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New Jersey

New Jersey is the latest state to propose a state oversight commission on international trade.
Senate Bill 1802, introduced by Senator Loretta Weinberg on 8 May 2008, calls for the creation of a 'Citizens Commission on Jobs, Trade, and Democracy.'   An identical bill was introduced in the Assembly (Bill 2754--see below under News). 

Other features of the proposed legislation:

  • requires consent of the State Legislature for commitment of the state to any trade agreement.
  • mandates four state legislative points of contact with the federal government on trade; those four points of contact simultaneously serve on the 'Citizens Commission on Jobs, Trade, and Democracy.'
  • includes a 'Sense of the Legislature' that USTR should do more to consult with state legislatures, especially regarding services, investment, and procurement.

The proposed Citizens Commission would also advise and approve a 'Trade Impact Report', prepared annually, including information on:

  • public contract work being performed overseas
  • impact of trade on employment, tax revenues, plus retraining and adjustment costs
  • procurement of New Jersey goods and services overseas
  • an analysis constraints on state authority brought about by trade agreements.
The bill is based on recommendations made last year by New Jersey's Assembly Outsourcing and Offshoring Commission, which reported its findings to the legislature based on two public hearings and an analysis of job and procurement trends in the state.  

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