Christie vetoes bills on ‘smart guns,’ raising tobacco purchase age to 21

NJ assembly legislature

Several bills approved by New Jersey's Legislature did not pass muster with Gov. Chris Christie. Among bills he vetoed was a measure raising the age for buying tobacco products from 19. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Gov. Chris Christie has acted on a flurry of bills New Jersey lawmakers passed in the final days of the previous legislative session.

Sen. Dick Codey said he was disappointed Christie vetoed his bill that would have increased the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 19 to 21.

“This means more of our young people will take up a very, very bad habit that can do no good for them except bad health in the future,” said Codey, D-Essex, adding that he  intends to introduce the bill again in this legislative session.

Senator Loretta Weinberg said she’s mystified over Christie’s veto of her “smart gun” bill that would have required firearms operational only by their owner to be available within three years after they’re manufactured and meet state standards.

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“For a governor who believes in reaching across the aisle and in compromising to get things done, this is another act to prove that all those words were empty,” said Weinberg, D-Union.

The governor vetoed many other measures.

One would have allowed counties to impose a 1 percent hotel tax.

Another would have required the Board of Public Utilities to approve an offshore wind energy project.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said he’s glad Christie signed a bill explicitly giving the Department of Environmental Protection the authority to set beach access rules. But those rules, said Tittel, need to be amended.

“Now the real battle happens in the legislature to get a bill in place that actually implements the public trust doctrine,” he said. “Right now, we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars restoring the beaches and we need to make sure that the public’s access is restored as well.”

Christie did sign a bill exempting residents from municipal regulations requiring licensing for shoveling within 24 hours of a snowstorm.And New Jersey residents getting medical care for an illness that changes their appearance will be able to continue using pre-treatment photos on driver’s licenses under another bill Christie signed into law.

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