December 14, 2011
Re: Legislative Alert
Assembly and Senate Voting Session Committee Hearings
Tomorrow is another busy day in Trenton. Both the Assembly and Senate are holding voting sessions along with committee meetings.
The Senate will be considering the following bills, which the League of Municipalities supports:
A-4114/S-2956 – Allows all municipalities to sell and lease unneeded public property for "urban" farming and gardening purposes.
A-4267/S-3078 – Allows counties and municipalities to use open space trust funds for purchase of flood-prone properties.
A-4373/S-3118 – Authorizes State oversight of municipalities in the Transitional Aid to Localities Program; appropriates $140,500,000 to DCA for Transitional Aid to Localities and administrative costs.
A-359/S-1651 - The "Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act"
In addition, the Senate will be considering A-2095/S-818, which revises requirements for emergency medical services delivery. While we support the bill, we do have some additional concerns. We have asked the sponsor to consider amendments, which might better protect our volunteers from increased costs and inappropriate regulations, and allow local certification of emergency medical services.
The Senate will be considering the following bills, which the League of Municipalities opposes:
A-1812/S-2050 – Requires investigating law enforcement officer to contact next of kin of unconscious motor vehicle accident victim who has been transported to hospital emergency room. A-1812/S-2050 is unnecessary legislation, since the current system, which makes this notification the responsibility of the medical professionals involved works well and is appropriate.
A-3992/S-2887 – Provides for streamlined review of certain wind energy generation facility installments on farmland. This bill has now been amended so it only impacts municipalities in Salem and Cumberland counties. The League maintains it opposition, and for more on this please see our Dear Mayor letters of December 2, November 21 and September 20.
S-2989 – Exempts certain collocations of wireless equipment from site plan approval. The legislation unnecessarily impedes on local discretion and unjustifiably waives notice and public hearing requirements. A-3949/S-2989, would exempt the collocation from any site plan review, even if it proposed increasing the height of the tower by 10% and increased the footprint of the mechanical equipment compound by up to 2,500 sq. feet.
The Assembly will be considering the following bills, which the League of Municipalities supports:
S-2422 – Modifies provisions of municipal ordinance requiring bond or other security from landlord.
The Assembly will also be considering the following bills, which the League of Municipalities opposes:
A-3876/S-2731 – Establishes that certification for police training course lasts five years. While we appreciate the sponsor’s effort to spare municipalities the expense involved in police officer retraining, we oppose A-3876, as currently drafted. 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. Respectfully, we ask that the bill be amended to permit, rather than require, the appointing authority to waive retraining requirements in the specified instances.
A-3950 – Establishes maximum fees for licensing and administration of raffles by Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission and certain municipalities. The current system works well. Making these changes will likely add confusion and delay to a process that does not need any adjustment.
In addition, the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee will be considering A-1463/S-1080, which requires designated fire command structure in municipal emergency operations plans involving mutual aid responses to fires. We oppose the bill as there is the existing structure is sufficient. In addition, we are concern with the new mandate to include deputy chiefs and battalion chiefs could disrupt effective procedures.
The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee will be considering A-3621 and A-3782, the “Safe Playing Field Act”. While the sponsors’ intentions are laudable and we would welcome further investigation into this issue, both bills impose additional costs on local governments and the League opposes.
Finally, the Senate State Government Committee will be considering S-1416, which would prohibits the display of political campaign signs on any public property or highway. The League does not disagree with the underlying intent of the S-1416 but we are concern that the enforcement will be problematic.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.