After weeks of commission hearings and one brief Senate sessionThe 220th New Jersey Legislature held its first full legislative vote today, the title of which was a seemingly simple bill that nonetheless sparked strong opposition from Republican lawmakers: whether to allow Gov. Phil Murphy postpone the speech on the budget for 2022 for two weeks.
The bill, authored by Budget Assembly Chair Eliana Pintar Marin (D-Newark), postpones Murphy’s annual address from February 22 to March 8 so that it can be delivered in person instead of remotely. But a number of Republicans have protested against the move, saying it gives the governor even more power and reduces transparency.
“Please, Mr. Speaker and the majority party, bring the governor to justice,” said MP Brian Bergen (R-Denville). “There is a schedule. He must provide a budget address. He should give us information about the budget so that we can make the best budget. Could you bring him to justice at least once? ”
Pintar Marin rejected Republicans’ arguments, saying that the governors of both sides had previously asked for extensions of budget addresses.
“Today we are here to give the governor the two-week extension that many governors have asked of him,” Pinter Marin said. “Especially if this year is ours the inauguration took place a little later; especially if we continue to generate strong revenues that will enable us to have better numbers when we start our budget process. “
The Assembly eventually passed the bill almost along party lines 43-32-1, with MP Ronald Danser (R-Plumsted) abstaining.
After some time the Senate passed the same bill and after a brief speech in opposition to State Senator Declan O’Scanlan (R-Little Silver) passed it by 23 votes to 11; State Sensor Gene Stanfield (R-Vestempton) and Vincent Polistina (R-Egg-Harbor Township) joined the Democrats in support.
For 16 newly elected members The Assembly today celebrated its first day in the Assembly Halls, but many were not present to celebrate the event. With only one bill, fewer than 30 members of the Assembly – including only eight Republicans – showed up to vote in person, while the rest voted remotely.
The Senate, which had a number of bills to vote on, did better: 34 of the 40 senators were present.