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(This is a press release.)
Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger and Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn (Monmouth-R’s) have drafted legislation that would amend current law enacted by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy that blocks police from protecting schools when election polling locations are held in their buildings. The legislation comes as elected officials are pushing to bolster overall security of school districts in response to the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas:
“Having law enforcement at polling stations is simply a commonsense idea that will give voters a level of comfort in uncertain times. It becomes even more imperative when we are talking about voting booths located within our schools and to suggest otherwise or to block police from being able to do their jobs is outrageous,” stated Assemblyman Scharfenberger. “We must give municipal and school leaders as many tools as possible to ensure the safety of the public, especially our children, and that is exactly why I spoke out against it last year. Delaying this change will only serve to put lives in harm’s way – we cannot fail to act, and I hope my colleagues in the State House feel the same way.”
“There is not a single reason whatsoever why we shouldn’t make the protection of children and our schools the top priority each and every day. We have an obligation to do everything within our power to safeguard kids across this state. Their safety is paramount, and this legislation is a step in the right direction to ensuring it is our primary focus,” said Assemblywoman Flynn. “As I stated on the Assembly floor recently, we need a serious shift of focus here in New Jersey on how we address the needs of our students. We must stop being distracted by pet projects and instead concentrate on being proactive by funding programs to mitigate learning losses as well as increasing security measures in our classrooms. Our kids deserve a genuine voice in Trenton, we should not ignore their issues simply because they cannot vote. People are tired of politicians giving lip service to these educational issues – they want and deserve action now.”
In January of this year, Governor Murphy signed a bill that barred law enforcement from protecting all election polling locations within the State including schools. Though there were initial attempts to change the bill before its enactment, it passed out of Trenton along party lines.