PRINCETON – Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and a cadre of party allies this afternoon stampeded the legislative district of state Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) to kick dust in the direction of the Republican who voted for a public safety bill then reversed himself and opposed it rather than cross a 2016 Republican Presidential Primary-seeking Gov. Chris Christie.
On September 24th, the senate failed to override the governor, despite state Senator Jen Beck (R-11) crossing the aisle to vote with Democrats.
Today, Sweeney singled out Bateman, who originally co-sponsored S-2360, which provides courts with informtation to decide if mental health records should be expunged in order for a person to purchase a firearm.
“The governor was wrong to veto the bill but we don’t need him to get it enacted into law if the Republican legislators do the right thing and vote for the override,” said Sweeney, who will again post the bill on October 22nd. “They gave their unanimous support before because it is a common-sense, public safety bill that will help reduce gun violence. They will have another opportunity when the legislation is posted for another vote.
“We’re not letting this go,” the senate president added.
Others present at a press conference this afternoon outside the Princeton Public Library included Senator Fred Madden, Senator Linda Greenstein, Senator Shirley Turner, Mercer County Executivve Brian Hughes, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, Assemblywoman Liz Luio, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, and LD16 Democratic candidates Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella.
Bateman was not immediately available for comment, but NJ.com reported that Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-21) proposed a compromise gun bill. Sweeney brushed aside Kean’s overture in a statement.
“Senator Kean has no credibility on this issue — as he voted ‘for and against’ the same bill,” the senate president said. “This is a simple bill, requested by the Judiciary, to help keep guns out of the hands of those who could harm New Jersey residents. Let’s be clear, Senator Kean is simply trying to protect the Governor instead of protecting New Jerseyans. Senator Kean should let his Republican members vote their conscience on the 22nd.”