The New Jersey state Senate on Thursday voted to pass a bill that would keep presidential candidates off the state's 2020 ballot unless they released their tax returns.
According to the Courier Post, the Democratic-controlled state Senate passed the measure along party lines in 23-11 vote on Thursday, send the bill to the Assembly committee and full legislature for a vote before the heads to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy (D) for consideration
The controversial measure would be candidates for president and vice president on the state ballot if they did not publicly release five of their most recent tax returns at least 50 days before the general election in 2020.
The bill, if passed, would also be the state's electors from voting for candidates for president and vice president as part of the Electoral College system if they choose not to comply with the legislation.
President Trump has drawn ongoing criticism about his refusal to publicly release his tax returns, the first major-party White House candidate in decades not to do so
The New Jersey Legislature passed the same bill in 2017, but the measure was blocked by a veto from then -Gov. Chris Christie (R), who called it a "transparent political stunt" at the time.
Supporters of the measure have said lawmakers are afforded room under the Constitution to act as a restriction to ballot access, arguing that voters should have the
"It is obviously with this president that he or she has known what his business interests are, he may not have been elected president," Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D), a sponsor of the legislation, told the Courier Post.
However, others have argued the bill is unconstitutional and opens the door for more demands for candidates in the future. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) reportedly asked in a veto of a similar measure that was introduced in his state.
"Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High sch ool report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power? ”He asked.
New Jersey state Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R) said in a statement to the local paper that the bill was being applied to, for example, state Senate and Assembly candidates,
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," Pennacchio customs the publication. "If this is really the case, are well-informed, then common sense dictates that should apply to all of us." Pennacchio's amendments have reportedly been blocked by state democrats.