The bill introduced Thursday, A-4584, has 40 co-sponsors — 25 Republicans and 15 Democrats. Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature and 41 votes are needed in the Assembly for a bill to pass. No Senate version has been introduced.
Given Murphy’s favorable position on using government as a path for redemption, the bill may be unlikely to get his signature. His office did not respond to a message seeking comment Thursday evening.
But the primary Republican sponsor of the bill, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi of Bergen County, said the strong support across party lines indicates the bill has a chance of success.
“This transcends political party ideology. It’s common sense,” Schepisi said in an interview.
Between January and August 2007, Jackson accepted four cash payments, ranging from $2,500 to $6,000, in exchange for his official assistance in attempting to obtain insurance brokerage contracts in Passaic, federal authorities said. Investigators posed as insurance brokers for a fake company, Coastal Solutions LLC. On the Passaic City Council, Jackson voted against two resolutions relating to insurance brokerage contracts, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office said “had the effect of favoring the undercover company.”
The payments totaled about $26,000.
Jackson was one of 11 public officials arrested in the 2007 Operation Broken Boards sting, which was overseen by former Gov. Chris Christie when he was U.S. attorney for New Jersey. Jackson was sentenced to 25 months in prison and released in 2011.
The education department said Jackson was remorseful for his actions and he was hired after a legal review. Jackson’s salary was $70,000 as special assistant in the education department’s Office of Civic and Social Engagement, where he worked with faith-based groups and other community and civic organizations to “advance public education in New Jersey,” according to the state.
Schepisi said she has no “ill will” toward Jackson, but his hiring is “just not a precedent that we want to set in a state that has such a high corruption problem.”
Schepisi noted that the bill is tailored to banning people convicted of public corruption, not all convictions. And she said that while she believes in second chances for individuals, “people draw the line” at allowing someone who abused their public office to hold another job at taxpayer expense.
“You’re not going to hire Bernie Madoff to run your savings and loan division. There are certain things that on its face you never should have to legislate because it’s that self-evident, but apparently we have to,” Schepisi said.
The bill’s primary co-sponsor is Robert Karabinchak, D-Middlesex.
Besides the employment prohibition, the bill would require the state to maintain a registry of “all persons who have had disqualification orders” under the bill.