Governor Phil Murphy (D) vetoed 13 bills from Nov. 27-Dec. 3. Five of the 13 bills are below:
- NJ S861: Would have overridden air quality protections and allowed municipalities to conduct annual events for the open burning of Christmas trees.
- Murphy said, “I appreciate that holiday bonfires have been a cherished tradition in certain municipalities, bringing communities together in celebration, attracting tourists in the winter months, and raising money for charitable purposes. However, protecting the health of our most vulnerable residents must come first. As we work together across government to combat environmental threats to our State’s air quality and the public health conditions that affect New Jersey residents’ respiratory health, I cannot support a measure that would directly weaken the air quality protections that all New Jersey residents deserve. There are many ways to celebrate the winter season, and I am confident that New Jersey’s vibrant and resourceful communities will find meaningful new traditions to bring people together without the harmful public health and environmental effects of open-air tree burning.”
- Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D), one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “Makes no sense. Some towns that have long-existing community bonfire celebrations were burning wooden pallets and having to clean up the nails afterwards. How are Xmas trees worse ? And they smell better.”
- The New Jersey General Assembly voted 77-0 to approve the bill on June 30, 2023. The New Jersey Senate voted 35-0 to approve the bill on June 26, 2023. Sens. Andrew Zwicker (D), Douglas Steinhardt (R), and Michael Doherty (R) introduced the legislation on Jan. 18, 2022.
- NJ S3038: Would have established sales and events privileges for certain alcoholic beverage manufacturers. This bill would have allowed for craft breweries, wineries, and others in the craft alcohol industry to sell food and attend 25 off-site events per year, like festivals and races, and unlimited on-site events.
- Murphy said, “Allowing these industries to expand their events privileges and to partner with other local businesses, like food vendors, will bolster local downtown economies across the State. However, I believe that this legislation, standing alone, does not sufficiently enhance our antiquated liquor license laws. For the last year, I have called for a more modern approach to these Prohibition-era laws to reflect the current economy and to better support present and future business owners. … I remain committed and will continue to advocate for liquor license reform that addresses accessibility and affordability for all New Jersey businesses.”
- Sen. Vin Gopal (D), one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “I’m disappointed the governor vetoed the bill.”
- The New Jersey General Assembly voted 77-0 to approve the bill on June 30, 2023. The New Jersey Senate voted 36-0 to approve the bill on June 26, 2023. Sens. Vin Gopal (D) and Linda Greenstein (D) introduced the legislation on Sept. 22, 2022.
- NJ S524: Would have created a Mental Health Diversion Program to divert eligible persons away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate case management and mental health services.
- Murphy said, “I agree with the sponsors and the intent of this bill that mental health issues should not be unnecessarily criminalized, and that efforts should be made to increase opportunities for appropriate treatment while ensuring public safety. However, the current language of this bill only excludes first degree crimes from this program; second degree and violent crimes, including Megan’s Law triggering offenses, are only presumptively ineligible, subject to prosecutor review. At the request of the prime sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Ruiz, I am recommending modest revisions to this bill so that all Megan’s Law triggering crimes, not just first degree crimes, are categorically ineligible for inclusion into this Mental Health Diversion Program.”
- Ballotpedia did not identify any responses from the bill sponsors as of Dec. 7.
- The New Jersey General Assembly voted 45-28 to approve the bill on June 30, 2023. The New Jersey Senate voted 21-15 to approve the bill on June 30, 2023. Sens. Teresa Ruiz (D) and Sandra Cunningham (D) introduced the legislation on Jan. 5, 2022.
- NJ S2818: Would have established a “Working Group to Study Pricing of Motor Fuels by Retail Dealers.” The working group was intended to protect New Jersey residents and visitors from abusive practices in motor fuel pricing practices.
- Murphy said, “I applaud the bill’s sponsors for aiming to shield New Jersey residents and visitors from these predatory practices, and I commend the Department of Law and Public Safety (‘LPS’) for their willingness to take on this laudable but intensive task. The current language of this bill proscribes, with specificity, the individuals from the Division of Consumer Affairs (the ‘Division’), within the LPS, who shall comprise this nine member working group. I am recommending modest revisions to this bill to give greater discretion to the Attorney General to appoint the appropriate individuals from the Division to the working group to ensure that the group has the necessary expertise to accomplish the bill’s goals. Additionally, I am suggesting amendments to allow for a longer period for the working group to complete its report so that the report includes the most comprehensive and relevant information for review by my Administration and the Legislature.”
- Ballotpedia did not identify any response from the bill sponsor as of Dec. 7.
- The New Jersey General Assembly voted 78-0 to approve the bill on June 30, 2023. The New Jersey Senate voted 40-0 to approve the bill on June 29, 2022. Sen. Shirley Turner (D) introduced the legislation on June 9, 2022.
- NJ S3839: Would have required the commissioner of corrections to institute a 10-minute shift overlap in state correctional facilities. This overlap was designed to allow for the exchange of pertinent information between the outgoing and incoming shifts and allow for the outgoing shift to download body-worn camera footage or perform any other end-of-shift duties that may be required. The bill would have appropriated $13 million.
- Murphy said, “I agree with the sponsors of this bill that allowing shift overlap will enhance the safety and well-being of the officers and incarcerated population. However, I am concerned that the current language of this bill references collective bargaining negotiations and agreements, which do not have explicit provisions relating to shift overlap or overlap compensation. Indeed, the bill as currently drafted inserts itself into collective bargaining undertaken in good faith between the pertinent unions and the DOC every four years. I recognize the value and importance of collective bargaining, and I stand firm in my commitment to ensuring that New Jersey is as supportive of labor as any state in the nation. I commend all who come to the bargaining table on behalf of correctional officers throughout the state to ensure safe and fair conditions on behalf of their members. In order for the DOC to implement the shift overlap policy as expeditiously as possible, and to ensure that the language best conforms to existing State and federal laws, including but not limited to the Fair Labor Standards Act, I am recommending modest revisions to this bill to better outline the compensation to be paid for this work.”
- Ballotpedia did not identify any responses from the bill sponsors as of Dec. 7.
- The New Jersey General Assembly voted 78-0 to approve the bill on June 30, 2023. The New Jersey Senate voted 36-0 to approve the bill on June 30, 2023. Sens. Linda Greenstein (D) and Douglas Steinhardt (R) introduced the legislation on May 11, 2023.
Overriding a gubernatorial veto requires a two-thirds vote from both chambers of the legislature. New Jersey is one of 36 states to require a two-thirds majority.
There are currently 21 active vetoes in New Jersey in 2023. This count does not include vetoes that have been overturned by the legislature. During the week of Nov. 27-Dec. 3, Murphy was the only governor nationwide to veto any bills.
Murphy has served as governor since Jan. 16, 2018. He successfully vetoed three bills in 2022. There are currently 751 active vetoes nationwide in 2023. This count does not include vetoes that have been overturned by state legislatures. Democratic governors issued 477, while Republican governors issued 274. New Jersey is a Democratic trifecta, meaning Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.