Weekly Advance: Week of Nov. 26

TRENTON – The Garden State continues to move on from the devastation left behind in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and the last week of November provides further proof of the progress.

Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to host his first town hall meeting since Sandy slammed the Jersey coast nearly a month ago. The town hall will be the governor’s 99th of its kind and comes after a lull in the signature political events that were put on hold to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

What will be on the table for discussion?

Will it be minimum wage hikes, tax cuts for New Jersey residents or will talks be about the “last bastion for liberalism” in the state, known to others as the New Jersey Supreme Court, that takes center stage during the town hall event?

Yes, it’s absolutely expected that Christie will be talking with residents about the Sandy recovery efforts. However, the political wheels began turning in the Statehouse when Senate lawmakers cleared another hurdle for a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage and Senate President Steve Sweeney essentially drew a line in the sand.

According to Sweeney, the governor can either sign off on the proposal the Senate will vote on in chambers on Thursday, or voters can decide the issue in 2013.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has said she will go along with the Senate president’s plan, but has yet to say what she would do if the governor conditionally vetoed the bill by taking out the automatic annual increase tied to inflation.

Since Democratic lawmakers would need a simple majority vote on the proposal in 2012 and 2013 to get it on as a ballot question, it stands to reason Oliver will join ranks with Sweeney in the end if Christie crosses out language that would nix the annual increase – which the governor has said he strongly opposes.

Republicans in the Statehouse have argued during the recent minimum wage bill hearing that now is not the appropriate time to pass such a measure because the state is still hurting from Sandy.

Will the same argument be made by the governor before voters next week?

On the topic of Sandy, Senate lawmakers will also meet Monday in Toms River to discuss damage from the storm and assess the immediate needs of residents.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hear testimony from invited guests – including mayors and emergency management officials – about what can be done by the state to bring some immediate relief to residents.

It’s the first of a series of committee meetings that will focus on the aftermath of the storm.

Other organizations will take a look at the effects of Sandy as well.  The N.J. League of Municipalities will hold court on Wednesday at Mercer County Community College on effects of the storm, including on local budgets and tax assessments.

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

11 a.m., Budget and Appropriations Committee, L.M. Hirshblond Room, second floor, Toms River municipal complex, 23 Washington St., Toms River

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Daily Events

8:30 a.m., N.J. Business and Industry Association, HR 101, An Employment Law and HR Primer, Forsgate Country Club, Monroe

8:30 a.m., Breakfast roundtable with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr., N.J. Chamber of Commerce, Forsgate Country Club, Monroe

9 a.m., Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Part One: A Look at the Risk Management, Tax Assessment and Municipal Budgeting, N.J. League of Municipalities, Conference Center at Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor

 

Thursday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

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

Daily Events

5 p.m., Inaugural N.J. Chamber of Commerce Holiday Party, Calandra’s Italian Village, 234 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Daily Events

8:30 a.m., N.J. Business and Industry Association, Complying with State and Federal Family Disability Leave, Wilshire Grand, 350 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange

 

 

 

Weekly Advance: Week of Nov. 26