New Jersey adopted one of the country’s most stringent sets of environmental regulations, starting with the Coastal Area Facility Review Act of 1972. The law required state approval of housing, business, energy, and waste-disposal structures along coastal areas and beaches. The state spearheaded efforts at reclaiming wetlands, particularly the Pine Barrens in South Jersey, and in protecting seashores from polluters. Environmental efforts were supported by Republican Governor Thomas H. Kean (1982-1990) and his Democratic successor, James J. Florio (1990-1994), who as a congressman had sponsored federal “Superfund” legislation to clean up hazardous waste sites.
By the mid-1980s New Jersey had begun to run out of sites for the disposal of household garbage and other solid waste. Legislation enacted in 1987 required each county to limit or recycle most of its solid waste. To deal with nonrecyclable waste, the state began construction in 1988 of a waste-fueled electric power plant in Warren County.
In the 1980s, Kean launched an advertising campaign to promote the state to tourists and business. By the early 1990s, the state’s population growth had leveled off, and service industries dominated the economy. Florio, elected in 1989, served one controversial term. In response to the recession of the early 1990s, he implemented a sweeping tax- and education-reform package that aroused great anger and hurt the popularity of the Democratic Party throughout the state.
In the 1993 election Florio lost to Republican Christine Todd Whitman, who promised significant tax cuts. Whitman reduced personal income taxes during her first term but alienated conservative Republicans by opposing a state law banning without exception late-term abortions. She was reelected in 1997 by a very narrow margin.
In 2001 Whitman resigned as governor after she was appointed to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by President George W. Bush. Donald DiFrancesco, the president of the New Jersey Senate, became acting governor.
In the 2001 election Democrat Jim McGreevey was elected governor. McGreevey announced his resignation in 2004, more than a year before his term was to expire, after revealing that he had a homosexual affair while he was married. In the 2005 gubernatorial election, one of New Jersey’s U.S. senators, Democrat Jon Corzine, was elected governor. Corzine named Congressman Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey’s Hudson County, to fill his Senate seat until his term expired. In the November 2006 midterm elections Menendez was elected to a six-year term. In December 2006 Corzine signed legislation making New Jersey the third state in the country to permit same-sex civil unions. In December 2007 Corzine signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in New Jersey. Corzine also commuted the sentences of death row prisoners to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. New Jersey became the first state since 1965 to abolish the death penalty. "New Jersey" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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