** Preview ** Senate To Vote On FY 2010 Appropriations Bill, Open Space Funding, Economic Stimulus Act

Nomination of Supreme Court Justice Albin to be Considered

TRENTON – The full Senate will meet on Thursday, June 25, at 2 pm to consider a diverse package of bills, most notably the revised $29 billion FY 2010 Appropriations Act, which is constitutionally required to be signed into law by July 1, 2009. A number of companion bills will also be voted on in order to administer the changes necessary to balance the budget.

The Senate will also consider a wide-ranging list of bills designed to stimulate New Jersey’s economy, protect and preserve open space, improve mental health services, promote shared services and improve public safety. Additionally, the Senate will exercise its advise and consent duties by considering the re-nomination of Associate Justice Barry Albin to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Among the bills up for consideration is S2299, sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak and known as the “New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009,” which would make various changes to New Jersey’s business growth and retention policies in order to stimulate the economy.

The Senate will also consider bill S1858, sponsored by Senators Bob Smith, Stephen Sweeney and Robert Gordon, which would authorize bonds in the amount of $400 million to protect and preserve open space and historic sites and prevent flooding through New Jersey’s Green Acres, Farmland Preservation, Blue Acres and Historic Preservation programs. If approved by the legislature, the bond act would be placed on the ballot for voter approval this November.

The Senate will also consider two bills sponsored by Senate President Richard Codey that are designed to improve mental health services in New Jersey and create an added level of oversight. Senate Bill S735 would create an involuntary outpatient commitment program to help provide much-needed mental health treatment in the least restrictive environment possible. Bill S2494 would require the State Department of Human Services to report physical assaults and deaths at state psychiatric hospitals, a direct response to incidents that have occurred at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital.

Also on the agenda is a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney, S2356, which would create a pilot program in Gloucester County to merge municipal property tax assessors into a countywide office in an effort to reduce costs by promoting shared services.

The Senate will once again consider bill S1774/A339, sponsored by Senator Sandra Cunningham and Senator Teresa Ruiz, which would prohibit individuals from purchasing more than one handgun in a calendar month in an effort to stem the flow of illegal handguns on New Jersey streets.

Final legislative approval will also be considered on bill S454, sponsored by Senator Barbara Buono, which would expand consumer protections under New Jersey’s motor vehicle “Lemon Law.”

The Senate will also consider bill S2826, sponsored by Senator John Girgenti, which would establish a task force in the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs to identify and review problems facing members of the armed forces who are returning to New Jersey from overseas deployments in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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