Friday, August 5, 2011
Quijano Calls on DeCroce to Join Her in Once Again Sponsoring Legislation Banning Helicopter Use for Personal, Political Events
Following New Revelations of Misuse by Christie, Quijano Hopes Bipartisan Support Will Help Ensure Swifter Passage of Measure DeCroce Once Sponsored
(Trenton) - Following the latest revelations that Governor Christie used the State Police helicopter for personal trips to the Governor's beach home, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano has asked Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce to sign on as a sponsor of legislation she has introduced prohibiting the use of state helicopters for personal and political events.
Quijano sent a letter to DeCroce today requesting that he join her in sponsoring the legislation, which is nearly identical to a bill he sponsored in 2002 and 2004, in order to help encourage swifter passage of the law through a bipartisan show of support.
"In the interest of protecting the taxpayers of this state, the prudent thing to do at this point is to put an end to the ambiguities surrounding the use of state helicopters and establish a clear set of rules governing this practice," said Quijano (D-Union). "Safeguarding against future misuse of taxpayer money is not an issue of partisanship, but of fiscal and moral responsibility. I urge Assemblyman DeCroce to reach across the aisle to help make our state government more diligent in its use of resources now, and through all future administrations."
The legislation (A-4184) Quijano is sponsoring is nearly identical to legislation first introduced by DeCroce in December of 2002 and reintroduced again in 2004, prior to Quijano joining the Assembly. In addition to prohibiting helicopter use for personal and political reasons, the bill would also require quarterly reports to the Legislature on the governor's use of state helicopters.
As chair of the Assembly's Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, Quijano also held a hearing on the matter back in June after reports first surfaced that Governor Christie had used the State Police helicopter to travel to and from his son's baseball game and a private meeting with political donors. Quijano noted that the Governor's Office later released a log of all the flights he had taken, which proved to be incomplete after the Courier Post submitted an Open Public Records request and obtained additional flight details.
Quijano noted that the helicopters in use today were purchased to replace the state's aging fleet and primarily intended for critical homeland security activities and medical emergencies and, when necessary, to transport governors safely and swiftly to important state business.