I. Immunities, Reactivation of Certifications, and Employment Protections for EMTs and Others.
Yesterday, the Legislature acted on a number of COVID-19 response bills, including these.
S-2351/A-3924 – Protects paid and volunteer members of first aid, rescue, and ambulance squads from termination, dismissal, or suspension by an employer, for work absences due to active emergency service. The employee would be required to provide prior notice, and post-incident certification, to the employer. Except as otherwise provided by law, an employer will not be required to pay the employee for lost time. However, the first responder may use any available vacation or sick days. Passed both Houses. On Governor’s Desk.
S-2333(1R)/A-3910 – Provides certain civil and criminal immunities to health care professionals and facilities, when dealing with COVID-19 cases, during the current State of Emergency. The immunity would apply to doctors, nurses, EMTs, mobile intensive care technicians, radiologic technologists, and other health care professionals regulated pursuant to Title 45. The bill also permits the Commissioner of Health to issue provisional certifications to any EMTs whose certifications have expired, upon approval of an application requesting such. Similarly, the Commissioner could: issue provisional certifications to any paramedic whose certification has expired in the last five years; temporarily reactivate certifications for paramedics whose certification is currently inactive, upon application; and grant temporary reciprocity for paramedics certified in another state or the District of Columbia. Passed both Houses. On Governor’s Desk.
A-3901(1R)/S-2334 - Allows the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, with the approval of the Attorney General, to reactivate a license, registration or certification, normally granted by Consumer Affairs, on an expedited basis when the Governor has declared a state of emergency. The reactivation would be provided on an expedited basis to any individual who held a corresponding license, certificate of registration or certification, in good standing at the time that the individual retired from active practice or was placed on inactive status, within the last three years, or such other timeframe as the Director may specify. Passed both Houses. On Governor’s Desk.
S-2338. This bill clarifies filing and payment deadlines for CBT and GIT taxpayers, modifies duration of State Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, and requires certain updates and presentation for State Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.
This bill alters the duration of State Fiscal Year 2020 to conclude on September 30, 2020 and sets October 1, 2020 as the start of State Fiscal Year 2021. The bill also requires that any additional spending required to support the operations of the State from July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 be made through the enactment of a general law that amends or provides for a supplemental appropriation to that annual appropriations act. This change does not apply to municipalities that adopt the State’s fiscal year and does not prevent municipalities from converting to a calendar fiscal year.
The bill requires the State Treasurer to prepare a report on the financial condition of the State budget for State Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, which must be submitted to the Legislature by May 22, 2020 and prominently display on the Office of Management and Budget’s website.
The State Treasurer’s report is to include: (1) an update on State revenue collections through the first nine months of State Fiscal Year 2020 and a revised forecast of revenue projections for the remainder of the current fiscal year; (2) a detailed plan of spending from State, federal, and all other governmental funds for the continuation of essential governmental operations during the remainder of State Fiscal Year 2020; and (3) an assessment of current economic conditions and the potential impact of the economy on the proposed budget for State Fiscal Year 2021.
The Governor is required to present the revised budget message by August 25, 2020.
It also postpones the filing dates for the gross income tax or the corporation business tax, from April 15, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers will not be subject to penalties or interest if the taxpayer files a return, report, or makes a payment by the end of the extension. Passed both Houses. On Governor’s Desk.
A-3903 (1R) This bill would, for the duration of the current public health Emergency, permit a notary public to perform notarial acts using communication technology for a remotely located individual.
In addition to being performed by notaries public, notarial acts using communication technology for a remotely located individual could be performed by an officer authorized to take oaths, affirmations under R.S.41:2-1 or to take acknowledgements under R.S.46:14-6.1. This would not apply to: records governed by the “Uniform Commercial Code;” or a statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing adoption, divorce or other matters of family law.
The officers authorized to take oaths, affirmations and affidavits under R.S.41:2-1 include mayors or aldermen of cities, towns or boroughs or commissioners of commission-governed municipalities; municipal clerks; municipal court judges; clerks of all courts; and various State and county level officials.
The officers authorized to take acknowledgements under R.S.46:14-6.1 are: attorneys-at-law; notaries public; county clerks and deputy county clerks; registers of deeds and mortgages and deputy registers; and others. Passed both Houses. On Governor’s Desk.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x121.
II. Reported Agreement on COVID-19 Support for All Municipalities
After initial reluctance, it appears that the Trump Administration is willing to include some funding for mid-sized and smaller municipalities in the next COVID-19 response legislation. Reliable reports out of Washington indicate the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have agreed that the virus is forcing towns with fewer than 500,000 residents to make expenditures, not anticipated when their budgets were adopted.
In addition to funding needed for the Payroll Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses, increased appropriations for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and additional money for hospitals, the agreement is reported to include an additional $150 billion to state and local governments.
Of the $150 billion, $65.45 billion would be provided to state governments based on population, with another $20 billion allocated to states based on their share of the national COVID-19 infection rate. Another $11 billion would go to territories and tribes, and $53.55 billion would be distributed to local governments.
Under the CDBG block grants formula for the local government share, 70 percent of the $53.55 billion would go to “entitlement areas.” Those are defined as cities with more than 50,000 residents or urban counties with more than 200,000 people, not counting eligible cities. The remaining 30 percent would go to local governments that don’t meet that threshold.
This agreement would provide New Jersey municipalities with some federal support. But it would be far less than the $4.5 Billion, which Garden State local governments would have divided (based on population), pursuant to the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, introduced last week, in the House of Representatives.
Please contact Senators Menendez and Booker and your District Representative in the House. Thank them for all they’ve done, to date. And remind them that the virus is impacting the lives of all citizens, no matter how large or small their hometowns may be.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x121.
III. Free Tech Coaching from Sustainable Jersey
To help you respond to the CV-19 crisis, Sustainable Jersey is offering support by 1) providing recommended strategies to help municipalities engage the public in virtual environments, 2) updating the SJ online database of applications, platforms and systems available on the market, including those offering free use during this crisis and, 3) offering coaching for the implementation of new remote systems and procedures.
See a full list of their free assistance at their website