TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — The Democrat-led New Jersey Assembly and Senate advanced legislation to let Republican Gov. Chris Christie cash in on a book deal before he leaves office while also raising legislative staff, judges’ and other officials’ salaries.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee Thursday voted 8-0, with two abstentions, to advance the measure, hours after the Senate Budget Committee voted 9-3 for the bill.
Supporters say change is necessary and long in the works.
“I personally have no issue with the governor writing a book, whether it be this governor or the next governor,” says co-sponsor Assemblyman John Burzichelli, who added that conflict of interest rules won’t change as far as Christie taking a cash advance.
However, critics say it burdens taxpayers to help “political elites.”
“It’s being rushed through, it’s a little cloak and dagger, you know wave it on to the agenda late Tuesday, hear in both houses on Thursday and pass it on Monday, in the middle of the holiday season when the public really doesn’t have a chance to weigh in,” says Republican state Sen. Jennifer Beck.
Both chambers could vote as soon as Monday.
The bill ends a requirement that the governor draw only his $175,000 per year salary. It also raises by $30,000 to $140,000 appropriations for each of the state’s 120 lawmakers to spend on staff. It boosts judges’ and prosecutors’ salaries.
Christie’s office did not return an Eyewitness News request for comment on the bill or if he has intentions to write a book while in office.
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