Weekly Roundup: Week of Dec. 24

TRENTON – The Statehouse was quiet, typical for a holiday week.

But the couple of things that did happen resonated at the state and national levels.

Earlier this week, Assemblyman Joe Cryan, (D-20), of Union, introduced bills focusing on gun control, a couple of weeks after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre that left 20 children dead.

Current N.J. law states it is unlawful to own or possess an ammunition magazine that holds more than 15 rounds of ammunition.

Under Cryan’s bill, the maximum capacity would be reduced by two-thirds to five rounds.

Also, Sen. Ron Rice, (D-28), Newark, speaking for the Legislative Black Caucus, called for more diversity on the state Supreme Court, stating that Gov. Chris Christie’s latest nominations (one of whom is Japanese American) don’t pass the test.

“It is unacceptable for the New Jersey Supreme Court, for a decade to come, to exclude one-third of New Jersey’s population by having no African-American and Latino members,” Rice said. “Our call remains the same as it has been throughout this process: qualified, diverse, and independent justices: a standard that every Governor, Republican and Democrat, has met for decades.”

He added, “We need justices who represent all of New Jersey – not just a certain ideology, race, or political party,” Caucus Chairman Rice said.  “We are opposed to these most recent nominees because they do not represent the diversity gains made to the State Supreme Court in the past to reflect African-American and Latino participation.

“It is well past time for Governor Christie to work with the Legislature to meet these principles that every prior Governor, Democrat and Republican, has followed. To regress to the past practices of exclusion is a slap in the face to our years of struggle and fight for equality and justice for all people.”

Christie had last year nominated two minorities, Phil Kwon and Bruce Harris, but both failed to get approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On the political watch, Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency and a former N.J. Department of Environmental Protection head, is stepping down.

However, rumors that her departure from D.C. is a prelude to a gubernatorial run were squelched by sources.  She also has been mentioned as a possible president at Princeton University.

Weekly Roundup: Week of Dec. 24