Thursday's an extremely busy day for the business community as the Senate holds a 2 p.m. voting session and the Assembly holds a series of key committee meetings. Here's a rundown of some of the biggest business issues on the docket:
- Minimum wage. The Senate today votes on SCR1, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney's resolution to put a minimum wage question on November's ballot. If the resolution passes the Senate and subsequently passes the Assembly, voters would be asked whether they want to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 and create automatic future increases based on the Consumer Price Index. UPDATE: The Senate approved the resolution.
- Online gaming. Gov. Chris Christie is expected to issue his decision on the online gaming bill passed by the Legislature last year. The bill would create a new revenue stream for Atlantic City casinos. He previously vetoed a similar bill but proponents hope changes in the newer version will ward off the veto pen. UPDATE: Christie CV'd the bill.
- Credit card surcharges. The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee meets to discuss a bill (A3758) prohibiting credit card surcharges. (The bill isn't posted online yet.) The bill would stop retailers from passing credit card interchange fees on to consumers in the form of surcharges. A3758 cleared the Senate Commerce Committee on Monday. The measure is expected to get bipartisan support, even though retailers say it's a solution in search of a problem, since they said surcharges would be bad business and repel customers. UPDATE: The committee released the bill.
- Unemployment taxes. The Senate will also vote on Sen. Fred H. Madden Jr. (D-Turnersville) and Sen. Steven V. Oroho's (R-Sparta) bill (S2404) to lower unemployment insurance taxes by eliminating a 10-percent surcharge scheduled to go into effect in Fiscal Year 2014. If passed, the bill would still need to clear the Assembly. UPDATE: It passed.
- Corporate law. A trio of bills aimed at making the state more business friendly by amending the state's corporate statutes is up for a vote in the Senate. The bills (A3049, A3050 and A3123) are technical changes, but proponents say they would bring New Jersey law closer to that of Delaware, which is generally seen as the most corporation-friendly state in the nation. UPDATE: All three bills passed.