Governor Chris Christie Takes Action on Pending Legislation

Governor Chris Christie took action on several pieces of legislation today, issuing absolute vetoes on three bills, including one he said will burden New Jersey taxpayers with $7.5 million in funding for duplicative health care services.

“Unfortunately, accompanying the bipartisan achievement of another balanced budget is another annual ritual of attempting to pass additional unbudgeted spending for selected interests,” the Governor said in vetoing both A-3672 and A-4604. “In what has sadly become a predictable routine, once again, the sponsors of this bill and its companion bill seek to circumvent the budget process and pass legislation that would bestow bonuses to certain family planning clinics and establish a costly new Medicaid program within the Department of Human Services.  Because of the new financial burden these bills will levy on New Jersey’s taxpayers outside of the budget process, I am returning these bills without my approval.”

Governor Christie noted his Fiscal Year 2016 budget already provides funds, as have his past budgets, to important preventative health measures such as the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program which funds mammograms, pap smears, and prostate exams. The budget he signed last Friday also continues funding for the State’s Federally Qualified Health Centers that provide vital health care services to thousands of low-income New Jerseyans. In addition, the budget funds significant commitments to our state’s future health including cancer education and early detection, ovarian cancer research, breast cancer awareness, and maternal, child, and chronic health services. 

Today, the Governor also vetoed legislation, S-866, for a second time that sought to authorize certain gestational carrier agreements in the state.

“In 2012, I vetoed this identical bill.  I did so because of the significant ethical and moral concerns raised by a government-enforced system of agreements to procreate.  I have repeatedly stated that every life is precious, and every human deserving of protection.  I take seriously the need to guard against any societal deprecation of the miracle of life,” said Governor Christie.  “Unfortunately, rather than work with interested parties to address concerns raised during the initial debate on this bill and craft a measure that could be supported by a wider coalition, the Legislature instead passed the same bill without making even a single change.  It should therefore come as no surprise that I remain unconvinced that the Legislature has addressed the myriad social, moral, and ethical questions presented by this bill.”

The Governor also took the following action on other pending legislation:

BILL SIGNINGS:

S-2578/A-3922 (Gill, Vitale/Diegnan, Rumana, Moriarty, Giblin, Ciattarelli) – Authorizes optometrists to continue prescribing medications containing hydrocodone

S-2183 wGR/A-3350 (Gordon, Weinberg, Pennacchio/Vainieri Huttle, Handlin, Prieto, Greenwald, McHose, Johnson, Eustace, Lagana, Garcia, Schepisi) – Requires PANYNJ be subject to NY Freedom of Information Law and NJ open public records act

SJR-55/AJR-62 (Pennacchio, Sacco/DeCroce, Giblin, Rodriquez-Gregg, Mainor) – Designates May of each year as “General Aviation Appreciation Month”

A-709/S-2370 (Angelini, Benson, Sumter, Lagana/Whelan, Kyrillos) – Requires pharmacies and prescribers to notify patients about how to ensure proper and safe disposal of unused prescription drugs

A-3465/S-2257 (Andrzejczak, Wimberly/Van Drew) – Expands exceptions to minimum age requirement for operating a boat to include nontidal waters

A-3970 wGR/S-2659 (Prieto, Jimenez, Jasey, Quijano, Wimberly/Sacco, Sarlo) – Authorizes county vocational school district to request county improvement authority to construct and issue bonds to finance school facilities project

BILLS VETOED:

S-866/A-2648 (Vitale, Weinberg/Vainieri Huttle, Quijano, Jasey) – ABSOLUTE – Authorizes certain gestational carrier agreements

A-3672/S-3103 (Mazzeo, Eustace, Mosquera, Vainieri Huttle, McKeon, Lampitt/Weinberg, Gordon) – ABSOLUTE – Makes FY 2015 supplemental appropriation to DOH for $7,453,000 for family planning services

A-4604/S-1203 (Pintor Marin, Lagana, Jasey, Mukherji/Weinberg, Gordon) – ABSOLUTE – Provides Medicaid coverage for family planning services to individuals with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level