Allen does not want Judiciary Committee seat

State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington) said today that she is probably not interested in a seat on the soon-to-be-expanded Senate Judiciary Committee.

“When you change committees you have to give up one, and while I think Judiciary would be an excellent committee, I would be hard pressed to give up one of the two I have,” said Allen, who is the ranking Republican on the Education Committee and the second ranking minority party member of the Health Committee.

Under a rules change proposed by Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and agreed to by Republicans, the Judiciary Committee will add two new senators, one Republican and one Democrat, to expand its membership from 11 to 13.

Despite its large size, the Judiciary Committee has no legislators from south of I-195. The southernmost member is state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton). Two Republican who hope to fill the new spot, Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove) and Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Branchburg), both come from North Jersey.

But Allen, whose hometown of Burlington is about 15 miles south of Trenton, said geography does not matter when selecting Senators to fill the new spots.

“I’m not sure geography is an issue, in all honesty,” she said. “On judiciary, everyone on the committee gets information on the people who come before them, and if any of us feel we want to add something… we can testify.”