By Minhaj Hassan | November 15th, 2012 - 3:35pm
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TRENTON – As towns pass resolutions in support of his vetoed Good Samaritan bill, Sen. Joe Vitale, (D-19), Woodbridge, said he plans to reintroduce it.

The Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act, which would give people immunity from prosecution when they are reporting drug overdoses, was conditionally vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie on Oct. 5.

In his veto message, Christie said the matter needs further study, and recommended the Division of Criminal Justice study the issue and provide suggestions to the administration.

“This bill fails to carefully consider all the interests that must be balanced when crafting immunities,’’ Christie said in the message.

On Wednesday evening, the Gloucester Township Council approved a resolution calling upon the Senate and Assembly to override Christie’s veto of the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act  (A578/S851). It joined the towns of Magnolia, Red Bank and Audubon, all of which passed similar resolutions, according to the Drug Policy Institute.

In a telephone interview, Vitale said he plans to reintroduce the bill next week and will ask for the Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing. He said he plans to meet with the Christie Administration to discuss its concerns, adding that he’s open to compromise “if it means getting the bill done and we can find some common ground.”

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in June, some Republicans, including Sen. Gerald Cardinale, (R-39), Demarest, expressed concern the bill does nothing to go after the drug perpetrators.

“My point is I don’t want to absolve real facilitators of people taking drugs that lead to overdose,” he said at the hearing. “I believe this law gives an opportunity to people who have caused harm to get out of it by making this call.”

He added there is nothing now preventing people from making 911 calls anonymously.

“There has to be consequences for people who encourage others to use drugs,” he said then.

But Audubon Mayor John Ward called on the Legislature to take action in support of the bill.

“We firmly believe that any legislation that encourages individuals to call 911 for emergency medical assistance, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the need for the call, is good legislation. If this law saves one life as a result it is worth the effort,” Ward said in a statement.

Patty DiRenzo, a Blackwood resident who lost her son, Salvatore, to an overdose when he was age 27, also supports the bill.

“I’m thrilled that a growing number of New Jersey towns are taking the initiative to stand up and fight for a policy that will literally save thousands of lives,” she said. “I was devastated to learn of the Governor’s veto but these resolutions are an encouraging sign that the fight is not over. I will do whatever I need to do in Sal’s memory to save lives. The Legislature must stand up and do the right thing.”

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 2nd

Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080  ...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

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My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
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(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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Governor Chris Christie's trip to Mexico...:

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