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Lake Hopatcong Bill Worth $4M – May miss Approval in Lame-Duck Session

Picture: Hopatcong Lake Regional News

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In the summer of 2019 while Lake Hopatcong was under attack from the Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs), Assembly Women BettyLou DeCroce rushed to support our area through her attendance of the local meetings, and creation of bill A-5763 that sought to bring the monies necessary to fight the HABs.

At the time, Assembly member BettyLou DeCroce stated, “The state’s annual funding for maintenance of Lake Hopatcong that has been stagnant at $500,000 for the past several years, will be increased to $4 million annually.

“The state has annually shirked its responsibility to maintain state-owned lakes for decades. Now we have a health risk posed by unprecedented algal blooms and swimming advisories that are destroying the local economies around both lakes. It’s time for the state to step up,” said Assemblywoman DeCroce.

Bill A-5763 May Miss NJ Lame-Duck Session:

It was the hope of many in the area, that this bill would pass during the lame-duck sessions that run until early January to ensure funding for Lake Hopatcong, rather than waiting for other monies promised by the Governor that are awaiting further investigation and allocation of funds.

The failure to pass this bill that would guarantee Lake Hopatcong $4M in funding to meet the short, mid and long term challenges, means that we’ll need to get in-line with other areas competing for the Governors $13 million state-wide funding.

What is a Lame-Duck Session?

The term “lame duck session” often gets thrown around. The official definition of a lame duck session in Congress is when Congress reconvenes in an even-numbered year following the November general elections to consider various items of business. Some of the law makers in this session will not be returning to the next Congress, so they are considered lame ducks participating in a lame duck session. When it comes to Congress, the lame duck session can be significant because they use this time to consider important votes that they may not have had time for before.

Most recently, New Jersey has been planning on making moves toward marijuana legalization during the lame duck period that stretches from early November to early January. Right now, New Jersey lawmakers are faced with two options: vote on a proposed law to make recreational marijuana legal or place a referendum on the November 2020 ballot asking New Jersey voters to decide whether or not to legalize. In this case of a lame duck session, lawmakers are strategically waiting until this time to vote on controversial topics like marijuana legalization.

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