TRENTON - New Jersey's legislative leadership has announced the creation of a special committee focusing solely on investigating questions surrounding the decision to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee.
The panels, one in the Assembly and one in the Senate, will form on Thursday and take over the investigation.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski will lead the Assembly side. The newly formed committee, which will have subpoena power, will appoint members under Wisniewski's leadership with legal and investigatory backgrounds, and will include those from the region most impacted by the September lane closings.
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Wisniewski, Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto and Majority Leader Lou Greenwald said they will appoint the members for the Assembly committee. Preito plans to convene a special session to vote on extending the investigation that has already revealed that high-ranking officials in Gov. Chris Christie's administration were involved in ordering the lane closures.
The Senate's committee will be led by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, but details on that panel have not been released.
Both committees will be bipartisan, and the Assembly's Republican leader, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, said his side is eager to help as long as the motives are pure. "We would hope that further investigations focus on wronging and not partisanship," he says.
Christie has apologized since the revelations, but continues to deny any involvement. Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly has since been fired and the governor has cut ties with campaign adviser Bill Stepien. Wisniewski said last week that both of them could receive subpoenas soon, and that others could, as well.
Gov. Christie's State of the State Address is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.