- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey state Senate committee advanced a bill that strips authority over Liberty State Park from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

The Senate budget committee approved the measure on Monday. Another Assembly-passed measure that addresses the park was held.

The bills’ origin reaches back to a Meadowlands economic development measure passed late last year and signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie. That law gives the Sports and Exposition Authority control over projects at the park and was met with criticism from park supporters.

Christie and lawmakers vowed immediately to change the law.

Park supporters worry the current law could result in commercial projects at the park overlooking Lady Liberty.

The Assembly passed a bill this year giving project approval authority to the Environmental Protection Department but leaving the authority review powers.

The Senate panel did not consider that bill but instead approved one introduced by Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo said Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto will have to work out the differences between their bills.

The New Jersey Sierra Club, which opposed the Assembly bill, hailed the passage of the Senate bill.

“It makes right the terrible wrong,” said New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel.

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