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Governor Murphy has acted on the remaining 2022-2023 Legislative term bills on his desk. Below are some of the new laws that may impact your municipality:
P.L. 2023, c. 333 (A-5567/S-3807): Extends the period of usefulness of fire engines for bonding purposes from 10 to 20 years; eliminates the exclusion of passenger cars and station wagons.
Summary: The legislation would expand the useful life of all fire engines, apparatus, and equipment when purchased new from 10 years to 20 years under the Local Bond Law. In addition, the law establishes a useful life for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) below 15,000 pounds for 5 years and GVWR in excess of 15,000 pounds to 10 years. The League supported this commonsense measure.
Effective Date: January 16, 2024.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Deputy Executive Director & Director of Government Affairs, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x112.
P.L. 2023, c. 293 (A-1100/S-995): Requires entities to remove abandoned lines and mark information on certain lines.
Summary: The legislation would require abandoned lines, including copper telephone lines, and any associated equipment attached to a pole, building, or other structure, to be removed or corrected after being discovered by the utility or service provider or after being notified by a municipality, utility, or individual.
Entities that fail to timely remove abandoned lines are subject to penalties not to exceed $500 per day for each infraction.
The League supported this bill as the right-of-way is a limited public asset that must be carefully managed and preserved. Abandoned lines not only take up useful space within the ROW but they are unsightly and dangerous, negatively impacting residents’ lives.
Effective Date: January 16, 2024, but remains inoperative until April 15, 2024.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x137.
P.L. 2023, c. 302 (A-3142/S-1564): Authorizes grants to purchase and rehabilitate abandoned homes for homeless veterans.
Summary: The current pilot program, established by the “New Jersey Housing Assistance for Veterans Act,” authorizes grants to eligible nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate existing primary residences of disabled or low-income veterans. This law amends the Act to expand the pilot program to include the purchase and rehabilitation of abandoned homes for homeless veterans. The League supports the efforts of the sponsors to provide additional funding to assist the veterans who need it most.
Effective Date: January 16, 2024
P.L. 2023, c. 308 (A-4183/S-4264): Concerns local unit filing requirement for certain shared services agreements.
Summary: This law requires local units entering shared service agreements to file the agreements and estimates of the anticipated cost savings with the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS).
The League opposed this bill because it is duplicative. N.J.A.C. 5:30-3.8(d)(20) requires each municipal user-friendly budget to include a listing of each shared service provided or received, what entity or entities are providing or receiving the service, the beginning and end date of the agreement as applicable, and the amount either received or paid for the service. An item on compliance with this law is also in the DLGS Best Practices Inventory Questions under the Core Competencies category and Transparency topic.
Effective Date: January 16, 2024, but applies to agreements entered into after January 16, 2024.
Contact: Paul Penna, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x110.
P.L. 2023, c. 315 (A-4791/S-3184): Establishes “Resiliency and Environmental System Investment Charge Program.”
Summary: This law creates a program that would allow water and wastewater utilities to recover, outside of their rates, the cost of investment in certain non-revenue- producing utility system components that enhance water and wastewater system resiliency, environmental compliance, safety, and public health.
While investment in these components is necessary and wise, utilities would be allowed to recover these costs outside of strict oversight from the Board of Public Utilities and Rate Counsel.
The League opposes this legislation as it will undoubtedly lead to increased water and wastewater bills for municipalities serviced by water or wastewater utilities.
Effective Date: January 16, 2024.
P.L. 2023, c. 259 (A-5326/S-4250): Establishes Community Crisis Response Advisory Council and community crisis response teams pilot program; designates “Seabrooks-Washington Community-Led Crisis Response Act;” appropriates $12 million.
Summary: Establishes a Community Crisis Response Teams to offer on-site, community-based interventions during behavioral health crises as pilot program. The pilot program available to municipalities would be led by the Attorney General and established in Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Passaic counties.
The League supported this permissive bill to provide municipalities with additional tools.
Effective Date: January 12, 2024.
Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x116.
P.L. 2023, c. 332 (A-5565/S-3971): Provides that 10-year terms do not apply to lease of certain municipal properties unless they are waterfront properties or related to waterfront concessions.
Summary: Prior to this law the governing body of every municipality bordering on the Atlantic Ocean was authorized to lease, rent, or hire, the whole or any part of any public parks, recreation grounds, or places of public resort, owned by it and not presently needed by the municipality for municipal purposes, or any building or portion thereof for any period not to exceed 10 years.
This law amends that law to provide that the 10-year term limitation on leases only applies to municipal properties that are waterfront properties and provides that properties that are neither waterfront properties nor related to waterfront activities or concessions are authorized to have a 25-year term limitation on leases.
The League supported this legislation measure as it makes vacant property owned by shore towns more attractive to investors who prefer a lease term greater than 10 years to recoup costs when substantial renovation efforts are needed.
P.L. 2023, c. 348 (A-5909/S-4267) Revises workers' compensation coverage for certain injuries to certain volunteer and professional public safety and law enforcement personnel.
Summary: This law revises the law governing workers’ compensation coverage for certain injuries to volunteer and professional public safety and law enforcement personnel. It expands the individuals that are covered by the presumption to include any paramedics employed by the State, a county, a municipality, or a private sector counterpart who is engaged in public emergency medical and rescue services.
The League opposed this measure. The fiscal impact that the legislation will have on municipalities, which currently face the highest workers’ compensation costs in the nation, is not known. Without an available fiscal note to evaluate the cost to municipalities, we are unable to determine if the cost to municipalities will be negligible. While the goal of this legislation is laudable and we are grateful for the service of public safety professionals and volunteers, it is simply unaffordable to municipal governments at this time.
Effective Date: January 16, 2024, but applies to applicable injuries and deaths pending on January 16, 2024.
P.L. 2023, c. 282 (S-3837/A-5438): Clarifies process for administrative appropriations to UEZs.
Summary: This law clarifies the process for appropriating revenue under the State Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Program for use within the UEZs. The new law is designed to overcome administrative issues identified during attempts to implement provisions of a recent amendment (P.L.2021, c.197) to the “New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones Act.”
The League supported this law because it brings more resources to municipalities with Urban Enterprise Zones.
Effective: Signed January 16, 2024, but takes effect at the beginning of the next reporting period after February 15, 2024.
P.L. 2023, c. 284 (S-4040/A-5881) Concerns jurisdiction and operations of regional municipal courts.
Summary: This law clarifies the jurisdiction of regional municipal courts established under the pilot program set forth in P.L.2021, c.191 (N.J.S.A.2B:12-34, et seq.). Regional municipal courts will no longer be required to hear State Police or county police cases originating from outside the participating municipalities.
The League supported this permissive measure that permits municipalities to decide whether they want to hear additional cases.
Effective Date: August 1, 2024, but the Courts may take anticipatory action they deem necessary for timely implementation.
P.L. 2023, c. 284 (S-281/A-3791) “New Townhouse Fire Safety Act”; requires automatic fire sprinkler systems in new townhomes.
Summary: Requires the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs to modify the building subcode of the State’s Uniform Construction Code (UCC) to require the installation of fire suppression systems in all new townhouses.
Effective Date: August 1, 2024, but the Department of Community Affairs must take anticipatory action they deem necessary for timely implementation.
P.L. 2023, c. 322 (A-5285/S-3708) Requires copies of certain law enforcement records to be provided to victims of domestic violence upon request.
This law permits a victim of domestic violence or their legal representative to request from a law enforcement agency with primary responsibility for investigating complaints under the Prevention of Domestic Violence act certain records, at no cost, within 10 calendar days. If a copy of a record is unable to be produced within 10 calendar days, then the record must be provided within 24 hours of becoming available.
The records to be made available include photographs taken by law enforcement, body worn or dash camera footage, 911 transcript or recording, and contents of the police report, as deemed appropriate by the law enforcement agency.
Law enforcement agencies may request additional time from the courts to redact the documents by submitting a written request to the court with notice to the victim or their legal representative.
If the law enforcement agency is unable to produce a copy of a requested record within the 10-day-period, and the court does not reschedule the hearing to be conducted, upon the request of the victim, the law enforcement agency must make at least one of the officers primarily responsible for investigating the complaint available for the hearing.
Effective Date: April 1, 2024, but the Attorney General and Courts may take anticipatory action to implement the law.