The scorecard released today makes it clear that we need more environmental champions in the legislature.
“Unfortunately, the New Jersey Legislature’s average score continues to drop. The number of legislators receiving an 80% or better on New Jersey LCV’s scorecard has fallen in both the Senate and Assembly,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey LCV. “Both chambers are failing—the Senate earned a dismal average of just 68% with the Assembly close behind at only 64%."
“While New Jersey voters are overwhelmingly supportive of protecting our environment, there is a disconnect between the commitment of voters to conservation and actions of elected representatives in Trenton.” said Debbie Mans, Chair of New Jersey LCV. “This scorecard is one facet of our work to hold elected officials accountable for their actions to safeguard our natural resources and protect public health,” she continued.
New Jersey LCV empowers legislators with the information they need to protect our water, air, and open spaces and is leading the effort protect our precious resources by holding legislators accountable for their environmental positions.
In 2015, Democrats in the Senate scored significantly better at safeguarding the environment and improving public health than their Republican counterparts on New Jersey LCV’s report (79% - 52%). In the Assembly the contrast is even starker with Democrats supporting the environment almost two to one over Republicans ( 80% - 41%).
“New Jersey communities deserve leaders who will preserve our open spaces, help prevent flooding, keep pipelines away from our water supplies, and stand up to big polluters,” explained Potosnak.
These scores are based on rigorous analysis, review, and consultation with environmental policy experts from across the state, and track the most important votes made in the 2014 – 2015 legislative session. New Jersey LCV’s scorecard is objective, transparent, and clear, allowing citizens to easily assess support for the environment by each legislator.
“Unlike other scorecards or legislative report cards, our scorecard is an equitable comparison of each senator and assemblyperson. New Jersey LCV’s scorecard focuses on bills that were actually brought to a full vote and where the environmental position of New Jersey LCV was directly communicated to each Legislator,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey LCV.
Top Three Legislators:
- Senate: Kip Bateman (R-16)-100%, Linda Greenstein (D-14)-100%, Loretta Weinberg (D-37)-100%
- Assembly: Dan Benson (D-14)-91%, Mila Jasey (D-27)-91%, John McKeon (D-27)-91%
Bottom Three Legislators:
- Senate: Joseph Pennacchio (R-26)-23%, Steven Oroho (R-24)-23%, Michael Doherty (R-23)-38%
- Assembly: Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-8)-9%, Christopher J. Brown (R-8)-18%,Donna Simon (R-16)-18%
Key Environmental Issues:
During this past session, the New Jersey Legislature helped to deliver a major environmental victory providing super majority support for an open space public question. In November of 2014, New Jerseyans had a chance to vote on Public Question 2 to constitutionally dedicate funding for open space preservation and stewardship. Families across the state demonstrated their overwhelming support for environmental protection with 65% of voters enthusiastically endorsing preserving our state’s farms, forests, and historic places.
“Open spaces are critical to New Jersey’s long-term economic stability and the health of our residents because the land cleans our water,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey LCV. “Voters sent a clear message to elected officials everywhere that environmental protection, particularly preservation and stewardship of open space, are a top priority.”
The legislature is struggling to deliver on voters’ commitment to safeguarding our natural resources:
- Implementation language for the public referendum on sustainable, long-term funding, for preservation and stewardship of open spaces, farms, forests, parks and historic places has not been adopted;
- Efforts to stack commissions charged with protecting our water supply in the Pinelands and Highlands with anti-conservation members have gone unstopped by the Senate;
- Both chambers passed out laws eliminating the requirement to obtain voter approval before local municipalities can sell off water infrastructure to private companies; and
- Because of the Legislature’s failure to reinstate New Jersey's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gases Initiative (RGGI), our coastal businesses and families face increased threats to life and property as sea level continues to rise from climate change.
Citizens can find the scorecard at: http://www.njlcv.org/legislative-scorecard.html, on Twitter at @NJLCV and using hash tags #NJLCVScore