TRENTON – Last-minute amendments to the affordable housing legislation may postpone Thursday’s scheduled vote in the Senate, according to the bill’s sponsor.
The amendments, which state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) would not discuss in specifics because they still were being worked on, may force a rescheduling of the vote until Monday, but Lesniak said he felt sure the vote would definitely take place by next Monday, if not this Thursday.
The bill, S-1, which did pass the Senate in June, underwent amendments in the Assembly before being passed there in December with growing Republican opposition.
The original Senate bill was given the seal of approval from Christie, but he denounced the version that passed in the Assembly and threatened a veto.
Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank), who voted with several other high-profile Republicans for the original Senate version, said today she believes Lesniak is doing some last-minute reworks that could bring some of the GOP vote back to the fold and hold off a competitive bill rumored to be drafted by the governor’s office.
Lesniak said, “It has always been the obligation of each municipality to allow for affordable housing.’’ He said he feels the bill they vote on will pass constitutional muster.
But the amendments will not appease Sen. Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.), who opposes the very concept of what he calls “subsidized housing.”
“It’s one thing to provide some rental housing to people who are down on their luck,” he said. “It’s another thing to say to the taxpayer they have to subsidize housing that people are going to own. You’re taking away the incentive that people have to get up in the morning and get a job and get to work. I think the Supreme Court stepped over the line.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, the same amendments may not be enough to keep Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) happy either. She initially voted against S1 last summer.
Not familiar with Lesniak’s proposed amendments, she said today, “I am in favor of a law that allows most people to live in the community in which they work.’’ She strongly opposes any gutting of the concept of providing affordable housing.
Additional reporting by Bill Mooney.