On Friday, during the normal course of bills being read for 3rd reading, Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR-163 was brought for a vote. Senator Oroho, one of the Senate's most outspoken critics of the Highlands Act, took the floor and gave a passionate, though factually flawed, case against the Highlands Act and any legislative action to invalidate DEP's septic density rules. Senator Smith, the Senate's leading proponent and primary sponsor of the Highlands Act and SCR-163, due to a family matter and the re-scheduling of the voting session, was unable to be present to defend the Resolution. Several other Senators who would have voted in favor of the Resolution were also not present.
When Senate President Sweeney called for a vote the tally was: 19 in favor, 12 against and 9 Senators either withheld their votes, or were not present. A majority of 21 votes is required for a bill to pass. Noting too many Senators were missing, President Sweeney cancelled the vote until Monday when more members could be present (yes, the Senate President can do that, and in this case, fortunately).
So we have another chance on Monday. But there is work to be done. Senator Codey, who we would have expected to vote in favor, voted against. Senator Rice, who we would have expected to have voted in favor, did not vote. These two Senators alone, if they voted in favor, would have made the 21 votes needed to pass.
We are asking you to email Senators Codey and Rice, and the Senators who were not present and were expected to vote in favor, and tell them that the protection of the Highlands should be their priority and to vote YES on SCR-163 on Monday.
each address link above when clicked will open a composed email that you may send as is, or customize
Monday is the "sine die", the final voting session of 217th Legislature, so we can expect full participation in both chambers. We cannot anticipate asking you for any further action to help us prevail in reversing DEP's weakening of the Highlands septic density rules.