New Jersey Gov. and presidential candidate Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would mandate schoolchildren receive at least 20 minutes of recess every day, saying the law is “stupid.”
The vetoed bill would have applied to students from kindergarten up through fifth grade. Although put forward by a Democrat, it enjoyed bipartisan support, but Christie wasn’t won over.
“Part of my job as governor is to veto the stupid bills. That was a stupid bill and I vetoed it,” Christie said during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News. “With all the other problems we have to deal with, my Legislature is worried about recess for kids from kindergarten to fifth grade?”
Christie also characterized the bill as “crazy government run amok,” and argued it was badly conceived because it required the recess to be held outdoors without accounting for the weather. But this is actually untrue. While the bill expresses a preference for outdoor recess, “if feasible,” it doesn’t require it absolutely.
Christie killed the bill with a pocket veto, where instead of explicitly shooting it down he simply refused to take action on it. Because New Jersey’s legislative session just wrapped up, lawmakers won’t be able to override Christie’s veto and will instead have to reintroduce the bill all over again at the next legislative session.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 18 percent of children aged 6-11 were obese in 2012. Over a third of children are overweight.
Incidentally, Christie’s veto came just one day after he lashed out at first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to improve child nutrition, saying kids should beallowed to eat why they like.
“If she wants to give her her opinions on what people should eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, that’s fine,” Christie said. “She can give her opinion. … But using the government to mandate her point of view on what people should be eating every day, is none of her business.”