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NJ lawmakers preparing for budget hearings

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Democratic lawmakers in the New Jersey Senate say they expect to reach a bipartisan deal on a $32.9 billion state budget by Thursday.

That's the day Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo plans to hold a committee hearing on the proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Sarlo says he's confident the Senate, Assembly and governor's office will be able to close the deal. He says budget language still has to be worked out.

Final votes on the negotiated budget are expected Monday, six days before the close of the current fiscal year. But those votes could come as early as Thursday.

Sen. Anthony Bucco says fellow Republicans would grant an emergency to allow final passage Thursday if Gov. Chris Christie is satisfied with the negotiated budget.