May 30, 2012
Re: Senate Voting Session
On Thursday, May 31st the Senate will be holding a voting session. In addition to the user fee legislation (S-1914), the following bills of interest are scheduled for a vote:
S-199 prohibits first responders from photographing persons being assisted or disclosing photographs of such persons without their consent. The League supports this bill that will protect the privacy of accident victims and other persons receiving emergency medical services from first responders. We believe this is a simple matter of common sense and common decency. The bill will still provide for the ability for our first responders to learn from accident and medical scenes but will protect the privacy of the victims.
S-743 extends expiration date of certain permits pursuant to the "Permit Extension Act of 2008." The League opposes this bill which extends the Permit Extension Act of 2008 for an additional 24 months, until December 31, 2014 as well as expands the implementation of the Act to include Planning Area 3 (PA3) and Planning Area 4A (PA4A) and the entire planning area in the Highlands. The extension and expansion of the original Act is unwarranted, particularly the expansion into environmentally sensitive areas, and serves to undermine local planning
S-778 revises statutes concerning permissible length of time between certain public questions in certain municipalities. The League supports this bill that seeks to return the waiting period for Faulkner Act municipalities to 5 years. The sponsor, Senator Weinberg, believes that any such change to the government of a municipality should have five years, which is a significant period of time, to prove effective or ineffective prior to the contemplation by the voters of the municipality of another change to the municipal government, and we agree. The interests of consistency require that any change be given some period to make its benefits and drawbacks clear, but ten years is entirely too long. Five years is much more reasonable.
S-1114 authorizes special emergency appropriations for the payment of certain expenses incurred by municipalities to implement a municipal consolidation. The League supports this bill which authorizes a municipality to use special emergency appropriations for the payment of non-recurring expenses incurred by the municipality to implement a consolidation with another municipality.
S-1566 establishes the "New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act"; provides expedited process for foreclosing abandoned residential properties. The League supports
S-1914 requires certain user fees for the provision of traditional municipal services to be included within the 2% municipal and county property tax levy cap. The League opposes this bill as user fees are not a new budgeting tool; nor is there a statewide effort by municipalities to circumvent the 2% levy cap. For more information on S-1914 please see our Dear Mayor letter of May 29, 2012.
SCR-59 – Determines that adopted 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 DEP. The proposed rule streamlines the process to promote the public interest. There are circumstances when conflicting state regulations impact worthwhile projects, either slowing progress or preventing a project. The proposed rule includes necessary safeguards: waivers must be site-specific and granted only after adequate public notice. Further, waivers may be applied only under a narrow set of circumstances such as when rules are in conflict; or when application of a regulation creates an undue burden; or would result in a net environmental benefit; or when there is a public emergency. For these reasons, the League supports the waiver proposal and respectfully opposes SCR-59.
Please contact your State Senator on these bills.
If you have any questions or need additional information on any of the bills please contact your Legislative team at 609-695-3481: Jon Moran at ext. 121 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Mike Cerra at ext. 120 or email@example.com or Lori Buckelew at ext. 112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.