TRENTON — The state Senate delayed plans to vote Thursday to override Gov. Phil Murphy’s veto of a bill that increases emergency housing assistance for vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities.

The bill had been passed 35-0 by the Senate and 70-9 by the Assembly, but Murphy said in his Jan. 31 veto message he was concerned about the potential cost of making thousands of people who’d gotten the full amount of benefits newly eligible to receive more.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, scheduled the override vote but agreed to hold off until mid-March while the Murphy administration attempts to find an acceptable compromise.

“I absolutely had the votes. Not even close,” Sweeney told reporters after the Senate session. “But I’m willing to compromise to get something done. But it needs to be done quickly.”

“We’re dealing with the most vulnerable people in this state. You’re dealing with people with disabilities, dealing with people with mental health issues,” Sweeney said. “These are the people that is what government is supposed to be for.”

A veto hasn’t been overridden in New Jersey since 1997, when Republican Gov. Christie Whitman’s rejection of a ban on a form of late-term abortions was reversed by the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Democrats tried repeatedly to override Republican Gov. Chris Christie during his two terms but never succeeded.

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Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at

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