Minimum wage hike, tanning beds, human trafficking, more on Assembly voting list

TRENTON – Minimum wage hikes, Sandy monitors, tanning beds, earned income tax credits, and human trafficking are among the bills on the Assembly’s voting list for Thursday.

Possibly the most noteworthy vote will be SCR1, which would place before voters the option of increasing the minimum wage to $8.25, with a cost of living increase built in.

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill in late January that would have hiked the minimum wage to $8.50, and offered instead a compromise hike of $1 phased in over three years, which leadership of both houses rejected.

Republican legislators have argued a constitutional amendment is the wrong way to go about hiking the minimum wage, but Speaker Sheila Oliver and Senate President Steve Sweeney have said that if Christie vetoed the bill  they would pursue the constitutional amendment on November’s ballot.

Thursday’s vote is the last step necessary.

Also on the agenda for Thursday:

A60: This bill, sponsored by Speaker Sheila Oliver and other Democrats, authorizes deployment of integrity monitors to oversee Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding projects.

A61: This bill, also sponsored by Democrats including Speaker Sheila Oliver, imposes oversight upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funding.

It calls for a funding transparency website; quarterly reports on Sandy recovery funding; and priority reports for administrative problems that are encountered.

A2142: This bill would bar tanning bed use by someone under age 17. The parent must be present for the initial consultation.

This bill has gone through amendments since it was introduced in January 2012. The original bill would have banned such tanning bed use for anyone under 18.

It passed the Assembly last year, went through changes before being passed by the Senate, and now arrives back in the Assembly.

A3793/S2535: This increases benefit amounts under the New Jersey earned income tax credit program to 25 percent of the federal earned income tax credit amounts. Restoration of the credit has been a key issue for Democrats for some time.

A3352: This bill combats human trafficking.

Among other things, it would establish a commission tasked with promoting awareness of a 24-hour toll-free hotline.

A provision was removed that would have subjected people such as taxi drivers to criminal liability for unknowingly transporting a trafficking victim.

The bill has gained attention in part because of the Super Bowl being held in New Jersey next year. Bill proponents had testified that such events provide a breeding ground for increased trafficking.

Minimum wage hike, tanning beds, human trafficking, more on Assembly voting list