NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Haddon TWP Crime-Robbery Suspect Still At Large
Gloucester Catholic grad is president of University of Delaware

Your Civic Lesson for the day

New Jersey Politics 101

Home Rule

States are generally governed either by "Home Rule" giving municipalities autonomy or "Dillon's Rule" which gives states more power. New Jersey, governed by Home Rule, has 566 municipalities, each with a separate administration and government. The causes of home rule are rooted in history and are entrenched because each municipal government would have to cede some control in order to change. The League of Municipalities web page describing Home Rule portrays attempts to weaken it in negative terms:

We have recently seen support grow for an epidemic of initiatives designed to weaken local democracy. These include bills promoting home-based businesses, airports, quarries and mines. Legislation has been introduced which would strip local elected officials in certain towns of the ability to make government decisions, and another bill would permit non-residents to vote in local elections.

Therefore, the public policy pendulum may be swinging away from "Creative Home Rule" and toward "Destructive Constraints" on local self-government. We are aware of the trend and we are fighting it.

On the other hand, as the late State Senator Alan Karcher writes in his book, New Jersey's Municipal Madness, "The system is complex, counterproductive, wasteful of land resources and more -- and virtually fossilized" (206).