TRENTON - Gov. Corzine yesterday vetoed parts of a bill to abolish requirements that schools teach about Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and completely vetoed a bill to repeal a plastic surgery tax.
Corzine also signed other legislation into law to help bring a 700-acre race track to Millville, and to strengthen sex offender notification and anti-gang laws.
The Legislature can reconsider the vetoed bills, both of which passed unanimously last year.
A two-thirds vote can overturn a veto, but Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman said that on Monday, the Assembly would vote to affirm Corzine's conditional veto of the legislation that deleted a law requiring schools teach children about several holidays.
The measure was largely intended to help control property taxes by eliminating state requirements on schools, but veterans complained that it would abolish requirements that schools teach about Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
A conditional veto allows the governor to object to parts of a bill and propose amendments that would make it acceptable. If the Legislature re-approves the bill with the governor's recommendations, it can be presented to him again for his signature.
Corzine wants to retain requirements that schools teach about Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and also President's Day, Columbus Day and Commodore Barry Day.
Those holidays, he wrote in his veto message, "serve as needed recognition of the many great leaders who have helped form this nation."
"Given the past sacrifices of our veterans and the sacrifices now being made by those serving in the armed forces, especially the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in service to their country, it is imperative that New Jersey schoolchildren be reminded of those valiant men and women who have demonstrated their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good," Corzine said.
The plastic surgery tax was implemented in 2004 to raise $24 million per year to help hospitals treat people without health insurance, but it has not met expectations. The tax is on track to raise about $11 million.
Legislators said it seemed likely the tax was leading people to get cosmetic surgery out of state, but Corzine said he could not cut off revenue with the state facing a projected $2 billion deficit.
Corzine also signed bills to:
Help bring a race track complex to Millville by creating a sports and entertainment district in which the city could charge an additional 2 percent sales tax that would help build the $100 million track. Officials hope to start construction this year.
Increase the penalty for failing to register as a sex offender to three to five years in jail, and a fine of up to $15,000. Current law requires 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Allow police departments to mail or fax accident reports to individuals who request them. Motorists who want accident reports have had to get them in person at a police station.