(CNN) – Republican Gov. Chris Christie called on New Jersey's Democratic-controlled legislature to pass a series of bail reform proposals, saying the current system creates a "debtor's prison" for poor people charged with nonviolent crimes.
"We are failing when we have a system that works against the very people in our society who need us to fight for the fairness they often cannot fight for themselves," the governor said Thursday.
Christie made his remarks in a special session he called that compelled lawmakers to return to Trenton. The state Senate was already scheduled to hold a vote on the legislation Thursday, but a vote looked unlikely in the Assembly, with many members on vacation, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
The two measures at stake include a constitutional amendment that would make it easier for poor, nonviolent defendants to post bail and not wait in prison for months.
The other measure would make it more difficult for those charged with violent crimes to post bail.
While the measures have bipartisan support, the bail bond industry has weighed in with their opposition, while others have questions about the definition of a "speedy trial" for some defendants.
Boasting that he and the ACLU actually agree on something, Christie said the time to act was now.
"This is our responsibility. There is no one else to pass this one off to. This is something that we need to do and is long overdue," he said.
Christie, a potential presidential contender, later Thursday heads to New Hampshire as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and will campaign for gubernatorial hopeful Walt Havenstein. Christie is also set to attend a fundraiser for the state GOP.