N.J. lawmakers sidestep gas-tax vote, try again on ‘smart guns,’ advance pension payment plan

A constitutional amendment to mandate quarterly state payments into New Jersey's public employee pension system is a step closer to appearing on the November ballot following Assembly approval of the measure Monday by a vote of 50-to-25.
(Ken Kohn/Bigstock)

A constitutional amendment to mandate quarterly state payments into New Jersey's public employee pension system is a step closer to appearing on the November ballot following Assembly approval of the measure Monday by a vote of 50-to-25. (Ken Kohn/Bigstock)

Both houses of the New Jersey Legislature have scrapped planned votes to raise the gasoline tax by 23 cents per gallon, slash other taxes and fund transportation over the next 10 years.

The Democrat-led Senate adjourned Monday without voting.

But Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said he’s optimistic a vote could still happen in that chamber.

Lawmakers also sent Republican Gov. Chris Christie legislation to increase the sales of “smart guns,” which can only be fired by authorized users. The Assembly passed the bill on Monday. Christie pocket-vetoed the measure last session.

Meanwhile, a constitutional amendment to mandate quarterly state payments into New Jersey’s public employee pension system is a step closer to appearing on the November ballot.

The Assembly Monday approved the measure by a vote of 50-to-25.

The amendment will put the pension system on a path to improvement, said Prieto, D-Hudson.

“We need to be able to make sure that those payments are there and what was promised to these employees will be there at the end of the day,” he said.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick opposes making those payments a constitutional requirement.

“This is not the way to fix the pensions. It is a way to tie the hands of the legislature in emergency situations in the future,” said Bramnick, R-Union.

The Senate also must approve the measure to get it on the ballot.

WHYY’s Phil Gregory contributed to this report.

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