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Former Senate President Steve Sweeney. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

Sweeney moves Senate session to larger Assembly chamber

First time senators will vote down the hall since 2010

By David Wildstein, March 18 2020 12:29 pm

The New Jersey State Senate has moved their voting session tomorrow to the Assembly chamber, a room with twice as many seats and an ability to put more physical distance between senators.

The move is a small but practical part of Senate President Steve Sweeney’s response to coronavirus.

Half of the Senate’s 40 members are over age 65, putting them at greater risk of getting sick.

The Senate travels down the hall at least twice annually to hear the governor deliver the state of the state and annual budget addresses.

Senate votes in the Assembly chamber are rare, but not without precedent.

The last time was on February 11, 2010 when a joint session of the New Jersey Legislature convened in the Assembly chamber to confirm that nomination of Stephen Eells as the New Jersey State Auditor.

State Auditor is the only position that requires confirmation by both houses of the legislature.  It’s a ten-year term, which means Eells is on holdover status until the Senate and Assembly reconvene in a joint voting session to either reappoint him to another ten-year term or replace him.

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