N.J. Senate leader outlines aims for lame duck session

The leader of New Jersey’s Senate is hoping some major issues are resolved before the current legislative session ends Jan. 13.

One priority is a bill passed by the Senate that encourages local governments to share services or face the loss of some state aid. Senate President Steve Sweeney says he’d like the Assembly to vote on that measure during the lame duck session.

“The concerns they had, we addressed. One of the issues was a civil service issue, and I’m not anti-civil service. I think civil service protects legitimate workers against patronage,” Sweeney said. “My goal is to have less administrators where there isn’t civil service and have more workers.”

Sweeney also hopes amendments to the Dream Act can be worked out that would convince Gov. Chris Christie to sign the measure that would allow certain undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates.

Christie previously said he supported the idea. But, after his re-election, he said he disagreed with aspects of the measure.

“We’re going to have to find ways to get things done,” Sweeney said. “It’s just a matter of, when you say you support something, then it’s pretty hard when you say you don’t for us not to be disappointed.”

The Senate also is weighing whether to take any additional legislative action on the marriage equality issue.

“It could be an override, it could be a separate new bill, or it could be no action at all,” Sweeney said. “This really comes down to doing the right thing. It’s what’s the best option, and we’re trying to figure that out right now.”

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