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Out of state, out of power?
Gov. Chris Christie’s out-of-state travel continues to attract attention. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Gov. Christie is campaigning all across America for GOP gubernatorial candidates.
But each time he must temporarily give his powers as governor to his lieutenant. He doesn’t like this, and now an Assemblyman is seeking to change the law.
There is no need for an acting governor, said Gov. Chris Christie at a Sept. 18 State House press conference. He explained that with technology he is never really unreachable. Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Red Bank) agreed and he has introduced legislation (ACR197) that would give voters the opportunity to amend the constitution to allow the governor to keep his or her executive powers when out of state.
Under current law, the lieutenant governor becomes the acting governor when the elected governor is not in New Jersey.
“We would treat our governor the same way the country now treats the president. The president is the president wherever he is including out of the country,” O’Scanlon said. “It’s time to think about permitting or mandating that the governor be the governor wherever he is.”Under current law, the lieutenant governor becomes the acting governor when the elected governor is not in New Jersey.
The push for this is not in any way meant as a criticism of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and would preserve the office of lieutenant governor. It would simply allow the governor to retain his powers when out of state.
The measure would have to be decided by voters, who won’t have the opportunity to decide until 2016 at the earliest, should the measure first pass the state legislature.
At a press conference in September, Gov. Christie succinctly summed up why, in his view, there is no need for an acting governor while he’s out of state.
“I’m in communication. I have Wi-Fi on the plane. When I am on the plane, I have a cellphone with me at all times,” he said. “It’s not like I need someone to get the Pony Express to come and bring me a message.”
Featured image: Gov. Christie at a recent campaign stop in Arizona. Screenshot from azfamily.com video.
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