|Name||Byron M. Baer|
|Address||420 Lantana Avenue |
Englewood, New Jersey 07631, United States
|| October 18, 1929
|Died||June 24, 2007
Feb 17, 2020 07:24pm
|Info||Cornell University. |
Senate 1994-present, Democratic Senate Leader Ex-Officio 2002-present, Minority Leader Pro Tempore 1996-2001; General Assembly 1972-93, Minority Leader Pro Tempore 1992-93, Deputy Speaker 1991, Associate Assembly Leader 1990, Assistant Minority Leader 1986-89.
Throughout his 27 years in the New Jersey State Legislature, Senator Byron M. Baer has been deeply committed to the protection of human rights. Senator Baer has been the author of numerous landmark bills including the NJ Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the NJ Commission on Racism, Racial and Religious Violence.
Senator Baer began his lifelong dedication to public service as a civil rights activist. In the sixties, he was jailed for 45 days in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for his role as a Freedom Rider. He also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and served as a staff member on the march from Selma to Montgomery, Georgia. Closer to home, Senator Baer helped to reverse policies that denied adequate minority representation on most Englewood boards and city jobs.
Senator Baer was born on October 18, 1929 and was first elected to the General Assembly in 1971 where he served 11 terms before being elected to the Senate in 1993. In the Assembly, he was Chairman of the Assembly State Government Committee and was also a member of the Assembly Judiciary, and Law and Public Safety Committees. He held numerous leadership positions including Deputy Speaker. Currently, he is serving his third term in the Senate where he has earned the recognition of his peers by being voted Minority Leader Pro Tempore his first two terms, currently serving as the Leader Ex-Officio. He is the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and also serves on the Senate Education and State Government Committees.
Senator Baer is the sponsor of several significant pieces of legislation, including the Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act, the Right to Know Act, and the Crime Victims' Right law. His Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act, which established safeguards to prevent disastrous chemical-industry accidents, was the only environmental law in the nation to receive the Council of State Government's highest award for legislation the year it was enacted.
The Englewood resident has been an advocate for truth in government - he sponsored the State's Open Public Meetings Act, commonly known as 'The Sunshine Law' - and has supported ethics reform and lobbying disclosure laws.
Senator Baer wrote New Jersey's Truth in Pricing Act and its Unit Pricing Law, which requires stores to list item prices rather than pricing codes. He also sponsored the nation's first Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled Act, which offers prescription subsidies for senior citizens and the disabled, as well as the nation's first Utility Lifeline Credit to provide heating subsidies for the elderly and the legislation to create New Jersey's Department of the Public Advocate.
Additionally, Senator Baer sponsored the Ethnic Terrorism Act, the first law of its kind in the United States. It quickly became a model which has been duplicated by other states throughout the nation. The Senator has also sponsored several bills which prohibit various financial transactions between the State of New Jersey and Swiss banks, financial institutions and Swiss owned or connected companies. He is also a sponsor of the New Jersey Human Relations Council, which addresses problems of bias and violent acts.
More recently, Senator Baer fought to establish the Office of the Child Advocate within the State Department of Law and Public Safety. The measure, which has the unanimous support of the Senate, would institute an independent watchdog to represent the interests of the State's most vulnerable children. His Open Public Records Act, which makes documents kept by government more accessible to the public, further expanded upon the earlier Open Public Meetings Act in an effort to allow the public full access to government proceedings at all levels of the State.
As the Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Baer has overseen and facilitated bipartisan compromises to such issues as New Jersey auto insurance reform, predatory lending, and was one of the sponsors of New Jersey's Do Not Call Telemarketing List, which is the strongest piece of anti-telemarketing legislation in the nation.
Throughout the years, Senator Baer has been an active member of many professional organizations and commissions. He is a founding member of the National Association of Jewish Legislators where he has served as both President and Vice President. He is a member of the New Jersey Israel Commission and has served on the Securities Regulation Commission, the Hudson Waterfront Development Commission and the Holocaust Memorial Commission.
Senator Baer is married to Linda Pollitt Baer, a State Administrative Law Judge and former Bergen County Freeholder. Their children are David and Laura Baer and Roger and Lara Pollitt.