Governor Takes Action at the End of Legislative Term
Earlier this week, before the end of the 219th Legislative Term, Governor Murphy took action on various pieces of legislation. Below is a summary of the action taken for bills with municipal interest. For the bills that were conditionally vetoed on January 10, both houses concurred with the governor’s recommendations and sent the bills back to the governor for his anticipated signature. As a reminder, the Governor will have 10 days to take action on the bills sent to him on January 10. All bills that have not been signed by the Governor during this period will need to be reintroduced in the new legislative term and begin the legislative process again.
Bills signed into law
S-2817/A-4624 permits active duty service members to provide documentation other than DD-214 when claiming veterans' preference for civil service. A “veteran” or “disabled veteran” under N.J.S.11A:5-1, for the purpose of receiving civil service preference, who has not yet been issued Form DD-214 as proof of military service may submit an official certification or verification of military service statement or letter that provides entry date and estimated date of discharge, the character of the discharge, and other information as the Adjutant General shall require. P.L. 2021, c. 340, which took effect January 10, 2022, allows a person who expects to be discharged or released soon, but is still on active military duty, to begin the process of securing veterans’ preference before the discharge occurs.
S-771/A-6195 provides that, for the purposes of coverage under the workers’ compensation law, if an employer provides or designates a parking area for use by an employee, then employment is deemed to commence when an employee arrives at the parking area prior to reporting for work and ends when an employee leaves the parking area at the end of a work period. If the parking area is separate from the place of employment, an employee is deemed to be in the course of employment while traveling directly from the parking area to the place of employment and back the parking area at the end of the work period.
Prior to the enactment of P.L. 2021, c.334, the workers’ compensation law provided that employment commences when an employee arrives at the place of employment and ends when an employee leaves the place of employment, preventing any injury occurring during travel between the employee parking area and the place of employment from being compensable under the workers’ compensation law. This new law took effect January 10, 2022. We suggest you review this new law with your risk manager.
S-4080/A-6088 authorizes municipalities to address certain unlawful operation of all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes through seizure and, in some instances, destruction of vehicles. P.L. 2021, c. 353, authorizes municipalities to adopt an ordinance declaring that an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or dirt bike unlawfully operated on any public street, highway, or right-of-way is an immediate threat to the public health, safety, and welfare, and to designate the ATVs or dirt bikes as contraband subject to forfeiture.
Under the provisions of this new law, instead of being subject to impoundment and released upon payment of a fee and towing and storage costs, an ATV or dirt bike that is operated illegally is to be designated as prima facie contraband that is subject to civil asset forfeiture. Once forfeited under the civil asset forfeiture law, the prosecuting entity in a municipality that has passed such an ordinance has the discretion to order the forfeited ATV or dirt bike to be destroyed. P.L.2021, c.353, took effect January 10, 2022.
S-3830/A-5689 makes $25 million in federal funds available to the Department of State to advertise and promote New Jersey’s travel and tourism industry for recovery from COVID-19 pandemic. P.L. 2021, c. 364, provides a significant increase in resources to be allocated to effectively communicate that the state’s tourism destinations are open, operational, and safe. This includes allocating $5 million to Destination Marketing Organizations recognized by the State to market all regions of the state and work cooperatively with the State’s overall marketing campaign. There is an additional $20 million in allocations available for which the Division of Travel and Tourism must identify other such areas that have been impacted by the pandemic. The funding is based on availability of federal funds provided or made accessible to the state via federal block grants to the state under the federal “Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund” established pursuant to the federal “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.” P.L. 2021, c. 364, took effect on January 10, 2022.
S-3319/A-5507 eliminates certain statutory costs, fees, and penalties imposed on juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system. On and after the effective date, any unpaid outstanding balances of statutory or court-ordered fines, fees, costs, or other monetary penalties previously assessed or imposed upon a juvenile or the juvenile’s parent or guardian are vacated, as are any unsatisfied civil judgments based on these monetary penalties. Further, all warrants based on the alleged failure to pay or to appear in court to pay these monetary penalties are to be reviewed and vacated consistent with the bill. P.L. 2021, c. 342, took effect January 10; however, the provisions regarding warrant review will take effect in nine months to give the Administrative Director of Courts the necessary time to complete the manual process of identifying, vacating, and discharging the fines, fees, costs, and other monetary penalties.
S-3656/A-5583 amends the 3.5% mass transit access parking tax that a municipality with a population of 100,000 or greater is permitted by ordinance to impose for the parking, garaging, or storing of motor vehicles. This new law limits the type of parking facilities to only public parking garages, lots, or facilities. The new law specifically prohibits the imposition of the tax on parking, garaging, or storing of motor vehicles at a parking lot, garage, or facility that is part of a private single or multi-family dwelling or condominium building, a cooperative building, or apartment building. P.L. 2020, c. 348, took effect on January 10.
Bills conditionally vetoed by the Governor
S-4004/A-5950 establishes a database of certain appointed positions and elected offices. The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, with its Center for American Women and Politics and Center for Public Interest Polling, will establish and maintain databases that contain every person appointed to a State board, commission, authority, or other multi-member entity, and for every person elected to a public office in this State, except school board members. The database will include the name of the individual, the title of the office held, the term of office, the race and the gender identity or expression of that individual, and the appointing authority.
This legislation passed by both chambers and was conditionally vetoed by the Governor to make various technical changes and protect the private information of appointed officials. On the last day of the legislative session, both chambers concurred with the Governor’s recommendation and sent it back for his consideration.
A-3950/S-3180, imposes civil penalties on an employer for using a tracking device in a vehicle operated by an employee without first obtaining the employee’s written consent. As originally approved by the legislature, the bill would have included possible criminal penalties along with civil penalties for using a tracking device in a vehicle without employee consent. Also, as originally adopted, the bill would have included state and local governments as employers prohibited from using tracking devices in vehicles without employee consent.
The bill, however, was conditionally vetoed by Governor Murphy with recommendations to remove criminal penalties and remove state and local governments from the definition of employer. On January 10, both houses concurred with the governor’s recommendations and sent the bill back to the governor for his anticipated signature.
A-862/S-926 permits municipalities to refund excess property taxes paid by a taxpayer who wins an assessment appeal as a property tax credit for three years. The Governor’s conditional veto of the legislation recommended changes that permit municipalities to provide a credit for up to three years for non-residential property taxpayers only. On January 10, both houses concurred with the governor’s recommendations and sent the bill back to the governor for his anticipated signature.
Bill vetoed by the Governor
A-2300/S-3129 would require apportionment of membership on certain regional district boards of education to be based on amount of district costs apportioned to each constituent municipality. Concern with a diversion from the current practice the Governor vetoed the legislation, noting in his veto message that he was “…concerned that redistributing board of education seats in a manner that takes into account wealth, as measured by equalized property valuation, rather than apportioning seats based purely on population could have the effect of diluting the vote of relatively poorer districts at the expense of wealthier ones.” Since the 219th legislative term has ended this vetoed cannot be overridden and must be reintroduced in the new legislative term.
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