NJN veto vote likely for Thursday

The Assembly will likely vote on a resolution Thursday that would veto the transfer of New Jersey Network’s operations to the New York-based WNET, a source familiar with the board list said.

The resolution was introduced Tuesday by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-18).  A similar measure was introduced in the senate by state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-37).

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

If approved, the measure would block the transfer, scheduled to occur on July 1.  Democrats said today they also are working on a plan to continue funding for the troubled network so that a better deal can be worked out.

Earlier this month, Gov. Chris Christie announced that NJN operations would be turned over to WNET and that local programming would continue, but would be contracted out to outside providers, including Caucus Education Corporation, a non-profit operated by Steve Adubato Jr.

As part of the five-year agreement, WNET will provide a nightly newscast every night, will continue to present live coverage of major Statehouse addresses and will be required to program at least 20 hours of New Jersey-centric programming per week.

Democratic lawmakers have criticized the deal as a give-away and earlier this week the Star-Ledger reported that the contract calls for the state to assume all risk for the operation of the station and allows for WNET to walk away in the case of “adverse economic change.”

In December the legislature passed the New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Transfer Act, which allows lawmakers to veto the deal within 15 days of its announcement.  A majority of legislators in both houses must vote to disapprove the transfer.

NJN veto vote likely for Thursday