Gary Schaer

The Consumer Affairs Committee in the New Jersey Assembly has approved a measure that would ban the sale of candy that was intentionally infused with harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer says some candy and their wrappers that were made in Central and South America have harmful levels of lead, mercury, and cadmium.

Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that allows unauthorized immigrants to apply for state financial aid to attend college.

The legislation will help hundreds of immigrants who grew up in the state and attended high school in New Jersey for at least three years.

Murphy says it’s a matter of fairness.

As the June 30th deadline for enacting a state budget approaches, New Jersey lawmakers are also considering whether to pass several other controversial bills.

Democratic legislative leaders have been delaying action on a budget bill until they reach a compromise with Governor Christie on their proposal to increase state aid to schools.

After Democrats in the Assembly met for several hours in a closed-door session, Budget Committee Chairman Gary Schaer was optimistic.

State Treasurer Ford Scudder gives lawmakers some details of the plan.
Phil Gregory

In February, Governor Christie proposed using revenues from the New Jersey lottery to shore up the state's pension system. An administration official is now providing some details.

State Treasurer Ford Scudder says the lottery enterprise would be placed into the public employee pension system.

"You would still be buying the same lottery tickets. The retailer would still be getting their commission for sales. It would still be a division within Treasury. It would still be directed by the state Lottery Commission. It would just be owned by the pension system."

Assemblyman Gary Schaer
Phil Gregory

New Jersey's Assembly has approved a measure to add another exclusion to the state law that puts a 2 percent cap on local property tax increases.

The law already allows towns to exceed the cap to raise revenue for pensions, health care, debt, and emergencies.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer says the measure he sponsored would include an exemption for the matching funds towns must provide to get state and federal grants.

Assembly Budget Committee holds first of several hearings on the proposed budget.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are holding hearings on Governor Christie's proposed budget.

Assembly Budget Committee chairman Gary Schaer  believes lawmakers will tweak Christie's $3.5 billion spending plan.

"Our involvement is critical in terms of honing the budget. Some funds could be found here to cut. Some funds could be found here to expand."

Declan O'Scanlon is the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee. He says even if good ideas come up at the hearings, they'll be hard to fund because of the state's pension and health benefit obligations.