TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The leader of the New Jersey Assembly has agreed to post a bill requiring all public workers to pay more for health care and pension benefits for a hearing, despite an initial reluctance to move the measure forward without a majority of Democrats backing it.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said Tuesday it was important to get public debate under way, but she's not committed to putting the bill up for a full Assembly vote. It will be heard by the Budget Committee on Monday.

Oliver's announcement came the day after former Assembly majority leader Bonnie Watson Coleman urged colleagues in a strongly worded letter to stand up for core Democratic principles. Watson Coleman said her party should unite in opposition to Republican Gov. Chris Christie's policies, starting with a refusal to vote on any legislation that infringes on collective bargaining.

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