The ACLU-NJ issues the following statement, attributable to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha, in response to Governor Phil Murphy’s budget address delivered March 13:

“We need a budget that places civil rights, civil liberties, economic justice, and racial justice at the fore, and Governor Murphy’s proposed budget reflects a commitment to those fundamental values. We’re optimistic that this state budget could stand as a solid investment in advancing the rights, liberties, and quality of life of all New Jerseyans.

“Robust funding of family planning services is an investment in the health of all New Jerseyans and in the autonomy and humanity of all people.

“Providing universal representation for all people at risk of deportation gets us closer to ensuring that due process isn’t just an ideal, but a guarantee – one that can make people’s lives better.

“Legalizing marijuana – if done the right way – will make an enormous impact in ending the civil rights crisis of racially unjust arrests, and in the process create a source of revenue to lift up the communities most harmed by the unjust drug war.

“Any conversation on our budget needs to recognize this essential truth: that the value of our liberty and our rights is beyond measure, and these principles must be protected.”