the type of documents that officials would prefer to keep under seal. But legislators are in a rush to tighten that seal, sparking an uproar that caught many by surprise…

There are still obstacles on the short-term agenda. For one, a separate federal court case, Conforti v. Hanlon, could have far reaching implications. The case, which may be heard in the fall, could permanently banish the “county line” bracketing for both parties. The 3rd Circuit ruling last week applies only to Democratic contests in the June 4 primary.

Julia Sass Rubin, a Rutgers professor whose analysis of the county line power served as crucial evidence in the most recent federal rulings, believes legislative leaders will try to preempt the Conforti case by passing “reforms” that allow for changes in ballots while preserving their power to select and bracket candidates.

Still, Sass Rubin believes that there is now momentum for a change that, for at least the time being, has weakened the power of the party machines.

“I do think that there is an opening for real reforms,” she said. “I’m not naïve. I don’t think it’s like a switch is going to go off.” Yet she cited the surprising number of legislators who publicly endorsed discarding the old balloting system, and how candidates for governor in 2025 have also gone on record calling for permanently reforming the ballots.

NorthJersey.com, April 22, 2024

Recent Posts

MHA program earns CAHME Reaccreditation

The Bloustein School’s Master of Health Administration program has been awarded reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). “CAHME's mission is to advance the quality of healthcare management education globally....

Courtney Culler Wins Excellence in Student Support Award

Each year, the School of Graduate Studies recognizes the notable achievements of graduate students, faculty, and staff at our annual awards ceremony. These awards recognize important accomplishments in research and scholarship, teaching and mentoring, leadership,...

Rutgers Today Spotlight: Lisa Harrison-Gulla

From Rutgers Today Public Health Career Inspired By Family Legacy and Personal Challenges Lisa Harrison-Gulla began her public health career 30 years ago helping those suffering from addiction in their treatment and recovery. Now, she’s using her experience – along...

NJSPL – Industry Employment Growth in NJ

By Will Irving Unpredictability has been one of the defining features of New Jersey’s labor market for much of the last two years. As the state’s unemployment rate climbed to among the highest in the nation, payroll employment continued to grow steadily before slowing...

MPP Alum Part of WaPo Pulitzer Prize Winning Team

Emily Guskin, MPP '09 and her colleagues at The Washington Post were recently recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their immersive series on the AR-15 rifle in American politics and culture. She is also a 2006 alumnus of the University of...

Upcoming Events

Event Series Informatics

AI Through a Rutgers Lens (Microsoft) Part 3

Microsoft, 885 2nd Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10017 885 Second Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY, United States

Please join us as we explore the world of AI with help from Rutgers experts who wrestle with these questions daily.
Socially Cognizant Robotics: Preparing for a future in which humans and robots regularly interact and society develops new rules.

Jersey City Alumni Mixer

Zeppelin Hall Biergarten 88 Liberty View Dr, Jersey City, New Jersey

Join us for an alumni mixer in #JerseyCity on Thursday, June 6th at Zeppelin Hall Biergarten. Parking for Zeppelin Hall is FREE - more information can be found here: https://zeppelinhall.com/map/. This […]