Scutari Apologizes To Rice, Says He’ll Speak To Senate Colleague Privately

Scutari apologizes to Rice, says he’ll speak to Senate colleague privately

By David WildsteinDecember 19 2020 6:23 pm

Two days after to longtime Democratic senators went at it in a debate over the legalization of marijuana, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) today extended an olive branch to State Sen. Ronald Rice (R-Newark).

“The Senate chamber is not a place for personal attacks, as my name was continually under attack during the marijuana legalization debate.  I unfortunately responded in kind.  I should not have done that and for that I am sorry,” Scutari said.  “While we vehemently disagree on the policy of marijuana legalization, I should not have personally disparaged him or his commitment to his community.”

Scutari said that he reached out to Rice personally “to further our discussion in private.”

Emotions ran high during a virtual Senate session on Thursday, the result of two legislators with quite different views.

“Over a decade ago, I started a long and lonely journey to legalize marijuana in the State of New Jersey and to stop the senseless and unnecessary arrest of our citizens,” Scutari said.  “Having worked for so long and so hard, I am clearly passionate about this topic, but I have always been open-minded to improvements of the historical bill that we ultimately passed.”