<<UPDATE 2:30 pm: N.J. Dems’ controversial redistricting plan ‘dead for today.’>>
Pulling this back up top. Currently, neither the Senate nor Assembly sessions (which begin noon and 1pm respectively) are listed as scheduled to stream, but that may change as the time approaches. Legislature’s media page here. Agenda for both houses is crowded – check that out here. – Rosi
The Senate and Assembly on Monday will have their final opportunity to vote on bills and constitutional amendments and to override vetoes. Bills not passed by tomorrow die and will have to be reintroduced in the new two-year session beginning Tuesday in order to gain passage.
As the session ends there are disagreements between both houses (particularly Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto) on adding casinos in the North and how to fund transportation. Gubernatorial election politics are causing increasing friction as legislators and others are vying for the top job. The long absences of Gov. Christie have compounded the problem, plus, seven of his cabinet members are in the relatively weak position of “Acting” leaders of their departments.
A bill passed between the 45th and the 10th day before the expiration of the session becomes law unless the governor vetoes it before noon tomorrow. Christie as of now has not issued any new vetoes. The legislature on Monday has an opportunity to try to override any such vetoes, as well as others.
The Governor can “pocket veto” bills bills passed within the last 10 days of a 2-year legislative session. He has until seven days after the expiration of the two-year session to sign such bills. Any bills he does not sign are “pocket vetoed,” and the legislature has no opportunity to over-ride these vetoes. Hence bills passed last Thursday or next Monday can be consigned to the garbage can at the whim of the governor. (The proposed constitutional amendments do not require his approval.)
Of the four proposed amendments to the constitution, two have stalled in the lame-duck legislature.
- To allow two casinos in the North: The Assembly (ACR2) and Senate (SCR185) have different proposals which have not been reconciled. Gov. Christie weighed on the matter Friday saying, “It appears that ACR2 does not have sufficient support to move forward in the Assembly … The only remaining course … is to post SCR185 for a vote in the Assembly on Monday after its passage in the Senate.” Whether it is even wise to add casinos in the North is highly questionable.
- To dedicate all State revenues from motor fuels and petroleum products gross receipts tax to transportation system (ACR1 and SCR190). It was approved in committee and passed the Assembly, but its identical Senate bill has neither passed nor been approved in committee. No further committee meetings are scheduled this session. This resolution only dedicates revenue as there is no agreement so far between the two houses nor with Christie on how to fund transportation.
The new legislative session on Tuesday may start with high hopes, aided by the addition of four Democrats in the Assembly. However, the jockeying for the governorship will only increase and the dark shadow of Christie will cast a pallor. Fortunately both houses have strong Democratic majorities, although continued division on key issues could become an impediment.