Christie ‘pocket vetoes’ bill to regulate elevating shore homes

 The home has been lifted roughly 8 feet above its foundation. (Tracey Samuelson/WHYY)

The home has been lifted roughly 8 feet above its foundation. (Tracey Samuelson/WHYY)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie chose not to sign several bills that sought to regulate certain types of rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, including a pair of bills that would have set standards for contractors who elevate homes and remove mold.

Normally, bills the governor doesn’t sign or veto become law after a certain period of time. But at the end of a legislative session, unsigned bills die after a short grace period, which is what occurred earlier this week and is sometimes referred to as a “pocket veto.”

One such bill would have required contractors who lift or elevate homes to register with the state and have at least two years of experience working with certain types of equipment. 

“It’s a bill that protects people who have been devastated by a hurricane to make sure that the contractors that they’re using to lift their home or renovate their home have the proper credentials and experience,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex County), who was a primary sponsor of the bill. A handful of houses on the Jersey Shore have been dropped already.

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“Why the governor would be against that, is beyond me.”

Wisniewski said he plans to reintroduce an unchanged version of the bill in the new legislative session, though it will have to pass through the Senate and Assembly again.

Another bill the governor didn’t sign would have established similar quality standards for mold remediation, which has been a significant problem on the Jersey Shore after Sandy flooded thousands of homes. 

“Black mold can really put people at risk and cause breathing problems and everything else,” said Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. “So to have standards to make sure it’s done properly would really make a lot of sense, and yet [Christie] let that one go as well.”

Tittel is also disappointed that the governor didn’t sign bills relating to dune grading or excavation and financing of flood and hurricane resistance projects.

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