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NJLM's Legislative Blog

Apr 07

Governor Issues EO 115 Permitting Retirees to Return to Public Employment

Posted on April 7, 2020 at 1:50 PM by Michael Cerra

Governor Murphy has issued Executive Order 115 permitting retirees to return to public employment as part-time, full-time, or special law enforcement for the duration of the public health emergency. 
The executive order permits retirees to return to employment by government agencies in any capacity without having to re-enroll in any retirement system, if the person retired before April 6, 2020, the retiree has been separated at least 30 days, and their return is needed because of COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that the 30 days separation is either from the date of retirement or pension board approval, whichever is later. 
For purposes of the retirement systems, the retiree will continue to be considered a retiree. In addition, if the retiree is currently enrolled in the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) as a retiree, they maintain this coverage during their temporary return to employment.
If a retiree is returning, the employer must complete a Division of Pensions form substantiating that the retiree’s return to employment is needed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on that retiree’s skills and/or experience, and must detail the retiree’s general duties. This form must be completed for retirees that have been retired for less than six months and are returning to the same employer in any capacity, or for retirees returning to work full-time with their most recent employers. 
The order does suspend certain statutory provisions of the retirement system during the emergency to permit the temporary hiring of a retiree, but not the statutes or regulations regarding job qualifications and age limits. 
The order also waives the 60-day waiting period to enroll a person in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) for any person hired after April 6, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
In addition, the order permits municipalities to employ the number of Special Law Enforcement Officer (SLEO) II necessary to address public health and safety. The order suspends N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.17, which limits SLEO II in communities other than resort municipalities, to 25% of the total number of regular officers. 
The Executive Order took effect on April 6, 2020. 
-LB

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Apr 02

Federal CARES Act Update: State & Local Stabilization Fund

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 1:34 PM by Amy Spiezio

We are continuing our analysis of last week’s $2.2 Trillion CARES Act. 
$150 Billion State and Local Stabilization Fund – About $139 billion will be distributed to the states, for their own use (55%) and for redistribution to ‘qualifying’ local governments (45%). These funds can only be used to fund extraordinary costs caused by COVID-19. These must be costs over and above funding included in each entity’s current operating budget. They cannot be used to cover revenues not collected, as a result of the financial impact of the Coronavirus on taxpayers.
The State of New Jersey is slated to receive $3.444 billion. Of that total, a minimum of $1.894 billion is earmarked for State use. The balance, $1.550 billion, COULD be distributed to ‘qualifying’ local government.  
Questions regarding ‘qualified’ local governments have created uncertainty. Specifically, Section 601(d), provides: 
“A State, Tribal government, and unit of local government shall use the funds provided under a payment made under this section to cover only those costs of the State, Tribal government, or unit of local government that:
(1) are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 
And, Section 601(g)(2) of the CARES Act states:
“LOCAL GOVERNMENT—The term ‘unit of local government’ means a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level with a population that exceeds 500,000.” 

The particular issue is whether the prepositional phrase “with a population that exceeds 500,000” modifies all the political subdivisions listed (a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level) or modifies only the political subdivision immediately preceding it, “other unit of general government below the State level.” 
The issue is important because it determines which political subdivisions are entitled to receive direct funding under the Coronavirus Relief Fund in Section 601.
Our partners at the National League of Cities (NLC) have launched an effort to secure CARES Act funding for all COVID-19 impacted municipalities, regardless of size. NLC Executive Director Clarence Anthony has written to U.S. Treasurer Steve Mnuchin requesting a favorable interpretation of the new law.
Federal Departments and agencies are currently at work developing procedures for funding distributions and application advice for provisions subject to an application process. We will keep you posted.
For information on other components of this massive bill, see our March 25, 2020, CARES Act Preliminary Snapshot.
 -JM

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Mar 31

ABC Guidance on Executive Order 107

Posted on March 31, 2020 at 11:20 AM by Legislative Staff

Yesterday, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (Division) issued guidance to the industry and law enforcement agencies clarifying acceptable operations during the Governor’s order.  The order outlines that:

  • Licensed establishments, bars, and restaurants, may stay open during normal business hours, but may only sell food and alcoholic beverage in original sealed containers from barrooms. For deliveries, they must get a transit insignia from the Division. No hard liquor or spirits can be sold after 10:00 p.m.
  • No retail consumption licensee may sell, serve or deliver alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption.
  • All private and public social clubs must be closed to the public.
  • State concessionaire permits (or annual State permits) (“14 licensees”) must request permission to sell alcoholic beverages in original sealed containers for off-premises consumption. Requests for relief will be liberally construed during the duration of the public health emergency and will be granted on an expedited basis. A transit insignia from the Division or use an otherwise licensed entity authorized to transport alcoholic beverage must be obtained if such sales are permitted.
  • Holders of limited brewery licenses (“11”), restricted brewery licenses (“08”), plenary (“21”) and farm winery (“22”) licenses, craft distillery licenses ("07"), and cidery and meadery licenses ("02") are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages in original sealed containers from their tasting rooms for customer pick up during their posted normal business hours. Pickups should be arranged outside or adjacent to the premises. A transit insignia from the Division for use by an otherwise licensed entity authorized to transport alcoholic beverages must be obtained if such sales are permitted. Licensees must adhere to the quantity limitations set forth in N.J.S.A. 33:1-10 for off-premises distribution. No on-premise consumption is permitted.
  • Growlers and crowlers, for the purposes of the Governor’s Executive Order, will be considered original sealed containers, which may be sold for off-premises consumption by retail consumption licensees or breweries.
  • The Division has issued a Special Ruling Granting Relaxation of Schedule A, Paragraph 2Q) of the May 2019 Special Ruling, which authorizes Limited Breweries to make home deliveries of their products as provided therein.
  • Liquor stores acting as liquor stores are designated as essential retail businesses and may remain open during their normal business hours. Licensees must adhere to federal and state social distancing and disease prevention guidelines. Wherever practicable, licensees must provide pick up services outside or adjacent to their stores for goods ordered online or by phone. For deliveries, they must get a transit insignia from the Division.

In the event that State or local law enforcement orders the closure of licensed premises operating in violation of Executive Order No. 107, a police report of such closure must be forwarded to the ABC Enforcement Bureau for regulatory enforcement review.

Contact:  Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst, 609-695-3481 x112; lbuckelew@njlm.org