January 6, 2012
Re: Monday, January, 9 - Last Voting Session of the 214th Legislative Session
Monday, January 9, 2012 is the last voting session of the 214th Legislative Session and as such both the Senate and Assembly have full agendas. While the 215th Legislative Session will convene on January 10, Governor Christie has until January 17 to take action on any bills that are sent to him for consideration on January 9. Otherwise it will be considered a pocket veto.
The following bills of interest are before the Assembly for consideration:
The League supports:
A-2865 – Provides for appointment of certain municipal court judges at the local or county level.
A-3507/S-2434 – Requires Governor notify local governments to fly United States and State flags at half-staff upon death of member of Armed Forces of United States or National Guard who was State resident.
ACR-81 – Proposes constitutional amendment removing gubernatorial appointment of certain municipal court judges.
The League opposes:
A-3527/S-2232 – Permits chief financial officer to recommend reduced appropriation for reserve for uncollected taxes in certain circumstances. Given the current economic climate it would be harmful to the integrity of the municipal budget to allow the Chief Financial Officer to estimate a greater tax collection rate ( and thus lower reserve appropriation) when there is no history to support it.
A-3621 – The "Child Safe Playing Fields Act"; restricts use of lawn care pesticides at schools, child care centers and recreational fields. This will result in an increase to costs to local governments at a time local governments cannot afford any additional costs.
A-3782/S-2610 – The "Safe Playing Fields Act"; restricts use of lawn care pesticides at child care centers, and certain schools, playgrounds, and recreational fields. This will result in an increase to costs to local governments at a time local governments cannot afford any additional costs.
The following bills of interest are before the Senate for consideration:
The League supports:
A-3142/S-2196 – Directs BPU to establish standards concerning local government renewable energy generation demonstration projects utilizing renewable energy technologies. We recommend further expansion of the standards.
A-3167/S-2278 – Authorizes zero-interest loans to local governments for certain brownfield remediations; changes priorities for financial assistance from Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund.
A-3537/S-2444 – Requires certain owners of foreclosed property to file contact information with municipality and common interest community.
S-463 –Authorizes creation of local renewable energy collaboratives and central renewable energy generation systems, and provides for sale of renewable power generation. We recommend further expansion of the program.
S-2434 – Requires Governor notify local government to fly United States and State flags at half-staff upon death of member of Armed Forces of United States or National Guard who was State resident.
S-3148 – Establishes procedures for districts, municipalities, or voters to opt to move the annual school election to November and eliminates vote on school budgets for such districts, except for separate proposals to spend above cap.
The League conditionally supports:
A-2722/S-2666 –Modifies process for contested case hearings by OAL with regard to telephone and video conferences, delegation of final decision authority, oral decisions, checklist decisions, electronic filings, and settlements. We respectfully requested an amendment that would apply these provisions only in a case where the State agency is an adverse party. We believe this to be an appropriate limit on the regulatory authority of the administrative law judge, which would better protect the rights of other potential parties to a dispute.
A-2769/S-2552 –Provides that subcontractors who furnish non-specialty trade work shall not be named in local public bid documents. We have asked that A-2769/S-2552 be further amended to remove the 35% threshold and permit the contracting unit, regardless of any percentage threshold, to require the naming of additional subcontractors at their discretion.
The League opposes:
A-3633/S-3007 – Requires plans, specifications, and bid proposal documents for certain local public contracts to address soil contamination. While the provisions would standardize the process, we are concerned about the unintended consequence. We are also concerned that A-3633 will force municipalities to conduct soil testing, unnecessarily at times, thereby increasing the cost of the project.
A-1463/S-1080 – Requires designated fire command structure in municipal emergency operations plans involving mutual aid responses to fires. We believe that a sufficient structure is already in place in these situations and that the new mandate could disrupt effective procedures.
A-1812 – Requires investigating law enforcement officer to contact next of kin of unconscious motor vehicle accident victim who has been transported to hospital emergency room. The investigating officer may not know which hospital the accident victim is to be taken. We also believe that the investigating officer has already enough to do at an accident scene, without this added responsibility. In addition we are unaware of any problems related to the current practice of notification by medical staff. Medical personnel will know the location and condition of the victim and are in the best position to answer any questions the family may have.
Please contact your Senator and Assembly representative to express your position on these bills.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.