Lawmakers in New Jersey pushing a set of bills to reform an embattled Port Authority might have to put their efforts on hold as legislators in New York set aside their own package in favor of continuing discussions with the state’s Democratic governor.
New York’s version of the reform package — identical to the one in New Jersey — was slated for a vote in the state’s Senate yesterday, but was pulled by the bills’ sponsor to further hash out details with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The development could mean delays for New Jersey lawmakers, who say they are close to securing the bi-partisan support needed to overturn a veto of the bill by Gov. Chris Christie last year. State Senator Bob Gordon (D-38) told PolitickerNJ last week that he’s been going behind closed doors over the last several weeks to speak with Republicans on the issue, and has been encourage by what he’s heard.
With one Republican — state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) already — signed on, Democrats in the Senate need two more Republican votes to enact what would be a historic veto override.
(Republicans have never gone against Christie in his five years of office, with Democrats trying and failing over a dozen times to override his vetoes.)
“The real challenge is going to be in New Jersey,” Gordon said.
One factor observers say might make this veto override attempt different than previous ones is the Christie fatigue allegedly felt among Republicans in both New Jersey houses, who say they’re sick of being ignored by the prospective presidential candidate. Gordon has heard evidence of it: the Democrat said he’s been “taken a-back by comments” from Republicans when “the door is closed.”
“I’ve heard some pretty hostile language,” he said.
Because the Port Authority is a bi-state agency controlled jointly by the governors of New York and New Jersey, lawmakers need to pass the bills on both sides of the river in order for them to take effect. Democrats said at a previous press conference that they plan to bring a veto override bill to the floor on March 5th.
Gordon said he remains “cautiously optimistic.”
“But realistic,” he added.
UPDATE: The override vote for the reform package has been postponed to the 16th, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-37), the bills’ other sponsor, has informed PolitickerNJ.