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'Bills of Interest'

Jan 24

Governor Signs Various Bills of Interest

Posted to The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder on January 24, 2020 at 11:01 AM by Legislative Staff

As we reported last week, the Governor had until noon Tuesday to take action the over 200 bills sent to him at the end of the 2018-19 legislative term.  On Tuesday, the Governor signed over 150 bills into law, below is a summary of the new laws that have a municipal impact.

P.L. 2019, c. 368 (A-1028) establishes an in-service training program to prevent suicide by law enforcement officers. To be administered every five years, the training curriculum will include, but not be limited to, the causes, behaviors, warning signs, and risk factors associated with officer suicide.  In addition, in the unfortunate circumstance when there is a police officer suicide, the police chief must report the officer’s death to the Attorney General within a reasonable time of the suicide. The statute outlines the reporting requirements. The League supported this bill as it will provide police officers with training on the causes, behaviors, warning signs, and risk factors associated with officer suicide. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 466 (A-1478) would permit a municipality, upon approval of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to issue a plenary retail consumption license to theaters with 50 but less than 1,000 seats. The theater must be a nonprofit corporation that regularly conducts musical or theatrical performances or concerts. Consumption is permitted during performances and intermission. In addition, consumption can occur during the two hours immediately preceding not more than 15 performances a year.  A retail consumption license issued under these circumstances is not considered as part of the cap on the number of licenses a municipality may issue. The League supported this new law, which is now in effect.

P.L. 2019, c. 490 (A-4822) allows municipalities to adopt a tiny home rental ordinance to permit the use of municipal-owned vacant land for tiny home rental purposes. The rental ordinance must establish certain parameters include setbacks, zoning, and subleasing. In addition, the bill directs the Department of Community Affairs to provide enhanced regulatory guidance concerning the construction and placement of tiny homes.  Consistent with the 2018 International Residential Code, the bill defines “tiny home” as a dwelling that is 400 square feet or less in floor area excluding lofts. The League supported this new law that took effect on January 21, 2020, but requires rulemaking from the Department of Community Affairs

P.L. 2019, c. 495 (A-5023) exempts from the New Jersey Department of Transportation permitting requirements, established under the “Roadside Sign Control and Outdoor Advertising Act,” signs attached to street furniture that are located in areas that are not protected areas, that have been approved by the municipality in which they are located, and that otherwise comply with the “Roadside Sign Control and Outdoor Advertising Act.”  “Street furniture” is defined as an object placed or installed adjacent to the street for public use, which is to include but not be limited to, a bench, trash and recycling receptacle, public bicycle-sharing parking structure, phone booth, or Wi-Fi kiosk. The League supported this new law that took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 5916 (A-5916) authorizes the Department of Health to notify the mayor, city administrator, and the legislative district’s Senator and Assembly representatives of the financial distress of certain hospitals. The Commissioner may appoint a monitor to prevent further financial deterioration, in which case within 30 days of the appointment notice of the appointment must be provided to the mayor, city administrator, and legislative district’s Senator and Assembly representatives.   The League supported this new law that took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 376 (S-62) expands the definition of contractor in the “Public Works Contractor Registration Act” to include those who are required to pay their workers the prevailing wage by any other provision of law. This new law, which the League supported, takes effect on April 1, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 382 (S-589) requires the Secretary of State to maintain a secure Internet website to allow eligible voters to register to vote using an online voter registration form.  The bill also authorizes the use of digitized signatures from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s database, or the applicant’s digitized or electronic signature, in connection with online voter registration forms. The information on the online voter registration forms would be electronically transferred by county commissioners of registration into the statewide voter registration system already established by law.  This new law, which the League supported, takes effect on July 19, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 393 (S-1298) permits a municipality, at its sole discretion, to include on the tax bill a statement listing the number and type of shared services entered into by the municipality, the dollar value of the savings to the municipality from each of those shared services, and a total amount of municipal savings resulting from those shared services. The Division of Local Government Services has three months to promulgate the format of the statement on the tax bill. This new law, which the League supported, took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 425 (S-3265) prohibits the sale or distribution of flavored vapor products. The official authorized by statute or ordinance to enforce the State or local health codes or a law enforcement officer having enforcement authority in that municipality must issue a summons for a violation of this law. Any penalty is to be recovered by and in the name of the State by the local health agency. The penalty is paid into the treasury of the municipality in which the violation occurred for the general uses of the municipality. A retailer that violates this will be liable for a civil penalty of not less than $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation, and not less than $2,000 for the third and each subsequent violation and collected in by the municipal court having jurisdiction. The League supported this new law as it addresses issues raised in League Conference Resolution 2019-22. The new law will take effect on April 20, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 433 (S-3763) renames joint meetings as regional service agencies to better reflect the purpose and operation of these entities. Any joint meeting created before January 21, 2020, is grandfathered. The common-sense legislation, which the League supported, is one of the proposals of the Path to Progress report. The new law took effect on January 21, 2020.

 

P.L. 2019, c. 406 (S-2469) prohibits a person from contracting for public works if the person is barred at the federal level. Prior to contract award for public works, the contractor must provide written certification that neither the person nor the person’s affiliates are debarred at the federal level. The contracting agency must verify the certification by consulting the federal system for Award Management prior to awarding the contract for public work. While we support the intent, we opposed the legislation due to some technical concerns to ensure consistency with the Local Public Contracts Law. The new law takes effect on February 20, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 427 (S-3422) requires the declaration of Code Blue alert when National Weather Service predicts temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or wind chill temperatures will be zero degrees Fahrenheit or less for two or more hours. The League opposed this bill, which could impose new burdens on our Code Blue providers, especially those reliant on the work of volunteers. We believe that the decision on when to call Code Blue should be made locally, and not mandated by the State. This new law took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 377 (S-358) establishes a database, within the Division of Elections, about individuals elected to any public office in New Jersey. The database will include the contact information, gender identity or expression, and race of the elected public official. Within 21 days after an individual has been certified as elected, including individuals selected to fill a vacancy, the officer responsible for issuing the election certification must transmit to the individual the form developed by the Secretary of State to collect the information for the database. Division of Elections must coordinate with the county clerks and municipality to ensure that the form is transmitted to individuals elected to public offices in their county or municipality. The database must be reviewed and updated at least annually. The database must be publicly available on the Division of Elections website. The database does not apply to individuals elected to a board education, board of fire commissioners or special district. This new law takes effect on July 19, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 381 (S-521) requires the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to establish an “Artist District” designation for a municipality or an area within the municipality. A municipality may apply to the Council for designation. New Jersey State Council of the Arts must establish the criteria, including the minimum number of art-related services and venues, such as businesses, galleries, museums, organizations, performance halls, studios, theaters, or other facilities, that must be located in the municipality or the area of the municipality.  An Artist District may also constitute a concentration of certain types of art, such as dance, film, literature or writing, music, or performing or visual arts, or types of services and venues. The Council will have 60 days from the receipt of an application to review and approve, approve with conditions or reject the application.  This new law took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 398 (S-1703) prohibits a municipality that issues a permit or the State from charging a disabled veteran a fee to obtain, replace, or renew the permit to operate a motorized vehicle on a beach. The law defines a “disabled veteran” as any resident of the State who has been honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States and who has been declared by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to have a service-connected disability of any degree. This new law took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 399 (S-1791) requires every employer to notify their employees at the time of hiring of the rate of pay and the regular payday designated by the employer. The employer must also notify their employees of any changes in the pay rater or paydays before the time of such changes. The employer must also annually provide each employee with a statement of deductions made for each pay period. Every employer with ten or more employees, including public employers, must include the employee’s gross wages, net wages, rate of pay and if relevant to the wage calculation, the number of hours worked during the pay period. The statements may be provided electronically or in paper format. This new law takes effect on May 20, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 434 (S-3869) prohibits a municipality, county, or any other local government from imposing penalties or fines on an alarm company for a false alarm not caused by an operational error, improper installation of an alarm, or the provision of defective equipment attributable to the alarm company. This new law took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. 439 (S-3939) establishes an eight-member Recycling Market Development Council within the Department of Environmental Protection. Within one year, the Council must prepare a report on the existing markets that process, reuse, or recycle collected recyclable materials; develop best management practices to reduce the contamination of collected recyclables; investigate how to stimulate the use of collected recyclables in newly manufactured products; investigate the feasibility of providing preferences for products with recycled content, including how to stimulate the use in public projects of products or materials with recycled content; and investigate methods to improve the competitiveness of the State as an exporter of recyclable materials. The report must include recommendations on changes needed to State laws or rules or regulations to stimulate the creation of domestic processing facilities, such as paper mills, and end-use manufacturers of products with recycled content. This new law took effect on January 21, 2020, and expires upon the Council’s issuance of its report.

P.L. 2019, c. 459 (S-4315) creates the “Mail-In Ballot Local Reimbursement Fund” to offset the additional direct expenditures required to implement the vote by mail law. Annually the County Clerk on or before January 1 must certify to the Department of State the total cost incurred by the county, municipalities, boards of education, and fire districts in the implementation of the vote by mail law. The law also authorized the continuation of the vote by mail law that had been invalidated by the recent Council of Local Mandates ruling. The law also amended the Council of Local Mandates law to state that “a provision of a law or part of a rule or regulation determined to be an unfunded mandate shall resume its mandatory effect if, after enactment of the law or adoption of a rule or regulation, resources are authorized to offset the additional direct expenditures required for the implementation thereof.” This new law took effect on January 21, 2020.

P.L. 2019, c. JR27 (SJR-65), effective January 21, 2020, designates annually March 19 as the “Women in Public Office Day” in New Jersey. The Governor must annually issue a proclamation calling upon public officials and the citizens of this State to observe the day with appropriate activities and programs.

P.L. 2019, c. JR28 (SJR-80), effective January 21, 2020, respectfully urges the United States Congress and the President of the United States to adhere to the federal government’s commitment to improving the reliability of Northeast Corridor rail infrastructure by providing half of the funding required to complete the Gateway Program.

P.L. 2019, c. 464 (A-1449) provides job security for an individual during a period of disability under the “Temporary Disability Benefits Law,” which is the result of an organ or bone marrow donation by the individual. An individual who experiences a period of disability, for the purposes of donating an organ or bone marrow, under the “Temporary Disability Benefits Law” will be entitled to be restored to the individual’s position of employment upon the end of the period of disability, or to an equivalent position of like seniority, status, employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.  Also, for the purposes of donating an organ or bone marrow, the bill eliminates the one week waiting period for the payment of the Temporary Disability.

P.L. 2019, c. 487 (A-4564), known as the “Voting Precinct Transparency Act,” requires each districting authority (county board of elections for election districts, district commissioners for county districts, and ward commissioners for municipal wards) to file with the Secretary of State the election district, county district, and municipal ward boundary data, as appropriate, in ESRI Shapefile format. The Secretary of State is directed to make this boundary data available on the official website of the Division of Elections for download by the public free of charge, upon implementation of a compatible Statewide Voter Registration System.  In addition, the County Clerk, within 90 days following the certification of election results, of any election, or public question voted on by the voters, make available on their official websites a table or database containing the election results compiled at the election districts level. The election results table or database would also be available for download by the public free of charge. This new law took effect on January 21, 2020.

  • Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x120
  • Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x112.
  • Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, FMarshall@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x.137.
  • Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x121.


Jan 24

Governor Vetoes Various Bills of Interest

Posted to The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder on January 24, 2020 at 10:06 AM by Legislative Staff

As we reported last week, the Governor had until noon Tuesday to take action the over 200 bills sent to him at the end of the 2018-19 legislative term.  The Governor vetoed the following bills of interest. Since it was the end of the legislative term, the Governor was able to pocket veto the bills without providing a veto statement. Therefore, we are uncertain what, if any, issues the Governor had with the bills vetoed.

A-1044 would have required the Director of Division of Taxation to examine the feasibility of establishing, for the administration of the homestead property tax reimbursement program, a centralized property tax data system that would assist the Division in verifying the amount of property tax paid on any homestead in any base year, and in any year for which an eligible claimant seeks a reimbursement. A-1044 provided a specific timeline for the feasibility report and outlines the next steps.  The League supported this bill that could lead to a streamline process for taxpayers applying for the homestead property tax reimbursement program.

A-4382 would have required paint producers to implement or participate in a paint stewardship program. This bill would require paint producers to develop and implement or participate in a program to recover paint. The League supported this common-sense bill as good public policy. Assemblywomen Pinkin and Lopez and Assemblyman Kennedy have introduced the bill (A-1979) in the new legislative term.

S-2897 would have required the Department of Community Affairs to establish procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities, and certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers. The League supported this common-sense bill that would have created, for the first time, standards for mold hazards inspectors and abatement workers.  Assemblymen Benson, Wimberly and Assemblywoman Carter have introduced the Assembly bill (A-1336) and Senators Madden and Singer have introduced the Senate bill (S-574) in the new legislative term.

S-2958 would have established the “Energy Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership Act.” This permissive legislation would allow a government entity to enter into a public-private partnership agreement with a private entity to develop, design, build, operate or maintain one or more energy-related projects and to assume financial, developmental, operational, managerial and administrative responsibilities in partnership with the government entity. S-2958 is permissive legislation that provides appropriate safeguards with a public process. The League supported this legislation that would have provided municipalities with another mechanism to fund and complete energy-related projects.

S-3770 would have established the "New Jersey Economic and Fiscal Policy Review Commission" to provide an ongoing review of State and local tax structure, economic conditions, and related fiscal issues. The 12-member panel within the Legislative Branch of State government would include three members from the Senate, three from the Assembly, and six public members. The League supported this common-sense legislation.

A-4463  would have established an “Electronic Permit Processing Review System.” While the bill provides authority for local enforcement agencies to charge a fee to applicants to offset the initial startup costs associated with the new electronic review system, this fee structure is not sufficient to adequately recover these costs.  Further, this bill, which the League opposed, failed to take into account the realities of the permit review process that not all applications are suited for electronic review.   Assemblymen Freiman, Egan and Karabinchak have introduced the Assembly bill (A-1145) in the new legislative term.

S-3393 would have established a pilot program to allow special occasion events to be conducted on preserved farmland under certain conditions.  The League opposed this bill, which would allow preserved farmland to be used for purposes not initially contemplated when public funds were used to permanently preserve these prime agricultural lands. Further, this bill would have eliminated local oversight of events taking place on these preserved lands. Assemblymen Mazzeo, Houghtaling and Armato have introduced the Assembly bill (A-298) in the new legislative term.

Absent amendments to the legislation during the current (2020-21) session, we will continue to support the bills that we had supported and the bills that we had opposed last time around.  Please contact your Legislators to communicate your position on these matters.

  • Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x120
  • Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x112.
  • Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, FMarshall@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x.137.
  • Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x121.






Jan 17

Bills of Interest on the Governor Desk

Posted to The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder on January 17, 2020 at 12:44 PM by Legislative Staff

On Tuesday, the 2018-19 legislative term ended with over 200 bills sent to the Governor’s desk for his consideration. Governor Murphy will have until noon on Tuesday, January 21 to take action or the bills will need to start the legislative process over again in the new legislative session. Of the bills, on the Governor’s desk, the League has taken a position on the following bills. We ask that you contact the Governor’s Office and add your voice to ours.

Support

A-1028 establishes a training program to prevent suicide by law enforcement officers and requires reporting of law enforcement officer suicides to the Attorney General. The League supports this bill that will provide police officers with training on the causes, behaviors, warning signs, and risk factors associated with officer suicide.

A-1044 requires the Director of Division of Taxation to examine the feasibility of a centralized property tax information system to verify property taxes paid by homestead property tax reimbursement claimants.  Specifically, the Director will be required to examine the feasibility of establishing, for the administration of the homestead property tax reimbursement program, a centralized property tax data system that would assist the Division in verifying the amount of property tax paid on any homestead in any base year, and in any year for which an eligible claimant seeks a reimbursement. A-1044 provides a specific timeline for the feasibility report and outlines the next steps.  The League supports this bill that should lead to a streamlined process for taxpayers applying for the homestead property tax reimbursement program.

A-1478 would permit theaters with 50 seats or more to apply for liquor licenses. The League supports this bill, which provides some flexibility from the State’s archaic ABC laws.

A-4382 requires paint producers to implement or participate in a paint stewardship program. This bill would require paint producers to develop and implement or participate in a program to recover paint. The League supports this common-sense bill as good public policy.

A-4822 permits municipalities, by ordinance, to lease vacant municipal land for tiny home placement and occupancy on public land and exempts the land from property taxation. In addition the bill directs the Department of Community Affairs to provide enhanced regulatory guidance concerning the construction and placement of tiny homes.  Consistent with the 2018 International Residential Code, the bill defines “tiny home” as a dwelling that is 400 square feet or less in floor area excluding lofts. 

A-5023 exempts from the New Jersey Department of Transportation permitting requirements, established under the “Roadside Sign Control and Outdoor Advertising Act,” signs attached to street furniture that are located in areas that are not protected areas, that have been approved by the municipality in which they are located, and that otherwise comply with the “Roadside Sign Control and Outdoor Advertising Act.”  “Street furniture” is defined as an object placed or installed adjacent to the street for public use, which is to include but not be limited to, a bench, trash and recycling receptacle, public bicycle-sharing parking structure, phone booth, or Wi-Fi kiosk.

A-5916 authorizes the Department of Health to notify elected officials of financial distress of certain hospitals. This bill would provide elected officials with notice if a hospital within their jurisdictions is in financial distress.  Because hospitals are such a valuable asset to their host communities elected officials have an interest in their viability.  Advance notice will allow elected officials to develop a plan of action and provide possible assistance to avoid the closure of the hospital. 

S-62 requires certain contractors to register under "The Public Works Contractor Registration Act."  This bill expands the definition of contractor in the “Public Works Contractor Registration Act” to include those who are required to pay their workers the prevailing wage by any other provision of law. Providing clarity that a Public Works Contractor Registration is required in any instance where the contractor is required to pay prevailing wage.

S-589 requires the Secretary of State to maintain a secure Internet website to allow eligible voters to register to vote using an online voter registration form.  The bill also authorizes the use of digitized signatures from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s database, or the applicant’s digitized or electronic signature, in connection with online voter registration forms. The information on the online voter registration forms would be electronically transferred by county commissioners of registration into the statewide voter registration system already established by law.

S-1298 permits a municipality to include on the tax bill a statement listing the number and type of shared services entered into by the municipality, the dollar value of the savings to the municipality from each of those shared services, and a total amount of municipal savings resulting from those shared services.  The statement on the tax bill would have to be in the format promulgated by the Director of the Division of Local Government Services.

S-2897 requires the Department of Community Affairs to establish procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities and certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers. This common-sense bill creates, for the first time, standards for mold hazards inspectors and abatement workers. 

S-2958 establishes the “Energy Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership Act.” This permissive legislation would allow a government entity to enter into a public-private partnership agreement with a private entity to develop, design, build, operate or maintain one or more energy-related projects and to assume financial, developmental, operational, managerial and administrative responsibilities in partnership with the government entity. S-2958 is permissive legislation that provides appropriate safeguards with a public process. It provides municipalities with another mechanism to fund and complete energy-related projects.

S-3265 prohibits the sale or distribution of flavored vapor products. This bill addresses the issues raised in League Conference Resolution 2019-22.

S-3763 renames joint meetings as regional service agencies to better reflect the purpose and operation of these entities. Any joint meeting created before the effective date of the bill would be grandfather. This common-sense legislation is one of the proposals of the Path to Progress report.

S-3770 establishes the "New Jersey Economic and Fiscal Policy Review Commission" to provide an ongoing review of State and local tax structure, economic conditions, and related fiscal issues. The 12-member panel within the Legislative Branch of State government would include three members from the Senate, three from the Assembly, and six public members.

Oppose

A-4463 establishes “Electronic Permit Processing Review System.” While the bill provides authority for local enforcement agencies to charge a fee to applicants to offset the initial startup costs associated with the new electronic review system, this fee structure is not sufficient to adequately recover these costs.  Further, this bill fails to take into account the realities of the permit review process that not all applications are suited for electronic review.  

S-2469 prohibits a person from contracting for public works if the person is barred from receiving federal contracts. While we support the intent of the legislation, we currently oppose S-2469 due to some technical concerns to ensure consistency with the Local Public Contracts Law.

S-3393 establishes a pilot program to allow special occasion events to be conducted on preserved farmland under certain conditions.  The League opposes this bill which would allow preserved farmland to, for purposes not initially contemplated when public funds were used to permanently preserve these prime agricultural lands. Further, this bill would eliminate local oversight of events taking place on these preserved lands.

S-3422 requires declaration of Code Blue alert when National Weather Service predicts temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The League opposes this bill, which could impose new burdens on our Code Blue providers, especially those reliant on the work of volunteers. We believe that the decision on when to call Code Blue should be made locally, and not mandated by the State.

Please contact the Governor’s office on these bills

Contact: Mike Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org,609-695-3481 x120.