N.J. state Senate advances back pay bill for state employees

 Unionized state workers rally outside the NJ Statehouse to push for enactment of the legislation that would ensure they don’t lose pay because of the three-day state government shutdown. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Unionized state workers rally outside the NJ Statehouse to push for enactment of the legislation that would ensure they don’t lose pay because of the three-day state government shutdown. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey’s Senate has unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to pay state workers for the days they were furloughed during the recent three-day government shutdown.

Chanting ‘It’s time of give us back our pay” unionized state employees rallied outside the Statehouse in Trenton in support of the measure they say will prevent them from losing money they depend on.

Senator Linda Greenstein said it’s a moral obligation to get the measure to the governor’s desk as quickly as possible.

“These workers will be short at least a day’s pay because of the lag time associated with bookkeeping. We have many, many civil servants like too many Americans overall who are living paycheck to paycheck and a day’s pay will be sorely missed.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney said it’s up to the Assembly to act on the bill that Governor Christie intends to sign as soon the legislature sends it to him.

“I hope that the Speaker calls a voting session soon because they got to get in here. He can’t sign a bill that’s not on his desk.”

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto is working to get the Assembly back for a vote.

“It’s Mondays and Thursdays from now until end of the month. So we’ll figure out which of those days is the one that works, but it’ll be before August 1st.”

Lawmakers and the Governor agree the workers shouldn’t be penalized for the budget dispute that led to the shutdown.

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