July 13, 2011

N.J. Lawmakers Fail to Override Governor's Social-Service Cuts

With votes running almost entirely along party lines, Democratic state senators in New Jersey failed Monday in a series of attempts to override line-item spending vetoes by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, many of which sought to reduce health and social-service spending, The Star-Ledger reports.

Needing a two-thirds majority, or 27 votes, reverse the vetoes, the state's 24 Democratic senators secured a vote from across the aisle on only one of 15 override bids. Republican Sen. Jennifer Beck voted with the Democrats to restore $7.5-million for New Jersey family-planning clinics.

Democrats also sought to restore $50,000 for a mental-health council, undo newly restrictive language on Medicaid eligibility, and, in the most contentious debate, undo a more than 50-percent cut in state aid to a center for abused children.

A spokesman for the governor said the veto affected only a legislative appropriation to the Wynona Lipman Child Advocacy Center–the only such facility in the state to get that kind of direct aid – and that the center still gets money from other state and local sources.

Republicans derided the override votes as political theater staged with an eye toward this fall's legislative elections.

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