Gun Control



On June 13, 2018, six(6) gun reform bills passed by the New Jersey Legislature were signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.

  1. The “Extreme Risk Protective Act” establishes a process and procedures to obtain an extreme risk protective order against persons who pose a significant danger to themselves or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm. (Sponsors: Senator Weinberg and Senator Codey)
  2. Defines what is meant by a “justifiable need” to carry a hand gun. (Sponsor: Senator Greenstein)
  3. Requires all dealers or sellers to complete a background check before the sale or transfer of any firearm. (Sponsor: Senator Greenstein)
  4. Authorizes law enforcement to seize a firearm in the possession of an individual that has been found by licensed healthcare professionals to pose a threat of serious harm to themselves or others. (Sponsors: Senator Gopal and Senator Cryan)
  5. Bans possession of armor-piercing ammunition for handguns.  (Sponsors: Senator Madden and Senator Greenstein)
  6. Prohibits firearm magazines from holding over 10 rounds of ammunition. (Sponsors: Senator Weinberg and Senator Gill)

“As the former Union County Sheriff, I understand the ever-present threat of gun violence in communities and schools across the nation,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union), who is also the author of separate legislation that would ban “ghost guns.” “New Jersey will now have stronger laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and others. This is about saving lives by preventing tragic shootings.”

“My experience in the State Police has shown that the only people who should have possession of armor-piercing ammunition are law enforcement officers,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “There is no reason for a person to own ammunition with such destructive capabilities. We have to close every technical loophole that allows individuals and sellers to skirt life-saving, sensible gun regulations.”

“An important step in making our communities safer is to limit the size of firearm magazines,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “There is no reason for a civilian to have a 15-round magazine. Lives can be saved in the time it takes a shooter to reload.”

According to Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen), “Gun violence continues to spread across the nation and while New Jersey has always been at the forefront of sensible gun legislation, we can do more. Today we are ensuring that not only are weapons and ammunition that should not be in civilian hands will be properly regulated and restricted, but we also are providing needed legal mechanisms to get weapons out of the hands of people who may do harm to themselves and others.”

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.






On April 24th, New Jersey Governor Murphy signed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act.  The law goes into effect on July 1, 2018 and requires equal pay for “substantially similar” work.  All New Jersey employers are required to comply with the Equal Pay Act; furthermore, salary comparisons from a company’s facilities outside of New Jersey can be used.  The wage and hour standard for “substantially similar” work must be based upon legitimate business necessity.  Employers will bear the burden to show that differences in compensation are based upon training, experience, quality, or quantity.

The Equal Pay Act applies to all of the protected categories from the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD).  In other words, any wage differential for “substantially similar” work cannot be based upon:

  • sex,
  • age,
  • race,
  • creed,
  • national origin,
  • sexual orientation or gender expression,
  • marital, domestic partnership or civil union status,
  • disability,
  • or membership in the armed forces.

The Act has a six-year look-back period and a prohibition against retaliation.  New Jersey’s wage and hour compensation landscape will significantly altered by this new law.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News and wonders if equal pay for “substantially similar” work will finally enable equal pay for equal work or will loopholes maintain the status quo?







A vibrant and healthy democracy depends on the free marketplace of ideas.

Call it what you want. Viewpoint diversity. Access to alternative views.

In today’s media and information-driven society and culture, being able to find the opposing view on an issue, to compare the pros and cons of public policy matters or different products and services, is critical to how the American people make decisions about just about everything.

What to buy? Who to vote for? What to watch? Which music to listen to? What to wear? The plethora of choices we have today is owed entirely to the openness of the Internet and other media that facilitates and enables brand development.

But what if that process could become compromised or disrupted in a bid to control media? To control what messages were available to the public? This is the very real danger facing policymakers today in an environment increasingly moving towards mass media consolidation.

With federal judge Richard Leon’s approval of the $107 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, allowing the two companies to combine, the floodgates are opening for content distributors like AT&T — which owns Directv — to also own much of content that plays on those platforms.

Now, Comcast is expected to bid against Disney to buy much of Fox’s media content properties.

So, what’s the problem? Besides the antitrust laws that are invoked by monopolization in any industry, mass media consolidation has meant fewer and fewer companies controlling almost all major media in the country.

A comprehensive Free Press 2018 study on major media ownership finds that just 21 corporations own all the television broadcast stations, 21 that own the radio broadcast stations, 13 that own pay television channels, 11 that own daily newspapers and 18 that own telecom and cable. That number keeps getting smaller every time there’s another merger.

A chapter on the topic in Censored 2006 by Bridget Thornton, Britt Walters and Lori Rouse, “Corporate Media is Corporate America” noted the massive overlap of individuals who sit on the boards at major media outlets and those of non-media corporations.

Then there is the dominance in tech by Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter.

Rapidly, the number of separately owned options is dwindling.

Along with media consolidation, there is also a growing call for political consolidation in Washington, D.C. — and even one-party rule.

In April, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted an article by Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira that called for “Democratic One-Party Rule” in the U.S. as a means of reconciling the nation’s challenges and implementing the progressive agenda. You see, all that debate by Congress and disagreement over which direction to go in is getting in the way of that agenda, so democracy no longer functions the way they want it to. Today’s captains of the information industry are getting impatient. They want to see Utopia in their lifetimes.

It will be anything but.

But leaving that aside, forget about competitive elections, Leyden and Teixeira warn: “America can’t afford more political paralysis. One side or the other must win. This is a civil war that can be won without firing a shot. But it is a fundamental conflict between two worldviews that must be resolved in short order.”

The resolution: “Democratic One-Party Rule.”

Dorsey’s comment was astonishing, writing briefly, “Great read.” Really? What about the part where the authors called for one-party rule? What about the part where they called it a civil war? No?

Just, “Great read,” as if having one political party control the most powerful country in the world to govern with no dissent as the climatic outcome of a civil war “without firing a shot” was just an after-thought for the billionaire.

Who needs alternate viewpoints when there’s media empires to consolidate and an undemocratic agenda to implement? Just hurry up and work it into the afternoon schedule. Dictatorship by close of business. Can we get that yesterday?

Twitter like other social media giants cast themselves as an open platform, a device for free speech basically and the marketplace of ideas. But what if big media doesn’t live up to that and starts censoring political content of one of the two major parties in a bid for absolute power?

Would that be “anti-competitive” enough for Judge Leon to say it might pose an antitrust issue under federal law?

That is why the AT&T-Time Warner merger today is so important for the media landscape of tomorrow, and why the Justice Department must appeal Judge Leon’s decision, all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

It may not happen overnight, but we are witnessing the end of media. This is the age of medium. And if we are not careful, one day there may only be one-party rule, too. That will not lead to liberty and prosperity, but to tyranny.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.   Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at  You can also read more articles at







My daughter and I frequently watch a television program called “Mysteries of the Abandoned”    It occurred to me that this T.V. series reveals the underlying purpose of “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law” in New Jersey.   This law attempts to “redevelop” abandoned, blighted, dilapidated, and unused properties by repurposing the designated areas.  However, the positive reasoning for enactment of this law continues to be shrouded in the dark veil of the eminent domain controversies and litigation (taking of private property by a public entity).  The public continues to be suspicious of the motivation for designating redevelopment areas and blocks the reclaiming of the abandoned.

The governing body of a municipality, by resolution, authorizes the Planning Board to “undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether the proposed area is a redevelopment area according to the criteria set forth in section 5 of P.L. 1992, c. 79 (C.40A:12A-5).”   This “preliminary” study by a NJ licensed professional planner of a “Non-Condemnation Redevelopment Area” should eliminate the public’s fear of eminent domain. Furthermore, the public can hire an attorney to object to the designation by attacking the logical reasoning and application of the “criteria” of the law.  A Planning Board can ultimately deny the recommendation to the governing body of a “Non-Condemnation Redevelopment Area.”  However, in this initial stage, the governing body can overrule this decision by the Planning Board and continue the procedure.

The process for change occurs slowly.  With the threat of litigation, the area can once again be “abandoned” and left vacant.  Nature will then be left to take back the land.  The height of human engineering and power can quickly become devoured by stronger natural forces.  After all, people and society are fragile.  An individual person’s life is temporary.    Control is an illusion.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.




Kate Spade



Suicide claims too many creative lives.  The recent death of designed Kate Spade (real name–Katherine Noel Brosnahan) has shaken me.  I feel cheated of her talent.  My battle with breast cancer has forced me to value life.  Nothing can motivate more than being told you will die.  Perhaps there is a power in the choice to exist?

I wish that I could have talked to her before.  Even though she didn’t know me, I felt like I knew her.  One life connects to others in so many hidden ways.

Recently, I had been “watching” a unique Kate Spade handbag in a thrift store.  I was waiting to use my 50% off coupon.  Now, I don’t want it.  I’m too angry.  Suicide has robbed the world of her potential.  Why must the most beautiful life energies self-destruct?

SNOR depression sufferer and world watcher who has more questions than answers.







President Donald Trump is giving a clinic to the former Obama administration and those in the State Department on how to negotiate. The President walked away from the horrendous Iranian nuclear deal, confronted the North Korean regime, and challenged NATO to live up to its commitments. The foreign policy establishment on both sides of the aisle frowned upon all this because they thought they knew better. After all, they’ve been doing this for decades, and nothing has changed, so clearly, they should be listened to. Instead, President Trump ignored the “experts” and applied maximum pressure to U.S. foreign policy issues and is seeing impressive results.

While the mainstream media and former Obama officials were worried about Europe when negotiating the Iran deal, they ignored allies in the region. The U.S. allies in the Middle East were vehemently against the deal because they knew Iran would use the financial windfall to fund the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) actions within their borders. However, U.S. allies in the region were left with little recourse because the previous administration was unlikely to back any action against Iran, militarily or economically.

When President Trump withdrew from the deal, it gave new life to allies in the region. Because of the President’s leadership, Saudi Arabia believes it has an ally in the U.S. in its struggle against Iran and has started to flex its economic muscle. The Saudi Royal Family is extremely upset at Europe over its support of Iran and in particular Germany’s dealings with the Islamic Republic.

Because the IRGC controls the Iranian economy, when Germany does business with Iran, they are filling the coffers of the largest and most dangerous terrorist group in the world.

Now that the kingdom knows it has the support of the U.S., Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has decided to eliminate German companies from the bidding process for contracts in the country. Because of Saudi Arabia’s governing system, the move essentially shuts Germany out of any contract in the oil-rich nation. Germany exports over $7 billion in goods and services to the Kingdom, a large sum of which is now in danger.

The French are also getting the message about Iran. The French were one of the most vociferous proponents of the deal, wanting access to the untapped market. French companies visited the Islamic Republic in droves to sign deals shortly after the deal was signed. Companies are now reversing that action. French carmaker PSA Group has begun to suspend its joint venture with Iran for fear of being targets of sanctions.

During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Trump often spoke about NATO, much to the consternation of the foreign policy establishment. The President was upset about the spending arrangement of the 29-member military treaty and felt the U.S. was carrying the lion’s share of the financial burden. The U.S. accounts for over 70 percent of NATO defense expenditures while most member nations fail to meet the 2 percent of GDP spending on defense goal for every NATO member.

The NATO funding issue has been a problem for Presidents since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. has maintained its military spending, while the rest of NATO cut their military, partially because the U.S. was still there protecting them. The President felt like the Europeans were getting a free ride on the back of the U.S. taxpayer.

The President’s harsh tactics seem to have worked, much to the surprise of naysayers. NATO member nations are answering the President’s call and have increased defense spending for the second consecutive year. Even Germany, notoriously stingy, has increased spending with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg remarking, “Germany increased defense spending last year by around 6 percent in real terms. That’s really a big increase and it adds to the European defense spending in a significant way.”

President Trump called out NATO when the “experts” said not to, and he got the increases in spending he wanted. President Trump called out the North Korean regime when the “experts” said don’t do that, and now the Singapore summit is set in a bid to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula. And finally, the same “experts” cried when Trump pulled out of the Iran deal saying no one would follow, but recent events have once again proven them wrong. How long before these “experts” admit they were wrong and give President Trump’s maximum pressure policy the credit it deserves?

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at  You can also read more articles at






While the daily media frenzies bombard the public, President Trump signed S. 292, the Childhood Cancer STAR Act into law.  This law provides: “$30 million a year through FY 2023 for grants to support the National Childhood Cancer Registry; the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to make awards to support childhood cancer biorepositories available to health care professionals and scientific researchers; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to award grants to state cancer registries to enhance and expand infrastructure to track the epidemiology of cancer in children, adolescents and young adults; and the [National Institutes of Health] (NIH)’s Director to make grants to entities to conduct or support research relating to pediatric cancer survivors.”  The Childhood Cancer STAR Act reauthorizes and modifies the National Childhood Cancer Registry as well as creating pilot programs for cancer survivors.  By the offer of federal funding, states will have a monetary incentive to enter the battle against childhood cancers.

Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) expressed his support for the pediatric cancer community: “It is heartbreaking when a child is stricken with a cancer diagnosis.  We need to improve the federal services . . .  from research and access to treatment and survivorship.  The federal health care and research entities must be doing all they can, and the Childhood Cancer STAR Act delivers more resources and reform to make sure we are winning the fight against pediatric cancer by strengthening grants for promising and expanded programming.  I have met with families who have faced these terrible circumstances and I have been touched by their stories of perseverance and hope.”

Lance received the Congressional Champion Award by One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), a coalition of national public interest groups of cancer researchers, patients, survivors and their families united in their battle against cancer.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News and a breast cancer survivor.   A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses






Slogans like “Stop Climate Change” reveal a logical fallacy (false logic).  Can we actually control the climate?  Can we stop volcanoes from spewing lava and ash?  Can we interrupt an earthquake by our words and good intentions?  The politics of climate change frustrates me.  We need to admit that we are vulnerable.  Insurance policies won’t cover our losses.  There are and have always been powerful forces.  Perhaps a dose of the truth would be the best medicine rather than to continue to encourage illusions.  Realistically, can we rescue the polar bears trapped on slowly melting blocks of ice?  Can prevent our own extinction?  We are, after all, resourceful and creative creatures.  Will we find a way to survive?  We must adapt to climate change.  We must evolve.

SNOR is a dreamer and world watcher who has more questions than answers.






As Congress and the Executive Branch continue to focus on immigration reform, they must focus on MS-13. Liberal counties would have their residents believe the safety of these gang members must be prioritized over the safety of law-abiding citizens-this mentality has fueled the gang’s growth. In order to end MS-13’s reign of violence, President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress must stop cities from protecting criminals and return to protecting the American people.

MS-13 is a violent gang that manipulates the U.S. immigration system to recruit new members and expand their presence. Last week, our coverage made it clear these gang members are the animals President Trump has claimed them to be. With the slogan “kill, rape, control,” MS-13 has made it clear they will not stop until they can control vast areas across the country.

We must have an immigration and criminal justice system that takes an equally heavy-handed approach to preventing this gang from being able to kill and rape more Americans as they attempt to control our land.

Sanctuary cities are antithetical to the concept of a free and safe state because they protect these MS-13 members.

The Center for Immigration Studies found in an April 2017 report, over a nine-month period in FY2017, at least 142 gang members that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were trying to deport were released by local law enforcement instead of being reported to ICE.

A vast majority of these releases occurred in counties with strict sanctuary city policies, like Santa Clara County, California. As a result, these counties are putting their citizens at a higher risk of becoming victims of violent crime and theft.

The Mercury News, a Southern California newspaper, reported in February that violent, juvenile crime has been on the rise thanks to these “catch and release” policies.

“Based on Santa Clara County cases filed by the District Attorney’s Office, home burglaries attributed to underage suspects rose by 128 percent, from 81 to 185 between 2016 and 2017… Robberies were up 21 percent in 2017… carjacking rose 250 percent… assaults increased by 59 percent… and car burglaries jumped 51 percent.”

By releasing gang members back into communities instead of reporting them to ICE for deportation, these sanctuary cities are putting more of their residents and officers at risk.

The probation officer’s union president Mark Murray explained, “The county… should send a clear message to our community, both gang members and law-abiding citizens alike, that we take criminal street gang activity seriously.”

Luckily, at a roundtable discussion with members of law enforcement, experts, and elected officials in Long Island, New York, President Trump called for an end to these “catch and release” policies. Unfortunately, since these sanctuary counties are known for defying federal law, it is doubtful they will take the necessary measures to protect their citizens without force.

The Department of Justice has taken steps to equip local law enforcement and border patrol agents with the necessary resources to combat gang violence, but as long as these sanctuary cities are preventing their police officers from following the law, progress will be difficult.

Sanctuary cities must be stopped; they continue to place their citizens in anger to protect the lives of violent gang members. In order to end the terrorizing reign of MS-13 and other gangs, local officials must reject sanctuary city policies, and Congress must take steps to defund these counties. No American should live in fear due to local officials attempting to push a political statement; we must return to prioritizing our safety.

Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at  You can also read more articles at






Government employee unions have enjoyed an absolute boondoggle in recent years, receiving hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds. But the boon could soon be over thanks to a new executive order from President Donald Trump.

Last Friday, the president signed an executive order requiring that federal government employees who work full-time for the public employee unions at taxpayer expense spend at least 75 percent of their paid time on the government’s business. The administration estimates this will save taxpayers $100 million. This measure is one of three executive orders signed by the president. Those orders do not eliminate taxpayer subsidies for public employee unions altogether—that is Congress’s job—but they do end the taxpayer subsidy of travel for union business; mandate that unions be charged fair market value for rents of government office space; streamline the public employee appeals process so that bad apples can be fired more rapidly; and force taxpayer-funded union workers to spend at least three-quarters of their time doing the people’s business.

Most people are shocked to learn that taxpayers have been footing the bill for public employee union salaries, but they become incensed when they learn that in 2016, union employees were paid $177 million by the federal government, not counting office space and travel expenses.

A 2013 Freedom of Information Act request by Americans for Limited Government discovered that the Department of Veterans Affairs alone had over 250 employees working full-time for unions in 2011. The Transportation Department had 35 employees on full-time “official time,” many of whom had salaries in excess of $170,000 per year. And in 2012, when the IRS was busy playing politics by delaying and denying Tea Party group applications for non-profit status, the Washington Times reported that more than 200 full-time IRS employees were engaged in nothing but union activity. The same report added that taxpayers picked up the bill for another $687,400 in union travel at the IRS alone.

It’s bad enough that the federal government spent between $150 and 200 million a year on union salaries and travel, but what’s worse is that this indirectly subsidized unions’ political activity. Because money is fungible, the money that public employee unions didn’t have to spend on personnel could then be turned around and spent on politics.

Public employee unions are among the biggest donors in politics, with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees ranked the 15th largest contributor so far in 2018, according to Open Secrets. And this group, in particular, has overwhelmingly favored Democrats over Republicans.

Of the $4,843,291 that this group has poured into politics this year, exactly $6,000 of it went to groups, causes, or politicians considered to be Republican or conservative. In 2016, they spent almost $16 million on politics with under $8,000 going to Republican or conservative groups. In that same election cycle, their political action committee could not find a single Republican to support, giving 100 percent of their money to Democrats.

This is just one case out of many. For years, taxpayers have subsidized public unions that pursue political activities and overwhelmingly donate to Democrats. Their donations are designed to grow government, and consequently their own membership.

Public employee unions don’t even pretend to be anything but big government advocates. The president’s executive order forcing taxpayer-funded union employees to spend 75 percent of their time doing their federal job is a good first step in reigning in this far-left government funding stream.

Trump deserves kudos for recognizing the absurdity of taxpayer funding of the left, and in particular, he deserves credit for hiring people like Russ Vought and James Sherk for the Office of Management and Budget and White House staff, respectively, and Nathan Mehrens into the Labor Department. By hiring people who have studied and understand how the current federal civil service system perpetuates the administrative state, Trump set himself up for success when it comes to dealing with the wash, rinse, repeat swamp cycle that the public employee unions perpetuate.

Recently, much of the discussion about public employee unions in politics has been focused upon the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, which could allow public employees at all levels of government to opt-out of paying dues as a First Amendment right. But these new executive orders will have a much greater impact on  the federal bureaucracy, since federal employees already have the right to not join the union.

This executive order will shift about $100 million in union employee costs back onto the unions. This will force them to prioritize which cases should be fought and which one’s should be settled, injecting some rationality and perhaps greater speed into the federal government firing process.

Now, the president needs to take the next step: Force the public employee unions to compete for their members through an opt-in process, where the employee would have to actively decide to be a member of the union rather than being assumed to be a member unless they fill out the proper paperwork.

If the president takes this next bold step, the public employee union stranglehold on the federal government will be broken, giving Congress a chance to pass full-blown civil service.

You can almost hear the swamp draining.

As originally published in the Daily Signal.

The author is the president of Americans for Limited Government, and served on President Trump’s Labor Department transition team. 

Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at  You can also read more articles at