Christie blasts Dems for use of amendments
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is strongly criticizing Democratic lawmakers for trying to get a bill passed to change open space funding – that he vetoed – by placing it on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment.
“It’s really, really, in my view, an unfortunate use of the constitution, and it’s done in a fit of peak – cause I’ve vetoed these things,” he said, during a stop in Sea Bright.
Christie said lawmakers have opted to use the state constitution to get measure passed when that he initially vetoed.
“They sent me a bill on minimum wage, I vetoed it, they went to the constitution. They sent me increased funding for open space, I vetoed it, they go to the constitution. They sent a bill, which means that there was a legislative, statutory way to do what they’re attempting to do – when the governor said no and they didn’t have the votes to override, they then decided to go around the governor and go the constitution,” Christie said.
The governor said if Democrats want to run government this way the state “should have initiative and referendum, and it should come from the people, not from 120 folks in the legislature. Initiative and referendum is where the public gets the opportunity to put these questions on the ballot that are important to them and then they vote, and I suspect you’d get a lot more inner-play on it.”
He said right now the legislature is deciding what’s going to be on the ballot, “and generally, not always but generally, the public is disinterested.”
The bottom line, Christie said, is that legislators should take steps to override a veto, rather than use the constitutional process.
“This is really a perversion of the constitutional process in my view in that way and it’s done in a fit of peak, cause they can’t get what they want through the appropriate legislative process,” Christie said. “We should make these decisions the normal way- and convince lawmakers to override a veto if they disagree with it.”
The governor also said ballot questions are written in a way that almost always get public support – it’s very rare when a ballot question has been defeated.