Protesters march on Statehouse as Senate passes benefits bill
The New Jersey State Senate has passed a bill requiring larger employee contributions for pensions and health benefits from public workers. The upper chamber moved the bill with support from Republicans and a few Democrats in a 24-15 vote.
While the bill was being passed inside, hundreds of Revolutionary War re-enactors and union members marched to the Statehouse to protest the proposed changes. The protesters crossed a bridge over the Delaware River in a simulation of George Washington's crossing to Trenton in 1776.
The bill has continued to change form as it goes through the legislature. It must still pass an Assembly committee, as well as the General Assembly before it reaches Gov. Chris Christie's (R-N.J.) desk. The full Assembly is scheduled to hear the bill this Thursday.
Roll call of the public employee pension and health benefits reform bill:
Yeas:Senator Dawn Marie Addiego RepublicanSenator Diane B. Allen RepublicanSenator Christopher Bateman RepublicanSenator James Beach DemocratSenator Jennifer Beck RepublicanSenator Anthony R. Bucco RepublicanSenator Gerald Cardinale RepublicanSenator Andrew R. Ciesla RepublicanSenator Christopher J. Connors RepublicanSenator Michael J. Doherty RepublicanSenator Sean T. Kean RepublicanSenator Thomas H. Kean, Jr. Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr. RepublicanSenator Fred H. Madden, Jr. DemocratSenator Donald Norcross DemocratSenator Kevin J. O'Toole RepublicanSenator Steven V. Oroho RepublicanSenator Joseph Pennacchio RepublicanSenator M. Teresa Ruiz DemocratSenator Robert W. Singer RepublicanSenator Brian P. Stack DemocratSenator Stephen M. Sweeney DemocratSenator Jeff Van Drew DemocratSenator Jim Whelan Democrat
Nays:Senator Barbara Buono DemocratSenator Richard J. Codey DemocratSenator Sandra B. Cunningham DemocratSenator Nia H. Gill, Esq. DemocratSenator John A. Girgenti DemocratSenator Robert M. Gordon DemocratSenator Linda R. Greenstein DemocratSenator Raymond J. Lesniak DemocratSenator Nicholas J. Sacco DemocratSenator Paul A. Sarlo DemocratSenator Nicholas P. Scutari DemocratSenator Bob Smith DemocratSenator Shirley K. Turner DemocratSenator Joseph F. Vitale DemocratSenator Loretta Weinberg Democrat
Absent:Senator Ronald L. Rice Democrat
Gov. Christie praises Senate vote on benefits bill