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February 18, 2011

RE: Legislative Action Report on February 17 - Senate and Assembly Voting Sessions

Dear Mayor:

Both Houses of the State Legislature were in session yesterday; taking action on several issues that concern municipal government.

A-1851, the “Historic Property Reinvestment Act,” was passed by the Assembly and sent to the Governor. This bill, which we support, provides tax credits for certain costs incurred rehabilitating historic properties. TODAY, GOVERNOR CHRISTIE VETOED THIS BILL, AND SEVERAL OTHERS.

A-2505, which we are studying, was substituted for S-2044 (1R) and passed by the Senate. This bill limits the compensation and benefits of officers, employees and members of State and local authorities. It has been received in the Assembly for concurrence with amendments.

A-3053 passed the Assembly and now moves on to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill establishes a conditional intervention program in municipal courts for first-time offenders. At this time, we are monitoring the progress of this legislation.

A-3094 passed the Assembly and was sent to the Governor. The bill will permit the State’s Department of Transportation to contract with municipalities and counties for repair work on highways to prevent public hazards. Specifically, the bill provides that the Commissioner of Transportation may enter into a contract or agreement with a county or municipality for snow removal, grass mowing, tree pruning, landscaping, repair, or routine maintenance of State highways and adjacent shoulders, berms, right of ways, and other areas without advertisement for bids, if the scope of the work required does not contemplate the award of a contract by the county or municipality to an outside contractor, or if the commissioner determines the work to be performed is immediately necessary for the prevention of a public hazard.  The bill also requires the commissioner to establish reasonable rates for work performed by a county or municipality without a contract or agreement, for work that is immediately necessary for the prevention of a public hazard.

Currently, the commissioner may only contract with a county or municipality for road maintenance, when the scope of the work required does not contemplate the award of a contract by the county or municipality to an outside contractor.

We support this bill.

A-3272 (1R) was substituted for S-2433, approved by the Senate unanimously, and sent to the Governor.  The bill, which we support, would allow municipalities to reexamine a master plan every 10 years instead of the current requirement to do it every 6 years.

S-1248 would mandate that each municipality, county and local authority provide the Director of the Division of Local Government Services with a report concerning all lawsuits to which it is a party. Approval of a local budget would be conditioned on preparation and delivery of this report.  This bill, which we oppose, was previously passed by the Legislature. It has been conditionally vetoed by the Governor.  The Senate voted to accept the Governor’s recommendations and it now returns to the Assembly for their consideration.  

The State Senate concurred with the Governor’s conditional veto recommendations concerning S-1730. The bill will require certain public officers and employees to reside in State. We are monitoring the progress of this initiative.

S-2068 was passed by the Senate and has been sent to the Governor. The bill will allow a dedicated line-item on the property tax bill to account for the funding of a municipal free public library and a joint free public library. The League has supported this bill, asking only that it apply beginning with next year’s bills.

S-2295 (2R) was substituted for A-3444 (1R) and passed by the Assembly. This bill provides certain exemptions from disclosure requirements for the licensing of solid waste and hazardous waste operations. We are currently tracking the progress of the bill, which is positioned for a final vote in the Senate to concur with the Assembly’s amendments.

S-2465, which we support, has passed the Senate. The bill allows any combination of voter petitions and governing body applications to advance a request to authorize the formation of a Municipal Consolidation Study Commission to the Local Finance Board.

S-2541, which enhances the penalty for killing a police or search and rescue dog, has passed the Senate. We will review this bill at the next meeting of our Legislative Committee.

S-2562 would set confidentiality standards for public employee assistance program records and prohibit employer actions against program participants. We are reviewing this bill, which was passed by the State Senate.

For more information on any of these, call 609-695-3481 to contact Jon Moran (ext.121 or jmoran@njslom.com), Lori Buckelew (ext. 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com) or Mike Cerra (ext. 120 or mcerra@njslom.com)   .

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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