Weekly Advance: Week of Oct. 22

TRENTON – There are at least two topics Democrats plan to make recurring themes for the upcoming week: the state’s foreclosure crisis and the debate over the minimum wage.

Despite being a top legislative priority for both the leaders of the Senate and the Assembly, a bill to increase the minimum wage has yet to be taken up on the floor of the Senate.

While some Democrats have suggested putting the measure up for referendum, an idea the governor called “stupid,” others believe an increase in the wage should be passed by the Legislature.

Nonetheless, the debate will continue in the upper chamber when the Senate Labor Committee holds a public hearing on the proposed constitutional amendment Monday morning.

The proposal was already released earlier this month by the Senate Budget Committee. It calls for raising the state’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour and amending New Jersey’s Constitution to require regular cost-of-living adjustments.

The public hearing is another step in the constitutional amendment process.

Home foreclosures

Like the debate over minimum wage, the second theme for the week is not a new topic. However, the phrase “foreclosure crisis” is once again increasingly finding its way into the conversation.

Senate President Steve Sweeney’s office announced last week the top Senate lawmaker will address the New Jersey Bankers Association Monday in Trenton, and on the list of topics to be discussed is the issue of home foreclosures.

Also, more than three weeks after Assembly Democrats first announced plans to hold a joint committee hearing to discuss problems affecting families facing foreclosure, lawmakers finally set a date.

The hearing, which was promptly announced after the governor engaged in a spat with a reporter on the subject last month, will be held in the middle of the week. Assembly Democrats say they will examine the administration’s failure to keep more families facing foreclosure in their homes.

“Gov. Christie may not want to be held accountable for failing to help New Jersey families facing foreclosure, but he cannot hide from his failure to help New Jersey families at risk of losing their homes,” stated Assemblyman Jerry Green, (D-22), chairman of one of the two Assembly committees hosting the discussion.

Green and Assemblyman Gary Schaer, (D-36), called the meeting after Christie refused to answer questions from an ABC reporter relating to the N.J. HomeKeeper Program.

The story outlined what Democrats have claimed is the administration’s failure to adequately distribute $300 million in federal funds to help homeowners from losing properties to foreclosure.

Across the aisle

A day before Assembly lawmakers gathered on the chamber floor last week for a voting session, Assembly Republicans held a news conference to blast Democrats for holding a session without taking up a bill to reduce taxes.

Telling reporters that Democrats “just don’t want to give Chris Christie a win,” Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, (R-21), hammered at the majority party for holding a full session to consider bills regulating such things as laser pointers and recognizing Taiwanese leaders, but nothing on tax cuts.

No word if Senate Republicans plan to host a similar news conference ahead of Thursday’s voting session, however, there’s little doubt of whether the governor will hammer that point home when he hosts a town hall in Washington Township Thursday.

 

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

1 p.m., Senate and Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, Homeland Security Center of Excellence, 101 Eggert Crossing Road, Lawrence

Senate

10 a.m., Labor Committee, Rm. 6, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Assembly

1 p.m., Education Committee, Rm. 11, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Daily Events

10:30 a.m., N.J. Bankers Association, Legislative Day featuring guest speaker Senate President Steve Sweeney, Trenton Masonic Temple, 100 Barrack St., Trenton

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Camden Economic Recovery Board, Waterfront Technology Center, 200 Federal St., Camden

6 p.m., N.J. Special Education and Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force, Learning Resource Center, 200 River View Plaza, Trenton

Daily Events

8 a.m., N.J. Business and Industry Association, Presidential and Congressional Elections Outlook Briefing Breakfast, Forsgate Country Club, 375 Forsgate Drive, Monroe

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Assembly

10 a.m., Financial Institutions and Insurance, and Housing and Local Government Committees, joint hearing, Rm. 11, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

9:30 a.m., Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners, 25 Arctic Parkway, main conference room, Ewing

10 a.m., Board of Public Utilities, Societal Benefits Charge Credit Program meeting, Conservation Services Group, 75 Lincoln Highway, Iselin

 

Thursday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

2 p.m., Voting session, Senate chambers, Statehouse, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., N.J. Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, Building 4, Station Plaza, South Clinton Avenue, Trenton

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Weekly Advance: Week of Oct. 22