New Jersey lawmakers are looking to crack down on child predators and the Assembly is now unanimously passing a bill providing 25 years to life in prison for anyone convicted of aggravated convicted assault on a child under the age of 13. Deputy Minority Leader Sen. Diane Allen told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that she is confident that Christie would sign this bill and that this is the year that it is going to get through.
The bill started back in 2005, after Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and buried alive. Allen said it was something that assaulted everybody’s senses across the country, that Jessica Lunsford acts were passed in state after state and New Jersey just never got together. She said she tried year after year and she believes that this is the year that this bill is going to get through.
“I am confident that the Sen. Steve Sweeney will move it in the senate and that Governor Chris Christie will sign it. The hold up has always been in the Assembly and this year the Assembly is passing it and looks like we are actually going to get this on the books,” said Allen.
Allen was elected as the Chair for the National Foundation for Women Legislatures and she said she has been involved in the organization since 1998.
“It’s been a very exciting time with this organization because women are the rising force in American politics today. So to be with other women as we move forward and move upward is most exciting,” said Allen.
About 30 years ago there were 10 percent women legislatures across the country and it moved up fairly quickly to about 22 percent within the last decade and now it is kind of stuck there, Allen said. She said that women represent 50 percent of the population and she firmly believes that the legislatures should reflect the people they represent so it really should be half women and it should also reflect that in minorities. She said that she doesn’t think there will be true democracy until that happens.
Allen said that if women are ruining against each other, than she will be a happy person because that means women have made it to a greater level. She said that NFWL is a group that is non partisan so there are Democrats and Republicans and she thinks that’s important because it doesn’t matter where people come from politically, what matters is how the person is representing the people who elected them, how are they working to make life better for everybody, and the NFWL does that across party lines.
Allen said that she thinks many county leaders understand that today it is better to have a woman running than a man because women not only work harder when it comes to getting out there and going door to door. She said that women don’t raise as much money generally as men but that that is something that NFWL is working on and teaching women.
“I think in many respects having a woman candidate is seen as something that is maybe a notch up,” said Allen.