Opponents of an "employee misclassification bill" passed Thursday by the New Jersey state Senate say they will continue to work to make sure the measure does not actually become law.

New Jersey port truckers would be considered employees under legislation passed Thursday.

New Jersey port truckers would be considered employees under legislation passed Thursday.

The legislation creates a presumption that a work arrangement in the drayage trucking or parcel delivery trucking industries is an employer-employee relationship, unless the party receiving the services can overcome the legal presumption of employment.

The New Jersey Motor Truck Association says the law would cause many trucking companies and owner-operators to leave the state -- along with many of their customers.

"During the Senate caucus yesterday, we were told that the bill was supposed to be held," NJMTA said in an email notice to members. "However, during the voting session the bill was brought to a vote and passed. This is a rare procedure." She explained to Truckinginfo that the bill's supporters were able to get one vote changed the last minute in order to bring it to a vote.

The Teamsters-backed bill won 21-17 Senate approval, with two abstentions. The companion bill previously passed the General Assembly on a 42-30 vote, with five abstentions. Most Democrats were in favor and most Republicans were opposed to the bills.

Business groups will urge Gov. Chris Christie to veto the bill.

"We are continuing to work to ensure that this never becomes law," the NJMTA notice continued. "We are fairly confident that the governor will not sign into law. It's not over yet."

Because Christie is a Republican, the association and other opponents of the bill believe they have a pretty good chance of blocking the bill at that level.

The Teamsters union says the legislation (and similar union-backed  legislation in other states) is needed to prevent companies from misclassifying owner-operator drivers as contractors in order to avoid Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes.

Such a change in classification also would make these drivers eligible to unionize.

Related story: 10/23/2012 -- New Jersey Legislation Targets Independent Contractors