What to Watch for in the NJ Lame Duck Session

Contributed by Liz Glynn

The lame duck session is here in the NJ legislature! This is the last legislative session before the new legislators are sworn in on the second Tuesday of January. It is a hard and fast scramble to get legislation passed – especially legislation already in the works. Any legislation that doesn’t cross the finish line by the end of the lame duck session has to start all over again in the next session. The legislature has also been known to try to sneak through bad bills while everyone is busy with the holidays. It’s time to watch the legislature and be ready to respond!

What to look for in the lame duck session:

    • Reforming Corporate Tax Credits to ensure greater monitoring and oversight, higher labor standards for reward recipients, local hiring, smart investments with greater community benefits, and hard annual caps. The NJ Comptroller’s report, the Governor’s Task Force, and investigative journalists revealed a bevy of scandals, fraudulent activity and otherwise questionable policy. Time to fix our corporate tax subsidy programs! 
    • Driver’s Licenses for All to allow immigrants the opportunity to access driver’s license. This would allow our immigrant families to drive to work, drive their kids, and would make our roads safer for everyone. Sign up for alerts at letsdrivenj.org. You can also contact your legislators and show up in Trenton for upcoming days of action.
    • Redistricting Reform to create a more democratic process to draw our district lines. The Fair Districts reform proposal includes citizen commissioners, public participation, more transparency and bans legislators from being able to determine their own district lines. Learn more at fairdistrictsnj.org
    • Voting Rights Restoration for people on parole, probation and in prison. Advocates are pushing for full restoration and to become the third state to do so. You can contact your legislator to let them know you support full restoration with this online action: LetUsVoteNJ.org
    • Marijuana reform is up for negotiation. There are various bills that could advance that include expungement of marijuana-related offenses, decriminalization and possibly legalization of recreational use.
    • ACA protections are also in the pipeline to ensure we protect New Jersey residents from Trump’s sabotage. Bills include prohibiting pre-existing conditions exclusions, requiring dependent coverage to age 26, requiring coverage of essential health benefits, requiring coverage of preventative services, and requiring contraceptive coverage. 

    There will be plenty of opportunities to attend committee meetings, submit public testimony, meet with legislators, and see live voting on the Senate and Assembly floor. If you would like to visit Trenton and see democracy in action you can contact Liz Glynn, Director of Organizing with NJ Citizen Action at liz@njcitizenaction.org 

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