State legislators taking last-minute votes on NJN deal

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New Jersey’s lower legislative house last week voted down the plan by Gov. Chris Christie (R) to turn over the channels and role of the NJN television network to New York’s WNET, and the state Senate is expected to follow if it votes Monday, June 27, according to observers on NJN’s Reporter’s Roundtable.

NJN may disappear even if the Senate concurs with the Assembly, however. Last week Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Paul Sarlo (D) raised the option of extending NJN funding for a few more months but predicted that the governor would veto it.

The issue has been fully partisanized. Democrats hold a majority of seats in both houses, and the General Assembly’s vote June 23 was 45 to 30, with Democrats opposing the Republican governor’s plan and only one Republican voting with them.

The Senate will have only one day to act. The deal with WNET takes effect July 1 if the legislature doesn’t stop it by Tuesday, June 28.

On what may be the last edition of the longrunning Roundtable, journalists analyzed the last-minute party-line votes last week. “If you’re a reporter,” host Michael Aron observed, “New Jersey never lets you down.”