NJ Politics Digest: Christie Signs and Christie Vetoes

Gov. Chris Christie. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Gov. Chris Christie cleared his desk of dozens of bills on Friday before heading off to Aspen, Colorado for a Republican Governors Association meeting. He signed a whopping 72 bills and vetoed 14 others.

A few of his signatures surprised political observers. The governor signed a bill to make New Jersey just the third state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21. He pocket-vetoed a similar bill last year.

Christie also signed a pair of bills adding new protections for transgender residents, including one directing schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity. New Jersey is now the 11th state to issue such guidance for schools at a time when transgender bathroom access is a hot topic nationwide.

As for the vetoes, the governor gutted a bill that was a top priority for Democrats: a measure to expand the state’s paid family leave law. Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), a bill sponsor, penned an op-ed for Observer on why the state should expand paid family leave the same day as Christie’s veto.

Quote of the Day: “The governor and I have finally found an issue that we agree on — helping to save lives,” state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) on Christie signing his bill to raise the smoking age to 21.

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NJ Politics Digest: Christie Signs and Christie Vetoes