A full helping of legislative hearings are slated for today, March 7, in Trenton. The state’s proposed $225 settlement with Exxon Mobil — which is nearing the end of its 60 day public comment period — is the main highlight. Here’s a quick look at what else is going on.
Upper house committees on education, law and public safety, judiciary, military and veterans affairs, and state government, wagering and tourism are all scheduled to meet. The Senate Education Committee will take up a bill (S2275), sponsored by state Senator Brian Stack (D-32), to make cheerleading an official high school sport and governed by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. The Senate Judiciary is set to consider a whole host of bills, one of which (S763) would establish criminal penalties for organizers of dog fights in the wake of a spat of recent arrests.
Ten Assembly committees will convene for hearings throughout the day. At 2 pm, members of the Law and Public Safety Committee will consider a bill (A3580) that would prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol, which has been hit with restrictions and bans in states across the country even before the stuff has been able to make it to 1market. At 1 pm, members of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee will consider the “Garden State Manufacturing Jobs Act,” which allows manufacturing businesses in the state to register as “Garden State Corporations” and receive certain tax credits (A579).
Two new bills are also set to be introduced: one, sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-3) and Vince Mazzeo (D-2), would aim to make public details related to the governor’s use of certain taxpayer funds allotted for undisclosed purposes in the budget process, while another, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-34), would better ensure impartiality and boost community confidence by removiyng local prosecutors from cases involving a death from the action of a police officer.
At 10 am, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will receive testimony from invited experts to discuss the house’s pending public comment on the state’s controversial $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil. Last time the committee convened to consider the settlement, it passed A4281 and A4307, which would require 50 percent of any money received from environmental settlements over $50 million dollars go to the state’s general fund, with 50 percent earmarked for the intended cleanup of the contaminated sites, as well as increase the required public notice for settlements entered into by Department of Environmental Protection, such as Exxon’s, from 30 days to 60 days, respectively.