Transportation, economy top New Jersey Senate’s summer agenda
The New Jersey Assembly is not expected to return to Trenton for committee hearings and voting sessions until the fall. The state Senate, however, is not getting a summer break.
There are several things on the agenda that Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said they will be dealing with.
"We'll be looking at ways of getting people back to work and making proper investments like in the TTF (Transportation Trust Fund) where we can start drawing businesses back to the state," said Sweeney. "We need to improve our infrastructure if we want to fix our economy. Places that have stronger economies are actually investing in their infrastructure. We cannot not invest."
The TTF is the pot of money the state relies on for road, bridge and tunnel construction, repair and maintenance. The fund is on pace to run out of money on June 30, 2016.
"We're continuing to push to get funding for higher education and then it's Atlantic City again, so we've got a lot of stuff to still do," Sweeney said.
During the week of July 20, the Senate held several committee hearings and a voting session. Sweeney said more were planned.
"We have one (committee and voting session) scheduled for August," Sweeney explained. "We are not up for election and we are going to be in session right through." A voting session is scheduled for Aug. 13. The agenda is not yet available.
All 80 seats in the Assembly are up for grabs in the November elections, so it's likely members won't return until after the elections are over.
On Aug. 10, the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee is expected to conduct a hearing to consider the state of New Jersey's transportation infrastructure and discuss potential funding sources for the TTF.
There is also a strategic reason for returning to Trenton for sessions.
It forces Gov. Chris Christie to take action on legislation that has received final approval. The governor has to sign, veto or conditionally veto bills within 45 days of passage unless the Legislature is not in session, in which case action doesn't have to take place until the next session.