A bill introduced into the New Jersey State Assembly this week would suspend any lawmakers who are indicted on criminal charges.
The bill (A-3732) would also prevent indicted members of the assembly from receiving their salary and benefits from the position pending their conviction or exoneration. The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz (R, Morris, Somerset and Union), who was named the deputy Republican whip this month, replacing Assemblyman Robert Schroeder.
Schroeder was removed from his position as deputy Republican whip and from all his committee assignments earlier this month.
Last month, a grand jury indicted Schroeder on charges that he allegedly stole $1.8 million from investors and wrote bad checks for loan payments totalling another $3.4 million.
“It is difficult for a legislator to fulfill their primary responsibility of representing the interests of their constituents while under indictment,” Muñoz said in a press release. “Until the charge is resolved, it is in the best interests of the affected constituency that a temporary replacement be assigned. Good government is best achieved when legislators are focused on serving the needs of those who elected them to office."
Under the bill, a conviction would result in the loss of any salary and benefits going back to the time of suspension, while an exoneration would have the lawmaker reinstated and given back pay.
The leader of the suspended lawmaker's political party would be responsible for naming a replacement.
Many have called for Schroeder to resign his seat, including his fellow District 39 representatives Asw. Holly Schepisi and Sen. Gerald Cardinale. Other Republicans have already announced they intend to pursue Schroeder's seat in the election this year.