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Gov. Phil Murphy said his office has been involved with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin’s bill to blunt rising health care premiums for the state’s public school workers.
“We have been involved. Our team has been working with the Assembly staff. We are committed overall — I don’t get into specifics on a particular piece of legislation that we haven’t made a decision on,” Murphy said, citing a rule he frequently ignores.
“We are committed completely to the notion of lowering healthcare costs as a general matter, but doing so with not only not taking it out on the individual members but in fact to enhance their own situation somehow, either through better healthcare or better cost for them.”
NJ Advanced Media on Friday reported Murphy backed Coughlin’s proposal.
Senate President Steve Sweeney is firmly opposed to the proposal, which has the backing of the New Jersey Education Association, an organization with which the senate president has long feuded.
The impasse between the two legislative leaders is the first major public disagreement the two have had since Murphy took office in 2017.
Until now, Coughlin and Sweeney have presented a largely-unified front when feuding with the governor over policy, though the legislators have approached some issues.
For example, Coughlin had little enthusiasm for the Senate’s failed push at redistricting reform that Republicans, progressives and good-government groups derided as gerrymandering.
Unlike then, Coughlin and Murphy are publicly aligned on the NJEA healthcare reform measures.
“I stand with the speaker,” Murphy said.