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December 2, 2016

RE:  WEEKLY UPDATE
I.      Policy Issues:  Legislation and Regulations
II.    101st Annual Conference Recap
III.   Annual League Survey

Dear Mayor:                      

I.  Policy Issues: Legislation and Regulations

a. Affordable Housing Hearing

On Wednesday November 30th, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held oral arguments on the “gap issue” case. In July the Appellate Division held that a separate and distinct “gap period,” stretching back over 16 years, should not be included in towns’ affordable housing obligations. An overview of that decision can be found here.

This matter is of incredible import to municipalities and their ability to rationally provide for affordable housing. We will keep you updated on the Court’s decision.

Contact: Edward Purcell, Esq., Staff Attorney, epurcell@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x137.

b. Bills Up for Committee Action on Monday

1.  Public/Beach  Access, S-2490 Scheduled for Committee Hearing

Legislation intended to confirm the public rights, under the public trust doctrine, to use the State’s tidal waters and adjacent shorelines is scheduled for consideration in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Monday. 

The League opposes the bill as introduced for a number of reasons.   The underlying problem with S-2490, is one of vagueness and lack of guidance and specificity regarding the scope of delegation to the NJDEP. In our comments, we insist that municipalities must be provided the discretion to adopt public access plans that accommodate local conditions, be it through statute or regulation.

Please click here for the League’s Town Crier post, which summarizes the bill and the League’s concerns.   The Assembly companion, A-4092 is referenced to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

Contact:   Michael Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

2. Legislation to Permit JIFs to Invest in Local Obligation Advances

On Monday, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will consider S-2633.  This legislation would permit both local unit and board of education joint insurance funds (JIFs) to invest in bonds of any governmental entity established under State law, or of any federal agencies or government corporations. It will also permit the local unit and board of education JIFs to amend their respective risk management plans to form joint cash management and investment programs.

The League strongly supports the passage of S-2633 as it addresses the issues we raised in Conference Resolution 2016-09.   JIFs have different cash flow needs than local governments and boards of education, and currently are very limited on how they can invest.  S-2633 would permit JIFs to take a conservative approach while adding competitiveness to the bond market. .

Please contact your Senator and urge them to support the quick passage of S-2633.

Contact: Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njslom.org , 609-695-3481 x112.

3. Out of Network, S-1285

On Monday, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will consider S-1285, the "Out-of-Network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment and Accountability Act." The League supports this common sense legislation that has the potential to save money and control surprise medical billing. 

S-1285 aims to increase transparency in pricing for health care services, enhance consumer protections, create an arbitration system to resolve certain health care billing disputes, and contain rising costs associated with out-of-network health care services.  The legislation requires certain notification by health care facilities and professionals to patients, prior to non-emergency or elective procedures.  For emergency procedures or inadvertent out-of-network services, the legislation places certain limits on charges by out-of-network providers. Finally the legislation provides a process to negotiate reimbursement for services provided by an out-of-network health care provider and an arbitration of disputes.

Please contact your Senator and urge them to support S-1285.

Contact: Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njslom.org , 609-695-3481 x112.

c. N.J. Supreme Court Issues Decision that Narrows Previous Ruling on Labor Negotiations

On November 29, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued its decision  IMO Robbinsville Twp BOE v. Washington Twp Educ. Assoc. Docket No. A-32-15 (2016).  IMO Robbinsville BOE sharply narrows the Court’s 2015 decision IMO Borough of Keyport. 222 N.J. 314 (2015). In Keyport, the Court upheld temporary layoffs by three Civil Service communities that were done pursuant to Civil Service regulations. At the time, Civil Service regulations allowed such layoffs during periods of economic distress. And, the Court held that such layoffs, and the regulations that allowed them, represented a “managerial prerogative” that could supersede required negotiation with public employees.

In Robbinsville BOE, the Court clarified that its decision in Keyport turned on the existence of applicable civil service regulations that allowed temporary layoffs during periods of economic distress. Ibid., Slip. Op. at 14-15. In Robbinsville BOE a school district had argued that Keyport’s holding expanded beyond just Civil Service communities. The Robbinsville Court clarifies that this interpretation is incorrect and that Keyport’s impact is much more limited.

A copy of this decision can be found here. You should review this decision with your municipal attorney and labor counsel.

Contact: Edward Purcell, Esq., Staff Attorney, epurcell@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x137.

d. Governor Takes Action: Establishes Class Three Special Law Enforcement Officers to Provide     Security in Public and Nonpublic Schools and County Colleges

On Wednesday, the Governor signed into law P.L. 2016, c.68, which the League supported. This new law establishes a new class of special law enforcement officers that provide security in public and nonpublic schools and county colleges.  These “class three” officers will be able to exercise powers and duties similar to those of permanent, regularly appointed full-time police officers, but only on school grounds when class is in session. Class three officers must be retired police officers and must complete additional training pertinent to their service in schools and county colleges. However, such officers would not be eligible for health care benefits or enrollment in any state-administered retirement system.

Contact: Edward Purcell, Esq., Staff Attorney, epurcell@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x137.

e. Only Three States Will Participate in USDA Pilot- Help Make New Jersey One

We need your help to help needy New Jersey families to more easily access Federal benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plans to launch a two-year pilot to enable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase their groceries online. We hope to make our State a part of that pilot. We’ve put together a fact sheet on the SNAP pilot program, for further details.

New Jersey is an ideal candidate to help the USDA test and improve the SNAP online transaction system, prior to expanding to the entire United States.  Our state’s unique range of urban, suburban, and rural communities, the state’s demographic diversity, and New Jersey’s established Electronic Benefit System make New Jersey well-equipped to support the USDA’s pilot program. 

For all of those reasons, we have asked USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to include the Garden State in the SNAP pilot. The more New Jersey Mayors contacting Secretary Vilsack, the better our chances.  You can access a Sample Letter on our website.
Word  http://www.njslom.org/sample-snap-pilot-letter.docx
PDF  http://www.njslom.org/sample-snap-pilot-letter.pdf

Contact:   Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x121.
f. Federal Court Injunction Blocks US Department of Labor Overtime Rule
As indicated in our November 30 letter, potentially costly new Federal over-time rules did NOT go into effect on December 1, as originally scheduled.
Last week in Texas, a federal court judge granted a preliminary injunction of the entire rule. The League’s Labor Relations Counsel, Genova Burns, has prepared a blog post (linked here) regarding the Final Overtime Rule’s current status.
Contact:   Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x121.

g. Join DEP for an Overview of the State’s New Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) Rules on December 6th In-Person or by Webinar

The State’s new Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) rules will have a very important impact on land use and development in New Jersey. The DEP will be hosting an overview of these rules on Tuesday December 6, 2016. The program will be from 1pm to 3pm in the public hearing room at the DEP’s offices in Trenton. You may also participate via webinar.
Register by December 5th!

If you are going to attend in person, please email Roxanne Frederick at Roxann.Frederick@dep.nj.gov.

If you are going to participate via webinar, please sign up at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2336385622057136385.

II.   101st Annual Conference Recap

a. Conference Mobile App Helps After the Conference

The NJLM Conference mobile app can continue to assist you in finding presenters and exhibitors you may need to contact after the Annual League Conference.  The app can be downloaded in your device’s app store through January 12; search for “NJLM”. You can keep a copy on your desktop or mobile phone to use all year long.  And, to help us to continue enhancing your conference experience, please share your thoughts and suggestions on the app via the “Feedback” icon on the app menu.  Click here to learn more about the 2016 Conference app.

b. Conference CEUs

You can now download the certificates for the CEUs you’ve earned at the Annual League Conference.  For full information and instructions visit http://www.njslom.org/confceu/

III.   Annual League Survey

As 2016 comes to a close, the League would like to know what you thought about our services provided throughout the year. Please forward this email to your municipal staff, administration, elected and appointed officials so they can complete our short online survey.

The link for the survey is: http://njlm-annualsurvey2016.questionpro.com

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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