TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Assembly has passed landmark employee benefits legislation requiring public workers to pay sharply more for pension and health benefits.The divisive bill passed 46-32 Thursday with support from all Republicans who were present and a smattering of Democrats.The Senate approved the bill Monday.Republican Gov. Chris Christie is expected to quickly sign it.The measure requires 500,000 teachers, police, firefighters and other public workers to pay a portion of their health insurance based on income. It also increases pension contributions.The state's retirement funds are underfunded by $110 billion.The bill's backers say higher contributions are needed to ensure solvency.Opponents object to the four-year suspension of bargaining over health benefits.More than 8,000 rallied at the Statehouse Thursday to oppose the bill.



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