TRENTON — The NAACP is holding its national conference in Atlantic City this summer, and the state could spend $2 million to make it happen.
A bill allocating state funds to cover costs associated with the week-long meeting of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization was among those sent to Governor Phil Murphy on the last day of the last session. legislation last week.
He swung almost exclusively along party lines in the Assembly, 49-24, where the only Republican to back him was the only black Republican in the Legislative Assembly, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, R-Cape May. Voting was more bipartisan in December in the Senate, where six of 15 Republicans were in favor.
Assemblyman Brian Bergen, R-Morris, called the idea madness.
“It’s hard for me to say that with a straight face. Two million dollars for the NAACP to hold a conference in Atlantic City. Have we lost our minds?” Bergen said.
Bergen said that regardless of the band and what they do, it’s insulting to waste money on a private band’s party.
“Are we doing this for the VFW, the American Legion, the police, the fire department?” he said. “The answer is no because it would be ridiculous to offer that in any other potential circumstance.”
It is not uncommon for the state to spend money on a private event. NJ Transit upgraded its infrastructure in the Meadowlands ahead of the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in 2014. The state upgraded roads as it approached Philadelphia when the Republican National Convention was held there in 2000.
The money would not go directly to the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, as was envisioned in the original version of the legislation. It would go to the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which could not spend it for any purpose other than the costs associated with Atlantic City hosting the July convention.
Still, Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, R-Monmouth, questioned whether it set a precedent that other groups might demand — perhaps the NRA or the right to life, he said, citing examples that would be less in tune with the Murphy administration and the Democratic majority in the Legislature. .
“One of my concerns is, would that open the floodgates for all the other private organizations to want the same deal?” Scharfenberger said.
The bill, S4218, is among 141 pieces of legislation Murphy must sign or veto by noon Tuesday. Any bills it fails to act on are rejected by a “pocket veto” and would have to start the legislative process all over again.
Murphy helped Atlantic City’s NAACP campaign for the convention and once served on the NAACP’s national board of directors.
The Senate passed Bill 27-5 on Dec. 20. Here’s how the voting went:
Yes: Addiego, Codey, Cruz-Perez, Cryan, Cunningham, Diegnan, Gopal, Greenstein, Lagana, Madden, Pou, Ruiz, Sarlo, Scutari, Singleton, Smith, Stack, Sweeney, Turner, Vitale, Weinberg
No: gills, rice
Do not vote: Beach, Sacco
Yes: Kean, Oroho, Pennacchio, Polistina, Singer, Testa
No: Connors, O’Scanlon, Thompson
Do not vote: Bateman, Bucco, Corrado, Doherty, Holzapfel, Schepisi
The Assembly adopted it 49-24-4 on January 10.
Yes: Armato, Benson, Burzichelli, Calabrese, Caputo, Carter, Chaparro, Chiaravalloti, Conaway, Coughlin, Danielsen, DeAngelo, Downey, Egan, Freiman, Giblin, Greenwald, Holley, Houghtaling, Jasey, Johnson, Karabinchak, Kennedy, Lampitt, Lopez, Mazzeo, McKeon, McKnight, Mejia, Moen, Moriarty, Mosquera, Mukherji, Murphy, Pintor Marin, Reynolds-Jackson, Spearman, Stanley, Sumter, Swain, Taliaferro, Timberlake, Tucker, Tully, Vainieri Huttle, Verrelli, Wimberly, Zwicker
Don’t vote: Jimenez, Quijano, Speight
No: Auth, Bergen, Bramnick, Catalano, Clifton, DeCroce, DeFuccio, DePhillips, DiMaio, DiMaso, Dunn, Kean, McGuckin, Munoz, Peters, Peterson, Rooney, Scharfenberger, Simonsen, Space, Stanfield, Thomson, Webber, Wirths
Abstained: Dancer, Gove, Rumpf
Michael Symons is the State House Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at [email protected].
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