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Nanny State of the Week: Jail time for texting while walking in New Jersey

By Eric Boehm / March 28, 2016

A New Jersey lawmaker has an idea that hits a grand slam of nannyism.

It’s the rare occasion when we can celebrate an idea that is overly paternalistic, completely unnecessary, entirely unenforceable and laughably ridiculous, all at the same time.

Shutterstock image

DON’T TEXT AND WALK: Be aware of your surroundings, because texting while walking could land you in jail if one New Jersey lawmaker gets her way.

State Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden, has proposed a bill to ban texting while walking.

Yes, while walking.

After being mocked by several news outlets in New Jersey, Lampitt apparently pulled the bill from consideration and the state has erased all traces of it from the state legislature’s website.

A one-line description of the bill still appears online, however. It says Lampitt’s legislation would have established a motor vehicle offense of “unlawful use of hand-held wireless telephone by pedestrians.”

Can you imagine receiving a traffic ticket for walking, on a sidewalk, with a cell phone in hand? That’s pretty much what the bill would have done. According to, which first covered the proposal, the penalty for texting while walking would have been $50 and offenders could have been required to attend classes on highway safety.

Get caught more than once and you could end up in jail.

“Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road,” Lampitt said in a statement, according to

Lampitt was apparently not messing around with this idea. According to, her proposal called for repeat offenders to be sent to jail for 15 days – where, one would assume, they would not be texting, interfering with traffic or walking very far.

Image via Ballotpedia

LAMPITT: State Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt’s bill is a rare occasion to celebrate a Nanny State grand slam. It’s an idea that is overly paternalistic, completely unnecessary, entirely unenforceable and laughably ridiculous, all at the same time.

ALSO IN NEW JERSEY: State ban on churches selling gravestones takes effect

Being distracted by texting is indeed a measurable problem, and one that seems to be increasing as more people spend more time with their noses buried in their cell phone screens. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that there were 2 million injuries to texter-walkers during 2010, a three-fold increase since 2004.

But is throwing people in jail the right response?

Lampitt’s proposal will likely not become law in New Jersey – at least not this year – but she’s actually behind the times in some parts of the state.

In Fort Lee, New Jersey, a town already famous for politically manufactured traffic problems, it’s already illegal to text while walking around. Getting caught cellphone-in-hand will leave you with an $85 fine and ticket for jaywalking.

Thomas Ripoli, chief of the Fort Lee Police Department, told ABC News that the borough instituted the new fines in 2012 after having three fatal accidents involving pedestrians in the span of one year.

Other states might soon be following in New Jersey’s finger and footprints.

Texting while driving bans have been implemented in 46 states plus the District of Columbia. Fourteen states (including New Jersey) plus D.C. have bans on any and all cell-phone use by drivers.

Busy-body lawmakers in those states are now eyeing pedestrians. Variations on the “no texting while walking” bill have been introduced in Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada and New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. None of them have been passed into law.

Fines and jail time are completely inappropriate punishments for this type of activity, occasionally dangerous though it may be. Instead, hey, maybe just be aware of your surroundings and wait until you’re someplace safe to continue snapchatting with your friends.

And if any state is going to pass a law punishing people for texting while walking, we can only hope they make it a little bit of fun.

Instead of a traffic ticket and a fine, how about something that involves bears?

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New Jersey Must Focus on Cutting Spending All of our futures depend on it


March 30,2016
Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi

Ridgewood NJ, When looking at why the cost of living in New Jersey is so absurdly high, it is imperative to understand actual numbers for spending around the State.

Anyone following the proposed Atlantic City bankruptcy and/or takeover is probably trying to understand how Atlantic City got to this point. Most people are unaware that the population of Atlantic City consists of only 39,500 residents and 6,679 school age children. Yet, the municipal budget is $262,000,000 equaling spending of $26,531.64 per household of 4 people.

Likewise the school budget is $166,000,000 which equals an average spending of $24,887.56 per child. In other words, for a family of 4 with two school age children, the governmental and school spending in Atlantic City equals $76,306.76 per household. We must cut spending and figure out a better way. All of our futures depend on it.

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“Bergen & Passaic Are NOT BLUE, Neither Is New Jersey, We Are Ignored! Donald Trump Will Not Ignore Us!”

Robert Auth

BREAKING ENDORSEMENT! A special message from Bergen & Passaic County Assemblyman Robert Auth

“Bergen & Passaic Are NOT BLUE, Neither Is New Jersey, We Are Ignored! Donald Trump Will Not Ignore Us!”

Dear Bergen and Passaic County Voters,

I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President of these United States.

Donald Trump is a neighbor who understands and cares about the quality of life in our region, but most importantly — I want us to win again! I believe Donald Trump is the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton in Bergen and Passaic County in this general election.

In a recent Fredric U. Dicker column (NY Post) it was reported that Trump is winning Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties.

These New York counties are neighbors to Bergen and Passaic, and their demographics are similar to ours. I believe Donald Trump will not only win them all, but help Republican candidates across New Jersey win at the local level, to help rebalance government within our local communities.

I ask you to join me in supporting Donald J. Trump for President. Not only will he Make America Great Again, he will help make New Jersey Great Again, and most importantly, he will help make a better Bergen and Passaic County for my constituents.

Whether it is through restructuring unfair trade deals, reforming health care, bringing REAL support to our veterans and law enforcement professionals, reducing taxes, or ending illegal immigration – Donald Trump will revive our economy and revitalize our national stature like no other candidate can.

Let’s work and vote together to make Bergen and Passaic Great Again. Donald Trump 2016!

N.J. Assemblyman Robert Auth (D39 – Bergen, Passaic)

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New Jersey Lawmakers want to know why businesses are leaving N.J…ah because of YOU STUPID!


Trenton= dumb as a box of rocks


we had to repeat this Trenton , Ridgewood , they are just not listening

By Matt Friedman | NJ Advance Media for

TRENTON — New Jersey’s state government would seek to better understand why companies are leaving the state under legislation approved by a Senate panel today.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee voted 10-0 to approve the bill, which would require the state’s labor commissioner conduct a written survey of any major company that’s either moving out of state or laying off a large number of employees.

The legislation comes in the wake of Mercedes-Benz decision to vacate its Bergen County headquarters and take 1,000 jobs with it to the outskirts of Atlanta, citing the South’s lower cost of doing business.

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Assembly Republicans Decry Democratic Spending Prior to Session



Prior to a Monday’s session, where several bills from an anti-poverty initiative from Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-32) were on the board list, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-20) laid the blame for New Jersey’s dire financial straits at the Democratic majority’s feet. Bramnick and Assembly members Anthony Bucco (R-25) and Amy Handlin (R-13) joined him in saying that majority rule from tax-payers should determine spending. JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

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Bergen Record Promotes Trade Union Socialism for New Jersey

Senate President Sweeney_theridgewoodblog

Stile: Is Sweeney reshaping Jersey’s bedrock?


The late Gov. Alfred E. Driscoll, a founding father of the modern state constitution, probably would have been appalled with state Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s approach to New Jersey’s hallowed charter.

In 1947, Driscoll urged the 81 delegates who had been chosen to draft the new document to refrain from padding it with their pet legislative projects. Stick to “basic fundamental principles,” he said.

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Senate President Sweeney says tiered health insurance plans needed in New Jersey



The plan by New Jersey’s largest insurance company to divide hospitals into two tiers has already angered customers and health care providers and now it has split Democratic lawmakers as the Legislature considers bills to review the move. John C. Ensslin, The Record Read more

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13 takeaways from Christie’s marathon news conference


By Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for
on March 03, 2016 at 8:33 PM, updated March 04, 2016 at 7:33 AM

TRENTON — Facing calls for his resignation and scrutiny over his endorsement of Donald Trump for president, Gov. Chris Christie stood at a podium for nearly two hours Thursday and answered questions about a slew of topics during a sprawling Statehouse news conference.

Here is a closer look at what he discussed:

1. His focus on New Jersey

Christie was repeatedly criticized for spending so much time out of state on his own presidential campaign. Then after endorsing Donald Trump last week and campaigning for him, af few irked Republican state lawmakers called on Christie to either get off the trail or step down.

But Christie stressed Thursday that he has been in New Jersey 19 of the 22 days since ending his White House bid. He emphasized that he will not be “a full-time surrogate for Donald Trump.” And, he said, he has “absolutely no intention” to resign.

“I am here,” he said. “I am back to work.”

Amid rumors he could be Trump’s pick for vice president or U.S. attorney general, Christie said he is “not interviewing (for) or considering any other public job” and plans to finish his second and final term as governor.

2. Why he is backing Trump

Some supporters said they felt betrayed when Christie threw his support behind Trump, whom he once said was “unfit” to be president and whom many establishment GOP members say is a danger to the party.

But Christie said he and Trump have been friends for 14 years and that the billionaire businessman and former Atlantic City casino tycoon has the best shot among the Republican field at beating Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the general election.

The governor added that his endorsement “doesn’t change me being serious and policy-minded and all those things.”

“But I have to make a choice,” he said. “I don’t sit on the sidelines. I don’t wait for other people to make things happen. I try to make things happen. So now I’m trying to make things happen to make sure Hillary Clinton doesn’t become president of the United States.”

3. Why his campaign failed

Christie gave several reasons for why his campaign for president failed: He couldn’t raise enough money, which made it hard to respond to attack ads in New Hampshire. There were too many candidates in the race. And there was Trump.

“If he had not been in the race,” Christie said, “I would have been the nominee.”

4. About those newspapers

Christie ‘not surprised’ at The Star-Ledger calling for his resignationGov. Chris Christie comments on his reaction to two of the state’s largest newspapers calling for his resignation. The N.J. governor held a press conference on March 2, 2016 to talk about jobs and employment in the state. (Courtesy NJTV)

Shortly after Christie’s Trump endorsement, Joseph McQuaid, the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, said the governor swore to him weeks before he would not endorse the businessman. But Christie said he did not lie.

Christie said McQuaid called him two days after the governor placed sixth in the New Hampshire primary election. McQuaid wanted to know if it was true Christie was endorsing Trump that day.

“I said, ‘Absolutely not true. I am not endorsing anyone,'” the governor recalled. “It was two days after the primary.”

Christie said when he ultimately decided to throw his support behind Trump, “I knew Joe was going to mad. But I made a choice. He obviously doesn’t like Donald Trump.”

The Union Leader had endorsed Christie, but after the Trump endorsement, it retracted and declared, “Boy were we wrong.”

Christie also slammed The Star-Ledger, which called on him to resign Thursday morning. He said the paper “never supported me, my policies, or my existence.”

Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran responded by saying the paper backed him in his 2013 re-election bid, as well as on pension reform, a property tax cap, and more.

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Sign of things to come : Hundreds of Paterson employees not sure when they will resume work

Paterson Falls


PATERSON – As municipal employees filed out of City Hall at quitting time on Monday, one of their colleagues stood near the doorway and wished them a “Good Holiday.”

Only 453 Paterson employees hold positions the administration deems essential – mostly police officers, firefighters and sanitation collectors – and were told to come back to work on Tuesday. The rest are supposed to stay home as the budget showdown between the mayor and city council continued toward what now seems like an inevitable partial shutdown of municipal government.

The shutdown will affect school crossing guards, street-cleaning, after-school recreation programs and senior citizen services, officials said.

Paterson’s non-essential employees are in limbo and have been told to call the city’s hotline Tuesday night to find out if the council approves the mayor’s budget proposal, a move needed to allow them to resume work on Wednesday.

“I’m angry,” said Joanne Bottler, a tax search officer. “I have a sick mother I care for and losing a day’s pay is going to be a hardship.”