Public hearings on ballot questions to dedicate additional funds to meet our transportation needs, fully fund pensions and expand casino gaming were held on Thursday, and the full Senate was in session for floor votes in the afternoon. Here is a rundown of the day’s legislative activity:
Motor Fuel Tax Dedication (ACR-1). The Assembly Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on this resolution, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, to amend the constitution to dedicate more money to the Transportation Trust Fund without raising the 10.5-cent gas tax or the 13.5-cent tax on diesel fuels. The amendment asks voters to dedicate all revenues from the motor fuels and petroleum products gross receipts tax to fund the state’s transportation needs. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO supported the resolution in committee.
Pension Funding (SCR-184/ACR-3). The Senate State Government Committee and Assembly Judiciary Committee held public hearings on a proposal to place a question before voters on the November ballot requiring the state to fully fund pensions. These committee actions pave the way for full floor votes on Monday, January 11, the final day of the current legislative session.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO fully supports this ballot measure to ensure that the state meets its obligations to 800,000 active and retired pensioners. We have long advocated quarterly payments as a fiscally sound means of generating untold millions in additional investment returns, a provision the governor previously vetoed, which is included in the ballot question.
Casino Expansion (ACR-2/SCR-185). A resolution sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) and Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36) to ask voters to allow casino expansion to northern New Jersey received a public hearing in the Senate Budget Committee and is set for a Monday vote in the Senate. A resolution sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28) on casino expansion received a public hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is set for a Monday vote in the Assembly. Details of the two versions currently differ.
Prevailing Wages. The Senate unanimously approved two bills aimed at strengthening New Jersey’s prevailing wage laws. A-3043/S-1943 gives the Department of Labor and Workforce Development additional authority to verify the accuracy of employee wage records. A-3044/S-1944 requires the Labor Department to maintain a list of contractors and subcontractors who fail to pay the prevailing wage on public projects and to disseminate the list upon request, among other provisions. The Assembly previously passed the bills unanimously. The bills now head to the governor’s desk.