NJ governor wraps up unfinished business
TRENTON, N.J. - January 18, 2010 -- New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has signed 53 bills on his last full day in office, including a measure requiring restaurant chains to list calorie counts of selections sold on their menus.
The outgoing governor also signed bills increasing transit funding for senior citizens and the disabled, requiring the public reporting of infection rates at surgical centers, and extending until March 16 the date his successor must deliver his 2011 budget address.
But one of the most high-profile bills still awaits his signature: that giving chronically ill patients legal access to marijuana. If Corzine signs the measure, New Jersey would become the 14th state to allow medical marijuana.
Corzine is working out of his Newark office while the governor's Statehouse office in Trenton is readied for Gov.-elect Chris Christie.
Christie will be sworn in at noon on Tuesday.
Corzine has no public schedule but has been signing bills privately throughout the day, his spokesman, Chris Donnelly, said.
The bills run the gamut of concerns, from requiring continuing education for licensed professional engineers to denying abusive spouses the right to determine how their partner's remains are disposed of.
The law mandating calorie counts afffects restaurant chains with more than 20 locations nationally, and, according to the governor, is an essential ingredient for people seeking healthier lifestyles.
"One of the best ways to improve our health and well being is to deal directly with obesity and proper eating," Corzine said in a statement. "This legislation is a clear step in that direction, as it will allow New Jerseyans to know the calorie content of the food they are eating at these establishments."
Corzine still has some other significant bills to sign.
A package of bills providing educational, addiction and jobs training services to inmates before they leave prison also awaits Corzine's signature.
The measures were approved by the Legislature over Christie's objection to any bills that required additional spending.
New Jersey faces a budget deficit of at least $8 billion for the fiscal year that begins in July.
The governor is also considering several clemency requests.
new jersey, gov. jon corzine, chris christie, inside politics
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