Christie: Let towns, not state, decide whether to ban smoking on beaches
As the unofficial start of summer approaches, New Jersey lawmakers are looking to ban smoking on all beaches in New Jersey, but Gov. Chris Christie says the decision is one that should be left up to the individual municipalities.
Speaking on Wednesday night's Ask The Governor program on NJ 101.5, Christie said that although he doesn't like smoking, it's not a decision that should be made by the state.
"Let me start off by saying I hate smoking, I'm an asthmatic,"Christie said during the show. "The problem I have is, why shouldn't municipalities be able to make these decisions?"
Many coastal towns along the Jersey Shore already have had their own bans in place, some for several years. Belmar, for example, banned smoking on beaches in the spring of 2014.
"So some have, but not all of them have done what some liberals in the Legislature want them to do, so therefore the big hand of the state comes in again," Christie said.
The governor said he'll look at the bill when it lands on his desk but he's "not saying one way or another whether he'll sign it."
"But just so people know what my general concern is, is that what are they gonna tell you you have to do next," Christie said during Ask The Governor.
Christie said the towns that have wanted to implement smoking bans have done so and are others free to do so in the future. The state doesn't prohibit municipalities from bans, but the proposed bill could change that.
"This is saying that even if you don't want to prohibit smoking on your beach, you must. The state's gonna force you to do it," Christie said.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.