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June 19, 2015

RE: Weekly Policy Update
  I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
OPRA and OPMA Bills Before Committee on Tuesday
Paid Sick Leave Poised to Advance
S-2454 & A-3791,  “DLGS  Modernization and Local Mandate Relief Act of 2014”
Status of Deptford Township’s Unfunded Mandate Complaint          
Status Report on the Pension and Health Benefits “Roadmap”

Dear Mayor:

Here’s a recap of major policy issues of interest to local governments. 

I.  OPRA and OPMA Bills Before Committee on Tuesday

On Tuesday, June 23rd Senator Weinberg’s proposed amendments to the Open Public Meetings Act (S-781) and Open Public Records Act (S-782), which are opposed by the League, are before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.  The League has met with the Senator and various stakeholders to discuss the concerns of local governments regarding the costs and practicality of the proposals.   We anticipate amendments to the bills on Tuesday and will report back to you once we are able to review the amendments.  For more on these bills, please see the League’s June 9 letter (http://www.njslom.org/letters/2015-0609-opra.html). Please contact your State Senator to express the concerns outlined in that letter. 
Contact: Lori Buckelew, lbuckelew@njslom.org or 609-695-3481 x112.

II.  Paid Sick Leave Poised to Advance

 On Monday, the Senate Labor committee will consider S-785, which would require each employer to provide paid sick leave to employees.  The League, along with the New Jersey Association of Counties and the New Jersey School Boards Association, asked that this legislation be amended to exempt local governments.  The 194 municipalities in Civil Service are already required to provide sick leave.   In all other municipalities, sick leave is subject to collective bargaining negotiations and those provisions are extended to non-union and at-will employees.   The Assembly companion, A-2354, stands at 2nd reading and it appears that this bill may pass before the end of the month and go to Governor for his consideration.   As you know, a handful of municipalities have enacted their sick leave provisions via ordinance and this legislation may be amended to either preempt or grandfather existing policies and prohibit them going forward.    We ask that you contact your legislators and ask them to support an amendment to exempt local governments from this requirement.
Contact: Michael Cerra, mcerra@njslom.org or 609-695-3481 x120.

III.  S-2454 & A-3791,  “DLGS  Modernization and Local Mandate Relief Act of 2014”
On Thursday, Assembly State and Local Government Committee released the “Division of Local Government Services Modernization and Local Mandate Relief Act of 2014”.  The intent of the S-2454/A-3791 is to streamline the responsibilities of the Division of Local Government Services and local governments.   The League supports this common-sense bill.  
Many of the proposed amendments in the bill are issues that the League has raised before the Red Tape Review Commission, conference resolutions and other legislative initiatives.   The bill now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.
Contact: Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.org or 609-695-3481 x112.

IV.   Status of Deptford Township’s Unfunded Mandate Complaint          

Deptford’s complaint before the Council on Local Mandates is still pending. The Township has filed a complaint arguing that P.L. 2014, c.54, a law requiring the purchase of mobile recording systems for all new police cars, is an unfunded mandate. Deptford has requested a preliminary injunction, but the Council has not rendered a decision yet. Please see our previous letter on this issue- http://www.njslom.org/letters/2015-0511-police-camera.html .
Contact:  Ed Purcell, Esq., epurcell@njslom.org or 609-695-3481 x 137

V.  Status Report on the Pension and Health Benefits “Roadmap”

On Thursday, the League and the New Jersey School Boards Association released a report assessing the impact of one of the recommendations of the Pension and Health Benefits Reform Commission, referred to the as “Roadmap to Reform.”    Please see the League’s June 17 (http://www.njslom.org/letters/2015-0617-P-B-Roadmap.html) and June 18 (http://www.njslom.org/letters/2015-0618-roadmap.html) letters regarding this analysis and other developments.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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