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Monday, March 3, 2014

A New Jersey Non-Emergency State of Emergency

The abuse of power can cover seemingly benign actions which serve to inconvenience, frustrate and delay the law-abiding, patient general public.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has unnecessarily declared a state of emergency for the entire state for Monday, despite the fact the northern half of the state will barely get any accumulation. (Newark, NJ was predicted at midnight Sunday-Monday to get only 0.4 inch of snow.  That's right, four-tenths of one inch of snow. For this, state offices all over the state will be closed Monday!)

There is a nefarious legal reason for this: The state of emergency is the legal cover under which Governor Christie can have official state offices closed.  Why?

Here's the rationale: This allows him to claim that state agencies under his watch have an extra day with which to respond to the multitude of Open Public Records Act (New Jersey's equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act) requests they've gotten in the wake of the various scandals.  In my view, this state of emergency -- beyond being unsupportable by meteorological considerations --  is nothing more than a delaying tactic.  Here, however, the Governor is willing to inconvenience the regular public with closed state offices in order to further frustrate the rights of the same public to have transparency and openness in government. 


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