A new bill aiming to cap spending money for speakers at public universities in New Jersey is inspired by reality TV superstar Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki. The cap is set for the amount of $10,000.
Republican Assemblyman John DiMaio was inspired to write the bill after learning of the former Jersey Shore star's $32,000 fee she received for her appearance at Rutgers University in 2011.
Snooki was reportedly paid $2,000 more than Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison who gave the commencement address that same year.
DiMaio deems it "ludicrous and wasteful" to disburse state funds as payment for of speakers like Snooki, and since 2011, he has sponsored this measure each session. During her appearance at Rutgers, Polizzi advised students to "Study hard, but party harder."
E.J. Miranda, a spokesman for Rutgers, defended the decision in 2011 to NJ.com, saying Polizzi was invited by students. "The students use funds designated for student programming," Miranda said. "The university does not censor the speakers (that) students choose to invite to campus."
The Assembly is slated to vote on the bill on Thursday and will head to Gov. Chris Christie's desk if approved.
When asked about the bill Thursday, Gov. Christie said he wouldn't "waste" his time on it, but would "consider it when it comes to my desk."
"This is what happens when you have a part-time Legislature that is looking for things to do," he said. "I've got much bigger issues to be concerned about in a state with a $35 billion budget, with all the different challenges and opportunities we have, than to be worried about micromanaging what universities in the state decide to pay their commencement speakers."
Snooki's reps have yet to make a comment about the situation.
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