The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder

The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder

Jan 24

[ARCHIVED] Governor Takes Action on Bills at End of Legislative Term

The original item was published from January 24, 2022 8:49 AM to January 24, 2022 8:54 AM

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 a municipal impact.


S-994/A-6248 requires State agencies and local contracting units to make a good faith effort to purchase 5% of goods and services from the Central Nonprofit Agency, a State agency established by the “Rehabilitation Facilities Set Aside Act” in the Department of Human Services to facilitate the distribution of orders received from various State agencies. 

P.L. 2021, c. 385 took effect on January 18, 2022. 

S-4207/A-6119 increases the registration fees from $300 to $500 under the “Public Works Contractor Registration Act”, strengthening the law’s provisions regarding the enforcement of the apprenticeship program requirements, and requires certification of compliance with federal requirements for apprenticeship programs. The new law also permits the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to revoke a contractor’s ability to perform public work if the contractor is participating in an apprenticeship program that is not in compliance with federal regulations. However, such a determination will not affect the status of the registered apprenticeship program to continue operation in the state. 

P.L. 2021, c. 243 took effect on January 18, 2022. 

Property Matters

A-862/S-962 permits municipalities to refund excess property taxes paid by a taxpayer of a nonresidential real property who wins an assessment appeal as a property tax credit over a three-year period. At the end of three years, any remaining excess must be immediately refunded. The League supported this legislation as it provides municipalities with another tool to address property tax refunds. 

P.L. 2021, c. 432 took effect on January 18, 2022. 

A-2877/S-1149 requires registration of certain vacant and abandoned properties with municipalities and provides enforcement tools related to the maintenance of these properties. This law requires that a creditor that has initiated a foreclosure proceeding on commercial property, within 10 days of filing, provide the municipal clerk with notice of such filing, and within 30 days a listing of all commercial properties in the municipality for which the creditor has foreclosure actions pending. The creditor must also provide appropriate contact information for an in-state representative or agent responsible for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the property.

The law requires the municipal clerk or other responsible local officials to notify a foreclosing creditor in the event that commercial property in foreclosure becomes vacant and the exterior of the property is found to be a nuisance or in violation of any applicable State or local code.  The creditor would have the responsibility to abate the nuisance or correct the violation.   If the creditor fails to remedy the violation within a specified period, the new law permits the municipality to impose penalties.  If the municipality expends public funds in order to abate a nuisance or correct a violation on a commercial property in situations in which the creditor was given appropriate notice but failed to abate the nuisance or correct the violation as directed, the new law provides the municipality with the same recourse against the creditor as it would have against the title owner of the property to enforce a lien pursuant to current law.

The law also authorizes a municipality to adopt an ordinance to (1) create a property registration program for the identification and monitoring of residential and commercial properties in foreclosure; (2) regulate the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of vacant and abandoned residential and commercial properties in foreclosure; and (3) impose property registration fees on creditors, on an annual or semi-annual basis.  The fee is capped at $500 per property annually for any property that is foreclosed based on a summons and complaint and an additional $2,000 per property annually for any property that becomes vacant or abandoned during the foreclosure.

P.L. 2021, c. 444 took effect January 18, 2022, except that municipalities that have existing ordinances addressing property registration programs have until September 1, 2022, to amend their ordinances to the extent necessary to make them consistent with the new law. 

Alcohol Control 

S3673/A6219 provides that the holder of a limited brewery license or a craft distillery license would be permitted to sell and sample beer or distilled spirits on the licensed premises that were bottled and stored off-site. If a limited brewery licensee additionally is the holder of a bonded warehouse bottling license, the licensee would be permitted to sell at retail and offer for sampling on the brewery premises product that was brewed at the brewery and subsequently bottled and stored off-site pursuant to the bonded warehouse bottling license. The bill provides that the holder of a craft distillery license would be authorized to manufacture distilled alcoholic beverages. 

P.L. 2021, c. 407 took effect on January 18, 2022. 

S3977/A1293 establishes the seven-member “New Jersey Brewery, Cidery, Meadery, and Distillery Industry Advisory Council” in the Division of Travel and Tourism. The Advisory Council must assess the conditions of the limited brewery, restricted brewery, cidery, meadery, and craft distillery industries of the State and to advise the Executive Director of Division of Travel and Tourism on expenditures from the account for research, development, and promotion of the New Jersey’s limited brewery, restricted brewery, cidery, meadery, and craft distillery industries.

The new law also establishes the "New Jersey Brewery, Cidery, Meadery, and Distillery Industry Promotion Account" for research and development concerning the limited brewery, restricted brewery, cidery, meadery, and craft distillery industries in the State and for the promotion of New Jersey’s limited brewery, restricted brewery, cidery, meadery, and craft distillery industries, consistent with the recommendations of the Advisory Council. The account is to be credited annually, in an appropriation by law, with an amount equal to 50% of the receipts from the per-gallon tax imposed on all sales of beer, cider, mead, and liquors sold by breweries, cideries, meaderies, and distilleries in this State. The account can also be credited with any monies made available to it from the General Fund or any non-State public or private source. 

Annually March 1, the Director of the Division of Taxation must certify to the Advisory Council the taxable volume of beer, cider, mead, and liquors sold by qualifying licensees during the preceding taxable year. The Secretary of State must include with the annual budget request funding sufficient to carry out the purposes of this new law. 

P.L. 2021, c. 438 took effect January 18, 2022. 

Civil Service:

S-3672/A-6009 permits exemption from civil service examination requirement for entry-level law enforcement officers, sheriff’s officers, and State and county correctional police officers; permits hiring or appointment of such officers under certain conditions; and makes $10.3 million appropriations from the state to the Department of Corrections for state correctional officers’ salary increases. 

A county or municipal police department, county sheriff’s office, or a State or county correctional facility is permitted to recruit and employ temporary entry-level officers prior to taking the appropriate training course. Within nine months from the date of hire that employee will be exempt from taking the civil service examination for an entry-level officer position. 

Upon successful completion of the required course, the person will be promoted from a temporary to a permanent entry-level officer. The law permits a sheriff’s department to hire a person under the provisions of the law upon adoption of a conflict of interest and nepotism policy by the county sheriff. The law also prohibits the use of the law to circumvent the intergovernmental transfer process and removes the current provision of the law permitting the exemption from the requirement to take the civil service examination for an entry-level law enforcement officer position for those persons who have successfully completed the required training course.

P.L. 2021, c. 406 will take effect July 18, 2022, however, the Civil Service Commission may take administrative action in anticipation of implementing the new law.  

A-259/S-2224 the Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944, governs civil service credit and preference in appointments to federal employment. One such preference is provided to a veteran who served “in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized.” This includes campaign or expeditionary medals for El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti. Under this new law a veteran who received such a medal but did not serve in a theater of operation will be eligible for State civil service preference. 

P.L. 2021, c. 429 takes effect on February 17, 2022, and applies to open competitive examinations after this date.

Information Resources

A-798/S-52 authorizes the Local Committee on Alcohol Use Disorder and Substance Use Disorder in each county to establish a local drug overdose fatality review team for that county or partner with other counties. These teams will consist of individuals with experience and knowledge regarding health, social services, law enforcement, education, emergency medicine, mental health, juvenile delinquency, and drug and alcohol abuse. 

State and local government agencies can share records and information concerning an overdose victim with a drug overdose fatality review team, as necessary for the team to conduct a review of reported overdose deaths; and share records and information with the Department of Law and Public Safety, to be integrated into the department’s integrated drug awareness dashboard.

P.L. 2021, c. 437 takes effect on April 18, 2022, however, the Department of Law and Public Safety can begin anticipatory administrative action necessary for the implementation of this new law.   

S-4004/A-5950 authorizes the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, with its Center for American Women and Politics and Center for Public Interest Polling, to establish and maintain databases that contain every person appointed to a State board, commission, authority, or other multi-member entity, and for every person elected to a public office in this State, except school board members. The database will include the name of the individual, the title of the office held, the term of office, the race and the gender identity or expression of that individual, and the appointing authority. 

P.L. 2021, c. 414 took effect on January 18, 2022.  

A-1229/S-2161 requires that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) prepare a website page with information concerning all homeless prevention programs that are available to homeless persons or persons who are at imminent risk of homelessness. The law requires that the information include, a list by county of the following programs: grant programs and homeless intervention programs that provide assistance services to homeless veterans, homeless persons, and persons at imminent risk of homelessness; homeless services provided by various state departments and other counties, State, or federal housing and homeless prevention programs that provide supportive services to homeless persons or those at imminent risk of homelessness. 

P.L. 2021, c. 437 took effect January 18, 2022, but in order to provide the department with time to prepare the website, the requirement to make the website publicly available, fully incorporating the information required, remains inoperative until May.  

A-2186/S-1599 requires the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) to allow certain homeless shelter personnel to have access to real-time information about the occupancy status of shelter beds, as collected by the Homeless Management Information System. Specifically, the information would be made available to the operators of shelters for the homeless and selected local providers who place persons in homeless shelters. 

Each homeless shelter operator would be required to update information about available shelter beds no later than one hour after a bed becomes available or occupied. Additionally, each shelter for the homeless would be required to provide any necessary information, as determined by the HMFA, the Department of Community Affairs, and the Department of Human Services, in order to be eligible for funding from the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Human Services. The law exempts shelters for victims of domestic violence.

P.L. 2021, c. 440 will take effect on March 19, 2022.  

A-5997/S-4084 removes the requirement for Legislature, Department of Education, free public libraries, and historical societies to purchase “Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey. Effective January 18, 2022, certain entities, including free public libraries, which were once required to purchase the Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, will no longer need to make such purchases under P.L. 2021, c. 473. 

With the information contained in the Manual readily accessible online, there is no longer a need for the purchase of the physical copy of this book.