SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 163

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MAY 7, 2015

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators P.Barnes, III, Codey, Lesniak, Scutari and Vitale

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Amends Constitution to dedicate all State moneys received from settlements and awards in cases of environmental contamination for certain environmental purposes.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


A Concurrent Resolution proposing to amend Article VIII, Section II of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey by adding a new paragraph thereto.

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):

 

     1.  The following proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of New Jersey is agreed to:

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT

 

     Amend Article VIII, Section II by adding a new paragraph 9 to read as follows:

     9.  There shall be credited annually to a special account in the General Fund an amount equivalent to the revenue annually derived from all settlements and judicial and administrative awards collected by the State in connection with claims based on environmental contamination.

     The amount annually credited pursuant to this paragraph shall be dedicated, and shall be appropriated from time to time by the Legislature, only for paying for costs incurred by the State to repair damage to, restore, or permanently protect the State's natural resources, for the payment of the principal or interest on any general obligation bond approved by the voters prior to July 1, 2015 and authorized to be issued for environmental purposes, as defined by law, or any refunding bond connected therewith, or for any of the purposes enumerated in Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 6 of the State Constitution, except that no moneys appropriated pursuant to this paragraph may be expended for any direct or indirect administrative costs of the State or its departments, agencies, or authorities.

 

     2.  When this proposed amendment to the Constitution is finally agreed to pursuant to Article IX, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, it shall be submitted to the people at the next general election occurring more than three months after the final agreement and shall be published at least once in at least one newspaper of each county designated by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly and the Secretary of State, not less than three months prior to the general election.

 

     3.    This proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted to the people at that election in the following manner and form:

     There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at the general election, the following:

     a.  In every municipality in which voting machines are not used, a legend which shall immediately precede the question as follows:

     If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+), or check (a) in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check (a) in the square opposite the word "No."

     b.  In every municipality the following question:

 

 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT DEDICATING MONEYS FROM STATE ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION CASES

 

 

YES

Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate all money collected by the State in cases of contamination of the environment?  The money would have to be used only for environmental purposes.  The money may also be used to repay bonds that have already been issued to fund environmental programs.

 

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

This amendment would dedicate all moneys collected by the State through settlements or awards for legal claims based on environmental contamination.  These moneys would be dedicated solely for environmental purposes.  These purposes could include preserving, repairing, or restoring natural resources.  They may also include cleaning contaminated sites and underground storage tank sites, or funding water quality programs.  Currently, these moneys may be used for any State purpose.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This constitutional amendment would dedicate all moneys from settlements and awards collected by the State in connection with legal claims based on environmental contamination.  The amount dedicated may be used only to repair damage to, restore, or permanently protect the State's natural resources, repay general obligation bonds approved by the voters prior to July 1, 2015 and authorized to be issued for environmental purposes, and for any of the purposes enumerated in Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 6 of the State Constitution.  Those constitutionally enumerated purposes include providing funding for open space, farmland, and historic preservation, water quality projects, the remediation of discharges of hazardous substances, and the upgrade, replacement, or closure of underground storage tanks.  However, none of the moneys dedicated and appropriated pursuant to this constitutional amendment may be expended for any direct or indirect administrative costs of the State or its departments, agencies, or authorities.