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On August 7 Governor Christie took action on 51 bills.  Below is a summary of action taken on bills of municipal interest:


S-169/A-4329: Allows certain emergency squad volunteers holding municipal elective office to vote on emergency squad concerns.  Specifically for municipalities with a population below 5,000, an elected official would be required to recuse themselves from voting on a matter concerning a volunteer squad or company only if that elected official also serves as an officer, director, or trustee of the squad or company. P.L. 2017, c. 181, which the League supported, took effect on August 7, 2017.

S-678/A-1967: requires local government units to certify compliance with certain federal hiring requirements when filing annual budgets. Specifically, the governing body would be required to certify that the municipality’s hiring practices comply with the “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”.  P.L. 2017, c. 183, which the League opposed as duplicative since this review is currently part of the audit process, took effect on August 7, 2017.

S-726/A-4460: extends full protection of Law Against Discrimination to persons having liability for service in Armed Forces of United States; guarantees equal employment opportunity in State contracting to all veterans. This law clarified the existing Law Against Discrimination to ensure that persons having liability for service in the Armed Forces of the Unites States are a protected class in the same regard as other protected classes.  A person having liability for service in the Armed Services is now held in the same esteem as other protected classes, such as; race, creed, color, national origin and others.  This law also allows for an expanded definition of affirmative action plans for public works contracts by removing the previous limitation for such programs to only “Vietnam era” veterans and expanding these programs to all veterans. P.L. 2017, c. 184 took effect on August 7, 2017.

S-1219/A-936: requires reporting of suspected abuse of institutionalized elderly to police and that facility employees receive notice of reporting requirement annually; designated as “Peggy’s Law.”  Originally introduced, the bill required anyone to, ‘immediately’, report suspected abuse to local law enforcement. That would have subjected any non-professional family member or friend visiting a nursing home to the penalty provisions of this law. The final bill allows, but does not require, such reporting.   P.L. 2017, c. 186, which the League supported as amended, took effect on August 7, 2017.

S-1497/A-3225: designates Killed in Action flag as an official State flag; mandates it be displayed at certain public buildings. The Killed in Action flag is a red flag which depicts the silhouette of a helmet on top of a firearm next to a service member.  The law requires that the Killed in Action be displayed at the principal municipal building in each municipality, county, and State House during normal business hours.  P.L. 2017, c. 188 took effect on August 7, 2017.

S-1731/A-2368: permits municipality to establish a civil penalty for smoking in public places.  The new law will permit a municipality to adopt an ordinance establishing a civil penalty of up to $200 for smoking in a public place where it is prohibited by the municipality or the owner or person responsible for the operation of a public place. Prior to the enactment of this statute, a violation of a ‘no smoking’ ordinance had to be a criminal petty disorderly persons offense, which carried a penalty of imprisonment for up to 30 days or a criminal fine of up to $200, or both. P.L. 2017, c.191, which the League supported, took effect on August 7, 2017.

S-1739/A-2167: establishes sexual assault training requirements for law enforcement officers.  All law enforcement officers would be required to attend training, to be developed by the Attorney General, every three years and the Attorney General would be responsible for ensuring completion of the training program by law enforcement officers Statewide. The Office of Legislative Services anticipated local costs to be minimal, given that some law enforcement agencies may already provide training on this topic and that the required training program could be incorporated into existing in-service continuing education schedules.  The League originally had opposed this bi1l, but amendments provided local law enforcement with more flexibility and eliminated the requirement that initial training for all officers is completed within 90 days. .P.L. 2017, c. 192 takes effect March 1, 2018.

S-2884/A-4484: declares that deed restrictions or agreements that prevent raising or constructing of a structure to certain flood elevation standards are unenforceable.  P.L. 2017, c. 199 took effect on August 7, 2017.

A-1185/S-2771: requires State Comptroller to report findings of audit compliance reviews.  Specifically, the State Comptroller will be required to report on the findings of any subsequent review to the Governor, Senate President and Assembly Speaker within 3 years of the initial audit.  The report must include the corrective or remedial action taken and the effect of such action.  P.L. 2017, c. 204 took effect on August 7, 2017.

A-1690/S-660: allows fire district elections to be moved to November; eliminates certain fire district budget referenda, and eliminates certain fire district capital purchase referenda.  P.L. 2017, c. 206 takes effect January 1, 2019.  For more on this bill please see our recent blog post.

A-3381: authorizes municipal volunteer programs for free removal of snow from certain residential properties occupied by seniors or disabled persons. Municipalities may establish a volunteer program for free snow and ice removal from the entrance ways, driveways, and abutting sidewalks of qualified residential properties.  If a municipality establishes such a program they are required to appoint a coordinator, who cannot receive compensation, to administer the program.   As introduced, this bill required municipalities to create these programs and raised a number of concerns about an unfunded mandate as well as liability concerns.    In response to the concerns raised by the League, the sponsor agreed to amend the bill to make it optional for municipalities.   P.L. 2017, c. 212 took effect on August 7, 2017.

A-3908/S-3021: establishes 9/11 Memorial Registry within the Division of Travel and Tourism.  The registry, which must be posted on the State’s website, will provide the location and condition of all 9/11 memorials in the State owned, operated, or maintained by a governmental entity. P.L. 2017, c. 216 took effect on August 7, 2017.

A-4673/S-3095: concerns assessment of buildings or structures on real property located in certain counties following material depreciation thereof.  This law changes the date for notice to the tax assessor for material depreciation for property owners in the Monmouth County Real Demonstration program.  Specifically, when such a depreciation of value of a building or structure occurs after October 1 and before May 1 of the following tax year, the tax assessor, upon notice of that material depreciation given by the property owner before May 3, must determine the value of the parcel of real property as of May first of the tax year, and assess the property according to that value, including an improvement value for the building or structure that reflects its prorated value as of January 1 for the number of days before depreciation, within the final tax list delivered to the county board of taxation on or before May 5 of that tax year.  P.L. 2017, c. 228, which the League supported, took effect on August 7, 2017.