Volume 5/Issue 23

  • NJ Senate Overrides the Governor's Veto for the First Time
  • Teachers' Union Leads PAC Spending on Assembly Elections 
  • NJ TRANSIT Takes Lead on Environmental Permitting Process for Gateway Tunnel    
  • PANYNJ Moves Forward on New Bus Terminal   

NJ Senate Overrides the Governor's Veto for the First Time

The State Senate voted to override Governor Christie’s veto of legislation that would require law enforcement to be notified when a person applies to the court to have their mental health record expunged to purchase a firearm.  The vote signifies the first time either house has successfully overturned a veto by Governor Christie's after 52 prior attempts to do so, including a previous Senate override vote on this legislation.   Republican Senators Joe Kyrillos, Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Chris Connors joined all of the Senate Democrats in voting for the override. 

The bill gives law enforcement the opportunity to provide the courts information, such as pending charges, the purchaser's criminal history, or any aberrant behavior within the community that suggests they would be a danger to themselves or others. 

The Assembly must follow suit in order for the override to take effect and the bill to become law.  Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald told media outlets that the vote in their house will take place shortly after Election Day. 

Teachers' Union Leads PAC Spending on Assembly Elections 

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reported that special interest groups have spent $5.4 million on the Assembly general election campaigns this year, representing 45 percent of the total spending. 

Garden State Forward, a federal Super Political Action Committee (PAC) founded by the New Jersey Education Association, leads all spending, having distributed $2.75 million to the General Majority PAC, a nationwide Super PAC focused on electing Democratic state legislators.   The General Majority PAC itself has raised more than $3 million (with the majority of funding from the Garden State Forward contribution) and has spent $2,018,929 in total.  

No comparable Republican Super PAC has currently directed any effort in New Jersey.

NJ TRANSIT Takes Lead on Environmental Permitting Process for Gateway Tunnel    

Taking a significant first step in moving forward on the Gateway Trans-Hudson Tunnel project, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors gave its authorization to enter into a memorandum of agreement with AMTRAK to conduct the environmental analysis and documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The authorization will also allow NJ TRANSIT to work towards obtaining a Record of Decision from the Federal Rail Administration. 

NJ TRANSIT will retain a consultant to collect the data and perform the necessary analysis and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

PANYNJ Moves Forward on New Bus Terminal   

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Board of Commissioners gave its approval last week to move forward on the design and construction of a new bus terminal in Manhattan.  The approval comes after some PANYNJ commissioners called for additional studies on the proposed facility at prior board meetings, pointing to issues concerning where to site the new facility and the multi-billion dollar cost estimate.  

The new terminal is likely to be constructed one block west of the existing building, unless a better location is proposed during the design phase. Bus ridership is expected to increase by almost 50 percent by 2040, with a substantial amount of the commuters traveling into Manhattan from New Jersey.