NJ Politics Digest: Christie Approves Back Pay for State Workers

Gov. Chris Christie. Tim Larsen/Governor's Office

Tens of thousands of state employees who couldn’t come to work during last month’s government shutdown will get back pay under a bill Gov. Chris Christie signed into law on Tuesday.

The governor’s action provided some closure to the shutdown, which was sparked by a budget dispute and immortalized by pictures of Christie sunning on a state beach he closed to everyone else during the July 4 holiday weekend.

“This bill justly reinstates the pay lost by our hard-working rank and file state workers who were not at fault for the three-day government closure that disrupted services and inconvenienced our citizens,” Christie said in a statement.

While Christie thanked Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) for getting the back pay bill passed, Prieto had harsh words for the governor.

“The governor should have used his clear authority to pay workers immediately from the money included in the state budget, as I suggested, but he instead chose to play politics with people’s lives,” the speaker said in a statement.

Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo swapped out the leadership at the Port Authority. Former state Sen. Kevin O’Toole, a close Christie ally, is the new chairman of the troubled bi-state agency. They also named Rick Cotton, Cuomo’s special counsel for interagency initiatives since 2015, as the new executive director of the agency.

And U.S. Sen. Cory Booker introduced a bill to end the federal ban on marijuana. The bill is an ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system, but it faces long odds in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Quote of the Day: “I’ll agree to compete under any standard rules you want, whether it’s MMA, boxing, freestyle, folkstyle, or Greco-Roman wrestling. Just let me know if you still want to make this physical,” Cubs fan Brad Joseph offering to fight Christie after their confrontation at a baseball game.

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