Last week, the New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly landmark bullying legislation described as the "strictest anti-bullying statute in the nation." The bill passed the Assembly 71-1 and 30-0 in the Senate, which means a veto-override is a certainty, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie isn't sure if he should sign the bill, reports the Asbury Park Press.
"When the Legislature wants to act, it’s clear they can. Now, bullying is an important problem in New Jersey, and this anti-bullying bill that was passed is something that when it gets to my desk I’m going to study very closely and decide whether or not I can sign it or whether I need to improve it. But I consider it an extraordinarily important issue to the people of the state, and it will get my full analysis and consideration, and that of my staff."
The "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights" had been in the works for some time but sponsors of the legislation say the suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi "helped persuade lawmakers to act with 'lightning speed.'" Christie has complained about the legislature moving so quickly on that bill and not on other pieces of legislation.
The sole vote against the bill came from Republican Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, who claims the new bill gives "no rights" to bullying victims. Two Republican sponsors of the bill abstained at the last minute.