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December 9, 2011

Re:      Legislative Recap

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday numerous Senate and Assembly committee hearings were held through out the day on various bills of interest for municipalities.  An earlier letter summarized four other major issues of interest to municipalities.

Action was taken on the following bills, which the League supports:

A-4114/S-2956 -Allows all municipalities to sell and lease unneeded public property for "urban" farming and gardening purposes. The bill was reported out of Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee for 2nd reading in the Senate and can be voted on at their next voting session.

S-2949 – Requires municipalities to submit economic growth plans to DCA for approval of continued participation in the urban enterprise zone program.  A committee substitute bill, which is currently unavailable, was reported out of Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee and referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.

S-2422 – Modifies provisions of municipal ordinance requiring bond or other security from landlord.  The bill was reported out of Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee for 2nd reading in the Assembly and can be voted on at their next voting session.

Action was taken on the following bills, which the League opposes:

S-2890 – Exempts from real property taxation during the construction any building, or portion thereof, to be used for a property tax-exempt purpose.  S-2890 takes a one size fits all approach and treats all construction projects as the same.  By way of example, building a hospital is much more time consuming than an addition to a fire house.   The bill was reported out of Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee with amendments, which is currently unavailable, and referred to Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee for consideration.

A-4163/S-1080 – Requires a designated fire command structure in municipal emergency operations plans involving responses under local fire mutual aid plans.  We are concern that the new mandate to include, by title, “deputy chiefs and battalion chiefs” in the chain of command could disrupt effective procedures.  The bill was reported out of Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and referred to Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee for consideration.

A-1812/S-2050 – Requires the investigating law enforcement officer to contact the next of kin of an unconscious motor vehicle accident case victim who has been transported to the hospital emergency room.  The current system, which makes this notification the responsibility of the medical professionals involved, works well and is appropriate.   The bill was reported out of Senate Law and Public Safety Committee for 2nd reading in the Senate and can be voted on at their next voting session.

A-3876/S-2731 – Establishes that certification for police training course last five years.  There could be good reason to require retraining of officers who would be given the power to faithfully and effectively enforce the laws, and who would be authorized to use deadly force. But this bill gives the appointing authority no choice.  We have requested that the bill be amended to permit, rather than require, the appointing authority to waive retraining requirements in the specified instances.  The bill was reported out of Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee for 2nd reading in the Assembly and can be voted on at their next voting session.

A-3950 –Establish the maximum fees for licensing and administration of raffles by the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission and certain municipalities.  The proposed changes will likely add confusion and delay to a process that does not need any adjustment.  The bill was reported out of Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee for 2nd reading in the Assembly and can be voted on at their next voting session.

ACR-206 – Determines that proposed DEP rules and regulations establishing procedure for waiver of DEP rules are inconsistent with legislative intent.  The League of Municipalities supports the proposed waiver rule proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP.)    Local officials recognize the need to safeguard our precious natural resources and the need to be flexible so that worthwhile projects can proceed in a timely fashion.  The League supports the waiver proposal and respectfully opposes ACR-206, which would determine that the proposed rule is inconsistent with legislative intent.  The bill was reported out of Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee for 2nd reading in the Assembly and can be voted on at their next voting session.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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