As reported in the NJ Observer, public employees frozen out of their jobs during the three-day government shutdown would receive back pay under a bill that passed the state Senate in a 31-0 vote Thursday.
Gov. Chris Christie has said he would sign the back-pay legislation, should it pass the Assembly. The bill was introduced in that house later on Thursday and will see a vote before the end of July, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said at a rally with workers.
After initially saying state workers shouldn’t count on back pay, Christie pledged to sign the bill Wednesday if it’s sent to his desk. Senate President Steve Sweeney said Thursday that Christie agreed to pay furloughed workers after a conversation they had.
Nearly 35,000 state workers were furloughed when a budget dispute shut down state government this month, closing courts, state parks and beaches and government offices. The shutdown lasted from Saturday, July 1, through the early hours of Tuesday, July 4. Most workers were affected for only one day, a Monday.
The Senate bill (S-3422) added language to the fiscal 2018 budget to guarantee workers “promptly receive their full salary or wage payment” for the duration of the shutdown, according to a draft of the legislation. The bill required an emergency vote Thursday since it was walked onto the floor without a committee hearing. Still, it got wide bipartisan support and no opposition.