Brickbats

Brickbat: Trust Us

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Some agencies in New Jersey are refusing open records requests that would show how they are reacting to the coronavirus pandemic and how they are implementing a series of emergency orders by Gov. Phil Murphy, citing the state's 2005 Emergency Health Powers Act. That act says that "any correspondence, records, reports and medical information made, maintained, received or filed pursuant to this act shall not be considered a public or government record." State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, one of the law's sponsors, says that despite the language of the law she did not think it would be used to deny public access to records. Weinberg also sponsored a law that passed earlier this year that changed a requirement that state and local governments respond to an open records request in seven days. The new law, passed as part of a package of bills to address the pandemic, says governments must make a "reasonable effort" to meet that deadline or "as soon as possible thereafter."

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  1. Wow! If only authoritarians had thought of this earlier last century. What a different world we’d have today!

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  2. State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, one of the law’s sponsors, says that despite the language of the law she did not think it would be used to deny public access to records.

    Who knew back then that one day New Jersksey would apply her law as written.

    1. Ha!

    2. Well done!

    3. “State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, one of the law’s sponsors, says that despite the language of the law she did not think.”

      FTFY

  3. If it saves just one life

    1. If it saves just one of the right lives.

      FTFY – Our governor is a big fan of identity politics.

  4. State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg is no fool, what else could that language have meant other than what it says? But she’s going to pretend to be shocked – shocked! – to find the language is being interpreted as meaning exactly what it says, and she knows damn well why it says what it says.

    If you’re crafting legislation you want to see enacted into law, it takes a year or more to write up your proposed bill, not because the legal and technical language is so difficult but because you don’t simply write up a bill and then throw it out on the Congressional floor for debate and voting. No, you want to make sure your bill is going to pass before you bother to introduce it. So you take your proposed bill around to the most powerful and influential members and ask them what it would take to get them to support the bill, their answer is always going to be something along the lines of “what’s in it for me?” It takes a year or more to get your bill written due to the protracted negotiations over the horse-trading, the back-scratching, the palm-greasing, the log-rolling, the ass-kissing and the ass-kicking, the backroom wheeling and dealing to pay off all the people who need to be paid off. It’s how the sausage gets made.

    Emergency declarations must be made fast, there’s no time for the protracted negotiations, the wheeling and dealing has to be real damn direct – “gimme my fucking pound of flesh or I’ll cut your nuts off on the next budget negotiation, and remember I’ve got pictures of you and that intern.” It’s how the sausage gets made when you need the sausage real quick.

    So no, that language didn’t get mysteriously entered into the language of the bill, everybody knows damn well what it means and what it’s there for. You don’t have to bother with the vague language and the nod-and-a-wink deals, the plausible deniability and the secret meetings – feel free to send your extortion demands straight to the governor because nobody’s ever going to see them.

    1. Politicians love the 1,000+ page bills because it is easier to hide the backroom deals from the public, and the opposition if you can get the bill to a vote before they get a chance to scrutinize.

    2. +1

  5. Loretta Weinberg, one of the law’s sponsors, says that despite the language of the law she did not think it would be used to deny public access to records.

    Loretta Weinberg: Stupid or Evil?

    1. and

    2. Why not both?

    3. I didn’t see where she said what the language was intended to do.

      1. I heard that someone asked her but she declined to answer, citing the state’s 2005 Emergency Health Powers Act.

    4. Education: University of California, Berkeley, Fairleigh Dickinson University

      I’m going to go with evil.

  6. “any correspondence, records, reports and medical information made, maintained, received or filed pursuant to this act shall not be considered a public or government record.”

    I don’t get it. They just shared the information over some privately-owned media platform. Just go file suit against them. Duh. Easy peasy.

  7. That act says that “any correspondence, records, reports and medical information made, maintained, received or filed pursuant to this act shall not be considered a public or government record.” State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, one of the law’s sponsors, says that despite the language of the law she did not think it would be used to deny public access to records.

    I’m guessing this is another case of “they had to pass it to find out what was in it.”

  8. As big a target this lady has made herself, I hesitate to say there might be a legit reason (other than secretive tyranny). After having spent years working with gobblety-gook regulations on medical privacy, just a guess that she probably intended the law to not release medical information about patients.

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