Senate closes board; SCR160 fails this year

TRENTON – The Senate closed the board on SCR160 shortly before 7 with the vote at 22-8.  The upper chamber was unable to acquire the 24 votes needed to get this open space measure on November’s ballot.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said the blame was with Republicans who voted yes in June on an earlier version of the bill and voted no on Monday.

In addition, according to Senate leaders, the Assembly apparently informed them the lower chamber was not prepared to vote on the bill this week.  In order for it to get on the ballot this fall both chambers would have had to have passed it by a three-fifths vote.

However, sponsor Sen. Bob Smith expressed pleasure earlier after the 21st vote was cast in favor of the resolution because it set the stage for possibly getting the measure on the ballot next year.  The Legislature could pass the measure by a simple majority next year and it could get onto the ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment would dedicate $200 million a year starting in fiscal year 2015 toward acquisition of flood-prone properties, historic and open space preservation.

Of 10 Republicans who attended today’s Senate vote, eight voted no and two abstained.  Previously, seven of the eight had voted yes.

There were two Democratic senators who reportedly were approached about returning late tonight or early Tuesday but the Assembly was not prepared to take up the resolution, according to a source.

Senate closes board; SCR160 fails this year