Gov. Christie praises Senate vote on benefits bill

TRENTON - (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is praising the state Senate for passing legislation to require public workers to pay more for pension and health benefits and restrictingcollective bargaining over health care.

Christie called Monday's Senate action "a watershed moment forNew Jersey."

The Republican governor said Republicans and Democrats workingtogether to confront tough issues will provide "a sustainablefuture for the state's pension and health benefit system."

The measure sponsored by Senate President Steven Sweeney - aDemocrat and iron workers union official - passed by a 24-15 vote.

It must still get through an Assembly committee and the fulllower house before it reaches the governor's desk.

Union members are vehemently opposed and hundreds demonstratedagainst the bill Monday.

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