Proposed Amendment Would Allow NJ Governor To Retain Powers When Traveling

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey assemblyman says a law requiring the governor to sign over his powers to the lieutenant governor when traveling out of state is outdated.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said the 1947 amendment was approved at a time when communication was more challenging.

“Today, unless you’re in the Outback or in the middle of the desert, you’re not out of communication,” O’Scanlon told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

“It’s a different world now. This doesn’t mean that we don’t need a lieutenant governor. We absolutely do need that position,” the assemblyman said.

O’Scanlon said he is proposing that voters decide on an amendment to allow the governor to remain in control while out of state.

A possible 2016 presidential candidate, Gov. Chris Christie has been traveling more in recent months — which could increase if he throws his hat into the ring.

O’Scanlon said the amendment could not take effect until January 2016 at the earliest.

Gov. Chris Christie took issue with the current law at a news conference last month.

“When I’m in New Hampshire, I’m the governor,” he said. “When I’m in Iowa, I’m the governor.”

Christie added, “If you want to narrowly tailor something that if the governor is incapacitated, under anesthesia,” or in any case where they cannot communicate, then he said it’s fine having an acting governor.

Otherwise, he said, “I’m in communication. I have Wi-Fi on the plane. When I am on the plane, I have a cellphone with me at all times.”

“It’s not like I need someone to get the Pony Express to come and bring me a message,” he added.

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