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NJ Dems fail on Sandy bill override [AUDIO]

As with every previous attempt, state Senate Democrats were unsuccessful Monday in trying to override one of Gov. Chris Christie‘s vetoes. Their latest effort attempted to reverse Christie’s conditional veto of the “Superstorm Sandy Bill of Rights.”

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Senate President Steve Sweeney
Senate President Steve Sweeney (Kevin McArdle, Townsquare Media NJ)

The legislation was sponsored by the upper house’s top lawmaker, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford).

“This bill is very simple: We can do better,” Sweeney said before the override attempt was posted for a vote. “We can’t tell people, ‘Sorry, we screwed up.’ This is an opportunity to stand up and do the right thing. The governor gutted this bill because the governor could not accept that his administration has done a very poor job.”

According to Sweeney, the legislation would clarify and accelerate the process of how Sandy victims seek aid. Apparently aware that the override attempt would not succeed, Sweeney called out his Republican colleagues and accused them of “cowardice.”

“I’m somewhat surprised because this bill was passed unanimously in both houses,” Sweeney said.

In his conditional veto in May, the governor proposed roughly 150 changes and even removed “Sandy Bill of Rights” as the official name of the bill. In his veto message, Christie said it was a partisan measure with mandates that were both difficult to implement, and violated state and federal law.

Citing their support of the governor’s position, all 13 Senate Republicans who supported the bill in March voted “no” on the override.

“This is the exact same bill we voted on in March,” Sweeney said in an emailed statement after the vote. “Nothing — absolutely nothing — about it has changed. Yet not a single one of the Republican members of the Senate had the nerve to stand up to the governor.”

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