TRENTON – The Assembly speaker fired back at the Senate president tonight after he blamed the lower chamber in part for the decision to end voting on a proposed open space referendum.
Speaker Sheila Oliver reiterated the significant concern in the Assembly about the initial open space bill, which would have cost $17 billion amid so many vital unmet fiscal needs.
“The Senate has known full well for the past month that the Assembly was more than willing to move a reasonable constitutional amendment, but the Assembly could not act first because the bill originated in the Senate,” Oliver said in a release.
“Any implication that the Assembly is to blame for the Senate’s failure to get 24 votes today is ludicrous.
“The Senate president and Senate sponsor reference discussions with Assembly leadership, but at no time did either have a discussion with me. In fact, I planned to call a Thursday voting session on the bill had it passed the Senate today.
“The Senate president and Senate sponsor need to remember the true reason why the bill did not get 24 votes today – the lack of support from Senate Republicans and Gov. Christie.”
Keep It Green expresses disappointment
The coalition Keep it Green weighed in tonight as well, expressing disappointment the measure failed to garner 24 votes today.
“The Senate has now acted on this twice, and it is the Assembly’s turn to show some leadership on this important issue,” said Tom Glibert, NJ Keep It Green chairman. “The Assembly should consider this legislation this summer so that there is a chance for the members to demonstrate their support for these critical preservation programs and allow for the opportunity to pass the bill by simple majority in two successive years.
“We thank Senate President Sweeney and Senators Smith and Bateman for their continued leadership and are deeply appreciative of those who voted in favor of the bill,” Gilbert said in a release. “We are extremely disappointed in the many Republican Senators – with the exception of Senators Bateman and Allen who deserve great credit for their leadership – who supported the bill originally and flipped their votes today. This has never been a partisan issue, and it should not become one now.”