ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- Happy birthday to Englewood's Byron M. Baer (Oct. 18, 1929 – June 24, 2007).
Baer was a Democrat representing Bergen County for more than three decades. He served 11 terms in the Assembly, from 1972 to 1994, and 4 terms in the New Jersey Senate, representing District 37. He had held numerous leadership positions in both houses.
He resigned from the Senate effective Sept. 8, 2005, due to health reasons and died at age 77 of congestive heart failure complications.
Baer was the primary author of New Jersey's Sunshine Law -- the open-meetings law -- and was an advocate of open government throughout his legislative career.
In 2002 he was a co-sponsor of the law’s revision and helped defeat attempts to weaken it as it moved through the Legislature.
He also sponsored a bill establishing New Jersey’s Office of the Child Advocate and the state’s identity theft law.
The citizen activist group Bergen Grassroots established the Byron Baer Public Service award. It's given annually to recognize leaders who continue to make major contributions in the ongoing struggle to achieve open government.
The Byron M. Baer Scholarship was established at Ramapo College of New Jersey by his wife Judge Linda Baer, and their daughter, Lara Rodriguez. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student who has made a real difference on campus. Recipients are chosen by the Student Affairs staff.