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NJ government shutdown could affect your holiday weekend

03 July 2017

Christie blamed the shutdown on state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Democrat who wouldn't go along with his plan to take surplus money from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.

While the Senate passed the Horizon bill on Friday, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has refused to post it for a vote, and the budget he posted on Friday without the Horizon bill fell far short of a majority. The casinos and New Jersey Transit will be operating, according to an executive order issued by Gov. Chris Christie just before the shutdown went into effect.

But several New Jersey government departments will suspend services, preventing the public from renewing driver's licenses or getting copies of birth and marriage certificates.

Governor Chris Christie ordered lawmakers into session Saturday at 11 a.m.to break the impasse.

Speaking to the New Jersey 101.5 radio station Monday, Christie said that he was looking forward to spending July 4 at the beach and that he expected "the whole family" would show up.

Horizon said in a statement that CEO Bob Marino would attend. Instead, the Governor threatened to eliminate school aid increases and other important programs if we do not meet his demands, and he has now shut down our state government to make good on those threats.

Earlier in the day, Christie told reporters he understands that people may have a negative perception that his family gets to enjoy Island Beach State Park while the public can not, but he pointed out that the governor also has a state-owned residence there.

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He says that he's not budging on the Horizon bill and that it's the wrong time to consider legislation that could affect ratepayers at a time when congressional Republicans are debating "Trumpcare", a clear reference to the delayed GOP efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"Gov. Christie, get the hell off the beach!"

"Friends and family were planning on going into the park, so obviously, it's affected them", Nasso said.

Christie contends that Horizon is compelled to "give back" as part of its non-profit status and an obligation to embrace charitable needs. And while they plan to be at it again this morning, there's no sense that the impasse can be overcome.

While lawmakers work toward an agreement in Trenton, people across New Jersey will be locked out of state parks and beaches, unable to renew their driver's licenses and blocked from processing unemployment claims. "We had an opportunity to get together in rooms over those hours and hammer out a compromise, and we didn't". But the latter two sites remain open.

Drivers were also turned away at Island Beach State Park at the Jersey Shore. That's off the table - line-item vetoed out of the budget - if the Horizon bill doesn't reach his desk, he said. After the news broke of the shutdown, Phoebus said she thought it was "a very sad day for the state of New Jersey". "He objected to both its contents and the process that led to Friday's vote, which ended with the leaders of the House and Senate negotiating the final details".

NJ government shutdown could affect your holiday weekend