For those not familiar with New Jersey politics, the “Garden State” is in actuality a paradox, two opposing forces attempting to coexist, in that Jersey is a relatively liberal state with a dominate Democratic legislature.

And as such Christie has gone head to head with some very powerful entities namely the Teacher’s Union and has actually been acclaimed for his ability to move legislation forward and to win over constituents. No small task in a state like New Jersey, known for its unorthodox choice of leaders.

Christie is perhaps one of the most independent governor’s in recent state history and this bill just introduced by State Sen. Joseph Vitale, (D-Middlesex) that would allow childless adults convicted of drug offenses to qualify for welfare benefits in New Jersey, although rejected by Gov. Christie, the governor acknowledge his willingness to compromise on the bill if it were restructured.

State law forbids childless adults with a conviction for drug distribution or possession from receiving "general assistance" welfare payments of $140 a month.

Democrats in the legislature have twice passed legislation that would have lifted this restriction if the convicted offenders had completed a drug treatment program.

On Monday, Christie issued a "conditional" veto of the most recent bill, because it applied equally to convicted drug dealers as it did to people convicted of drug possession.

Stating; "I recommend the bill be amended to limit benefits to those drug offenders whose convictions include only possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance," the governor wrote in his veto message. "This modification will provide the flexibility for individuals to participate in the type of treatment program that works best for them and allow them to transition more seamlessly into the community."

State Sen. Joseph Vitale, said he was disappointed with the governor's decision and said he would try again.
There are some dealers who are themselves addicted, Vitale said. "The addiction is driving their illegal activity. If we acknowledge (addiction) is a disease, we should treat them the same way."

Source: NJ.com




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