N.J. lawmaker wants to clip governors’ wings

    The lawmaker who chairs the New Jersey Assembly’s Homeland Security Committee wants to ban the governor from using state helicopters to get to personal and political events.

    Gov. Chris Christie recently reimbursed the state after a firestorm of controversy for using a State Police helicopter to travel to his son’s high school baseball games.

    Democratic Assemblywoman Annette Quijano said she will introduce legislation to restrict the use to official functions and emergencies.

    “There has to be some kind of process developed to make sure that we provide guidelines,” she said. “This uproar didn’t happen just with this governor. It’s happened over and over again in both parties over the years and that’s why it’s important to get this thing resolved today.”

    Quijano’s bill would also require State Police to give the legislature quarterly reports on the governor’s helicopter use.

    State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said it’s safer for the governor to travel by air, and troopers don’t ask about the purpose of his helicopter trips.

    “For those troopers assigned to protection details, and to myself as a security professional, there is no distinction between business and private meetings or gatherings when and if they occur in the public setting,” Fuentes said during a hearing Tuesday. “Look at the flight logs of the governor’s travel. They simply record destinations, not purposes.”

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