This was written late last night, with some morning additions. But some people are still hearing this for the first time, so we’ll leave this up top for a while. Today’s morning news roundup can be found here. – Rosi
Update: Due to the death of Assemblymember DeCroce, all swearing in festivities as well as the State of the State have been cancelled. The governor, who is required by state Constitution to address the Legislature ,will simply speak about and eulogize his friend and their colleague at 1pm today. The more formal State of the State address, where the Governor lays out his agenda for the coming year, will be postponed.
Senator Loretta Weinberg described an awful scene. Shortly before midnight, with legislators headed out to their cars after a long night, Weinberg saw people running towards the men’s room on the lower level toward the state house back. Via Star-Ledger State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said a physician on hand attended to the legislator but he was found to be dead. We now know that physician was Herb Conaway, 7th District Assemblyman and the NJ Legislature’s only physician.
Tomorrow, the NJ legislature will be sworn in. Tonight, was the last day of the lame duck session, a long day and night of legislative decisions. The NJ Assembly began their day at 1pm.
DeCroce has been the Assembly’s Republican Leader since 2003, served as the Republican Conference Leader from 2002-2003 and was the Deputy Speaker from 1994-2001. DeCroce serves in the Assembly on the Legislative Services Commission. He has served the 26th district since 1989.
Our deepest sympathies to the Assemblyman’s wife Betty Lou, to his family, friends and staff, to DeCroce’s 26th District partners Sen. Joseph Pennacchio and Asm Jay Webber, and to colleagues who expected a fresh start tomorrow with swearing in and new session and will now mark tomorrow feeling the loss of a 23-year colleague.