AP NEWS

Senate OKs bill that details surrendering of weapons in domestic violence cases

August 2, 2016

The Senate unanimously approved on Monday a bill that spells out how defendants accused of domestic violence must surrender their weapons and be advised of the penalties if they fail to do so.

The measure — reached after some last-minute hammering out of details – was described by lawmakers from both parties as a compromise alternative to an earlier version of the bill that was conditionally vetoed by Governor Christie.

“This is an issue that has strong bi-partisan support for a solution,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, R-Union, who co-sponsored the bill along with Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck.

Weinberg said the bill improved upon the earlier version.

“We reached a compromise that is also a solution,” Weinberg said.

Both lawmakers said they were hopeful that this bill would fare better with Christie.

When asked for comment, a spokesman for Christie referred to the conditional veto he issued in May.

In that veto, he said the bill was duplicative of existing law. He also called for a more comprehensive approach to domestic violence.

The new bill contains several changes, including:

— When a temporary restraining order is served on a defendant, a police officer will escort that person to where firearms are stored and oversee their surrender.

— Enhanced penalties for domestic violence offenders, including maximum penalties for second and subsequent offenses.

— Advising a defendant of the possible penalties for failing to comply with an order to surrender weapons.

The bill next moves to the Assembly.

Weinberg said it was her understanding that if the revised bill is again vetoed by the governor that Republican lawmakers will join the Democrats in seeking an override.

When asked about that, Kean replied, “Let’s focus on getting it through the Assembly first.”

“We worked with the Governor and his office very directly on this issue,” Kean said. “My hope is let’s work with our Assembly partners and the governor going forward.”

Lawmakers sent several other bills to Christie on Monday. Among them were bills that would:

— Add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana.

— Require New Jersey Transit to hold hearings on any curtailment of rail or bus service, even minor ones.

— Direct the Department of Law and Public Safety to develop a diversity training course for law enforcement officers. The bill accepts changes Christie recommended when he conditionally vetoed a bill that required each police department in the state to develop its own course.

— Allow pari-mutuel betting on steeplechase races in which thoroughbred horses vault over barriers.

Email: ensslin@northjersey.com