Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Senate Fails to Override Christie Veto of Pa Reform Bill

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Senate Fails to Override Christie Veto of Pa Reform Bill

Article excerpt

After getting more than 600 yes votes between two states last year, a bill to reform the Port Authority failed to get 27 in the state Senate in an unsuccessful bid Monday to override Governor Christie's veto.

The failure of the Senate's 24 Democrats to muster three Republican votes in favor of the legislation extended an unprecedented streak of sustained vetoes for Christie - 50 since 2010 - and also dealt a setback to legislative overhauls to the agency.

Sen. Bob Gordon, D-Fair Lawn, a primary sponsor of the bill who has spent several weeks trying to rally support for an override, made one final attempt on the Senate floor to persuade his Republican counterparts to buck Christie. He framed the vote as a rare opportunity for the Legislature to help bring far-reaching reforms to an agency whose troubles were known for years but thrown into relief following the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.

"This legislation has been approved in four chambers and five legislative committees in two states without one dissenting vote," Gordon said. He later added that Republican Mike Doherty of Warren County had already pledged his support for an override, and "all we need are just two votes."

Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. had promised that Gordon would not get those two votes, and he did not. The override failed 25 to 14. Doherty, as expected, voted with the Senate's 24 Democrats. Republican Sen. Jen Beck of Monmouth County abstained.

"It appears as if every time there is a veto to override, my Republican colleagues acquire a condition that I would call acute spinal insufficiency," Gordon said afterward. "Clearly they support the objectives of our legislation. A number of my colleagues said, 'This isn't a policy issue, it's politics, unfortunately.' We need to move beyond that."

Now the legislatures in New Jersey and New York, whose members all say they want to reform the Port Authority, must figure out how to actually do it. The override attempt laid bare the divisions within the Senate alone on how reforms should be achieved.

Kean says his bill is the only bipartisan proposal that can get both state legislatures' approval, plus the required signatures of both governors. …

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