Interest arbitration cap agreement could be announced as soon as Friday, source says

TRENTON – A deal on interest arbitration caps for unionized police and firefighters has been struck between the administration and legislative leadership, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Gov. Chris Christie’s office, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) could roll details of the agreement as soon as tomorrow. The announcement will extend a version of the former law that was allowed to sunset in March, a source said.

Details on a compromise were scant, however talks have been ongoing since the Assembly allowed the law that put a 2 percent cap on interest arbitration to expire after Prieto refused to post a proposal for a vote that was offered by the governor by approved by the Senate.

In March, Senate and Assembly lawmakers passed a bill that would extend the cap, which was set to expire at the end of the month, until the end of 2017. The proposal that went through both chambers also significantly loosened the existing cap. In return, Christie conditionally vetoed the bill to add language to largely put it back in line with the existing cap.

Senate lawmakers quickly concurred with the governor’s conditional veto and Assembly members filed out of the Statehouse.

Christie began a campaign of putting pressure on Prieto to approve the cap. In April, he called out the new speaker by name during town hall meetings and also held a rally on the steps of the Trenton War Memorial.

Interest arbitration cap agreement could be announced as soon as Friday, source says