NEW JERSEY — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may soon be confronted with the thorny political decision of whether to sign into law a bill that appears to be designed, at least in part, to reprimand him personally for relaxing on a state beach in early July while state parks and beaches were shut down over a budget impasse.
The state’s General Assembly approved a bill Monday by a vote of 63-2-2 to prohibit use of state-owned property that is “exclusively or primarily for the use of the governor” during budget-related government shutdowns.
Christie’s office would not say if he would sign the legislation, which now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
“As always, we have a long-standing policy of not discussing pending or proposed legislation until a final bill reaches our offices and we have had ample time to review it,” Brian Murray, a spokesman for Christie, told CNN in an email.
The bill was sponsored by assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, who was the third place contender in the Democratic Party’s 2017 gubernatorial primary.
“If a beach is closed because of a state shutdown, it ought to be closed to everybody,” Wisniewski said in a statement. “Having it open to the governor and his guests while it’s closed to all the other New Jersey residents who are paying for them to be there isn’t right and it isn’t fair.”
Christie had a brazen response to a reporter’s question after the photos were published.
“That’s just the way it goes,” he said during a news conference. “Run for governor and you can have a residence.”
A separate bill that would keep state parks open for seven days in the event of an appropriations-related state of emergency also passed the Assembly on Monday.