UPDATE: Senate session has begun, and can be viewed at the NJ Legislature’s media page.
Last month, both houses of the Legislature unanimously passed a bill to help fix the Christie administration’s disastrous Sandy relief process. That was the Sandy Bill of Rights, spearheaded by Steve Sweeney, who went out on a listening tour through some of the communities most impacted by the superstorm to hear from frustrated residents who say they were left in the dark by the very process they counted on to help them in the months after the storm.
The bills address accountability to residents: requiring clear explanation of eligibility, the right for residents to know the status of their application and what additional info they may need to provide, and clear explanation why an application was rejected or wait-listed.
Makes sense. But Christie gutted the bill package in a conditional veto, which he refers to as a conditional approval while describing the Sandy Bill of Rights as a “raft of partisan political findings, all styled as ‘rights'”. This, that every Republican in both houses voted for, because they saw how the state’s recovery efforts were failing people and knew they could improve that. Since then, some Republicans seem to have forgotten that, siding with Christie and against their own earlier vote.
In the Senate Session that starts in about an hour, a veto override vote is scheduled. Without at least three Republicans deciding their responsibilities to Sandy victims are greater than adherence to the governor’s will when he is wrong, the vote will fail. The stakes are very high, particularly for Sandy-impacted New Jerseyans who feel tangled in Christie’s ineffective recovery policy. We’re going to find out what and who is really important to the Republicans today. I hope at least three do the right thing.
The Senate Democrats did a Sandy Override by the Numbers. Below the fold.