Government Shutdown Special Session Convenes in State House

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The lame-duck governor himself spent Saturday in Trenton seeking to end the state budget standoff that brought about the whole mess.

He also claims Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto "unneccessarily stalled the budget process.inconveniencing everyone living in our state". Come Monday, the courts will be closed, and tens of thousands of state employees will be furloughed.

- We've been reporting New Jersey's government shutdown is dragging on without a resolution to the stalemate between a defiant Republican Gov. Chris Christie and an unmoving Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto as the state begins to feel the sting of shuttered services.

Christie is reportedly pushing for a $34.7 billion state budget that includes certain provisions for his initiatives like drug treatment.

While negotiations continued and lawmakers planned to meet over the weekend, the failure marked a continuation of the unprecedented impasse that's left IL without a full-year budget since mid-2015.

The Portland Press Herald writes: "LePage signed a proclamation declaring a civil emergency and executive order shutting down state government starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday".

"New Jersey government will shut down and it will be because of Speaker Prieto", the governor said, adding that Prieto's position was hypocritical because he co-sponsored legislation in 2006 that would have taken Horizon reserves for hospital charity care.

Christie has said that he'll sign any budget that lands on his desk.

According to nj.com, the conflict in the legislature is about the finances of not-for-profit Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the state's largest health insurer.

Throughout the day Saturday, New Jersey State Park Police turned away one motor vehicle after another, one bicyclist after another, one pedestrian after another, who came up to the main gate of Island Beach State Park to find it looking as secure as a crime scene.

Christie told reporters Saturday that the state will do what it must to function, either via federal funding or by running up a tab.

"We knew this was probably coming, but it's still a shame we have to head out", Spears said Saturday morning.

"They send me a budget with Horizon and with the lottery, then these 73 spending items will stay", said Christie this afternoon, brandishing a piece of paper for emphasis. Prieto blamed the governor for "holding the state budget hostage".

A woman named Amethyst posted a photo of a campsite at Wharton State Forest, blaming both Prieto and Christie and said: '@GovChristie @VincentPrieto Thanks for ruining our vacation!'

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said the if the shutdown continues, the city's July 4 celebration will move to Exchange Place from Liberty State Park.

Christie said Friday he is ready to work the weekend to get a deal done and indicated he would call the Legislature into session as well. "Others now must now do their part and fulfill their responsibilities".

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