Thursday will be a full day at the statehouse, with Senate and Assembly hearings on North Jersey casino expansion dominating the agenda. While the upper house hashes out the details of Senate President Steve Sweeney’s (D-3) proposal to introduce a constitutional amendment allowing gaming outside Atlantic City in committee, the Assembly will be discussing Speaker Vince Prieto’s (D-32) rival bill to do the same.
Thursday’s hearings will most likely lead to a compromise that would settle Atlantic City’s share of new casinos’ profits. The conflict between Sweeney and Prieto stems from South and North Jersey’s competing interest in the new revenue — the Sweeney bill would devote 49% of new revenues to AC’s recovery, while Prieto’s would offer 36% with a slower annual decrease and a fixed 20% share for the gaming capitol after 15 years.
The Assembly will also be hearing testimony on three other constitutional amendments, all of which would require ballot initiatives to take effect: one mounted by Sweeney to mandate quarterly pension payments to avoid further shortfall, one to devote gas tax revenue to the flagging Transportation Trust Fund, and one to mandate that there be at least 10 competitive legislative districts in state elections.
The Atlantic City PILOT bill will be going back to the Assembly after Governor Christie’s conditional veto while notable bills on earned sick leave, driver’s license photos for chemotherapy patients and birth certificate changes for transgender New Jerseyans will be going before the Senate.
It will be a day full of opportunities for Sweeney to advance on issues that could serve as feathers in his cap if he does enter the fray for governor in 2017, and for the Democrats to push back against Governor Christie on the state’s most pressing financial issues. See the full schedule for tomorrow’s hearings and Assembly session below.
Assembly Judiciary – Committee Room 11 at 9 AM
ACR1 – “Amends State Constitution to dedicate all State revenues from motor fuels and petroleum products gross receipts tax to transportation system.”
ACR2 – “Proposes constitutional amendment to allow Legislature to authorize by law establishment and operation of casinos in certain counties.”
ACR3 – “Proposes constitutional amendment to require payments by State to State-administered retirement systems and establish in Constitution right of public employees to pension benefit; provides for enforcement of funding obligations and benefit rights.”
ACR4 – “Proposes constitutional amendment to change membership of legislative Apportionment Commission; imposes certain requirements on commission for process and legislative district composition.”
Senate Budget and Appropriations – Committee Room 4 at 10 AM
SCR185 – “Proposes constitutional amendment to authorize Legislature to permit by law establishment and operation of casinos in certain counties.”
Assembly Session – Assembly Chambers at 1 PM
A3981 w/GR (1R) – Casino Property Taxation Stabilization Act – 2nd Reading in Assembly to Concur with Gov Recommendations.
A3984 w/GR (1R) – 2nd Reading in Assembly to Concur with Gov Recommendations – “Reallocates casino investment alternative tax to Atlantic City to pay debt service on municipal bonds issued.”
A4719 Aca (1R) – 2nd Reading in the Assembly – “Extends use of stored driver’s license picture for person undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment for certain medical illnesses.”
Senate Session – Senate Chambers at 2 PM
S785 ScaSa (2R) – 2nd Reading in the Senate – “Concerns earned sick leave.”
S1195 – Received by the Senate – “Revises procedure for issuance of amended birth certificate for person who has undergone change in sex.”
S2840 Sca (1R) – 2nd Reading in the Senate – “Creates workforce training program for former casino workers.”
S1195 – “Revises procedure for issuance of amended birth certificate for person who has undergone change in sex.”