Senate Committed to Open Space Preservation: Will Vote to Override Governor

The State Senate Board list was just released and includes a vote to override the Governor’s veto of S969, “The Preserve New Jersey Act.” The Preserve New Jersey Act ensures that the constitutionally dedicated money for Open Space, Farmland, and Historic Preservation is being properly spent on these projects as voters intended.

Although the Legislature has twice passed the bill with strong bi-partisan support, Governor Christie, in unprecedented fashion, first pocket vetoed, then conditionally vetoed the legislation. His conditional veto removed all of the most important aspects of the bill, including all oversight and the consistent, reliable funding for State, County, Municipal, and Non-Profit preservation organizations. Governor Christie attempted to rewrite the law through his conditional veto to allow almost unlimited spending of funds constitutionally dedicated for open space preservation on routine operations and maintenance. This portion of the conditional veto was especially offensive, given that this money was dedicated to open space preservation by almost two-thirds of voters in 2014.

“We applaud Senate leadership and our environmental champions who have continued to fight to make sure the will of New Jersey’s voters is enacted,” said Ed Potosnak, Chair of Keep it Green. He continued, “The Governor has prevented this funding from going to vital preservation projects for long enough. The Senate is taking bold and decisive action in posting this bill and we thank them for standing up to the Governor on this issue that is so important to the health and prosperity of our State. New Jersey voters are depending on the Legislature to protect our farmland, forests, parks, and historic sites by overriding the Governor’s unacceptable conditional veto.”

“No Governor in the over 50 year history of the program has ever vetoed legislation carrying out the will of the voters to preserve open space. We strongly support the Senate’s decision to challenge this conditional veto,” said Kelly Mooij, Coordinator of Keep it Green. “This money is desperately needed to ensure vital preservation projects can continue. The Senate understands this urgency, and we thank them for their bold action and continued support,” she finished.

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