MORRIS COUNTY — Aides were caught casting votes for missing Democrat lawmakers during a four-hour Assembly session on Wednesday that passed a massive $50.6 billion budget, a controversial gun-control package, and abortion bills fast tracked over three days.
Many passed with only a few more votes than the 41 required. Democrats currently have a 46-34 majority.
Assemblyman Brian Bergen called to use a rare procedural motion to put the house “under call” to compel members back into the chamber and cast a vote.
“On the majority party side I now count twelve staffers in seats and I’m concerned,” Bergen (R-Morris) noted on the Assembly floor. “We have so much important stuff to debate and discuss today and the members are not available to hear all our sound arguments before they vote.”
The procedure was last used by the Legislature in 2015 as the Democratic majorities attempted to override Gov. Chris Christie’s conditional veto of legislation on expunging mental health records.