- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeny is introducing a bill to add 20 new judges to help the state enact bail reform changes that take effect in January.

Sweeney, a Democrat, said at a Monday news conference that he hopes to pass the legislation this year. He says the addition of 20 judges came from conversations with the chief justice and would cost $9.3 million annually.

In 2014, the Democrat-led Legislature and Christie agreed to legislation to make New Jersey’s bail system reliant on a risk assessment rather than on a defendant’s ability to pay to be released.

The changes go into effect in January 2017.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said in a statement he supported the idea. Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s office declined to comment.

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