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PREVIEW – Senate Committees To Consider Renewable Energy, Sports Betting Bills Monday

On Monday, May 19, Senate committees are scheduled to meet to consider a variety of measures to support renewable energy, and discuss legislation to allow sports betting in New Jersey.

At 1:00 PM in Committee Room 1 in the Statehouse Annex, the Senate Economic Growth Committee will hear a pair of bills, sponsored by Senator Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, to allow wind turbine and solar energy facilities to be located in industrial zones or on preserved farms. According to the bill sponsor, the measures, S-1299 and S-1538, are intended to ensure that the entire State has access to renewable energy generation, and not just areas along the shore which have taken advantage of off-shore turbines.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will review measures designed to provide property tax exemptions for renewable energy and water conservation projects. S-241, sponsored by Senator John H. Adler, D-Cherry Hill, would exempt renewable energy systems from property tax calculations, as well as exempt the installation of these systems from municipal construction permit fees. S-710, sponsored by Senators Smith and Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, would allow for a property tax exemption for the portion of property value attributable to energy cost savings measures to conserve water or energy. The Budget Committee is scheduled to meet at 10:00 AM in Committee Room 4 in the Statehouse Annex.

The Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee will hear bills, for discussion only, which would ask for voter approval to allow for sports betting in New Jersey. S-143, sponsored by Senators Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, and Jeff Van Drew, D-Cumberland and Cape May, would permit in-person sports betting at casinos. Senator Van Drew has also sponsored S-1488, which would allow for in-person sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The Committee will also review SR-12, a resolution sponsored by Senator Lesniak, which would urge the United States Congress to lift the ban on sports wagering. The Senate Wagering and Tourism Committee meeting is scheduled for 10:00 AM in Committee Room 7 of the Statehouse Annex.

And finally, the Budget Committee will also consider legislation, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chair Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, to shore up the State’s unemployment insurance fund with $260 million in additional funding. Senator Buono noted that the stop-gap funding is necessary to avoid a major shortfall in the UI Trust fund beginning in the next fiscal year. The $260 million in additional funding is expected to come from an unexpected increase in revenues due to April tax collections performing better than original projections, according to the lawmaker.


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