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October 23, 2015

RE:  Weekly Policy Update

I.  Assembly Returns November 9: Bills on the Governor’s Desk
II.  Senate President announces “New Jersey: Investing in You”
III. NEW for the Annual League Conference – Consulting Meetings replace the
Consulting Period

IV. Mayors Invited To Gateway Project Forum
V.  Complete the Survey on School-Municipal Cooperation: Creative Solutions to the
2% Cap

Dear Mayor:

I.  Assembly Returns November 9: Bills on the Governor’s Desk

The General, which has not convened since June, is now scheduled to quorum on Monday, November 9.   This now becomes the deadline for the Governor to act on dozens of bills which have been on his desk since June, including the following of particular interest to local governments:

A-947, Bill to require release of “Bidders List” awaiting action by the Governor
The League of Municipalities strongly opposes A-947, which would require municipalities, counties and local authorities to release the names, upon request, of all parties who have received bid documents prior to the bid opening once three or more bid packets have been obtained. 
The League is concerned that the release of the bidders’ names prior to the receipt of bids could lead to collusion and bid rigging. We are also concerned with the benchmark of “three or more bids” before the release of the bidders’ list.  We believe that this arbitrary benchmark will lead to costly litigation.  Finally, we are concerned that the bill will require a municipality to create and maintain a record.   For more on this bill, please click here and see Item IV.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, lbuckelew@njslom.org or 609-695-3481 x112.

A-3500 – Mandates Availability of Automated Electronic Defibrillators at All Youth Athletic Events
Also awaiting the Governor’s consideration is A-3500. This bill requires youth serving organizations to ensure that there is available on site an automated external defibrillator at each youth athletic event and practice held on the organization’s home field. While the bill aims to increase safety during youth sports activities, we oppose the bill as the new requirement is unfunded and has a number of implementation issues.
Contact: Ed Purcell, Esq. at 609-695-3481, ext. 137 or epurcell@njslom.org

S-2783- Permits local five-year residency requirement for police officers and firefighters.
We have asked the Governor to sign S-2783. This permissive legislation would authorize municipalities, at their discretion, to adopt ordinances implementing a five-year residency requirement for police and fire appointees.   Such an ordinance would require new police and fire (paid and part-paid departments) hires to begin residing in the municipality within six months of their appointment. New Jersey’s municipalities are exploring all possible avenues to strengthen the tax base and job opportunities, stabilize neighborhoods and enhance community engagement, objectives that may be advanced through residency requirements.  In 2012, the State passed a State residency requirement, with some exceptions, for all public employees.  If indeed there is value in the State residency requirement, then we believe municipalities should be provided this discretionary authority. 
Contact: Mike Cerra, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

II. Senate President Sweeney announces “New Jersey: Investing in You”

Earlier this week, Senate President Sweeney and Senate Democrats announced their economic investment initiative that will lead to a plan to generate growth and expand economic opportunities in New Jersey.  The “New Jersey: Investing in You” will focus on six areas with Senators developing specific initiatives in targeted areas as follows:

  • Early Childhood Education led by Senator Teresa Ruiz
  • College Affordability led by Senator Sandra Cunningham
  • World Class Transportation led by Senator Loretta Weinberg
  • Public-Private Partnerships led by Senator Whelan
  • Promise Neighborhoods led by Senate Nellie Pou
  • Retirement Security led by Senator Sarlo

More information about Senate President Sweeney’s initiative is available at www.njsendems.org/senate-democrats-announce-far-reaching-economic-investment-initiative/

III. NEW for the Annual League Conference – Consulting Meetings replace the Consulting
Period

Adapting to the growing interest in utilizing technology and focusing on individualized opportunities, the League has creatively developed a new way of providing the traditional consulting opportunities during the Annual League Conference.  For the first time, pre-scheduled “Consulting Meetings” will be available.  A list of consultants’ contacts have been made available on the League’s website and in the printed Session Program, allowing conference attendees the opportunity to schedule face-to-face meetings with State program directors, and subject experts.  Conference attendees are encouraged to set-up meetings with participating consultants before Conference week to occur at a mutually agreeable time during Conference week.  Schedule your meetings at your convenience.  The Convention Center lounges and food courts provide comfortable locations to hold these scheduled consulting meetings.  Check the list of Consultants today and schedule a meeting for your time at the Annual League Conference.

IV. Mayors Invited To Gateway Project Forum

New Jersey’s vital railroad link to Penn Station New York needs immediate attention. Imagine the impact on our State’s economy, the traffic impact on our roads, the devastating impact on the quality of life and the impact on property values, if that link were to be severed. Every business day, about 150,000 passengers ride New Jersey Transit’s over 300 trains to and from Penn Station. Amtrak, which owns and operates the tunnels, relies on this link to move another 100 trains, daily.

After assessing the strains that the passage of time, intense usage and Sandy have placed on the infrastructure, in May 2014, Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman announced that, in less than 20 years, one or both of the tunnels would have to be shut down. A commitment must now be made to begin real work on the Gateway Project. Senators Booker and Menendez are leading the fight in Washington to secure the needed funding. Governor Christie supports the project. But we now need all those who represent our State in the House of Representatives to get on board.

You are invited to learn more and to join the discussion with Senator Booker and a panel of experts at a forum on “The Economics of the Gateway.” This opportunity is scheduled for Friday, October 30, 2015 (9:15 AM - 12:00 PM) at Prudential Headquarters Dryden Hall (751 Broad Street in Newark). We have posted more information on this session on our website at Gateway Forum Flier. Please RSVP at www.rpa.org/economicsofgateway if you plan to attend.

V.  Complete the Survey on School-Municipal Cooperation: Creative Solutions to the 2%
Cap

As part of our commitment to cooperation and efficiency, the New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities will once again present sessions on school district-municipal relations at our annual conferences. This year's topic will be "School-Municipal Cooperation: Creative Solutions to the 2% Cap”. Please have the mayor or administrator take a few minutes to complete the brief survey, available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NJSLOM, about the efforts by your school district and municipal government to control costs and foster communication. The information will be shared during the presentations at both conferences.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

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