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January 10, 2012

Re:      Bills on the Governor’s Desk

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday was the last voting session for the 214th Legislative Session. The following are bills that have passed both houses and now await action by Governor Christie.  The Governor will have until 12:00 noon January 17 to act upon these bills.  If the Governor fails to act on the bill it will precede no further and will not become law.

A-1463/S-1080 – Requires designated fire command structure in municipal emergency operations plans involving mutual aid responses to fires.  This bill passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously.  The League opposes A-1463/S-1080 as we believe that a sufficient structure already exists in these situations and this new mandate could disrupt effective procedures.

A-2769/S-2552 – Provides that subcontractors who furnish non-specialty trade work shall not be named in local public bid documents.  This bill passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously.  While we support the bill we requested an amendment 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.

A-3142/S-2196 – Directs BPU to establish standards concerning local government renewable energy generation demonstration projects utilizing renewable energy technologies.   The League supports this effort and supports the legislation.   We would prefer that this pilot program be expanded as quickly as possible so that more local governments may participate and more ratepayers can benefit. 

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.  This bill passed the Assembly unanimously and by a vote of 38-1 in the Senate.

A-3537/S-244 – Requires certain owners of foreclosed property to file contact information with municipality and common interest community.  The League supports A-3537/S-244, which was unanimously passed by the Senate and by a vote of 68-2 in the Assembly.

A-3633/S-3007 – Requires plans, specifications, and bid proposal documents for certain local public contracts to address soil contamination.  This bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 67-3 and the Senate by a vote of 37-2.  We oppose the bill due to our concern with the unintended consequences.  The bill would require all plans, specifications and bid proposal documents for the erection, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, facility or other improvement to real property that includes the removal of soil from the site to meet the provisions of A-3633.  In addition we are concern that municipalities will be force to conduct soil testing, unnecessarily at times, thereby increasing the cost of the project.

A-3971/S-3110 – Prohibits municipal library trustees from transferring donated funds to municipality.  This bill was approved, unanimously by the Senate and by a vote of 68-5 in the Assembly.

A-4366/S-3190 – -Authorizes annulments of marriage and civil unions without cause within 30 days of the ceremony; eliminates waiting period for marriage and civil union licenses; and increases fees for such licenses.  The bill passed with a vote of 47-21-7 in the Assembly and 21-13 in the Senate.  We oppose the bill due implementation concerns.  We question the creation of a new fee for the State’s General Fund especially when the State’s involvement in the issuing of the license is very limited.  We are also concern with the requirement of the immediate release of the license given the time needed to process the necessary paperwork.

A-4389/S-3139 – Permits registered voters to receive mail-in ballots automatically for all elections under certain conditions; limits number of sample ballots transmitted to each residence.  The bill passed with a vote of 25-14 in the Senate and 60-11-12 in the Assembly.

S-299/A-4170 – Authorizes marriage and entry into a civil union by proxy for certain persons serving overseas in the Armed Forces or National Guard.  The bill unanimously passed the Senate and Assembly.

S-317/A-3990 – Requires contracting units and boards of education to credit contractors with interest earned on certain funds withheld from payment to contractors.  The bill passed with a vote of 62-12-2 in the Assembly and 28-9 in the Senate.  We oppose the bill as we are concerned that there may be IRS implications.  Failure to meet spend down requirements would trigger arbitrage rebate. 

S-463/A-915– Authorizes creation of local renewable energy collaboratives and central renewable energy generation systems, and provides for sale of renewable power generation.  This bill passed with a vote of 46-33 in the Assembly and 24-12 in the Senate.  The League supports this bill, but we asked that the bill be expanded so that all municipalities are permitted to take advantage of the law.

S-2100/A-4160 – Prohibits new employees of certain organizations, including the League, from enrolling in State-administered retirement system or health care plan of public employer unanimously passed by both the Senate and Assembly.  We have gone on record supporting this legislation.  However, we are disappointed that certain union officials were not included in the bill.

S-2232/A-3527 – Permits chief financial officer to recommend reduced appropriation for reserve for uncollected taxes in certain circumstances.  It passed with a vote of 58-18 in the Assembly and 34-2 in the Senate.  We oppose the bill as it would be harmful to the integrity of the municipal budget to allow the Chief Financial Officer to estimate a greater tax collection rate, thereby lowering the reserve appropriation, when there is no history to support it.

S-2411/A-3484 – Permits appointment of certain EMT's laid off for reasons of economy to vacant paid positions.  It was unanimously passed by both the Assembly and the Senate.

S-2434/A-3507 – 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.  We support this bill, which unanimously passed the Assembly and Senate.

S-2771/A-3895 – Requires periodic inspection of exterior walls of certain buildings.  The bill passed with a vote of 50-19-2 in the Assembly and 27-12 in the Senate. 

S-2850/A-4442 – Exempts beach bars, amusement parks and carnival amusement rides from noise restrictions of "Noise Control Act of 1971" during certain time periods and subject to certain conditions.  The bill unanimously passed the Assembly and the Senate. 

S-2888/A-3898 – Establishes uniform real property taxation for commercial renewable energy systems and limits municipal construction permit fees for non-commercial renewable energy systems.  This bill passed with a vote of 50-23-3 in the Assembly and 31-4 in the Senate.  This bill originally proposed to prohibit municipalities from assessing an inspection fee, but was amended to limit the fees to the cost of review and issuance. 

S-3148/A-4394 – 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. We support this bill, which passed with a vote of 62-11-2 in the Assembly and 33-2 in the Senate.

S-3156/A-4335 – Extends validity of wastewater service area and sewer service area designations, and revises certain aspects of wastewater management planning process.  This bill passed with a vote of 56-14-3 in the Assembly and 27-5 in the Senate.

S-3166/A-4432 – Prohibits soliciting of campaign contributions on any public property by elective public office candidates; prohibits persons from making contributions to such candidates on any public property.  It unanimously passed the Assembly and Senate.

S-3173/A-4426 -"Urban Hope Act"; provides a process to permit authorized entities to build, operate, and manage "renaissance school projects" as public schools in no more than three identified failing districts.  The bill passed with a vote of 56-17-1 in the Assembly and 35-3 in the Senate.

If you have any questions on the legislation above please contact Jon Moran at jmoran@njslom.com, Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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