Fallout 4’s rich and varied landscape is built for lackadaisical roaming – the player character’s nicknamed the Wanderer for a reason. The experience isn’t about just racing through the main questline or finding the best gear, but assembling your own story from all of Bethesda’s tiny interlocking parts.
The Commonwealth is a harsh mistress, however, so we could all use some help – and none other than our grizzled survivor “Corbyn” has heeded your call. We’ve already covered the 12 key tips for beginners, so now it’s time for some more advanced instruction. Let’s really get those Super Mutants quaking in their boots.
1. VATS tricks
Fallout 4’s Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (VATS) mechanic slows time down to a crawl, and allows you to target specific body parts of enemies – and displaying the chance of hitting them in a percentage. This is all many players use it for but there are several kinks to the way VATS operates that can make all the difference in a tight spot.
The obvious ones first: use VATS when your gun’s empty and, for the AP cost of that shot, you’ll get both the shot and a free reload. Critical hits build up over time in VATS and can then be stored until you want to use them – yes these do great damage, but much more importantly they’re guaranteed to hit even if your ‘normal’ shot only has a 1% chance. This is useful but in fights against enemies with specific weak points, such as the fusion core on power armour, save that Crit and zoom into VATS the second their model turns sideways – 1% chance is all you need for the shot that ends the fight.
But it doesn’t end there! One of the most useful functions of VATS is that your aim will be centred on any enemy you shot at after you’ve exited VATS. Think of this as at least one free shot and, thanks to the shonky enemy AI, usually many more – if they’re still alive after using VATS, just spam that trigger.
2. Fraggle Rock!
Messed up that grenade toss? Always throwing it just a second too late as the Raiders scarper? Worry ye not my wasteland friend, for there are two magnificent tricks to frags that will turn your throwing arm into the envy of Shane Warne.
First one is obvious when you think about it: a well-placed bullet will prematurely detonate your grenade. Hit the VATS button as soon as you throw and you’ll find you can target the grenade, though depending on its location your shot chance will be different (this is another great opportunity for using the guarantee of a Crit.) And boom – no more legs for your luckless foes.
The second trick, however, is even sneakier. A glitch in Fallout 4’s way of slowing down game time during VATS means that, if your grenade has landed and you then target and shoot an enemy using VATS, the grenade will explode during the VATS shots. That is, you don’t need to target the grenade at all – if it’s in the right place, just target the enemy in VATS and it will explode near-instantaneously.
3. Getting legless
This one can be a lifesaver for when you’re just out on a relaxing stroll and run into a randomly generated tough-as-nails Legendary enemy. Many of these enemies, after taking roughly half damage, will mutate into a tougher form and regain their lost health. What a joke.
The one thing that doesn’t regenerate, however, is limb damage. When fighting Fallout 4’s normal enemies you don’t really need to target limbs so much so it’s easy to forget about this tactic, but it is absolutely the core part of my strategy against Legendaries. If it’s a Legendary Super Mutant, where we’re worried about their weapon, focus on the arms – if they mutate, you’ve crippled the arm by that point and their accuracy’s dived. If it’s a Legendary Ghoul, blow off the legs, and then the mutated second stage can only look up in abject apology as you line up the combat shotgun.
4. Radical Stags
The greatest enemy in Fallout 4, the bane of every player, the most despicable sentence in the Commonwealth: “You’re carrying too much and can’t run!”
God I hate it. There are several common workarounds: load up your companion, use the Solo Wanderer/Dogmeat glitch and so on. But when you’re stuck in a lovely loot zone and just need that bit extra to get outdoors and fast-travel home, you want Grilled Radstag.
You see Radstags everywhere, usually in groups of two or three. Make a rule of slaughtering these defenceless creatures, and grilling them up at a cooking station – because it adds +25 carry weight. Eat that and you’ll feel the benefit for an hour, but why not wash it down with a bottle of alcohol (+10 carry weight) and have an extra 35 on your weight limit. Because no trinket should be left behind.
5. Sleep well
What do you mean you never sleep? True, you don’t really need to – but occasionally a nice rest is just what’s needed to heal up and see the sun again. One aspect of sleeping that is possible to overlook, however, is where the bed is.
|55th Governor of New Jersey|
January 19, 2010 – January 16, 2018
|Preceded by||Jon Corzine|
|Succeeded by||Phil Murphy|
|Chair of the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission|
March 29, 2017 – November 1, 2017
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey|
January 17, 2002 – December 1, 2008
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Robert J. Cleary|
|Succeeded by||Ralph Marra|
|Member of the Morris CountyBoard of Chosen Freeholders|
January 1, 1995 – December 31, 1997
|Preceded by||Edward Tamm|
|Succeeded by||John J. Murphy|
|Born||Christopher James Christie|
(1962-09-06) September 6, 1962 (age 55)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Mary Pat Foster (m. 1986)|
|Education||University of Delaware, Newark(BA)|
Seton Hall University(JD)
Christopher James Christie (born September 6, 1962) is an American politician, former federal prosecutor, and political commentator who served as the 55th Governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. During his governorship, he chaired the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. Christie became an ABC News contributor in 2018 after leaving office.
Christie was born in Newark and raised in Livingston. He volunteered for Thomas Kean's gubernatorial campaign at age 15. After graduating in 1984 from the University of Delaware, he earned a J.D. at Seton Hall. He practiced law from 1987 to 2002. He was elected county freeholder (legislator) for Morris County, serving from 1995 to 1998. By 2002, he had campaigned for PresidentsGeorge H. W. Bush and George W. Bush; the latter appointed him U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, a position he held from 2002 to 2008.
Christie won the 2009 Republican primary for Governor of New Jersey, defeating the incumbent Jon Corzine in the general election. During his first term, he was credited with cutting spending, capping property tax growth, and was praised for his response to and recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy, and was re-elected by a wide margin in 2013. After the start of his second term as governor, Christie's standing was damaged by the Fort Lee lane closure scandal. Since then, he has ranked among the least popular governors in the United States; for example, a September 2016 poll found that he was the third least popular governor in the country, with an approval rating of 29%. By June 2017, he was found to have an approval rating of 15%, the lowest recorded for any New Jersey governor. As of July 2017, his disapproval rating of 69% was the highest of all governors in the nation.
Christie chaired the Republican Governors Association for the 2014 election cycle. On June 30, 2015, he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election. He suspended his candidacy on February 10, 2016, and soon after endorsed Donald Trump, who named him head of his transition planning team. Christie was strongly considered to be Trump's running mate but was not chosen. Soon after the election, Christie was replaced on the transition team by Mike Pence, as were three of Christie's associates. He chaired the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017 after being appointed by Trump.
Early life and education
Christie was born in Newark, New Jersey, to Sondra A. (née Grasso), a telephone receptionist, and Wilbur James "Bill" Christie, a certified public accountant. His mother was of Italian (Sicilian) ancestry, and father is of German, Scottish, and Irish descent. Christie's family moved to Livingston, New Jersey, after the 1967 Newark riots, and Christie lived there until he graduated from Livingston High School in 1980. At Livingston High School, Christie served as class president and played catcher for the baseball team.
Christie's father and mother were Republican and Democratic, respectively. He has credited, however, his Democratic-leaning mother for indirectly making him a Republican by encouraging him in 1977 to volunteer for the gubernatorial candidate who became his role model: Tom Kean. Christie had become interested in Kean after the politician, then a state legislator, spoke to Christie's junior high school class.
Christie graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1984 and Seton Hall University School of Law with a J.D. in 1987. He was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Bar of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, in December 1987. He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Rutgers University and Monmouth University in 2010.
In 1986, Christie married Mary Pat Foster, a fellow student at the University of Delaware. After marrying, they shared a studio apartment in Summit, New Jersey. Mary Pat Christie pursued a career in investment banking and eventually worked at the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald; she left the firm in 2001 following the September 11 attacks. Through April 2015 she was a managing director at the Wall Street investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co.
Christie and Mary Pat have two sons and two daughters. The family resides in Mendham Township.
Christie's hobbies have included coaching Little League, cheering for the New York Mets, and attending Bruce Springsteen concerts (141 of them). Christie's other favorite sports teams are the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and Dallas Cowboys.
Law practice and local politics
In 1987, Christie joined the law firm of Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci of Cranford, New Jersey. In 1993, he was named a partner in the firm. Christie specialized in securities law, appellate practice, election law, and government affairs. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association and was a member of the Election Law Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. From 1999 to 2001, Christie was registered statehouse lobbyist for Dughi and Hewit.
Morris County Freeholder
Christie volunteered for President George H. W. Bush's 1992 re-election campaign in New Jersey, and became close to Bush's state director, Bill Palatucci. Following the campaign, Christie decided to run for office, and moved to Mendham Township. In 1993, Christie launched a primary challenge against the New Jersey Senate Majority Leader, John H. Dorsey. However, Christie's campaign ended after Dorsey successfully challenged the validity of Christie's petition to appear on the ballot.
In 1994, Christie was elected as a Republican to the Board of Chosen Freeholders, or legislators, for Morris County, New Jersey, after he and a running mate defeated incumbent freeholders in the party primary. Following the election, the defeated incumbents filed a defamation lawsuit against Christie based on statements made during the primary campaign. Christie had incorrectly stated that the incumbents were under "investigation" for violating certain local laws. The lawsuit was settled out of court, with Christie acknowledging that the prosecutor had actually convened an "inquiry" instead of an "investigation", and apologizing for the error, which he said was unintentional.
As freeholder, Christie required the county government to obtain three quotes from qualified firms for all contracts. He led a successful effort to bar county officials from accepting gifts from people and firms doing business with the county. He voted to raise the county's open space tax for land preservation; however, county taxes on the whole were decreased by 6.6% during his tenure. He successfully pushed for the dismissal of an architect hired to design a new jail, saying that the architect was costing taxpayers too much money. The architect then sued Christie for defamation over remarks he made about the dismissal, eventually dropping the suit without explanation.
In 1995, Christie announced a bid for a seat in the New Jersey General Assembly; he and attorney Rick Merkt ran as a ticket against incumbent Assemblyman Anthony Bucco and attorney Michael Patrick Carroll in the Republican primary. Christie ran as a pro-choice candidate and supporter of the ban on assault weapons. Bucco and Carroll, the establishment candidates, defeated the up-and-comers by a wide margin. After this loss, Christie's bid for re-nomination to the freeholder board was unlikely, as unhappy Republicans recruited John J. Murphy to run against Christie in 1997. Murphy defeated Christie in the primary. Murphy, who had falsely accused Christie of having the county pay his legal bills in the architect's lawsuit, was sued by Christie after the election. They settled out of court with the Freeholders admitting wrongdoing and apologizing. Christie's career in Morris County politics was over by 1998.
When Christie's part-time position as a Chosen Freeholder lapsed, he returned full attention to his law firm Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci. Alongside fellow partner and later, gubernatorial campaign fundraiser Bill Palatucci, Christie's firm opened an office in the state capital, Trenton, devoted mainly to lobbying. Between 1999 and 2001, Christie and Palatucci lobbied on behalf of, among others, GPU Energy for deregulation of New Jersey's electric and gas industry; the Securities Industry Association to block the inclusion of securities fraud under the state's Consumer Fraud Act; Hackensack University Medical Center for state grants; and the University of Phoenix for a New Jersey higher education license. During the 2000 presidential election, Christie was George W. Bush's campaign lawyer for the state of New Jersey.
United States Attorney
On December 7, 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Christie the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Some members of the New Jersey Bar professed disappointment at Christie's lack of experience. At the time, he had never practiced in a federal courtroom before, and had little experience in criminal law. Christie received the overwhelming support of the Republican Party in New Jersey. A spokesperson for Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco, who selected nominees for the position, said that he received hundreds of letters of support for Christie "from everyone from the Assembly speaker down to the county level, close to every member of the Legislature and every county chairman." Christie was also a top fundraiser for Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. He helped raise $350,000 for Bush, qualifying him as a "Pioneer", and also donated to DiFrancesco. Democrats seized upon the role played by Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, after Christie's law partner, William Palatucci, a Republican political consultant and Bush supporter, boasted that he had selected a United States attorney by forwarding Christie's résumé to Rove. According to New Jersey's senior Senator, Bob Torricelli, Christie promised to appoint a "professional" with federal courtroom experience as deputy if confirmed. By Senate tradition, if a state's senior Senator opposes the nomination of a U.S. Attorney, the nomination is effectively dead, but Christie's promise was enough for Torricelli to give the nomination his blessing. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 2001, and sworn into office on January 17, 2002.
The brother of Christie's uncle (his aunt's second husband), Tino Fiumara, was an organized crime figure; according to Christie, the FBI presumably knew that when they conducted his background check. Later, Christie recused himself from the case and commented about what he had learned growing up with such a relative: "It just told me that you make bad decisions in life and you wind up paying a price."
Christie served as the Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer in New Jersey from January 17, 2002, to December 1, 2008. His office included 137 attorneys, with offices in Newark, Trenton, and Camden. Christie also served on the 17-member Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys for Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales.
Soon after taking office, Christie let it be known that his office would make public corruption a high priority, second only to terrorism. During his six-year tenure, he received praise for his record of convictions in public corruption cases. His office convicted or won guilty pleas from 130 public officials, both Republican and Democratic, at the state, county and local levels. The most notable of these convictions included those of Democratic Hudson County Executive Robert C. Janiszewski in 2002 on bribery charges, Republican Essex County Executive James W. Treffinger in 2003 on corruption charges, former Democratic New Jersey Senate President John A. Lynch Jr., in 2006 on charges of mail fraud and tax evasion, State Senator and former Newark Democratic mayor Sharpe James in 2008 on fraud charges, and Democratic State Senator Wayne R. Bryant in 2008 on charges of bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
Christie negotiated seven deal deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) during his tenure, some of which were controversial. Under agreements like these, corporations avoid prosecution if they promise not just to obey the law or pay for bad acts, but also promise to change personnel, or revamp business practices, or adopt new types of corporate governance. They are typically used in lieu of prosecution when there is evidence of particularly egregious corporate misconduct. Since 2002, these types of agreements have been sharply on the rise among federal prosecutors, with 23 between 2002 and 2005, and 66 between 2006 and 2008. Outside monitors are appointed in about half of all DPAs, to make sure that the corporations comply. In one case, Christie recommended appointment of The Ashcroft Group, a consulting firm owned by his former boss John Ashcroft, as an outside monitor of Zimmer Holdings—a contract worth as much as $52 million from Zimmer, which was an amount in line with fee structures at that time. In another instance, Christie's office deferred criminal prosecution of pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers in a deal that required the company to dedicate $5 million for a business ethics chair at Seton Hall University School of Law, Christie's alma mater.
Christie defended the appointment of Ashcroft, citing his prominence and legal acumen. and he defended the Seton Hall donation as happenstance given that there was already a business ethics endowed chair at the only other law school in the state. Still, cases like these led to new rules within the Justice Department, and sparked a congressional hearing on the subject.
Besides doubling the size of the anticorruption unit for New Jersey, Christie also prosecuted other federal crimes. For example, he obtained convictions of brothel owners who kept Mexican teenagers in slavery as prostitutes, convicted 42 gang members of the Double II Set of various crimes including more than 25 murders, and convicted British trader Hemant Lakhani of trying to sell missiles. Despite claims of entrapment, Lakhani was convicted by jury in April 2005 of attempting to provide material support to terrorists, unlawful brokering of foreign defense articles, and attempting to import merchandise into the U.S. by means of false statements, plus two counts of money laundering. He was sentenced to 47 years in prison.
In 2007, Christie prosecuted the planners of the averted 2007 Fort Dix attack plot, which he has frequently mentioned as a career highlight.
During the second term of George W. Bush, a controversy arose about the administration's dismissal of several U.S. attorneys, allegedly for political reasons. When it was revealed that Christie had been on a preliminary version of the hit list, New York Senator Charles Schumer said: "I was shocked when I saw Chris Christie's name on the list last night. It just shows a [Justice] department that has run amok."Pat Meehan, the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, said: "Among his peers, Chris stands out as one of the most admired. If you were to create a list of the U.S. attorneys who have had the greatest impact, Chris would be one of the top two or three names I'd put on it. This defies explanation."
Christie's opponents claimed that he had gotten off the Bush administration's hit list by going after Congressman Robert Menendez; for example, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, "Menendez's claims of persecution now seem quite plausible." Christie had issued a subpoena regarding Menendez 65 days before the 2006 Senate election, in which Menendez defeated Republican Thomas Kean Jr. to become New Jersey's junior Senator. Christie's biographers (journalists Michael Symons and Bob Ingle) concluded that, "The timing of the Menendez-related subpoena doesn't line up right to support the critics' theory." Christie's aides have said that the subpoena was prompted by a newspaper report about Menendez, which prosecutors feared might imminently lead to destruction of documents and other evidence. The investigation of Menendez continued for years after Christie left office as U.S. Attorney, until Menendez was finally cleared on October 5, 2011.
Governor of New Jersey (2010–2018)
Main article: Governorship of Chris Christie
Campaign for office
See also: New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2009 and New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2013
Christie filed as a candidate for the office of governor on January 8, 2009. Former GovernorThomas Kean helped Christie campaign and raise money. In the primary on June 2, Christie won the Republican nomination with 55% of the vote, defeating opponents Steve Lonegan and Rick Merkt. He then chose Kimberly Guadagno, Monmouth Countysheriff, to complete his campaign ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor. On November 3, Christie defeated Jon Corzine by a margin of 49% to 45%, with 6% of the vote going to independent candidate Chris Daggett.
Christie took office as Governor of New Jersey on January 19, 2010. He chose not to move his family into Drumthwacket, the governor's official mansion, and instead resides in a private Mendham Township, New Jersey, residence.
Positions on issues and actions as governor
Christie has promised not to raise taxes. He has also vowed to lower the state income and business taxes, with the qualification that this might not occur immediately: "I'm not saying I'm cutting taxes in the first year. The first thing we have to do is get our fiscal house in order, and that's going to be tough."
During his term as governor, Christie delivered balanced budgets annually for the state as required by the New Jersey Constitution. He claims to have done so without increasing taxes, though this has been debated as he has made reductions to tax credits such as the earned income tax credit and property tax relief programs. Under Christie, there have so far been no rate increases in the state's top three revenue generators: income tax, sales tax, and corporate business tax.
Christie originally proposed a 10 percent income tax cut for all residents of the State, but he later targeted his proposal for people earning less than $400,000 per year, and it would be in the form of an income tax credit equal to 10 percent of their property taxes, capped at $10,000 (phased in over four years). The Democratic-controlled state legislature has refused to implement it to date, taking the view that there would never be enough money to fund a tax cut.
On February 11, 2010, Christie signed Executive Order No. 14, which declared that a "state of fiscal emergency exists in the State of New Jersey" due to the projected $2.2 billion budget deficit for the current fiscal year (FY 2010). In a speech before a special joint session of the New Jersey Legislature on the same day, Christie addressed the budget deficit and proposed various fiscal measures to close the gap. Christie also suspended funding for the Department of the Public Advocate and called for its elimination. Some Democrats criticized Christie for not first consulting them on his budget cuts and for circumventing the Legislature's role in the budget process. In late June 2011, Christie utilized New Jersey's line item veto to eliminate nearly $1 billion from the proposed budget, signing it into law just hours prior to the July 1, 2011, beginning of the state's fiscal year.
In 2010, Christie signed legislation to limit annual property tax growth to 2 percent.
During his second year in office, Christie signed into law a payroll tax cut reducing funding of the Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) fund by $190 million per year. Effective calendar year 2012, the tax cut authorizes the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to reduce payroll deduction for most employees from $148 to $61 per year. According to Labor Commissioner Harold J. Wirths, New Jersey workers had been paying much more into the disability fund than what is needed to keep it solvent. The changes took effect on January 1, 2012.
Under Christie's governorship, New Jersey's credit rating has been downgraded nine times (across Standard & Poor, Fitch Ratings, and Moody's Investors Service), leaving only Illinois with a lower rating among US states.
As Governor of New Jersey, Christie has received grades of B in 2012 and B in 2014 from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, in their biennial Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's governors.
Tax credits and incentives
On September 18, 2013, Christie signed legislation to overhaul the state's business tax incentive programs. The legislation reduces the number of tax incentive programs from five to two, raises the caps on tax credits, and allows smaller companies to qualify. It increases the credits available for businesses in South Jersey.
Public employee pensions
In March 2010, Christie signed into law three state pension reform bills, which had passed with bipartisan support. The laws decreased pension benefits for future hires and required public employees to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries toward their health care. The laws prompted a lawsuit by the police and firefighters' unions. In his campaign for governor, Christie opposed any change in pension benefits for firefighters and law enforcement officers, including "current officers, future officers or retirees". He described the pension agreement as "a sacred trust".
Later that year, he called for further cuts, including the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments for all current and future retirees. In June 2011, Christie announced a deal with the Democratic leadership of the legislature on a reform of public employee pensions and benefits. The deal raised public employees' pension contributions, mandated the state to make annual payments into the system, increased public employee contributions toward health insurance premiums, and ended collective bargaining for health benefits. The reform is projected to save the state $120 billion over 30 years.
In June 2013, Christie signed a $33 billion state budget that makes a record $1.7 billion payment to the state's pension fund and also increases school funding by almost $100 million. The budget resulted from negotiations between Christie and Democratic leaders in the state legislature and was the first that Christie has signed as passed, without vetoing any of its provisions.
In May 2014, Christie cut the contributions to New Jersey public workers' pension funds for a 14-month period by nearly $2.5 billion to deal with a revenue shortfall in the state budget of $2.75 billion. The state will instead make a $1.3 billion payment during the period. Christie cited the state constitution's requirement to have a balanced budget for his decision to cut payments to pensions for state workers, and follows Christie's changes to the state’s pension formula earlier in 2014 to save $900 million through the end of his term.
Perhaps the most controversial school policy kept alive during Christie's reign as governor of New Jersey was state control of school districts. These school districts contained relatively high numbers of underachieving students, people of color, people who are poor, and people who belonged to the Democratic political party, which was in opposition to Christie. In Newark, Christie hired the infamous Chris Cerf to replace the equally-infamous Cami Anderson to be the state-appointed authority over the school district Under Christie, Cerf took the politically unpopular move to overrule the democratically elected school board in Newark. Recent research concluded that the reforms pressed by Christie, Anderson, and Cerf were ineffective at improving outcomes in Newark. The reforms in Newark, of which Christie has claimed success, have also been criticized by the New Yorker Magazine and a popular book titled The Prize.
Another political scandal implicating Christie has been the under-funding of school districts. Reports found that Christie's state government did not follow the School Funding Reform Act and illegally withheld funds from districts throughout New Jersey. A 2017 school funding proposal by Christie was described by education researchers as "one of the least equitable in the country" During Christie's governorship, State Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf came to the defense of the policies that the NJ Supreme Court declared unconstitutional, which contradicted basic education research.
Christie, whose own children attend Catholic parochial school, is a strong supporter of the state granting tax credits to parents who send their children to private and parochial schools. He also supports the introduction of state-funded vouchers, which parents of students in failing school districts could use to pay the tuition of private schools, or of public schools in communities other than their own which agree to accept them. Christie supports merit pay for teachers.
On August 25, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $400 million in federal Race to the Top education grants to New Jersey would not be funded due to a clerical error in the state's application made by an unidentified mid-level state official. Christie responded by saying that the Obama administration bureaucracy had overstepped its authority and that the error lay in an administration failure to communicate with the New Jersey government. However, information later came to light that the issue had already been raised with Christie's Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, and in response Christie had asked for Schundler's resignation; Schundler initially agreed to resign, but the following morning asked to be fired instead, citing his need to claim unemployment benefits. Schundler maintained that he told Christie the truth and that Christie was misstating what actually occurred.
In January 2011, the Christie administration approved 23 new charter schools, including the state's first independent school for children with autism. The approvals increased the number of charter schools in the state to 96.
On August 6, 2012, Christie signed a law reforming the tenure system for New Jersey public school teachers. Under the new law, teachers will be required to work four years, instead of three, in order to earn tenure. Additionally, teachers will need to earn positive ratings two years in a row before tenure can be awarded. Tenured teachers with poor ratings for two consecutive years will be eligible for dismissal. Finally the law limits the hearing process for appeals related to dismissal of tenured teachers to 105 days.
On March 6, 2013, the Christie administration released proposed regulations to overhaul the process of evaluating public school teachers in New Jersey. Under the proposal, a percentage of teachers' evaluations would be based on student growth on state tests or based on student achievement goals set with principals.
In September 2014, Christie signed a partnership with Mexico on a higher education project to foster economic cooperation. The program will focus on research ventures, cross-border fellowships, student and teacher exchanges and conferences—among other educational opportunities.
Energy and environment
Christie has stated that he believes that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is too big and is "killing business" with permit delays and indiscriminate fines. He announced that, if elected, the agency would be his first target for government reduction: he would reduce its workforce and strip it of its fish and wildlife oversight.
Christie has stated that he intends to simultaneously spur growth in the state's manufacturing sector and increase New Jersey's capability to produce alternative energy. He has proposed a list of policy measures to achieve this, including giving tax credits to businesses that build new wind energy and manufacturing facilities, changing land use rules to allow solar energy on permanently preserved farmland, installing solar farms on closed landfills, setting up a consolidated energy promotion program, and following a five-to-one production to non-production job ratio in the creation of new energy jobs. In August 2010, legislation to encourage the development of wind power in New Jersey was signed by Christie at the Port of Paulsboro. The Offshore Wind Economic Development Act authorized New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide up to $100 million in tax credits for wind energy facilities. The governor has pledged to ban coal-fired power plants, and to reach 22.5% renewable generation in the state by 2021.
On May 26, 2011, Christie announced he would pull the state out of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This was challenged in court which ruled in March 2014 that Christie had acted illegally in doing so since state regulations do not permit it. His administration is seeking to repeal the rules.
Christie has rejected permanent bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New Jersey and vetoed measures that would ban the process and disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste in the State. New Jersey has few proven shale reserves and the process is not practiced there. Christie argued that the vetoed Senate Bill (S253) was premature because of an ongoing study to be completed in 2014 and would discriminate against other states, a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Supporters of legislation have said that hydraulic fracturing waste from Pennsylvania makes its way into New Jersey for treatment, although how much is not clear. They also criticized Christie's legal analysis saying that the Office of Legislative Services has said that the bill is constitutional.
Exxon Mobil environmental contamination lawsuit
Main article: Exxon Mobil-New Jersey Environmental Contamination Settlement
Christie's settled a lawsuit with Exxon Mobil by allowing the corporation to pay $225 million in damages for environmental contamination at two sites, less than 3% of the $8.9 billion that the state's lawyers had sought, and extended the compensation to cover other damages not named in the original lawsuit. The settlement was slammed by environmental advocates. David Pringle, state campaign director of Clean Water Action, called it "the biggest corporate subsidy in state history," vowing to overturn it. Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club called this move "a violation of the public trust." The New Jersey State Senate also condemned the deal, with state Senator Raymond Lesniak and others suggesting the decision was Christie's effort to plug his own budget shortfalls at the expense of taxpayers over the long term. ExxonMobil had donated $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association while Christie was Chairman, though they have insisted it was unrelated to the ongoing suit. The previous gubernatorial administration, that of Democrat Jon Corzine, had also attempted to settle with Exxon, for $550 million, though this offer was made before a 2009 ruling that strengthened the state's bargaining position.
Supreme Court nominations
By tradition since the 1947 state constitution, the seven member New Jersey Supreme Court maintains a political balance and is composed of four members of either the Democratic Party or Republican Party and three of the other. Christie broke with the tradition in May 2010 when he chose not to renominate Justice John E. Wallace Jr. Christie had said the court "had inappropriately encroached on both the executive and legislative function, and that if elected governor, I would take steps through the decisions I made regarding the court to bring back an appropriate constitutional balance to the court." Since taking office, Christie has been in a major conflict with the New Jersey Legislature over the court's partisan balance. The stand-off between the governor and the New Jersey Senate has resulted in longstanding vacancies, with temporarily assigned appellate judges filling in.
Minimum wage and equal pay for women
In January 2013, Christie vetoed a New Jersey Legislature bill that would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour. The following November, the issue was placed on the ballot as a constitutional amendment referendum, passing with 61% of the vote.
On September 21, 2012, Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 2647 (A-2647) into law that requires employers to post and distribute notice of employees' rights to gender-equal pay, but conditionally vetoed other gender parity bills, requesting revision.
Farm animal welfare
In June 2013, Christie vetoed S1921, an animal welfare bill introduced by the Humane Society of the United States to prohibit the use of gestation crates on pregnant pigs in the state. The bill had passed in the General Assembly with a vote of 60–5 and the Senate 29–4. A 2013 survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. showed 91% of New Jersey voters supported the legislation. An attempt to override the veto did not come to a vote. In October 2014, a similar bill banning gestation crates, S998, was proposed with a vote in the Senate of 32–1 and in the Assembly of 53–13 (with 9 abstentions) While campaigning in Iowa in November, in a conversation with the former president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Christie indicated he would veto the bill. He did so on November 27, 2014. The bill's sponsor, Senator Raymond Lesniak, has vowed to override it.
Immigrants and immigration laws
Christie emphasizes the need to secure the border, and believes it is premature to discuss legalization of people who came to the United States unlawfully. While serving as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Christie stressed that simply "[b]eing in this country without proper documentation is not a crime," but rather a civil wrong; and that undocumented people are not criminals unless they have re-entered the country after being deported. As such, Christie stated, responsibility for dealing with improperly documented foreign nationals lies with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Christie has been critical about section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, enacted in 1996, which can be used to grant local law enforcement officers power to perform immigration law enforcement functions.
In December 2013, Christie signed legislation allowing unauthorized immigrants who attend high school for at least three years in New Jersey and graduate to be eligible for the resident rates at state college and universities and community colleges.
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage
Christie indicated in 2009 that he would veto any bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, saying, "I also believe marriage should be exclusively between one man and one woman.... If a bill legalizing same sex marriage came to my desk as Governor, I would veto it." On February 13, 2012, the State Senate passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 24 to 16, and on February 16, the Assembly passed it by a vote of 42 to 33, with three Republicans and one Democrat not voting, and one seat temporarily vacant. In neither house was the bill passed by a veto-proof majority. Governor Christie vetoed the bill the next day and called for a constitutional amendment for same-sex marriage to be presented to the voters as a ballot referendum. He also called for creation of an ombudsman (public advocate) to ensure compliance with the state's existing civil union law.
Christie's veto was overturned in a court decision in the Garden State Equality v. Dow case, in which the judge stated New Jersey was "... violating the mandate of Lewis and the New Jersey Constitution's equal protection guarantee". Following the decision, the Christie administration immediately asked the state Supreme Court to grant a stay of the decision pending appeal, which was denied on October 18, 2013, in a 7–0 decision of the court which stated that it could "find no public interest in depriving a group of New Jersey residents of their constitutional right to equal protection while the appeals process unfolds". Three days later Christie withdrew the state's appeal.