TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie shot down a statewide smoking ban at public parks and beaches for a second time on Friday, but told lawmakers that he would support a ban at those owned by the state.
In conditionally vetoing the measure approved by the Legislature in May, the Republican governor said that he abhors smoking, but that it should be left to towns to decide whether to ban it.
It will now be up to lawmakers to decide whether to accept Christie’s changes.
Christie, who often spoke on the presidential campaign trail of his mother’s battle with lung cancer following decades of smoking, also vetoed an attempt to ban smoking at beaches and parks in 2014. He says that hundreds of towns have already instituted their own bans.
“Many local governments have acted to prevent smoking at parks and beaches and I expect that more will follow if it serves their particular needs,” Christie said in his conditional veto.
Christie also expressed concern at requiring towns to post “no smoking” signs confirming to the state law at their own expense.
The recent ban passed by lawmakers would have allowed towns to set aside up to 15 percent of a beach for smoking. The ban also would not apply to parking lots adjacent to public parks or beaches.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.