- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Democratic-controlled New Jersey Legislature wrapped up its last session of the year on Thursday, passing several bills and sending others to Republican Gov. Chris Christie for his consideration. Lawmakers fell short of a veto override on a pension payments requirement and pulled legislation aimed at helping Atlantic City recover from its faltering economy. Here are some highlights:

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FAILED VETO OVERRIDE

The Democratic-controlled Senate failed to override Christie’s veto of a bill that would require him to make quarterly payments to the state’s public pension system. The failed override comes after Christie angered Democrats when he cut the state’s payments to the fund amid a worsening budget outlook last year.

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ATLANTIC CITY STIMULUS ON HOLD

Lawmakers skipped voting on a package that included a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes system aimed at stabilizing property tax rates for Atlantic City casinos. The legislation was withdrawn after billionaire investor Carl Icahn pulled out of a proposed deal on the future operations of the Taj Mahal casino. Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, an Atlantic County Democrat who backed the legislation, said he hopes it can be reconsidered next year. Icahn on Thursday pledged $20 million to keep the casino open indefinitely, eliminating a plan to shut it down Saturday.

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MADE IN AMERICA

The Assembly passed a package of bills requiring companies that have contracts with state entities to use products made in the United States. Before voting, Republicans, led by Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, denounced the package as feel-good legislation that would drive business from the state. Despite the opposition, the Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the bills, which will now go to Christie.

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WATER INFRASTRUCTURE

A bipartisan bill that makes it easier for local governments to sell or lease water or wastewater systems passed the Senate. Under current law, municipalities must hold referendums to sell water to private companies. The legislation eliminates that requirement. Environmental groups denounced the bill, saying private companies care more about profits than public health.

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FERGUSON IN NEW JERSEY

The Senate passed bills that require local police departments seeking surplus military equipment from the Pentagon to get approval from their local governments. It also approved a related bill that would have the state attorney general oversee the program. The measures stem from demonstrations after the August fatal shooting by a white police officer of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, where police used former military equipment during patrols. The bills await consideration in the Assembly.

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