Weekly Advance: Week of Jan. 14

TRENTON – New Jersey lawmakers will pack the Statehouse Monday for a marathon of committee hearings, as well as a full Senate voting session on one piece of legislation.

Jobs are taking the forefront as Democrats continue to craft themselves as the ones with a plan when it comes to chipping away at the state’s unemployment numbers.

The Senate will convene at noon to take up S2425, which would expand the scope of public labor agreements to include more public works projects.

The proposal would ultimately allow additional labor agreements with the state and permit municipalities to enter into such agreements for a number of projects, including construction of highways, bridges, pumping stations and water treatment plants.

The measure would expand the scope of public works agreements to encompass state infrastructure damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

Opponents of the bill, which included the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, argued that while all companies – union or non-union – should bid on public contracts, the change would ultimately raise the cost of projects.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, the bill’s sponsor, argued when his proposal went through committee that voting it down would bar local governments from at least having the option to enter into the agreements.

The Senate president is also the sponsor of a bill making its way through the upper chamber that the Senate will take up Monday in committee.

S2211 would establish a New Jobs for New Jersey tax credit program aimed at providing incentives to small private-sector employers who increase their workforce by hiring unemployed workers.

The proposal would allow an employer of 100 or fewer full-time employees to be eligible for a tax credit against the corporation business tax or gross income tax for each eligible individual employed by the company.

And speaking of jobs and the state’s economy, Assembly lawmakers are slated to hear testimony Monday on the anticipated effects Sandy will have on the 2013 tourism season.

The state’s summer tourism scene is a multibillion-dollar industry, and lawmakers say they plan to closely monitor how best to get shore communities back on their feet to stem any possible decline in state revenues.

Gov. Christie is expected to host his 100th town hall this week. The event will be followed by another shore visit aimed at jumpstarting rebuilding on the New Jersey coast ahead of the 2013 summer.

The governor joined local, state and federal officials in Belmar last week to kick off the rebuilding of the town’s new $6.6 million boardwalk – which Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty promised residents will be open in time for the summer.

The shore visit – along with the town hall – will likely mirror Christie’s Belmar appearance and future stops along the shore in the coming weeks.

Christie has stated he’s focused on the shore’s rebuilding, and with the annual tourism the state receives from its coast there’s no wonder why.

Leading up to the governor’s budget address late next month expect more stops along the coast, as well as town hall meetings with a focus on Sandy recovery.

Speaking of governor

As of late Friday all was quiet on the Democratic front of possible gubernatorial candidates either deciding to throw their hat in the ring for 2013 or announce their decision to sit this one out.

Gov. Chris Christie is up for re-election and so far Sen. Barbara Buono is the only Democratic candidate poised to challenge the Republican governor who is sitting comfortably in near rock star status poll numbers.

The clock is ticking on Democrats to rally behind a candidate and work to catch up with a governor who is expected to raise large sums of campaign dollars.

Gov. Chris Christie is slated to give his annual budget address next month. The governor will outline will outline his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014.

Last year Democrats in the Legislature opted to craft their own budget after the governor rolled out his $31.7 billion proposal.

Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Paul Sarlo said it’s too early for Democrats to say whether they will sit down with the governor this year, explaining lawmakers will “have to see what the governor introduces” first before making a decision.

His comments were echoed by the chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32).

“It’s still too early and obviously we need to see what the governor will come up with,” Prieto said Friday.

“We will see what is in his message and we will take it from there,” he said.

 

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

10 a.m., Environment and Energy Committee, Rm. 10, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

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

10:30 a.m., Transportation Committee, Rm. 7, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

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

1 p.m., Budget and Appropriations Committee, Rm. 4, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

1 p.m., Commerce Committee, Rm. 6, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

1 p.m., Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, Rm. 1, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Assembly

10 a.m., Budget Committee, Rm. 11, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10 a.m., Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, Rm. 15, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10 a.m., Health and Senior Services Committee, Rm. 16, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10 a.m., Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, Rm. 14, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10 a.m., Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, Rm. 9, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10:30 a.m., Higher Education Committee, Rm. 12, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

2 p.m., Law and Public Safety Committee, Rm. 16, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

2 p.m., Tourism and the Arts Committee, Rm. 8, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Medical Assistance Advisory Council, auditorium, N.J. Forensic Science Technology Center, 1200 Negron Drive, Hamilton

10:30 a.m., Public Health Council, board room, Department of Health, 369 S. Warren St., Trenton

7 p.m., Atlantic Coast Shellfisheries Council, Nacote Creek Law Enforcement Office, 360 New York Road, Port Republic

Daily Events

12 p.m., Southern New Jersey Development Council, Public Policy Series, Inauguration Luncheon, featuring U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Adelphia Restaurant, 1750 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Economic Development Authority, 36 W. State St., Trenton

10 a.m., N.J. Mosquito Control Commission, Department of Environmental Protection, 501 E. State St., Plaza 5, Trenton

11 a.m., Election Law Enforcement Commission, 12th floor, 28 W. State St., Trenton

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

9 a.m., Delaware River Port Authority, 11th-floor board room, One Port Center, 2 Riverside Drive, Camden

9:30 a.m., Commission on Radiation Protection, Large Conference Room, Bureau of X-Ray Compliance, 25 Arctic Parkway, Ewing

10 a.m., Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, Prallsville Mills, 33 Risler St., Stockton

10 a.m., Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee, Central Region Office, Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, Robbinsville

7 p.m., Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, Maple Place School, 2 Maple Place, Oceanport

 

Thursday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

9:15 a.m., Health Care Administration Board, auditorium, Health and Agriculture building, 369 S. Warren St., Trenton

10 a.m., N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority, Meadowlands, East Rutherford

4:30 p.m., N.J. Law Revision Commission, Commission offices, seventh floor, 153 Halsey St., Newark

5 p.m., N.J. Highlands Council, 100 North Road, Chester

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., N.J. Commission on Capital Budgeting and Planning, Rm. 9, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

 

Weekly Advance: Week of Jan. 14