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New Jersey Open Space Preservation Funding Amendment, SCR 138 (2014)

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The New Jersey Open Space Preservation Funding Amendment, also known as Senate Concurrent Resolution 138, will not appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot in New Jersey as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.

The measure would have provided long-term funding to fund open-space preservation. Specifically, the measure would have dedicated $200 million a year in sales tax collections to open space preservation for the next 30 years.[1]

Background

The measure moved forward in the legislature because the $400 million in bonds that voters approved in 2009 have been spent. However, State Senator Bob Smith stated that he would hear input from the public before deciding how to move forward on this proposal, and other alternative proposals.[2]

In 2009, residents approved a measure that appeared on the November 3, 2009 ballot in New Jersey as a legislatively-referred state statute. Voters decided if the state should borrow $400 million to preserve open space, farmland, and historic areas. Originally the bill requested $600 million but was reduced by a third in light of the state's economic downturn.[3]

With the measure's approval, New Jersey voters approved 12 consecutive bond issues in order to preserve open space, starting in 1961.

The measure was approved with 52 percent of the vote.

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the New Jersey Constitution

In New Jersey, proposed constitutional amendments have two ways of achieving ballot access. The New Jersey Legislature can either qualify it with supermajority (60%) approval in one legislative session, or with simple majorities in two successive sessions.

The measure was passed by the Senate on July 29, 2013, with a vote of 22 to 8, a merely simple majority of the 40-member body. This means that in order to qualify for the ballot, the amendment will need to be approved by the Assembly this year and then again by both chambers in 2014.[4] However, the measure was not passed by the Assembly in 2013. Therefore, the measure will not appear on the ballot in 2014.

See also

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