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May 27, 2016

Re: Weekly Policy Update
      I.    Thursday Senate and Assembly Voting Sessions
      II.   Urgent Legislative Alert: Affordable Housing “Gap” Period
      III. Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Mayors Wellness Campaign

Dear Mayor:

I. Thursday Senate and Assembly Voting Sessions

Atlantic City Rescue Package

Yesterday, the State Senate and General Assembly both approved a legislative package for Atlantic City, which would avoid bankruptcy and, for the time being, a state takeover.    S-1711 and S-1715 await the Governor’s action. Please click here for Thursday’s story from NJ Spotlight, which has a good summary of the bill and recent development.

Contact:  Mike Cerra, or 609-695-3481 x120.

Minimum Wage

The Assembly approved, by a slim margin, A-15 which would increase the state’s minimum wage beyond the requirements of the State Constitution.   The Senate companion is referenced to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, but it is likely to see a Senate floor vote before the June 30 State budget deadline.  While the Governor is likely to veto the measure should it pass both houses, the Senate President and Assembly Speaker have indicated that they will then push a constitutional amendment.   The earliest a ballot question is likely to appear is November 2017.

Contact:  Mike Cerra, or 609-695-3481 x120.

Smoking Ban Extension Bill Clears Both Houses

Of interest to many of you, both Houses approved an amended version of A-893. This proposal would prohibit smoking in all State, county and municipal parks and limit smoking on municipal and county beaches. Smoking would be permitted in parking lots, adjacent to municipal beaches. Further, a local governing body could set aside an area - up to 15% of the total area – on a beach for smoking. Our Legislative Committee looked at this issue a few years back, but could not arrive at a consensus position.

The bill would take effect on the 180th day after enactment. However Governor Christie had vetoed almost identical legislation during the Legislature’s last session. At that time, and in recent statements to the Press, the Governor has indicated his preference for letting local governing body make their own decisions to ban or limit smoking on municipal properties.

Contact: Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or 

Other action:

The General Assembly approved the following bills by large margins, all of which were supported by the League:

A-1564- Establishes procedure for notification to, and review by, municipalities of certain grant and loan applications for acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

A-2069 - Permits municipalities to issue retail liquor licenses for use in certain historic taverns. 

A-2514 - Permits local units of government to enter into shared services agreements with federal military installations located in the State.

Contact:  Mike Cerra, or 609-695-3481 x120.

The State Senate approved S-879, which prohibits termination of law enforcement officer based upon determination that officer is physically unable to perform duty under certain circumstances.    The League opposed this bill and believes that these interests are currently protected under existing law pursuant to the worker’s compensation statute and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is also important for municipalities to have as many police officers on staff as possible that can engage in active duty.

Contact: Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or 

The bills referenced above under “Other Action” now proceed to the other House for further consideration. 
II. Urgent Legislative Alert: Affordable Housing “Gap” Period

We again call your attention to Senate bill S-2254 and Assembly Bill A-3821.  The League supports this important legislation, which will facilitate municipal compliance and result in the production of affordable housing.  Please click here for the League’s Dear Mayor Advisory of May 26, which summarizes the legislation and provides links to a sample resolution. Your immediate attention on this issue is needed in order to advance this timely and needed legislation.

III. Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Mayors Wellness Campaign

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, in partnership with the NJ League of Municipalities, started the Mayors Wellness Campaign 10 years ago, to empower mayors to improve community health across the state. Now more than 300 mayors are part of the Mayors Wellness Campaign.  Join the Mayors Wellness Campaign for light refreshments as we honor our mayors and key leaders of the Campaign from over the years.  All are invited to the State House located at  125 W. State St. Trenton, NJ 08608, Assembly Majority Office Room; Wednesday, June 1 at 10:00 am.  If you have any questions, please contact the Mayors Wellness Campaign Phone: 609-452-5980.

Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Sincerely yours,

Michael Darcy, CAE,
Executive Director


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