Tag Archive: veto override

Profiles in Courage

How Senate Republicans voted in the Sandy Bill of Rights veto override today. Override would have required at least three Republicans to support the bill package that got unanimous Republican support just weeks ago when both houses passed it with all Dems and all Republicans voting yes. Today, Senate Republicans showed nothing beyond obedience to Gov. Christie.

The vote – below:

Sweeney to Senate Republicans: ‘Every one of them should all be ashamed’

All it would have required is three of them to stand behind their own vote taken just weeks ago to apply some accountability measures to the state’s widely-reported, disastrous Sandy recovery efforts. To fix some of the policies that have left NJ residents in the dark about how to make sure they get all the assistance from the state that they’re entitled to. The problems were widespread, and well-documented. And the series of measures to address them – bills bundled together under the title “Sandy Bill of Rights” – were well- supported and sensible. And every Democrat and every Republican voted for them.

Then came Gov. Christie’s CV. The governor has built his national street cred on showing up everywhere after hurricane Sandy, dressed down in working man’s fleece with his name on it, and reassuring residents, and hugging little kids. He’s gearing up for a White House run riding on that reputation, in a political atmosphere where increasingly public perception of “personality,” factoids and style get more attention than hard questions and real track record. I guess it doesn’t do that a vote Christie fears could ding his reputation is allowed to stand, the myth that he’s the leader who gets it done in a crisis.

All that needed to happen today is 3 Republicans to join Democrats and act on the principle that accountability and responsibility to New Jerseyans  and an effort to streamline and make more fair the state’s role in their disaster recovery are higher priorities than obedience to a governor who has already checked out of New Jersey.

In the end, not one of them could do the right thing. Fourteen of the Senate’s Republicans voted against override, two declined to vote. And they had the nerve to bristle at being called cowardly. Steve Sweeney’s statement dropped immediately after the vote. We have that – word-for-word – on the jump:

Sandy Bill of Rights veto override vote today – Will any Republicans break from Christie?

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.

Marriage: If you see somebody with a clipboard outside the polls today …

NJUM NJ Marriage Override Stop & Dial

Conventional wisdom has Democrats voting late, on their way home from work. Don’t know if that’s true, but I know I haven’t voted yet. If you go vote and see somebody nearby the polling place with a clipboard, go over and say hello. The New Jersey United for Marriage folks have been out all over some voting precincts today doing stop and dials. Asking people who just voted to literally stop what they’re doing, and make a call on the spot asking their legislators to vote to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of marriage equality.

Snapshot above was taken earlier today by NJUM of a voter in Princeton who called her legislators – Republicans Sen. Kip Bateman, and Assemblymembers Jack Ciatterelli and Donna Simon – right there in the street.

Over 500 calls have been made today. I hope my legislators, the same ones the woman in Princeton just called, are listening. I don’t think they really want to be caught on the wrong side of history with their Governor.

Tweet some thanks to @NJ4Marriage.

Q & A with Mike Premo of NJ United for Marriage

Mike Premo, NJ United for Marriage
Website: NJUM.org,
Blog: NJUM’s Blog
Facebook: New Jersey United for Marriage
Twitter: @NJ4Marriage

Since the NJ Legislature passed it and he vetoed it, Gov. Chris Christie – from his extended audition tour for 2016 GOP fundraisers – has been the only thing standing in the way of NJ couples seeing their right to marry respected. What happens if legislators of both parties are free to vote their conscience, in a state where marriage equality is supported? NJ United for Marriage says we’re going to find out. Soon. Republicans Holly Schepisi and Declan O’Scanlon already jumped over; O’Scanlon says there will be more. Over the last few days I talked with NJUM’s new campaign manager, Mike Premo. Two things should be said: (1) Premo’s a long-time friend and foxhole buddy. (2) I’m on Garden State Equality’s board, and they’re part of NJUM. Beyond that, now that I found out one of NJUM’s working with Steve Schmidt, the GOP strategist whose role in vetting Sarah Palin was chronicled in his book and the movie made from it, Game Change (Woody Harrelson plays him). Schmidt’s involvement signals to me that the effort to reach Republicans is serious. Besides, I hear Schmidt does a fantastic Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It was a long talk. I’m in italics. Premo isn’t. Our talk’s on the jump page …

What’s next after Windsor?

Today at 11:30 AM, Garden State Equality is hosting a rally at the statehouse. Following that rally, GSE, the ACLU of New Jersey, and Lambda Legal will hold a press conference at which they will discuss their response to yesterday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision striking down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Here’s what to expect—or at least, what I would expect.

Governor Christie: Transparency and Accountability Just a Slogan, Not a Policy

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When Governor Christie went on the national stage at the Republican Convention earlier this week he wasn’t telling the whole truth.  I know I don’t have to tell everyone at Blue Jersey that fact.

Specifically, when the governor talked about New Jersey’s government being accountable and transparent, or how his administration works with Democrats to solve problems, he failed to mention his veto of legislation that would have given patients and taxpayers accountability for the millions of dollars in public funding now going to for-profit hospitals in New Jersey.  

Christie’s veto meant that private for-profit hospitals can continue to operate under a veil of secrecy.

And I hope you’ll sign our petition to override Christie’s veto of the bill. 

Who is being protected – patients or profits?

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Governor Christie recently vetoed a bill that would require hospitals – particularly for-profit hospitals – to report publicly on whether they are spending charity care and public funds on patient care or on excessive profits. It begs the question: Who is Governor Christie protecting – taxpayers and patients or those who profit from New Jersey’s patients?

The New Jersey Hospital Disclosure and Public Resource Protection Act (S782/A21243) passed both the NJ Senate and NJ Assembly with strong bi-partisan support, in recognition that for-profit hospitals are operating under a veil of secrecy when it comes to whether their profits are coming at the expense of quality patient care and services.

Yet, Governor Christie took out his red pen and turned a state requirement that hospitals file this financial information with the NJ Department of Health into a half-year “study” by the DOH Commissioner. Other information the law would require to be disclosed would include, for example, whether for-profit hospital boards and executives were doing business with each other – often called ‘self-dealing’. Not-for-profit hospital boards must disclose self-dealing on reports filed with the IRS; private for-profit hospitals, like many in NJ – have no such requirement.