Last night, the Governor signed S2456, which provides the authorization necessary to begin funding Open Space, Farmland, and Historic Preservation projects consistent with the 2014 constitutional amendment. Without this language, money has been accruing in Trenton while many preservation projects throughout the State have faced funding challenges as money from the previous funding source has dried up.
“This has been a long road and filled with challenges, but the leadership of our open space champions in the Legislature and the hard work of many passionate advocates has finally paid off,” said Kelly Mooij, coordinator of Keep it Green. “Open space preservation has always been a bi-partisan issue supported by the vast majority of New Jerseyans. With this agreement, countless open space, farmland, and historic preservation projects will be able to be completed. Above all else, this is a win for the citizens of the State, making New Jersey a better place to work, live and raise a family.” she continued.
“We are thrilled this implementation bill is now the law and money will finally begin going to vital preservation programs as voters intended,” said Ed Potosnak, chair of Keep it Green. “The Legislature prioritized this issue during this session, and we want to thank them for their hard work. At the end of the day, the most important thing is, because of this bill, the money voters dedicated to open space, farmland, and historic preservation will be spent on these programs and is not able to be raided to fills holes in the budget. This is a win for all people in our State.”
On Monday, both houses of the Legislature passed this bill with nearly no opposition after a last minute agreement was reached between the legislature and the Governor. S969, an open space bill that the Governor had twice vetoed, had been put up for an override vote for Monday’s session, Governor Christie met with the bill’s sponsors to come up with the agreement that became law with his signature late last night. This bill makes only minor changes to S969’s language and will ensure that funds for these chances that money for important programs will not be held up at the administrative level.