Thanks to the Jersey Shore Real Estate Bubble Blog for tipping me off on this one:
Sen. Ronald Rice, D-Essex, a real estate broker, is pushing a bill that would exempt property record cards, maintained by local tax assessors, from the definition of a government record. That means the public would no longer be able to access the cards through an Open Public Records Act request. Yet Rice’s bill would give real estate professionals, such as himself, open access.
It’s a self-serving piece of legislation that would benefit Rice and those in his profession, but be detrimental to everyone else. And the damage it would do to OPRA should prompt other legislators to demand that the bill be stopped in its tracks. Any effort to restrict public access to government records should be vigorously opposed.
Rice’s bill would let homeowners access their own cards, which contain information such as assessed value, ownership, lot size and number of rooms. But homeowners who wanted to review the cards of other homes in their neighborhoods, which is commonly done to support tax appeals, would be blocked from doing so.
I urge everyone to pick up the phone immediately and call Senator Ronald Rice to express your utter disgust for this self-serving legislation. He can be reached at: (973) 371-5665.
If you want to make a difference, pick up the phone, start making calls, do whatever you need to do to make your feelings known, but don’t let this pass.