NJ Assembly refuses to vote on Gov. Christie's bail reform plan

The Democrats spoke before Christie addressed a joint

The Democrats spoke before Christie addressed a joint session of the Legislature to press for reforms.

TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie called state lawmakers back to work today to pass changes to the state's bail system, but those changes are going to have to wait.

The legislation would allow voters to amend the state's constitution so that judges could deny bail to violent repeat offenders and expand ways to make it affordable for poor, non-violent offenders so they could avoid spending months in prison before trial.

Christie made his case to lawmakers on reforming bail in New Jersey by saying that keeping repeat offenders off the streets until trial will make our cities safer.

He also said men like Iquan Small, who sat in jail for four months only to have his non-violent charge thrown out by prosecutors, shouldn't sit in prison just because they can't pay a modest bail.

While he has the authority to bring them in for a special session, the governor can't make legislators vote. The Senate voted for the plan, but the Assembly refused. 

Speaker Vincent Prieto says the members of his caucus still have concerns including access to a speedy trial. "Each and every one of my members is important," he says. "I value what they have to say."

To get the bail question on this November's ballot, the Assembly must pass the resolution by Monday.

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