Assembly passes measure to disapprove of state allowing NJN takeover by WNET

TRENTON – The Assembly passed by a 45-30 vote a resolution that disapproves of Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff’s negotiated contract with WNET to take over the broadcasting operations long provided by state-subsidized New Jersey Network.

Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan sponsored ACR201, and said giving away the station to a New York entity “simply makes no sense.”

The vote capped a contentious day over the fate of the deal, with the Senate Budget Committee also scrutinizing and raising doubts about the deal.

The resolution cites the 2010 “New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Transfer Act,” that gives the Legislature the authority to disapprove a proposed contract within 15 days, via resolution.

“The contract is a joke,” Diegnan said. “It’s a giveaway to WNET. The whole process has been flawed with very little openness throughout.”

Diegnan questioned the merits of the deal, especially after news reports revealed that the state could still be on the hook if WNET faces adverse economic conditions.

“I don’t understand the urgency of putting this deal together,” he said.

Gov. Christie said at a press conference two weeks ago that the state does not belong in the broadcasting business.

Assembly passes measure to disapprove of state allowing NJN takeover by WNET