Bill limits N.J. legislators’ unexcused absences

    A Republican-sponsored bill that seeks to cut the number of unexcused absences New Jersey legislators are allowed before vacating their office will be heard by a Senate committee on Thursday.

    The bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Kean Jr. would cut the number of unexcused absences to five before a lawmaker’s seat is declared vacant.Lawmakers now are allowed 10 unexplained absences.

    Kean says the change would help ensure that citizens are represented without interruption and discourage lawmakers from skipping sessions to avoid casting certain votes.

    The bill also was designed to discourage legislators from leaving the state during the session. That’s a possible reference to former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who disappeared for six days while on a secret trip to Argentina to visit his lover in 2009.

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