Singleton soliciting feedback on legislation from 'Citizen Co-Sponsors'
You don’t need to be elected to the New Jersey Legislature to weigh in on some of the key bills being debated in the Statehouse.
A new section on Assemblyman Troy Singleton’s legislative website, www.assemblymansingleton.com, seeks feedback and opinions from residents on over a dozen measures now under consideration in Trenton.
It’s the latest action the 7th District assemblyman has taken to try to engage constituents in state government and politics.
“It’s all about bringing folks into Trenton and having them see what’s going on and let them weigh in with their own views and ideas,” Singleton said Thursday, the same day the so-called “Citizen Co-Sponsor” project launched.
The site is seeking input on 43 individual bills divided among the following categories: Budget and Taxes, Economy and Jobs, Education, Environment, Health Care, Law and Justice, New Jersey Miscellaneous, and Working Families.
The bills include legislation sponsored by Singleton, as well as measures sponsored by other members of the Assembly and Senate.
For example, visitors to the site can read a copy of Singleton’s bill to restore New Jersey’s earned income tax credit for the working poor to 25 percent of the poverty level, and then either submit a written comment about it or click on a simple support or oppose response.
Respondents can choose if they want their comments and responses to be published on the website or remain private.
Other bills Singleton is seeking feedback on include a controversial Aid for Dying bill to allow New Jersey doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminal patients, a proposal to require voter approval before a charter school can open in a community, and another to repeal the state’s inheritance tax.
Singleton said he plans to use the feedback to improve the legislation he sponsored, and he plans to refer comments about the other bills he hasn’t sponsored to the lawmakers who did. He said he will also consider the feedback he receives if the legislation comes to the Assembly floor for a vote.
Ironically, the Democratic lawmaker said he got the idea for the website after spotting something similar on former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s page.
“There’s no monopoly on good ideas, and I saw this as a way for people to stay connected to their government,” he said.
In addition to the Citizen Co-Sponsor endeavor, Singleton has solicited input from constituents both by creating several citizen advisory panels and through a section of his website dubbed “There Should Be a Law.”
One idea submitted through the website by Mount Laurel resident Nancy Hartwick to reform how the state issues and renews handicapped-parking placards was sponsored by Singleton and eventually signed into law.
Another bill Singleton sponsored was generated by a student advisory team from the Magowan Elementary School in Edgewater Park. It prohibits computer-service providers from disclosing data collected from public or private schools they service to third parties.
“We believe strongly in staying in close contact with the people who put us in office. This is just an extension,” Singleton said.