The eyes of New Jersey’s political junkies on are Trenton this afternoon to see if the public rift between Governor Chris Christie and the Kean family will lead to the first override of a Christie veto.
The Pig Gestation Bill is on the Senate calendar for an override vote this afternoon. The bill, which would prohibited NJ pig farmers from caging gestating pigs in a manner such that they can not move or lay down for most of their lives passed both houses of the legislature overwhelmingly last spring. Christie vetoed the bill, noting that the State Supreme Court upheld the Humane Standards that the State Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture have set and enforced in accordance with the 1995 Administrative Procedures Act. In his veto message, Christie said he was confident the Board and Department would continue to monitor the humane treatment of gestating pigs, and that bill would inappropriately criminalize a practice that is not opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association nor the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.
Christie critics and skeptics have said that the governor vetoed the bill with an eye toward the 2016 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucuses. Iowa is the largest producer of pork in the United States.
Don’t bet on an override, warn legislators who spoke to MMM on background.
As a matter of policy, since they voted for the bill last spring, the Republicans we talked to have learned that it is the Democrats supporting the bill, not Christie, who are playing presidential politics. The bill would not impact the quality of life for New Jersey pigs. No one knows of at New Jersey pig farmer that uses the gestation crates that the bill would prohibited.
As a matter of politics, New Jersey Legislative Republicans are united with the governor, the rift over this move to oust Tom Kean, JR as Senate Minority Leader notwithstanding. They are not going to weaken Christie’s negotiating position with the Trenton Democrats over a bill that has no impact on what is happening in New Jersey.
“Things are back to normal,” one legislator said, “The governor underestimated the trust, respect and affection the Senate Caucus has for Tom (Kean, Jr), and mishandled that situation. But when your friend makes a mistake, you don’t trash the friendship.”