Transitional Aid to be heard in Senate committee

TRENTON – Days after the Assembly passed a measure restoring $139 million in Transitional Aid without a committee hearing, the Senate has taken the normal route.

The Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee on Thursday will hear the Democrats’ bill re-inserting the aid into the budget, tacking on $1.5 million in oversight funds.

Sponsored by state Sens. Donald Norcross, (D-5), of Camden, and Paul Sarlo, (D-36), of Wood-Ridge, the bill restores the aid line-item vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie in June. Democrats opted to remove an allowance of 1 percent of the aid for oversight when they submitted the state budget to Christie, which the governor did not take kindly.

Christie, tactically unable to re-insert the language funding the oversight, removed all of the aid except $10 million already apportioned to municipalities. Christie told the Legislature he would restore the funds once the oversight funding was reinstated, but after months of inaction Norcross and Sarlo submitted a bill that called for an additional $1.5 million to pay for the program oversight.

Christie didn’t shoot down the arrangement when asked at a press conference whether he would support it, and many of the Assembly Republicans voted for the lower chamber version, even allowing it to be introduced as an emergent issue bypassing committee.

Among the other bills for a vote in the committee meeting on Thursday:

S184, which upgrades offenses of engaging in unauthorized practice of law, creates a course of civil action, and bars convicted persons from appointment as a notary public.

S1336, which changes to the N.J. Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1986 to expand its scope with regard to small businesses.

S2445, which appropriates over $1 million in 2003 bond act monies for Sayreville flood control project.

S2278, which authorizes zero-interest loans to local governments for certain brownfield remediations and changes priorities for financial assistance from the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund.

S2917, which authorizes a public institution of higher education to make a supplemental contribution to the Alternate Benefit Program on behalf of its faculty members.

S1802, which authorizes payment of funeral expenses for certain public safety employees killed in the line of duty.

S1954, which establishes a forest harvest program on state-owned land.

S2643, which appropriates $1 million for outreach and enrollment activities in Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare programs.

S3046, which requires the state to provide recipients of state tax refunds, unemployment insurance benefits, and state employee compensation certain payment options.

S3061, which imposes certain registration and reporting requirements to prevent illegal trade of tigers.

Transitional Aid to be heard in Senate committee