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RE: Lame Duck Update

December 23, 2013

Dear Mayor,  

Following the voting sessions on Thursday, the State Legislature will not reconvene until the week of January 6.   The final voting sessions for the current legislative session will be on Monday, January 13 and the following day will include the Governor’s State of the State address and the swearing-in of the new Legislature.  

While the League Legislative staff is monitoring several dozen bills of interest to municipal governments, we would like the opportunity to highlight some of particular interest.

When the “lame duck” session began, we brought to your attention the following bills opposed by the League:

S-2/A-1171, which is intended to compel shared services, remains referenced to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.   For more, please see the December 9 Dear Mayor letter.  Staff contact:  Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 x112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com

S-1914/A-2975 was considered by the Assembly Housing and Local Government, which took testimony but did not advance the legislation.  This legislation would require certain user fees for the provision of traditional municipal services to be included within the 2% municipal and county property tax levy cap.  For more, please see the December 13 Dear Mayor letter; Staff contact:  Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 x112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com

A-323/S-2074, which would permit “special occasion events” on preserved farmland was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on November 14.    The bill, which previously passed the Assembly, now stands at 2nd reading in the Senate but has not been scheduled for a floor vote.    For more, please see the November 15 Dear Mayor letter. Staff contact:  Mike Cerra 609-695-3481 x120 or mcerra@njslom.com.

S-2214/A-3317, which will preempt any municipal ordinance requiring registration for multi-family dwellings, defined by statute as 3 or more units, both remain at 2nd reading in their respective Houses.    For more please see the June 11 Dear Mayor letter. Staff contact:  Mike Cerra 609-695-3481 x120 or mcerra@njslom.com.

S-2511 and S-2512, which would amend the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) both remain at 2nd reading in the State Senate.   The Assembly companion are referenced to the Assembly State Government Committee.  For more on the Leauge’s concerns on these bills please the June 17 Dear Mayor letter. Staff contact:  Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 x112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com

We would also like to bring your attention to the following bills supported by the League:

A-248/S-2458, which requires the Commissioner of Education to change the deadline for municipal review of defeated school budgets whenever he changes the annual school election date,  was approved by both Houses and now sits on the Governor’s desk.   For more, please see the November 15 Dear Mayor letter;  Staff contact:  Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 x112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com

A-3764/S-3052, which permits counties and municipalities to use snow removal reserve funds for clearance of debris following declaration of an emergency by the President or Governor, was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee and can be voted on by the full Senate.   If the Senate approves, it must return to the Assembly for concurrence.    For more, please see the December 13 Dear Mayor letter.  Staff contacts:  Mike Cerra at 609-695-3481 x120 or mcerra@njslom.com or Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 x112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com.

We would also like to bring to your attention these issues of interest to municipal government:

Different measures to fund open space preservation have advanced, but it appears that any agreement on an approach may not be reached before the end of the legislative term.   The full Assembly approved a measure allowing voters to approve a one-year bond issues for $200 million.    Meanwhile, the Senate is advancing a voter referendum for a constitutional dedication of either 2.4% of sales tax revenue or $200 million, whichever is lower, for a 30-year period.  The Senate resolution may be scheduled for a floor vote in early January.  For more, please see the December 13 Dear Mayor letter. Staff contact:  Mike Cerra 609-695-3481 x120 or mcerra@njslom.com.;

A-4457, which would reinstate the suspension of the 2.5% fee on non-residential development until December 31, 2014, was approved by the full Assembly by a vote of 78-0, with 2 members abstaining.    It is now referenced, along with its Senate companion S-3116, to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, for a possible hearing in early January.    For more, please see the December 13 Dear Mayor letter. Staff contact:  Mike Cerra 609-695-3481 x120 or mcerra@njslom.com.

If you have any questions or comments on these or any bills, please do not hesitate to contact us.  Thank you,

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel
Executive Director

 

 

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