Budget Committee Sends S1122/A823 For Full Senate Vote As Early As 12/20
December 14, 2010 - This morning in Committee Room 4 on the 1st floor of
the State House Annex in Trenton, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
voted unanimously to send S1122 (and its Assembly companion bill A823) to the
Senate for a full vote. According to the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA),
the committee's vote today means the Senate could vote on New Jersey's saltwater
registry bill as early as December 20.
According RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio who testified before the
committee in support of the legislation, all eleven Senate committee members who
heard statements today from both sides easlily saw the fiscal benefits of the
legislation and found complete consensus with regard to the merits of the
"The legislators who have supported the free registry have made it very
clear that there's no place for a saltwater fee in New Jersey," Donofrio said.
"It's quite obvious that the Senators and Assembly representatives from various
committees are in unanimous consent that a free saltwater registry is the way to
move forward at this time, and we're very thankful for the democratic process,"
Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) and Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Red
Bank), S1122 would require the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) to maintain a free annual saltwater registry program to meet the new
federal mandate for data collection, allowing New Jersey's coastal fishermen to
avoid paying a $15 federal registration fee beginning January 1. The bill was
approved unanimously in the Senate Environment Committee last week.
An Assembly version of the legislation (A823) has already passed (54-16)
which would allow the state to apply for exempted state designation from the
federal registration requirement. Sponsored by Assembly representatives Nelson
Albano (D-Cape May), Matt Milam (D-Cape May), John Amodeo (R-Northfield),
Celeste Riley (D-Bridgeton), Paul Moriarty (D-Turnersville), Scott T. Rumana
(R-Wayne) and Gilbert Wilson (D-Audubon), A823 was also unanimously approved by
the Assembly Environment Committee.
Donofrio said Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Paul
Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) deserved thanks for working in bipartisan fashion to get
the bill through the committee and on to the Senate for a vote. "Of course, we
have to thank Sen. Van Drew for the heavy lifting required to move this
legislation, he's been right on message and delivers it from his heart."
Donofrio said that several New Jersey organizations showed up in support of
S1122 last week when the bill was heard before the Senate Environment Committee,
as he praised representatives from RFA-NJ, United Boatmen, Marine Trades
Association (MTA), Berkley Striper Club, Hi-Mar Striper Club, Village Harbor
Fishing Club, the Fish Hawks, Forked River Tuna Club, New Jersey Beach Buggy
Association, and NJSaltwaterFisherman.com for turning out in Trenton for last
week's hearing. "There have been a few groups who've openly supported an
administrative fee to implement this registry, but that's not been an option
which was ever presented to our community," Donofrio said.
"Our elected officials have heard from both sides, and now that it's been
unanimously approved in committee after committee and overwhelming supported by
the state Assembly, it's time to get see this registry law put into effect as
soon as possible so that we get our community back together to discuss the real
problems impacting our marine fisheries," Donofrio said.
"Now it's up to Senate President Sweeney to get this vote onto the floor
of the Senate for a vote, and then on to the Governor to sign this bill into
law," Donofrio said.