Voting Sessions 9/24/20: Bills to Watch

Voting Sessions 9/24/20: Bills to Watch

Both the Senate and the Assembly have voting sessions today. Here are the bills I’ll be watching:

S864 This is the final hurdle for the ban on single-use carryout bags (paper and plastic) and polystyrene foam containers before it reaches Governor Murphy’s desk for signing into law. The bill also limits the use of plastic straws. [UPDATE: the bill passed both Houses. The votes in the Senate were 26-12, and the Assembly split was 48-24 with 17 abstentions]

S2401 This one is interesting: the bill prohibits public school students and employees of a school district from immediately returning to the school building after traveling to places that are designated on the list of “quarantine travel advisories” during certain public health emergencies. What peaks my interest about it is that up until now, the travel quarantines issued by Governor Murphy have been voluntary, not mandatory. This bill would apply to those states or regions where quarantining upon return is “required or encouraged”–in effect, making even voluntary quarantine restrictions mandatory by law, requiring those students and teachers to attend remotely via online instruction until the 14 day period has passed, or the place where they traveled drops off the advisory list, whichever comes first. There’s no Assembly version of this bill yet, but the Senate version did garner bi-partisan support when it was heard in Committee at the end of August, with Senator Thompson voting to release the bill. The other GOP member, Senator Doherty, voted No. [UPDATE: The bill passed the Senate 37-2]

SR90/AR189 Resolutions don’t have any actual teeth to them, but depending on how they’re worded, they can nevertheless come back to bite lawmakers who don’t vote Yes. Resolutions are not laws, they’re merely public declarations by the legislature in support of a certain action or concept. These two resolutions being voted on today are similar in their primary purpose–honoring the life and legacy of the recently-deceased, iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But while the Senate resolution stops there, the Assembly version also “respectfully requests” that Congress refrains from voting on her replacement until after the results of the 2020 Presidential election have been determined. This forces Assembly legislators to go on record and enter the raging political debate surrounding the timing of filling RBG’s seat. To vote No on AR189 would be disrespectful to RBG’s memory, but a Yes vote bucks the national Republican party stance, so I expect the GOP Assembly members to Abstain on this one. The Senate resolution should pass easily. [UPDATE: SR90 passed unanimously, 36-0. AR189 passed the Assembly 52-5 with 13 abstentions.]

S2021/A4720 The revised Budget bills are sure to spark debate on the floor before the vote, but with the September 30th deadline looming, they’ll ultimately pass and head to Governor Murphy’s desk for possible red line adjustments. The new budget appropriates $32,711,205,000 in State funds and $13,856,161,239 in federal funds for the State budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The votes are expected to fall along party lines, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed. passed both Houses. [UPDATE: The 2021 Budget bills, S2021/A4720, passed the Senate 25-14, and passed the Assembly 57-27-1.]

Leave a Reply