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"Pocket Veto" KOs 5 Dozen Legislative Measures In New Jersey

By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has pocket vetoed several dozen bills, covering everything from the future of Atlantic City to how old you have to be to buy cigarettes.

At the end of any legislative session, there's a rush of proposals to address. Christie signed nearly 100 bills, but failed to sign about 60 more. That, in effect, kills them.

Included in those vetoed, a bill to take the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21, a pair of smart gun measures and bills to require payments in lieu of taxes for casinos and non profit hospitals. Gloucester County Assemblyman John Burzichelli offered this explanation to KYW Newsradio. "I'm disappointed that all the effort went into these various topics are sort of casually set aside with the explanation that there were just too many of them."

The only reaction from the Governor came in a statement from Deputy Press Secretary Joelle Farrell, stating that the process of rushing bills through at the last minute "is never a good formula for effectively doing public business."

Camden County Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt saw her push to up the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 fail. "Out of respect we were due at least an opinion by the Governor's office and he didn't even respect it enough to be able to give us his opinion," Lampitt said.

While Lampitt suggested Christie put his own Presidential aspirations above the interests of the people of New Jersey, Burzichelli was a bit more hesitant, or "pragmatic" as he put it, insisting the Governor and his staff had enough time to deal with many of the measures that were pocket vetoed.

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