June 20, 2007

When it comes to protecting the casino industry and the thousands of jobs it creates in Atlantic County, Jim Whelan just can’t get it right, Keith Davis, Atlantic County Republican Chairman, said today after a third legal opinion concluded that Whelan’s legislation does nothing to protect casino jobs.

“Whelan is wrong again,” said Davis. “He created the problem by shutting down the casinos, and now he cannot even get the solution right.”

A legal opinion from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services stated that Whelan’s bill attempting to protect the casinos from another state shutdown is unconstitutional and therefore useless in protecting casino jobs. This legal opinion follows concurring opinions from the state Attorney General (and soon to be New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice) and the Governor’s counsel.

“For all of Whelan’s strutting over the passage of his bill last week, his bill will not protect one job. It amounts to nothing. Last Monday’s vote was simply an election year dog and pony show,” Davis. “The working families of Atlantic County deserve better than a political stunt from Jim Whelan.”

Despite the three legal opinions, Whelan insisted that he ‘tweaked’ the bill to make it constitutional, a comment which Davis found curious.

“I don’t know what is worse, Whelan sponsoring ‘do nothing’ bills or misleading the public he claims to represent,” said Davis. “He never amended his bill. Look it up on the Legislature’s webpage. He never made any effort to insure his bill actually will protect jobs.”

According to information posted on www.njleg.state.nj.us, Whelan introduced the bill on July 5, 2006 (during the casino shut down). The bill received no further action until June 11, 2007.

“I find it interesting that a bill purportedly vital to Atlantic County sits idle for almost a year suddenly gets attention only when Sonny McCullough introduces his legislation,” said Davis.

Sonny McCullough has introduced a proposed state constitutional amendment to guarantee that if there is another budget impasse, casino employees will still be able to earn a living.

“Sonny McCullough is the right man at the right time with the right solution,” said Davis. “It is obvious that Jim Whelan is in damage control mode, scrambling to save his job after a term of ineffectiveness.”


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