By a vote of 47-31, the Assembly passed a bill (A2243) designed to facilitate the timely resolution of contract disputes between public employers and their police and fire unions by establishing statutory timeframes for certain phases of the interest arbitration process. Presently, no time restrictions exists for mediation and fact-finding stages of police and fire interest arbitration. If signed into law, A2243 would establish a 60-day limit for each stage. In addition, under the new bill, if the parties proceed to interest arbitration the arbitrator must render a decision within 120 days, unless the parties mutually request an extension of up to 90 days.