Four vetoes, but Lesniak’s waste management bill gets through Christie’s net

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed four bills today, but signed into law two others, including a controversial bill that eases disclosure requirements for solid waste and hazardous waste operations.

Christie signed S2295, sponsored by state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, (D-20), of Elizabeth, which provides certain exemptions from disclosure requirements for licensing of solid waste and hazardous waste operations.

Christie also signed S2562, sponsored by state Sen. Linda Greenstein, (D-14), of Plainsboro, which sets confidentiality standards for public employee assistance program records, and prohibits employer actions against program participants

The governor vetoed S1856, sponsored by state Sen. Bob Smith, (D-17), of Piscataway, which authorizes Ocean County Planning Board and municipal planning boards in Ocean County to take certain measures to control stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution in Barnegat Bay watershed.

“Despite my commitment to restoring the water quality of Barnegat Bay (through other legislation), I am unable to sign this bill. The sponsors of this bill, and those in the State Senate and General Assembly who voted for it, offer this legislation as a means to generate revenue by imposing additional fees on any proposed new development within the Ocean County municipalities that are within the Barnegat Bay watershed,” Christie said in his letter. “Unfortunately, raising taxes and imposing fees is the way the Legislature most commonly seeks to address our state’s issues. This approach has resulted in extraordinary financial burdens on the state’s citizens and businesses and property owners, and has often not resulted in a solution to the underlying problem.”

The governor also gave an absolute veto to S617, sponsored by state Sen. Bob Gordon, (D-38), of Fair Lawn, which limits DEP regulation of medical diagnostic X-ray equipment in facilities performing 750 or fewer x-rays per year.

“While my administration is firmly committed to eliminating red tape and reducing unnecessary regulatory costs, I do not believe this bill strikes the right balance,” Christie said in his veto letter. “In my view, any proposed saving in regulatory costs are outweighed by the additional health risk to patients and health care workers that would occur if this bill was signed into law.”

Christie conditionally vetoed S1643, sponsored by state Sen. President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), of West Deptford, which requires sterilization of all cats and dogs released for adoption from various facilities, and updates the law concerning impoundment.

Christie has made a mockery out of this bill for months at his town halls, using it as one of his main examples of waste-of-time legislation.

“While I recognize the sponsors’ efforts to reduce pet overpopulation and animal homelessness, this bill will result in increased costs to counties and municipalities without any identifiable course of revenue to implement these new responsibilities,” Christie said. “Moreover, imposing stringent mandatory fees on individuals seeking to adopt unwanted animals, including a surcharge on owners seeking to reclaim their lost pets, may create a chilling effect upon animals throughout the state.”

Christie also conditionally struck down S2175, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Whelan, (D-2), of Atlantic City, a bipartisan bill that establishes procedures for destroying certain contraband tobacco products and cigarettes. This bill was also the target of Christie’s laugh-off comments at his town halls.

“While I commend the sponsors of this bill for addressing the issues of contraband tobacco, I believe this bill does not appropriately balance the needs of law enforcement, nor sufficiently remedy the burdens on business posed by these products,” Christie said. “These problems need stronger action. Accordingly, I recommend amending the bill to include higher civil penalties for the possession of contraband cigarettes.” Four vetoes, but Lesniak’s waste management bill gets through Christie’s net