a. COVID-19 Update
On Thursday, the Governor announced that there were 406 new positive results and 26 deaths for COVID-19 since the day before. The Governor also announced that they identified an additional 1,854 probable deaths. These are fatalities in which no test was conducted but the cause of death was most likely attributed to the virus.
Meanwhile, the ROT (rate of transmission) is .88, which has seen a slight increase in recent days. The Governor and the Health Commissioner stated this week that even though some of the metrics have increased slightly, they remain comfortable with continuing with Stage 2 of reopening. But they also continue to caution to exercise good hygiene, social distancing, wearing face masks, and testing.
Today, the Governor will join the Commissioner of the Department of Education to discuss guidance on the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
Nationally, approximately 1.5 million filed new unemployment claims and 19.5 million have currently received unemployment. In New Jersey alone, about 33,000 new unemployment claims were filed.
Since last Friday, the Governor has taken the following action:
Executive Order 156 - Increased Indoor and Outdoor Gathering Capacity Limits
Considering the current pandemic, we remind you of NJ Mental Health Cares; the state’s behavioral health information and referral service offer assistance to people dealing with anxiety and stress-related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Residents can call 1-866-202-HELP (4357) for free, confidential support. NJ Mental Health Cares will be answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week by live trained specialists.
See the League COVID-19 page for all our resources and communications.
Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x120.
b. Bridge Budget Bill Introduced
Because of the extension of the State’s current Fiscal Year for an additional three months, the Legislature must pass and the Governor sign a Supplemental Appropriations bill by midnight, June 30. On Thursday, June 24, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and Assemblyman John Burzichelli, respectively, Chairs of the Assembly Budget and the Assembly Appropriations Committees, introduced A-3. This bill, if enacted, includes supplemental appropriations that will permit state spending to bridge the gap between the usual end of the Fiscal Year, on June 30, and this year’s final day, September 30.
The bill would appropriate $298.6 million in Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid (CMPTRA) ($209 million of which will be distributed as if it were Energy Tax Receipts, so that the State can avoid the ‘poison pill,’ while again failing to increase municipal property tax relief funding)and $364 million in Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief (ETR) assistance (funded not through the taxes on energy utilities, but from the Property Tax Relief Fund, that is, the income tax proceeds). Crucially, these appropriations will allow the State to make the full August 1 ETR/CMPTRA payments – representing 45% of the annual amount due – on time.
A-3 also includes $2.2 million for Highlands Watershed Moratorium Aid. And, the bill also addresses Election Administration support, with $2.5 million for County Election Board mail-in ballot aid, and $3.8 million to support extended polling place hours.
The bill does not include the use of federal CARES Act funding, to create the local aid program, proposed by the Governor. Those federal funds were to be administered by the Division of Local Government Services, with priority given to the county governments that did not receive direct CARES Act aid. That fund may be created by another legislative initiative.
A-3 was released by the Assembly Budget Committee, also on Thursday. The Senate companion bill, S-20, sponsored by Senators Sarlo and Cunningham, is expected to be approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today. Both bills are scheduled for final votes on Monday, June 29.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x121.
c. New Law Provides Local Units with Flexibility to Waive Penalties on Overdue Sewer or Water Charges
Last Friday, Governor Murphy signed into law A-4126 (now, P.L.2020, c.39), which gives municipalities, counties, and utility authorities the ability to waive interest and lien enforcement for certain delinquent water and sewer utility payments during emergency circumstances.
During a public health emergency the new law allows sewage authorities, county or municipal utility authorities, or counties or municipalities responsible for the administration of a sewage or water utility to refrain from charging interest on a delinquent payment, placing a lien on a property for unpaid balance of a sewer charge and accruing interest, or discontinuing service for failure to pay an owed amount.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x137.
d. DCA Announces COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Enrollment Period
Department of Community Affair’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CVERAP) will provide temporary rental assistance to low and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income or became unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The enrollment period begins Monday, July 6, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 2020. For more information on the program please see the FAQ guide. Please feel free to share this information with your constituents.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x112.