December 19, 2011
Re: Legislative Alert
Bills on the Governor’s Desk
This past Thursday, both the State Senate and the General Assembly held their final voting sessions for calendar year 2011. Both Houses will meet at least once more in early 2012 before the new Legislature is sworn in on January 10. At the voting sessions last week, a number of bills of interest to local governments progressed. This letter is intended to provide an overview of bills that have now passed both houses and await action by Governor Christie. A letter will follow which highlight bills of interest that we believe will be considered in early January.
The following bills, supported by the League, now await consideration by the Governor:
- A-4373/S-3118passed the Senate by a vote of 35-4 after previously being approved by the Assembly. This bill 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. The Governor has publicly stated his intention to sign this bill.
- A-359/S-1651 , the "Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act" passed by the Senate by a vote of 37-0. It previously passed the Assembly.
- A-4114/S-2956 passed the Senate by a vote of 36-2. This bill allows all municipalities to sell and lease unneeded public property for "urban" farming and gardening purposes.
- A-4267/S-3078 passed the Senate 38-0, after previously being approved by the Assembly. This bill allows counties and municipalities to use open space trust funds for purchase of flood-prone properties.
- S-1141/A-898 passed the Assembly 77-0, after previous Senate passage. This bill permits board of fire commissioners to amend fire district budget after adoption to insert special items of revenue
- S-2422passed the Assembly 53-18 and was previously approved by the Senate unanimously. This bill authorizes municipalities to adopt ordinances requiring bond or other security from landlord.
The following bills, opposed by the League, now await consideration by the Governor:
- A-3992/S-2887passed the State Senate by a vote of 23-15. This bill would allow for certain wind turbine projects to bypass the local variance process and be built be preserved farmland. This bill has now been amended so it only impacts municipalities in Salem and Cumberland counties. However, the League maintains it opposition, and for more on this please see our Dear Mayor letters of December 2 November 22 and September 20.
- S-2989/A-3949 – 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.
Additionally, the League has remaining concerns with A-2095/S-818, which revises requirements for emergency medical services delivery. While we support the bill conceptually, we do have some additional concerns. We had 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 League has communicated its positions on these bills to the Governor’s Office. We would suggest you do the same, particularly if you have any concerns with any of the above legislation. You can express your position on any of these bills by contacting the Governor’s Office at 609-292-6000, by fax at 609-292-3454 or by mail at:
The Hon. Chris Christie
Governor, State of New Jersey
Statehouse, PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625.
If you have any questions, contact the League’s Legislative Staff at 609-695-3481,
ext. 112, 120 or 121.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.