The state Senate and Assembly approved a series of other measures as lawmakers considered more than 200 bills. Among the bills approved:
State voters would be asked to borrow $400 million for open space in November, filling the coffers of the depleted open space fund.
While supporters said the depressed real estate market makes now the best time to buy land, opponents said the money would be spent in two years, while the debt would linger for two decades. While votes have approved 12 open space questions since 1961, environmentalists have sought a permanent source of funding.
The state may seek to recover some of the $168.2 million in outstanding fines and fees the state Motor Vehicle Commission says is collectible. If signed, the bill would give ticket scofflaws 60 days to pay their debt without interest or collection costs. If the debt remains unpaid, the state would assess an additional 5 percent penalty. The nonpartisan state Office of Legislative Services estimated it would receive about
$17 million. With Senate approval, the bill now heads to the Assembly.
Towns would be allowed to pass ordinances offering free or reduced-price beach badges for active members of the military or the state National Guard and their spouses and dependent children. Current law allows discounts for those older than 65. The bill now moves to the Assembly for approval.
The state Department of Environmental Protection would be required to establish three parks for all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and snowmobiles. They would be located in northern, central and southern New Jersey and could not be part of any state park or forest, wildlife management area or reservoir. The parks would be maintained with money generated by a new requirement that vehicle owners register with the state Motor Vehicle Commission within six months and pay $10 into the new Off-Road Vehicle Recreational Fund. The bills now move to the Assembly for approval.
People buying products with dextromethorphan, a synthetic opiate found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medications such as Robitussin, would be required to prove they are at least 18. The medication has been abused as a psychedelic drug. Fines for violations start at $250 for the first offense.
Solar, wind power
on preserved land
Farmers on preserved land would be allowed to buy, install and operate solar or wind energy facilities to generate heat and power.
The bill "9-1-1: Lifeline Legislation" would grant immunity to underage drinkers who call for emergency personnel as well as the person receiving medical assistance. The legislation was proposed to reduce danger in incidents of excessive drinking by underage people and to create opportunities to save young people whose lives are imperiled as a result of severe intoxication.
Developers in targeted development areas would be able to seek grants from state or local officials to cover gaps in finances. The grants would allow a developer to keep as much as 75 percent of a project's state taxes in the initial year, over as long as 20 years, covering as much as 20 percent of the overall cost.
Projects would need state and local approval to go forward.
Another part of the package would allow colleges and universities to partner with developers to erect buildings on campuses, using the revenue from the projects to pay off the construction costs.
The stimulus bill also would place a temporary moratorium on the 2.5 percent nonresidential development fee enacted through affordable housing legislation last year. The bill would reimburse developers who paid the fee.
Cape bridge renaming
The bridge for state highway Route 109 over the Cape May Canal would be renamed the "Cape May County Veterans Memorial Bridge."
One handgun per month
Senators approved legislation that would restrict residents to buying one handgun per month.
Supporters said limiting handgun purchases helped safety, while those opposed said it was an infringement of peoples' rights.
Shortly after the Legislature approved the bill, Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed an executive order creating a task force to review the effectiveness of state gun laws and make suggestions.
The General Assembly had approved the legislation last year, but it stalled in the Senate in December when southern New Jersey Sens. Jeff Van Drew, Steve Sweeney and Fred Madden opposed the legislation. Madden changed his vote Friday.
The bill would require stores disclose the type and country of origin of all fur trim on their clothing. Federal law only requires the disclosure if the value of the fur exceeds $150.
Sen. Jeff Van Drew sponsored the legislation after an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States found some imported fur trim included domestic dogs as well as fur taken from raccoon dogs that were skinned alive.
Drivers would be required to try to clear snow and ice off their vehicles after winter storms. Drivers or owners of commercial vehicles would face fines between $500 and $1,500 while drivers of privately owned vehicles may receive fines between $200 and $1,000.
PWC speed restriction
People who use personal watercraft would not be allowed to move faster than minimal headway speeds within 100 feet of swimming areas, the shore, any person in the water or any residence.
Wind, solar or photovoltaic energy facilities would be defined "inherently beneficial." Under state law, this would satisfy criteria for the zoning variance needed to build them. Shore communities have previously blocked these devices, and the law would make them easier to build.