NJ Senate appoints 5 judges, passes sweeping gun bill – NorthJersey.com

The state Senate appointed five judges to the Superior Court on Monday during its last voting session of the year. That brings the total number of vacancies to 64, though another retirement is expected before the end of the year.
The Senate also barely passed sweeping new gun legislation, though not before a handful of Republicans urged their colleagues to vote against the measure, questioning the constitutionality of the bill. It was approved 21-16, receiving the minimum number of votes needed to approve a bill. Sen. Nicholas Sacco, D-Hudson, was the only lawmaker to cross party lines.
If signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, which is expected, the legislation would establish criteria for obtaining a permit to carry a handgun. It also creates an official list of places where guns wouldn’t be allowed because of security and safety concerns. The list includes government buildings, polling places, schools, casinos, beaches and bars. It also imposes fees and fines, as well as insurance requirements and storage mandates, on gun owners.
This legislation is expected to be challenged in the courts.
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During Monday’s late afternoon session, the Senate voted on 31 bills in all and nine other nominations and appointments. The state Assembly had wrapped up its business last week.
The Senate session also featured a swearing-in. New Republican state Sen. Douglas Steinhardt joined the Legislature as a representative of parts of Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties. Steinhardt takes the place of former Sen. Michael Doherty, who stepped down after being elected Warren County surrogate last month.
Steinhardt is a former Republican State Committee leader. He made headlines earlier this year for filing a lawsuit to challenge the state’s new congressional map. The suit was dismissed by the state Supreme Court.
“I look forward to facing the challenges ahead with you with dignity, civility and a burning desire to make New Jersey a safe and affordable place to call home,” he said after being sworn in.
In addition to judges, four people were appointed to two boards that oversee some of the region’s transportation agencies, three to the NJ Transit board and one to the region’s newest agency, the Gateway Development Commission.
This means the NJ Transit board will have a full roster of directors for the first time since December 2015.
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A bill related to temporary worker rights failed to pass muster, for the third time in two months. The bill would regulate conditions for warehouse workers and other temporary staff. Sen. Joseph Cryan, D-Union, the bill’s sponsor, has been adamant that this will get done.
Another Cryan bill, co-sponsored with Sen. Fred Madden, D-Gloucester, did get approved. If signed by Murphy, the legislation will require advance notice and severance pay during mass layoffs. Originally this law was signed by Murphy in January 2020, but it was put on hold because of the pandemic.
The revisions mean that notification of layoffs needs to be sent earlier and will require severance pay for business closings, mass layoffs and transfers under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
There were 16 bills sent to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, having already been cleared by the Assembly.


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