In light of last year’s federal bailouts, it is interesting to note that the term “lame duck” is reported to have originated in the 18th century at the London Stock Exchange, where it was used to refer to a broker who defaulted on his debts. Once it crossed “the pond,” however, it came to be applied to politicians, who, having failed to garner re-election, were approaching the end of their tenure in office. From that, it was extended to a legislative session occurring after the election of new members and prior to their swearing in.
In that latter sense, it can be applied to the New
Jersey’s 213th Legislature, which will enter the pages of history on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. On noon of that day, any bill not passed by both
Houses of the Legislature is dead. If reintroduced for consideration by New Jersey’s 214th
Legislature, a bill will be back at square one. It would have to negotiate the entire procedural obstacle course to get to the Governor’s desk.
With the clock ticking toward that January 12 deadline, even returning legislators are motivated to move on bills they really care about. Legislative leadership is similarly motivated to put some issues on the fast track.
So which bills will get preferential treatment? In part, that depends on what legislators are hearing from their constituents. In part, it depends on how those constituents vote. And in part,
it depends on who has promised what to whom.
Our Legislative Relations team has tried to give us an idea of what some of those bills might be.
We encourage you to read their “Legislative Update” column in this month’s magazine.
We also encourage you to be alert for their letters and e-mails, as the lame duck waddles home
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 86, Number 8, November 2009