Vetoing N.J. ban on smoking in parks and beaches, Christie says it’s local issue

Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed a bill that would have banned smoking in New Jersey public parks and limited smoking areas at beaches.

In his veto message, Christie said such smoking prohibitions should be enacted at the local level.

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, one of the sponsors of the legislation, said the governor’s veto is a blow to public health and the environment.

“We will definitely try to get the advocates together, get the legislators together, and see if we can have an override,” said Huttle, D-Bergen.

Although Assemblyman Dave Wolfe was one of 19 Republicans in the Assembly who voted for the bill, he said Thursday he will not support an override attempt.

“For me it would have to be a more significant bill than just a smoking ban in parks,” said Wolfe, R-Brick. “I would support an override perhaps, it depends on the issue, but not that.”

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, a nurse and another of the Republicans who voted for the bill, said she was disappointed.

But, she said, the ban is still possible, if municipalities take up the issue.

“I say to the municipalities, ‘Let’s pass ordinances that say you can’t have smoking on the beach.’ It would achieve the same goal,” said Munoz, R-Union.

Democrats who control the legislature have failed to get Republican support for any attempt at overriding a Christie veto.

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