NJ Legislature to Weigh Major Bills During Thursday’s Lame Duck Session

The Assembly chamber in the New Jersey statehouse. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The New Jersey Legislature will meet on Thursday for one of the last session days before Gov. Chris Christie leaves office on Jan. 16.

While only a few days remain in Christie’s term, legislators this week are focused on pushing through some last-minute initiatives. On Thursday, the legislature will have a packed schedule, and bills will include a controversial bill that could boost pension payments for some public officials, a bill that would create subsidies for nuclear power in New Jersey, and a voting on plans to provide massive tax breaks to Amazon if the company decides to locate its second headquarters in New Jersey.

Here are some of the biggest bills on the schedule for Thursday:

A5322/S3620- The Assembly will vote on a bill that would allow former Camden Mayor Dana Redd—as well as some other elected officials—to re-enter the public pension system she left in 2010 when she left the Camden city council in order to become mayor. The bill has been controversial, partly because New Jersey’s pension system is underfunded as a whole. The bill was introduced in the legislature last month and fast-tracked. It passed the state Senate last month, and Christie will likely sign the measure if it lands on his desk in the coming days—Redd has been a loyal Christie supporter.

S3560/A5330- The state Senate will vote on a bill that could create a new nuclear subsidy program in New Jersey, an effort by lawmakers to avoid plant closures in the wake of warnings by a large energy provider (PSEG) that it would need to close some plants without financial assistance. If passed, the legislation would require electric utilities to pay for credits from qualifying nuclear plants. Those plants would then need to provide financial data to the state Board of Public Utilities to participate in the program. Environmental groups including the Sierra Club oppose the measure, claiming that the bill would force ratepayers to pay more despite lack of data from PSEG that the subsidies are necessary.

S3631- On Thursday, the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will vote on whether or not to expand the Grow NJ program, a program that offers tax incentives to companies that develop “transformative projects” in New Jersey. The bill is aimed at wooing Amazon to make Newark the sight of its second headquarters. If approved, the bill would raise the cap on subsidies from $5,000 to $10,000 for every job created by Amazon, providing an estimated $7 billion in tax credits for the company if it chooses to come to New Jersey. The bill is supported by Christie and will likely get a signature if it is approved by both houses of the Legislature and makes it to his desk before the end of lame duck.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that s3631 was to be heard by the full state Senate rather than the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

NJ Legislature to Weigh Major Bills During Thursday’s Lame Duck Session