Gov. Chris Christie signed 14 bills into law Monday and vetoed two bills that would expand voting rights and restrict solitary confinement.
Christie vetoed a bill that would require prison facilities to use isolated confinement only as a last resort; prohibit isolation for more than 15 consecutive days or 20 days in a 60-day period; and ban isolation for members of vulnerable populations, such as people who have mental illnesses and pregnant women, among other things.
He said the bill seeks to resolve a problem "that does not exist in New Jersey, because the Department of Corrections in this administration does not utilize isolated confinement, as contemplated by the bill."
"This is not a bill; it is ill-informed, politically motivated press release by a prime sponsor who proves, once again, that he has no idea about law enforcement or what is being done by the very department he proposes to further regulate," he said about the bill.
Christie also vetoed a bill that would expand the definition of overseas voters to include spouses, civil union partners, domestic partners and dependents of military service members as well as foreign-born United States citizens.
The bill would allow overseas voters to participate in elections on state and local issues "when they have no intention of ever returning to the United States (or, in the case of U.S. citizens born abroad, have never resided in the United States and never intend to do so) makes little sense and is inconsistent with how most other states address this issue," he said in his veto statement.
Christie also signed a package of legislation designed to make New Jerseyans, according to his office, safer.
The measures include requirements for schools to conduct yearly security training alongside first responders (A-3349/S-2438) and that existing and any new school architectural plans include certain security measures (A-3348/S-2439). Additionally, A-1946/S-1257 expands domestic violence statutes to include cyber-harassment.
“We must make every effort to ensure New Jersey citizens are safe and secure whether they are in their school buildings or online,” said Christie. “These new laws will require safety measures to be built into new school construction and all school personnel to be trained annually on safety and security. Additionally, I have signed a bill to address one of the fastest growing threats we face in the 21st century, cyber-harassment. This new law will help victims of domestic violence whose abusers choose to attack through the web and social media outlets.”
Christie also took action on the following legislation:
S-384/A-3470 (Greenstein/Johnson) - Requires correctional facilities to provide inmates with prescription medication that was prescribed for chronic conditions existing prior to incarceration
S-743/ACS for A-2761 (Beach, Sarlo, Ruiz/Mazzeo, Zwicker, Jasey, Vainieri Huttle, Schaer, Jones, Eustace, Land, Gusciora, Andrzejczak, Downey, Houghtaling, Benson, Mukherji, McKeon, Lampitt) - Directs Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to forgive certain student loans in the event of student borrower’s death or total and permanent disability and grant deferment for temporary total disability
S-1041/A-1449 (Weinberg, Gordon/Lampitt, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Tucker, Wimberly, Downey) - Requires DHS to develop timeline for use by individuals with developmental disabilities to gain benefit of State and federal programs; requires posting timeline on DHS, DCF, and DOE websites
S-2024/A-3793 (Madden, Oroho/Eustace, Peterson, Conaway, Mukherji, Benson, McKnight) - Clarifies that product approval from U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not required for drug manufacturer to file registration statement, and specifies timeframe by which DOH must review registration statements
S-2337/A-3985 (Sacco, Allen/Jimenez, O'Scanlon, Mukherji, Benson, Peterson) - Permits law enforcement agencies to buy firearms directly from manufacturers; clarifies permits and identification cards not required
S-2338/A-3914 (Whelan, Stack/Mazzeo) - Allows existing rural development areas zoned for industrial use under pinelands comprehensive management plan to be included as eligible areas under certain business incentive programs
A-1878/S-2404 (Wimberly/Rice) - Increases to under $15,000 from under $10,000 amount of permitted annual compensation paid to TPAF retiree reemployed as athletic coach by former school district within 180 days of retirement
A-2519/S-1152 (DeAngelo, Holley, Mazzeo, Downey, McKnight/Greenstein, Beach) - Directs Attorney General to develop plan to disseminate Amber and Silver Alert information through social media
A-3662/S-2374 (Schaer, Caride, Vainieri Huttle, Mukherji, McKnight, Chiaravalloti, Quijano/Weinberg, Pou)– "Rosa-Bonilla Family Act"; concerns development of carbon monoxide poisoning educational program for drivers
A-3748/S-2115 (DeAngelo, Eustace, Mukherji, Holley, Benson, Beach/Cruz-Perez) - Requires DMVA to create registry for organizations providing services to veterans
AJR-23/SJR-30 (Andrzejczak, Land, Wimberly, Taliaferro/Van Drew) - Designates third weekend in October each year as "Shuck, Sip, and Slurp Weekend" to promote NJ oysters, wine, and beer
AJR-24/SJR-36 (Andrzejczak, Houghtaling/Van Drew, Connors) - Declares aquaculture an important State economic driver and urges State to include aquaculture industry in its economic development plans
AJR-25/SJR-14 (Land, Andrzejczak/Van Drew) - Recognizes Delaware Bayshore as region of special significance in NJ
AJR-98 (Space, Taliaferro) - Designates June of each year as "Native Plant Appreciation Month"
S-51/A-547 (Lesniak, Cunningham/Pinkin, Sumter, Vainieri Huttle, Gusciora, Muoio) – ABSOLUTE -Restricts use of isolated confinement in correctional facilities
S-92/A-2815 (Whelan/Mosquera, Jones, DeAngelo, Mazzeo, Johnson, Houghtaling) – CONDITIONAL -Revises "Overseas Residents Absentee Voting Law" to mirror federal law; permits overseas voters to vote in any election; permits use of federal write-in absentee ballot to vote, register or request ballot for all elections