New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a $34.7 billion budget and reopened the beaches and parks just in time for July 4th, after he was spotted lounging on a state beach that was closed amid a three-day government shutdown. Colette Luke reports.
(SOUNDBITE) NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE SAYING: "The DEP has been ordered by me to have all state parks to be opened.." New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reopening his state's beaches and parks just in time for July 4th - signing a budget bill Tuesday to end a government shutdown. The three-day partial shutdown became a major embarrassment for the governor after he was spotted relaxing at Island Beach State Park, which was closed to everyone else over the July 4th weekend… (SOUNDBITE) NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE SAYING: "I don't apologize for it... One the great bits of investigative journalism of all time, they investigated and found out that a politician was where he said he's going to be with who he said he was going to be with. Now, if they had flown that plane over that beach and I was sitting next to a 25-year-old blonde in that beach chair next to me, that's a story. I wasn't sitting next to a 25-year-old blonde, I was sitting next to my wife of 31 years." The $34.7 billion dollar budget deal includes the reshaping the state's largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield... Horizon was at the center of last week's political deadlock after Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto refused to pass a budget that would take money from Horizon to fund drug addiction services.. a policy backed by Christie… After long talks that dragged on up until late Monday night, Prieto was happy with the agreement: (SOUNDBITE) NEW JERSEY ASSEMBLY SPEAKER VINCENT PRIETO SAYING: "It's a great day for the state of New Jersey I wish we'd have done this on Friday." Christie on Monday night said he took 'special action' to allow July 4th to be a paid holiday for those who were off… And he said he also wished lawmakers came to a compromise last week... "If they had, we wouldn't have to closed government on the first, second and third, but that's what the constitution requires.."