On January 18, 2022, Governor Murphy took action on the bills sent to him at the end of the 219th Legislative Term. The Governor signed 123 bills and vetoed 16. Below is a summary of bills that have an impact on elections public safety, and the courts.
A-4655/S-3595 limits police presence at polling places and ballot drop boxes and prohibits electioneering within 100 feet of the ballot dropbox. Under the new law, election district boards are prohibited from requesting a detail of police officers to assist in preserving the peace and good order at polling locations. However, the election board or Superintendent of Elections may contact a law enforcement agency if the information is obtained prior to or during the election that in their judgment should be communicated to a law enforcement agency.
In addition, a police officer is prohibited from serving as a member of an election district board unless off-duty or serving as a duly authorized challenger in the municipality in which they are employed. However, a police officer who is a candidate for an office or whose name appears on the ballot cannot be prohibited from acting as a challenger during that election. Furthermore, a police officer is prohibited from wearing a police officer’s uniform or carrying an exposed weapon at any time, including a polling place on Election Day.
A police officer, whether on or off-duty or in or out of uniform, cannot remain within 100 feet of a polling place on election day unless they are responding to a request for assistance. However, this new provision of law does not prohibit a police officer from traveling to and from or remaining within their personal residence, if that residence is within 100 feet of a polling place; voting at a polling place in a personal capacity, or escorting to and/or from a polling place a person who may require the assistance of the police officer.
The new law also prohibits the assigning of police to any district board in order to enforce the election law, maintain order, peace and quiet during the hours of registry and election. However, a police officer may be assigned to transport specific election materials to a polling place or from a polling place to the district board or county clerk. Also, a police officer may be assigned to a senior residential center that has reported a threat or safety concern, however, police officers cannot interfere with anyone present at the location to vote.
Nothing in this new law should be construed to prohibit the dispatch, detail, or assignment of a police officer due to a request for assistance, for assistance with regard to a specific emergency, allegation of criminal conduct, or disturbance that exists at the time the request is made. The police officer must take prompt actions to address the situation and ensure the continued orderly conduct of the election. They may remain present as long as necessary to investigate, address, and remove the specific emergency or disturbance. In such an incident, the district board must promptly notify the county board of elections or superintendent of the election of the dispatch of any police officer, who in turn must promptly notify the Secretary of State. A record of all dispatches issued and reported must be maintained by the Secretary of State, the county board of elections, and the superintendent of elections. Such a record must include the time of the dispatch, polling place location, reasons for the dispatch, name of the police officer, the police officer’s badge number, the duration of the police’s presence, and immediate outcome of the dispatch. This is a public record subject to the provisions of the Open Public Records Act.
The new law also prohibits the placement of a ballot drop box inside or within 100 feet of an entrance or exit of a State, county or municipal police station. However, existing ballot drop boxes installed and permanently affixed may remain at the existing location if approved by a majority vote of the County Commissioners. The same provisions regarding a police officer at a polling location apply to the ballot box. Also, electioneering within 100 feet of a ballot drop box is prohibitive.
The Secretary of State will adopt guidelines and regulations to effectuate this new law. P.L. 2021, c. 459 took effect on January 18, 2022.
S-3009/A-4847 authorizes the expanded provision of harm reduction services to distribute sterile syringes and provide certain support services to persons who use drugs intravenously. The League supports harm reduction services but raised concerns with amendments that removed municipal land use protections. Working with the sponsors, that language was restored and the League took a neutral position on this legislation.
P.L. 2021, c. 396 took effect on January 18, 2022.
A-3804/S-1590 designates public safety communications professionals, sometimes referred to as 9-1-1 dispatchers or operators, as 9-1-1 first responder dispatchers. In times of crisis, the information collected and actions taken by public safety communications professionals form the foundation for an effective response by law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and emergency medical service professionals.
P.L. 2021, c. 447 took effect on January 18, 2022.
A-4366/S-2801 requires the Police Training Commission (PTC) to contract with the New Jersey Crisis Intervention Team Center for Excellence to provide mental health training to local police officers. The Attorney General, with the Commissioner of Human Services, will create a pilot program to promote and encourage law enforcement officers Statewide to complete training that applies the Crisis Intervention Team model. This program may include support for and coordination between the Police Training Commission in the Division of Criminal Justice.
P.L. 2021, c. 455 took effect on January 18, 2022.
A-6073/S-4140 temporarily waives certain basic life support services crewmember requirements. This law extends certain staffing waivers for basic life support vehicles, mobile intensive care units, and specialty care transport units put in place by the Department of Health at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Department regulations ordinarily require that Basic Life Support vehicles be staffed by at least two EMTs, this requirement was waived, however, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to deal with staffing shortage and increased need.
P.L. 2021, c. 477, which took effect January 18, 2022, extends these waivers until January 1, 2023.
A-6132/S-4235 permits volunteer paramedics to operate within mobile intensive care units. Volunteer paramedics can now operate as a subunit within an authorized mobile intensive care program operated by a hospital that holds a certificate of need issued by the Department of Health to provide advanced life support services within a specific territorial area. The volunteer units operate under the authority of the existing certificate of need, with at least two volunteer paramedics staffing each volunteer unit.
Volunteer paramedics are authorized to respond to an emergency call using their own personal vehicles, in lieu of a vehicle dispatched from a hospital, and are permitted to respond either individually or jointly to an emergency dispatch call. If responding separately, the first member of a volunteer paramedic is authorized to provide aid prior to the arrival of the second volunteer paramedic. If the first volunteer paramedic determines that the aid of the second volunteer paramedic is not needed, the first volunteer paramedic has the authority to cancel the call for the second volunteer paramedic to respond.
Prior to this law’s adoption, as a condition of performing advanced life support services, paramedics were required to maintain direct voice communication with, and take orders from, a licensed physician or a physician-directed registered nurse affiliated with the hospital operating the mobile intensive care program. The new law revises this requirement to authorize mobile intensive care paramedics to alternatively perform advanced life support services while following a standing order.
Nothing within this law modifies or changes any current certificates of need issued by the Department of Health to operate a mobile intensive care unit.
P.L. 2021, c. 480 took effect January 18, 2022.
A-5864/S-3939 allows law enforcement officers to review or receive an accounting of a body-worn camera recording prior to creating any required substantive initial report, providing a statement, or submitting to an interview regarding that recorded event. Except under the following circumstances: use of force by the officer where the officer knows or should know that the use of force resulted in significant or serious bodily injury or death; discharge of a firearm or any other use of deadly force by the law enforcement officer; the death of a person while in law enforcement custody; death of a person during an encounter with a law enforcement officer; or an incident that the officer knows or has been advised of or will be the subject of an Internal Affairs complaint or citizen complaint relating to the officer’s use of force, bias, or dishonesty.
If a law enforcement officer reviews or receives an accounting of a body-worn camera recording prior to the creation of any report, statement or interview the law enforcement officer is required to acknowledge that prior to the review or receipt either verbally or in writing within such report, statement, or interview. The law enforcement officer is not required to review a body-worn camera prior to creating any initial reports, statements, or interviews nor prevented from reviewing or receiving an accounting of such a body-worn camera subsequent to the creation of the same.
P.L. 2021, c. 472 took effect on January 18, 2022.
S-3493/A-5458 permits expungement of possession or distribution of hypodermic syringe or needle offense in cases of the previous expungement; repeals criminal offense of possession of a syringe. Prior to the enactment of this law, a person who has had a previous criminal conviction expunged is generally barred from expungement on a second occasion with some exceptions. This law expands these exceptions, permitting expungement for a conviction for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia when it is a hypodermic syringe or needle or possession with the intent to distribute drug paraphernalia.
P.L. 2021, c. 403 took effect on January 18, 2022.
A-4771/S-2951 expands the offenses that are eligible for expungement after a defendant’s successful discharge from drug court. P.L. 2021, c. 460, which took effect January 18, 2022, creates a new process for the comprehensive special probation expungement, even if a person had a conviction for endangering the welfare of a child.
Eligibility for expungement under the new process would require that the person did not have any other conviction of an offense, at least 10 years have passed since successful discharge from drug court, the person has not been convicted of any crime or offense since, the person does not have any pending charges yet to be disposed of at the time of application, and the child endangerment conviction was determined by the Superior Court that receives the expungement petition to have been nonviolent based upon a review conducted by the county prosecutor reviewing the petition. The law provides a list of acts of “abuse” or “cruelty,” specifically defined which renders the person ineligible for the expungement relief established by the bill.
S-386/A-1763 directs the Attorney General, in consultation with the county and municipal prosecutors, to develop a training program for all municipal prosecutors which shall include domestic violence training with topics regarding the dynamics of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on children, the impact of trauma on survivors, risks for lethality in domestic violence cases, offenders accountability, safety planning and services for domestic violence survivors, the impact of racial bias and discrimination on survivors and marginalized communities.
Participation in domestic violence training is mandatory. The domestic violence training course and curriculum must be reviewed at least every two years and modified by the Division of Criminal Justice from time to time as need may require.
The Attorney General is responsible for ensuring that all new municipal prosecutors appointed after January 18, 2022, attend an initial domestic violence training within 90 days of appointment or transfer and annually attend in-service training of at least four hours. A municipal prosecutor who was initially appointed prior to January 18, 2022, and is subsequently re-appointed or appointed as a municipal prosecutor in another municipality is not required to attend the training.
P.L. 2021, c. 378 took effect on January 18, 2022.
S-384/A-1964 directs the Administrative Director of the Courts to develop and approve a training course and a curriculum for all municipal court judges, Superior Court judges responsible for the adjudication of domestic violence matters, and judicial personnel involved with domestic violence matters intake and processing.
They would be required to participate in core training regarding issues such as the dynamics of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on children, trauma-informed danger assessments, batterer intervention and anger management programs, and domestic violence risk factors and lethality.
Municipal Court judges must receive specific training on the issuance of temporary restraining orders in emergent situations. While Superior Court judges responsible for the adjudication of domestic violence matters must receive supplemental training related to the issuance and enforcement of temporary and final restraining orders, including factors considered when determining if a final restraining order should be issued, child custody and parenting plans, the setting of child support, distribution of property and ongoing housing expenses, and counseling.
This expanded training program would continue to be administered within 90 days of their appointment or transfer and then annual in-service training.
In addition, the new law requires the Attorney General to provide training on the handling, investigation, and response procedures concerning reports of domestic violence and abuse and neglect of the elderly and disabled to all law enforcement officers within 90 days of appointment, annually attend in-service training of at least four hours and once every three years in-person instructor-led; and all assistant county prosecutors involved in handling domestic violence cases within 90 days of appointment or transfer and annual in-service training of at least four hours.
P.L. 2021, c. 377 took effect on January 18, 2022.
- Lori Buckelew, Deputy Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x112.
- Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x137.
- Paul Penna, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609 695-3481, x110.
- Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x116.