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December 9, 2016

RE:  WEEKLY UPDATE
I.      Policy Issues:  Legislation and Regulations
II.    101st Annual Conference Recap
III.   Annual League Survey
IV.    Primer for Local Officials
V.    Governors Environmental Excellence Awards

Dear Mayor:                      

I.  Policy Issues: Legislation and Regulations

a. E-Waste Bill on Governor’s Desk

On November 21, S-981/A-2375 passed the General Assembly by a vote of 60-12.  S-981 previously passed the State Senate. The legislation now awaits action by the Governor.  
Please click here to ask the Governor to sign S-981 and A-2375 into law.

The League supports S-981/A-2375, regarding so-called "e-waste."   Specifically, this legislation would require each manufacturer of "covered electronic devices" to provide for the collection, transportation, and recycling of its market share in weight of all covered electronic devices collected in a program year.   Similar legislation advanced in the lame duck session but was pocket vetoed by the Governor.

The "Electronic Waste Management Act" is intended to require manufacturers to provide for the recycling of residential covered electronic devices at no cost to taxpayers.  Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, it has not worked out that way.   Local governments have wound up subsidizing the program with taxpayer dollars in order to ensure that 100% of the material collected is properly recycled.      S-981/A-2375 addresses this inequity for taxpayers.

We are further encouraged that the fiscal analysis prepared by the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) anticipates costs savings to local governments, if S-981/A-2375 were to be implemented.

S-981/A2375 will ensure that manufacturers provide for a "free and convenient" recycling program for all of the covered electronic devices that are collected and further eliminate the need for local governments, and by extension our property taxpayers, to either absorb these costs or eliminate their programs

You can also click here to learn more on this legislation from the League's Town Crier blog. 

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

b. UEZ Compromise Advancing

League Conference Resolution 2016-08 supports the extension of Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ.)  On Monday, November 21, the Assembly passed A-4189, a compromise bill that will extend, for two years, UEZ authorization in municipalities where the program is scheduled to sunset at the end of this year. (Those municipalities are Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton.) The vote in the Assembly was 56-15.  The Senate Economic Growth Committee will consider this bill on December 12.

Earlier this year, Governor Christie conditionally voted A-2576/S-1080, which would have extended UEZ designation for participating municipalities for another 10 years.  With his conditional veto, the Governor asked instead that the Legislature direct the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to conduct a study of the UEZ program “… which shall include, without limitation, an assessment of whether an alternative, location-based program to assist fiscally distressed municipalities is appropriate, and, if so, recommendations for the parameters of such a program …”

Respecting the Governor’s desire for a comprehensive analysis of the program, S-2670/A-4189 has been introduced as a compromise. The new legislation accepts the Governor’s recommendation regarding a DCA study of the program and research into alternatives. However, the bill provides a two-year extension to the five UEZs that are set to expire at the end of this year.

Those incentives allow businesses to attract customers to, and create employment opportunities in, economically distressed municipalities. UEZ designation is a vital tool in the tool kit of local leaders, working to bring their communities back from decades of decline, caused by housing and transportation policy decisions over which they had no control.

Please contact your State Senators and the Governor’s office and  ask that they support the UEZ compromise bill.  
You can click here to send an email to your Senator, the Lt. Governor and the Governor.  

Absent action on these bills, businesses in five municipalities will lose UEZ benefits at year’s end.

Contact:  Jon Moran, Sr. Legislative Analyst, jmoran@jslom.org, 609-695-3481 x121, or
Michael Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

c. Amendment to Electronic Disbursement Rules Goes Into Effect

On December 5, 2016 an amendment to the Local Finance Board’s electronic disbursement rules went into effect. This amendment would extend third-party disbursements to “energy tracking and utility bill management service.” A copy of this amendment can be found here.

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

d. DLGS issued Local Finance Notice on Recent Procurement Related Laws

Last week the Division of Local Government Services issued Local Finance Notice 2016-19 providing an update on recent procurement related laws.  The notice includes information on bidder ownership disclosure, competitive contracting, contracts for asphalt work, claimant certification for utility bills, federal military equipment surplus (1033 program) and cooperative purchasing.  The notice also includes a model ownership disclosure form to implement the provisions of P.L. 2016, c. 43, which the League supported.

Contact: Lori Buckelew Sr. Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@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. House Takes Action of Water Infrastructure and Federal Government Funding

Late Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act by a vote of 360-61.  The bill includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA – Army Corps projects and aid to address the Flint drinking water crisis and improve water infrastructure nationwide.

The House also passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through April 26 by a vote of 326-96. The bill includes appropriation of:

  • $100 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund for any state, such as Michigan, that receives an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act due to a public health threat from lead or other contaminants in a public drinking water supply system
  • $20 for WIFIA loan and loan guarantees for water infrastructure projects nationwide
  • $50 million to support public health initiatives such as lead poisoning prevention, research and health assistance

The path for both bills is unclear in the Senate, with several members objecting to various provisions included (or not included) in both bills. Funding for the government expires at midnight, tonight. Accordingly, Congress must act before then to avoid a government shutdown, with WRDA scheduled to come up after a CR.

Contact:  Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x121.

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

IV. Order the 2016-2017 Primer for Elected Officials

Whether you are a veteran or newly elected mayor or councilmember, the Primer for Elected Officials provides the basic information needed to carry out the responsibility of governing.  It contains an updated directory of services provided by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, a guide to Titles 40 and 40A of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated, and an up-to-the minute listing of State Agencies and the Legislative priorities for the upcoming year.  See our web page for an order form http://www.njslom.org/publications/Publications.pdf .  Alternatively, contact Suzanne Allen, at (609) 695-3481, ext. 129 or via email at sallen@njslom.com.  The investment for members is $20.00 and for non-members $30.00.  It is a necessary guide!

V.  Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards

The Christie Administration honored a broad selection of environmental groups, scientists, companies, educators and students from across New Jersey for their leadership to protect and improve the environment.  See the full details of the award winning projects here http://www.njslom.org/press-releases/120716-environ-awards.html .  The League is a partner in the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards program.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

 

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