Lautenberg cheers Assembly vote to overturn NJN/WNET deal

NEWARK — The Assembly vote late Thursday to block the state’s planned deal to turn NJN television over to WNET drew praise from U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, (D-NJ).

 “I applaud the State Assembly for taking a stand and not letting Governor Christie ship this critical New Jersey asset across the river,”  Lautenberg said in a release this morning.

The senator has asked the Federal Communications Commission to review the proposal.

“I urge the state Senate to follow the Assembly’s lead and send a message that New Jerseyans won’t let our resources be outsourced to other states. The defeat of this flawed deal with WNET keeps the door open for the continuation of New Jersey based, New Jersey centric television broadcasting.”

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the issue Monday. SCR166 would veto the Christie Administration’s deal with WNET.

The deal drew scrutiny from Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee Thursday, who questioned the transparency of the deal, as well as the state’s fairness in turning NJN over to WNET rather than Montclair State University, whose proposal some lawmakers have said was as good as, if not better than, WNET’s.

When he announced the deal, Christie said the state should not be in the business of public television. The administration said WNET would provide state-of-the-art, New Jersey-centric programming and that much of NJN’s equipment and facilities are outdated.

  Lautenberg cheers Assembly vote to overturn NJN/WNET deal