State House Democrats thwart Christie

Recent events in North Carolina and New Jersey couldn’t have been arranged better to highlight the importance of electing a progressive legislature—and keeping up the pressure on it—even in the midst of a national decline in democracy.

state-house-450.jpgIn North Carolina, Republicans in charge of the state effectively disenfranchised its minority population with onerous voting registration laws, and as a bow to the outgoing administration effectively hamstrung the incoming, duly elected Democratic governor (and subsequent governors) from providing effective leadership. Thus we watch a section of the U.S. fall into lockstep with our budding national autocracy.

In New Jersey, in contrast, a Democratic legislature—augmented by some keep-them-on-their-toes People Power—thwarted several attempts by lame-duck Gov. Chris Christie to derail progress while continuing to propose progressive policies.

Among them:

  • Blocking Christie’s attempt to broaden justifications for carrying a concealed handgun to include the vague “serious threats,”
  • Passing a bill to regulate ride-sharing services to provide protections for passengers,
  • Killing Christie’s attempt to change ethics laws to allow him to profit from writing a book while in office, despite the fact that Christie threw in large raises for legislative aides as a sweetener, and
  • Tabling, for now at least, Christie’s attempt to defang press critics by removing public notices—a large source of revenue for newspapers and the only accessible source for those without online service—from print publications.