TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — New Jersey state legislators are working in committee to rush through a pair of measures that some consider controversial.
The bills, which were introduced this week, were passed by Assembly and Senate committees after lengthy debate.
One ties pay raises for legislative aides, judges and other state workers to relaxing the state ethics law to allow Governor Chris Christie to make a book deal and profit from it while in office. North Jersey Republican Kevin O’Toole is a Senate sponsor.
“Governors, presidents, US senators have a right to write a book. They get compensated,” North Jersey State Senator Kevin O’Toole told colleagues.
Some suggest the ethics change should be enacted after Christie leaves office, and that the timing of the proposed raises comes too close to enactment of a 23 cent a gallon hike in New Jersey’s gasoline tax.
The other measure would allow towns to save money by publishing legal notices online instead of the local newspaper. Opponents believe this measure is being pushed by the Christie Administration to punish papers that have opposed him over the years, a contention the Administration flatly denies.
But newspaper publishers like Richard Vezza at the Star Ledger argue the media will pay the price. “This bill will cause approximately, our best estimate, is 300 layoffs throughout the state of New Jersey from newspapers.,” he said. He also said that some weekly publications that provide local news coverage in smaller towns and municipalities might have to shut down altogether.
Both measures could come up for final votes in the legislature as early as Monday, the last day both houses are meeting this year.