Murphy, top Dems working on deal to head off first veto override of a N.J. governor in decades

Posted Jun 9, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy and top state lawmakers are working on a deal that would avert the first override of a New Jersey governor in more than two decades, NJ Advance Media has learned.

The governor and his fellow Democrats who lead the state Legislature have been in direct talks to hash out a compromise on a bill Murphy conditionally vetoed that would force more political action organizations in the Garden State to disclose their donors, according to multiple sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The compromise hasn’t been finalized and likely won’t be until Monday morning, according to the sources.

But the sources say the Democratic-controlled Legislature is now unlikely to vote to overturn Murphy’s veto on Monday.

Lawmakers late last week seemed poised to deliver Murphy a political blow by attempting its first veto override since the governor took office in January 2017.

New Jersey lawmakers haven’t overturned a governor’s veto since 1997, when then-Republican-controlled Legislature reversed Republican Gov. Christie Todd Whitman’s veto on of a bill banning abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Instead, lawmakers will again approve the legislation Murphy conditionally vetoed with the understanding that changes to the bill will be made in the coming weeks, two sources told NJ Advance Media.

The bill in question had been kicking around Trenton for years. It would require more groups funded by so-called dark money to reveal their donors.

But it quickly landed on the floor of the Legislature for a vote in March because of a feud between Murphy and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney.

Sweeney, D-Gloucester, pushed for the legislation in an attempt to put pressure on a Murphy-aligned group — New Direction New Jersey — to disclose its donors after the organization broke its promise and did not name its backers.

Murphy conditionally vetoed the bill in May, suggesting changes that he said would strengthen it.

Lawmakers in both house of the Legislature would need a two-thirds majority to overturn a governor’s veto. That’s 27 votes in the state Senate and 54 votes in the state Assembly.

The bill passed the Senate 33-0 and the Assembly 66-2 in March.

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