New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he won’t sign what he calls a “stupid” proposal that would require state drivers to secure their pets with a seat belt-like harness while driving.
“This will tell you everything you need to know about how New Jersey runs under the Democrats,” said Christie on a radio broadcast from Ewing, NJ. “They’re actually spending their time on this.”
The first-term Republican governor said the Democrats, who control the Senate and General Assembly in New Jersey, are wasting their time with the measure, and that he wouldn’t put “my name near something that stupid.”
If the bill is passed and Christie changes his mind signing it into law, it would make New Jersey the first U.S. state to institute a pet seat belt measure, requiring motorists to fasten their dogs and cats with a seat belt-like harness if the pets are not being transported in a crate.
The bill was introduced by assemblywoman and animal lover L. Grace Spencer, who owns a Pomeranian, five cats and a rabbit. The Democrat, who is also a liability-law attorney, said that securing pets in vehicles is “a bigger issue than people realize,” and equated it to other distractions such as texting while driving.
If the law is passed, violators will be issued a $25 ticket that could potentially increase into higher fines. Some drivers could also face charges of animal cruelty, which carries a fine of up to $1,000.
Christie says lawmakers should focus their time instead on ethics reforms and cutting the state’s taxes. The governor is currently tackling a revenue shortfall and New Jersey residents are dealing with the highest residential property taxes in the country, along with the worst unemployment rate in 30 years.
“Let’s not cut taxes. Let’s not plug the holes in the property-tax cap. Let’s not get shared services so we can reduce property taxes. Let’s not pass ethics reform so these part-time legislators will have to tell you what money they’re getting and where they’re getting it from,” Christie said in response to the pet seat belt law.