Home>Highlight>New VBM reform bill headed to Murphy’s desk

State Sen. Jim Beach at a committee meeting held in the Cellar of the Amalthea Winery in Atco. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe).

New VBM reform bill headed to Murphy’s desk

Measure includes $3 million in funding

By Nikita Biryukov, January 13 2020 9:21 pm

Both chambers of the legislature passed a measure restoring — and funding — the state’s perpetual vote by mail law Monday.

In the Assembly, the bill sailed through 55-19 in a vote that fell mostly along party lines. A single Republican, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, cast a yes vote.

The vote was more one-sided in the Senate. Only four members — Republican State Sens. Gerald Cardinale, Tom Kean, Michael Testa and Sam Thompson — cast no votes. The remaining 36 senators voted yes.

The measure, sponsored by State Sen. Jim Beach, restores a provision providing mail-in ballots perpetually to voters who requested them during or before the 2016 election.

It also provides $3 million in funding for the program and requires the legislature appropriate money to the program on an annual basis.

The previous version of the bill was deemed an unfunded mandate and invalidated by the New Jersey Council on Local Mandates.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the old perpetual VBM bill into law, but it’s unclear whether the mid-year appropriation will pit him against the new version.

In the past, the governor has vetoed bills, citing mid-year appropriations as the reason, though he’s signed other bills that included then.

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