Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574
New Jersey LCV 2021 Legislative Scorecard Highlights Legislative Commitment to the Environment Even During COVID-19
Environmental Champions, Weinberg, Bateman, and Brown, will be Missed
TRENTON, NJ- Today, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters unveiled their 2021 Legislative Scorecard. It reveals the recent legislative session to be one of the most environmentally productive, in spite of the challenges faced from COVID-19.
The New Jersey LCV Scorecard grades each member of the New Jersey Legislature on their voting record. It tracks how all 40 Senators and 80 Assembly members vote on key legislation affecting air and water quality, open space, environmental justice, democracy and voting rights, and climate change. Towards the end of a legislative session, to determine the score, we calculate the percentage of pro-environment votes a legislator casts on our core issues after meticulously tracking votes for or against the environment. Choosing not to vote or abstaining counts as a vote against the environment; if they weren't holding office at the time, have a known conflict of interest or long-term health issues, legislators are excused.
“The Scorecard is a vital and respected component of our work to protect the environment, and specifically helps New Jersey residents know how well their elected officials are doing in supporting open space, clean air, and clean water,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “It is a key tool to hold legislators accountable for preserving and protecting the environment. As we fight the impacts of climate change and work to protect clean drinking water, we need to know where every legislator stands on critical environmental issues.”
During the 219th Legislative Session, New Jersey lawmakers continued to make the climate crisis a top priority and doubled down on protecting our air, safeguarding our clean water, and preserving open spaces even during the pandemic. New Jersey LCV’s analysis tracked 50 votes on environmental bills this session, a 47% increase over the number of votes analyzed in the previous legislative session.
Some of the most notable legislative accomplishments include eliminating many single-use plastics and protecting our waterways and ecosystems through the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act. Lawmakers passed the most ambitious electric vehicle bill in America, which provides incentives for purchasing electric vehicles by offering up to $5,000 in rebates. This legislation sets the stage for a massive public fast-charging network, and for NJ Transit - one of the largest public transit systems in the country - to fully electrify all buses by nearly 2040.
We’re also excited about the new comprehensive environmental justice law, to address environmental racism and reduce pollution in overburdened communities. We congratulate the environmental justice advocates that led the charge for over a decade on this public health equity issue.
Requiring More of our Legislators
With the future of our planet and the future of our children on the line, New Jersey LCV has upped the ante and changed how we define a legislative champion.
“In addition to looking at voting records, New Jersey LCV considers a legislator to be a champion if they sponsor and fight for critical environmental legislation, support the confirmation of pro-environment nominees to key boards and commissions, and push back against unnecessary fossil fuel projects,” added Potosnak. “With the climate crisis accelerating and storms like Henri and Ida becoming the norm, we expect everyone in the legislature to be an environmental champion. Senators Loretta Weinberg, Chris Brown, and Kip Bateman are three examples of champions who have consistently put people over polluters. All three are retiring from the state legislature. We need other lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, to rise to the occasion and step up to take their place as champions for our environment.”
“New Jersey LCV wants to thank our environmental champions in the legislature, Governor Murphy, and his Administration for their commitment to bold pro-conservation policies, and our tireless and energetic partners and volunteers who work to make New Jersey the most innovative state addressing the climate crisis,” said Julia Somers, Board Chair, New Jersey LCV. “Ultimately this work is important for the health and safety of all New Jerseyans no matter their zip code, and to preserve our wonderful state for our children and grandchildren.”
Notable scores from New Jersey State Legislators include:
Average Democrat: 92%
Average Republican: 48%
Average Democrat: 93%
Average Republican: 46%
● President: Stephen Sweeney 100%
● Majority Leader: Loretta Weinberg 100%
● Democratic Conference Chair: Vin Gopal 89%
● Minority Leader: Thomas Kean 61%
● Republican Conference Leader: Kristin M. Corrado 39%
● Speaker: Craig Coughlin 100%
● Majority Leader: Louis Greenwald 100%
● Democratic Conference Leader: Annette Quijano 87%
● Democratic Whip: Nicholas Chiaravalloti 100%
● Minority Leader: Jon Bramnick 61%
● Republican Conference Leader: Nancy F. Munoz 57%
● Republican Whip: Edward H. Thomson 57%
● Senate Budget and Appropriations: Paul A. Sarlo 89%
● Senate Environment and Energy: Bob Smith 100%
● Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens: Joseph Vitale 93%
● Senate Transportation: Patrick Diegnan 100%
● Assembly Appropriations: John Burzichelli 100%
● Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources: Eric Houghtaling 100%
● Assembly Environment and Solid Waste: James J. Kennedy 96%
● Assembly Transportation and Independent Authority: Daniel R. Benson 100%
The digital version of the Scorecard: https://www.njlcv.org/scorecard
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to elect environmental champions, hold public officials accountable, and support laws which protect our environment and improve the quality of people’s lives.