Weekly Advance: Week of June 24

TRENTON – Believe it or not, it’s budget season.

It’s a quick one to miss given the lack of mud flinging or controversy throughout the halls of the New Jersey Statehouse.

If lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie disagreed on any points, it was hard to find a great deal of people talking about it much in the final days of budget negotiations.

Both legislative chambers voted on a $32.9 billion negotiated budget Friday and the proposal will now head to the Senate and Assembly floors for a full vote Monday. It’s then off to the governor’s desk for final approval.

With the November election approaching, it’s apparent Democrats and Republicans alike didn’t want to make much ado over the state’s finances. With little in surplus spending, there was little to fight about. So, lawmakers kicked the can down the road.

A majority of budget committee Democrats in both chambers voted the proposal out of their respective panel, indicating that while it’s not perfect, the bill is something they could at least agree on.

However, lawmakers hinted at trouble down the road and, once again, put the onus on the administration to stick by its revenue projections.

If revenues fall short of the Treasurer’s projections when lawmakers reconvene on budget issues in six months, don’t expect Democratic lawmakers who were tame in their debate over the budget now to remain quiet after the election.
 

Committees

A noteworthy bill making its way through the committee process is a proposal that would change the date of the 2013 general election from Nov. 5 to Oct. 16 – the day of the U.S. Senate special election.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15), is destined to be rejected by the governor. However, it will serve as one of the last opportunities for Democrats to hammer Christie over his timeline for the special election.

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court announced it denied Democratic officials’ attempt to challenge the special election.

The ruling means that unless Christie signs into law a bill that would put in place something he had the choice to do when he first announced the election timeline, all last-ditch efforts to change the date are exhausted.

One bill up for discussion only before the Senate Labor Committee on Monday is the so-called Opportunity To Compete Act, which essentially helps out job applicants who have a criminal record.

The idea is that someone who may have committed a relatively minor transgression years ago shouldn’t have that held against them in the early stages of job-hunting.

An employer wouldn’t be allowed to inquire into someone’s criminal past during the initial interview, but only once a job has been offered.

The legislation is controversial with strong emotions on both sides. No vote is scheduled in committee Monday, but expect strong testimony on both sides of the issue.

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

9:30 a.m., Budget and Appropriations Committee, Rm. 4, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

9:30 a.m., Economic Growth Committee, Rm. 1, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

9:30 a.m., Labor Committee, Rm. 10, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10 a.m., Judiciary Committee, Rm. 6, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

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

Assembly

1 p.m., Voting session, Assembly chambers, Statehouse, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Department of Health, Palliative and End-of-Life Care Roundtable, with Atlantic Health System, Malcolm Forbes Amphitheatre, Morristown Medical Center, 100 Madison Ave., Morristown

10:30 a.m., Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, directors’ room, executive offices, 2492 River Road, New Hope, Pa.

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., State Capitol Joint Management Commission, Rm. L103, Statehouse, Trenton CANCELED

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Senate

Boards and Commissions

1 p.m., N.J. State Museum Board of Trustees, N.J. State Museum, 205 W. State St., third-floor conference room, Trenton

1:30 p.m., Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 225 Park Ave. South, 15th floor, New York

Daily Events

8:30 a.m., N.J. Business and Industry Association, Using Social Media To Grow Your Business, Sheraton Eatontown, 6 Industrial Way East, Eatontown

 

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

Assembly

TBA, Voting session, Assembly chambers, Statehouse, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

9 a.m., State House Commission, Rm. 3, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10 a.m., N.J. Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, boardroom, fourth floor, Building 4, Station Plaza, 22 S. Clinton Ave., Trenton

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

 

Weekly Advance: Week of June 24