New Law Limits NYPD Surveillance Of New Jersey Muslims

TRENTON, N.J. (AP/Hamodia) -

A measure that would require out-of-state law enforcement agencies to give notice when they plan to conduct counterterrorism surveillance in New Jersey has advanced in the state legislature.

The Senate approved the measure 39-0 Monday. It now goes to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.

The NYPD operated secretly in New Jersey neighborhoods where Muslims lived and worked. They spied on Muslim organizations, infiltrated Muslim student groups and videotaped mosque-goers.

The bill would require out-of-state law enforcement agencies to give the appropriate county prosecutor at least 24 hours’ notice that they intend to conduct surveillance. The prosecutor would then notify the state police, who would notify the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

The Assembly also approved a bill to move this fall’s general election from November to October, which would put the election on the same day as a special U.S. Senate election to complete the term of the late Frank Lautenberg.

The bill is not likely to pass since Christie has promised to veto it if it reaches his desk. The state Senate is expected to vote on the measure Thursday.

Both chambers on Monday passed a new $32.9 billion state budget plan, which now goes to Christie for a signature.

The budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 changed little since Christie proposed it in February. Democrats who lead the legislature and the governor’s office agreed to changes amounting to less than $100 million.

Assembly Republican leaders Jon Bramnick and Declan O’Scanlon touted the budget as fiscally responsible. But Democrat Vincent Prieto, who chairs the budget committee, says it fails to restore a tax credit for the working poor or fund a preschool expansion in poor districts.

The Assembly also approved a bill that would allow gas stations to get zero-interest loans to pay for wiring stations to generators. It now heads to the Senate. Proponents say the measure would help prevent another gas crisis like the one after Superstorm Sandy.

Fuel industry leaders have supported the bill, but stress the need to also focus on delivery issues that plagued motor fuel operations following the storm.

The measure would create a two-year pilot program that would provide loans for up to 10 years and $10,000.

Under the bill, qualified gas stations would be those on or near the Atlantic City Expressway, the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike and other roads considered evacuation routes.