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Monday, November 4, 2013

HONORABLE DANA L. REDD, ET AL. VS. VANCE BOWMAN, ET AL.

 HONORABLE DANA L. REDD, ET AL. VS. VANCE BOWMAN,
ET AL.
 A-5731-11T4

After Camden's city clerk certified an initiative
petition pursuant to the Faulkner Act, N.J.S.A. 40:69A-1 to
210, the mayor and city council president sought relief
declaring the proposed ordinance invalid and restraining
its further submission to the city council or the voters.

 The proposed initiative sought to maintain the city's
police department and prohibit the city from joining an
anticipated, newly-formed county-wide police department.
The Law Division judge granted plaintiffs' requested
relief, concluding that the proposed ordinance created an
undue restraint on the future exercise of municipal
legislative power and was invalid on its face. We
reversed, noting that prior decisions adopting this
judicially-imposed restriction on the Faulkner Act's
initiative provisions preceded the Legislature's 1982
amendment. That amendment vested an ordinance passed by
initiative with a special characteristic: "No such
ordinance shall be amended or repealed within 3 years
immediately following the date of its adoption by the
voters, except by a vote of the people." N.J.S.A. 40:69A-
196(a). Additionally, in a series of recent opinions
regarding the Faulkner Act's referendum provisions, the
Court has signaled that, absent express legislative
restrictions, the power of the voters to exercise their
rights to initiative and referendum cannot be abridged. 10-29-13