On January 8, Governor Christie took action on 42 bills; signing 40 of them into law and vetoing 2. A recap and summary of action taken on bills of municipal interest are listed below.
Bills Signed Into Law
S-1732/A-2449, sponsored by Senators Cruz-Perez and Allen, Assemblymen Eustace, Gusciora, and Houghtalin, establishes the, “Adopt a Monarch Butterfly Waystation” program. The League supported this bill. Groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals will be permitted to “adopt” portions of State-owned lands to develop and maintain monarch butterfly waystations. The law provides for a waiver to release all State and local government entities and employees from any liability for injury or damages caused or sustained while developing or maintaining a waystation. The law also permits the DEP, counties, municipalities, and school districts to accept donations of funds, supplies, or services for use in the program. The DEP is responsible for developing the criteria and coordinating the program. P.L. 2017, c. 250, took effect immediately. Previous versions of this bill would have allowed DEP to authorize these waystations on municipal property. At our request, the sponsors agreed to delete that provision.
S-1986/A-2448, sponsored by Senators Cruz-Perez and Cunningham, Assembly representatives Eustace, Pinkin, Gusciora, Houghtaling, and Quijano, establishes the “Milkweed for Monarchs” program in the DEP. The League supported this bill. Groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals will be permitted to “adopt” assigned state-owned stormwater management basins for the purpose of planting milkweed. The law also permits the DEP, counties, municipalities, and school districts to accept donations of funds, supplies, or services for use in the program. The DEP is responsible for developing the criteria and coordinating the program. P.L. 2017, c. 252, took effect immediately. Previous versions of this bill would have allowed DEP to authorize these programs on municipal property. At our request, the sponsors agreed to delete that provision.
S-2226/A-2776, sponsored by Senator Diegnan and Assemblymen Holley, Kennedy, and Wimberly, permits municipalities, by ordinance, to authorize its parking authority to serve as a redevelopment entity. The league supported this permissive legislation. P.L. 2017, c. 253, took effect immediately.
A-856/S-1498, sponsored by Assembly representatives Quijano, Dancer, Pinkin, Mukherji, McKnight and Senator Madden, requires the removal of equipment and markings on certain used emergency vehicles prior to the sale or transfer of an authorized emergency vehicle. The League supported this bill. The law does not apply to transfer or sale to another State or municipal agency. The law also provides for an exemption for historic vehicles. The Attorney General will be required to issue guidelines or directives for the enforcement of this law. P.L. 2017, c. 259 will take effect May 1, 2018, but allows for the Attorney General to take anticipatory administrative action in advance of the effective date.
A-1427/S-2633, sponsored by Assembly representatives Johnson, Burzichelli, Danielsen, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Jasey, and Senators Weinberg and Cruz-Perez, permits an increase in municipal free public library tax upon voter approval. This law would permit an additional amount to be raised by taxation to supplement the annual statutory funding for the public library for a ten year period. This additional levy can only be authorized by voter approval of a public question at a general election. The public question can be submitted by either the governing body or petition of voters. At no time may the annual levy be less than one-third of a mill on every dollar of assessable property. Propositions to change the library’s annual levy may not be submitted to voters more than once in a 3 year election period. P.L. 2017, c 260 took effect immediately.
A-2294/S-2709, sponsored by Assembly representatives Vainier Huttle, Andrzejczak, Muoi, Lampitt, Mukherji, McKnight and Senators Weinberg, and Ruiz, expands certain civil rights protections under the “Law Against Discrimination” to include breastfeeding and expressing milk or related medical conditions. It will now be a civil rights violation for a working woman to be fired or otherwise discriminated against because of breastfeeding or expressing her milk during breaks. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable daily break times and location for an employee who is breastfeeding to express her milk in private. P.L. 2017, c. 263 took effect immediately.
A-2741/S-2875, sponsored by Assembly representative Coughlin, Holley, Johnson, Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Danielsen and Senators Vitale, and Greenstein, authorizes a municipal governing body to create and maintain list of municipal residents in need of special assistance in case of emergency for public safety purposes. By ordinance, a governing body may require the Municipal Clerk to maintain a list containing the names and addresses of municipal residents who identify themselves as being in need of special assistance in the event of an emergency and who request that this information be maintained on their behalf for public safety purposes. The law requires that the list be cross-indexed by name and address and identify the special circumstances of each individual. The list is solely and strictly for the police department, fire department, and rescue squad serving the municipality and they must be provided monthly updates. The law also requires that a notice of the program and how to be added to the list be included with the annual tax bill mailings. A similar notice must be provided to each landlord. The Department of Community Affairs is responsible for promulgating a model ordinance within 6 months. The law also exempts the list from disclosure under the Open Public Records Act. P.L. 2017, c. 266 took effect immediately.
A-4124/S-2907, sponsored by Assembly representatives Mosquera, Barclay, Jones, Vainieri Huttle, Lampitt, Downey, Mukherji and Senators Greenstein, and Cruz-Perez, requires public employers to implement certain policies for handling and responding to reports of domestic violence. This law requires the Civil Service Commission to develop a uniform domestic violence policy that all public employers, regardless if they are Civil Service, must adopt and distribute to their employees. The policy must include, among other things, a confidential method for employees to report domestic violence incidents to human resource officers as well as a requirement for public employers to develop a plan to identify, respond to, and correct employee performance issues that may be caused by a domestic violence incident. A public employer will be permitted to modify the uniform domestic violence plan but the modified plan cannot conflict with the specific requirements of the law. P.L. 2017, c. 272 took effect immediately.
A-4540/S-2873, sponsored by Assembly representatives Muoio, Eustace, Kennedy, Mukherji, Gusciora and Senators Smith and Bateman, requires municipal land use plan element of the master plan to address smart growth, storm resiliency, and environmental sustainability issues. The League opposed this unnecessary legislation, which requires the land use element of a municipal master plan include “a statement of strategy” concerning: smart growth, including consideration of potential locations for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations; storm resiliency with respect to energy supply, flood-prone areas, and environmental infrastructure; and environmental sustainability. The League pointed out that, without appropriate tools and financing, all this bill will provide for is a statement of strategy. P.L. 2017, c. 275 took effect immediately.
S-3011/A-4708, sponsored by Senators Gordon and Weinberg and Assemblywoman Quijano , prohibits disclosure of certain religious affiliation by State or local government agencies. Governor Christie conditionally vetoed this legislation. While the Governor agreed with the sponsors regarding the protection of religious freedom, he found that the approach in this legislation would imperil the state’s homeland security. The bill was returned to the sponsors with recommendation. The Governor’s conditional veto was received in the Senate, which was the house of origin, but it was not acted on. Thus, the bill died with the expiration of the legislative term. Please click here to read more.
A-5072/S-1396, sponsored by Assembly representatives Quijano, Muoio, Lampitt, Egan and Senators Weinberg and Greenstein, concerns the law proscribing failure to pay wages. Governor Christie conditionally vetoed this legislation stating that there is a better way to address this issue through an administrative process. To read more please click here. The Governor’s conditional veto was received in the General Assembly, which was the house of origin, but it was not acted on. Thus, the bill died with the expiration of the legislative term.
Contact: Ciara Bradley, Legislative Administrator,CBradley@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x128.