Finance

Why Christie Conditionally Vetoed the Sandy 'Bill of Rights'

May 13, 2014
 

Gov. Chris Christie today stripped down a bill drafted in response to concerns about how well the state has distributed federal Hurricane Sandy relief aid, saying it included mandates that would be impossible to implement and featured "partisan political findings."

The "Sandy Bill of Rights" — pushed by the Legislature’s top Democrat, Senate President Stephen Sweeney — called for changes aimed at addressing problems that residents and housing advocates raised about state-administered recovery grants, including providing a clear explanation of how to apply for programs and allowing applicants to find online where they stand on waiting lists.

In a conditional veto, Christie, a Republican, removed entire sections of the bill (S1306). The governor said while he shared a desire for transparency and fairness in handing out recovery funding, the bill proposed a "series of new administrative procedures and spending requirements accompanied by a raft of partisan political findings, all styled as ‘rights’ ready to be pursued by lawyers."

The action drew a swift and angry response from Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who since February has touted the legislation at meetings in storm-damaged municipalities where residents talked about struggling to rebuild.

Sweeney said the governor’s action "lacks common sense."

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