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February 3, 2017

RE:  WEEKLY UPDATE
I.  State Policy Issues
II. Federal Policy Issues
III. 2017 League Salary Survey
IV. Also of Interest

Dear Mayor:

I. State Policy Issues

a. Important Legislation Awaiting Action

We still await the Governor’s action on bills which have passed both Houses and now sit on his desk. For both A-4189/S2670 and A-3695, the 45 days, which the State Constitution allows for gubernatorial consideration of passed bills, will expire at noon on February 2 or the next day, thereafter, when the Assembly (the House of origin) is in session. Unless the current legislative calendar is modified, that would be Thursday, February 9. Please consider contacting the Governor’s Office on:

A-4189/S-2670, regarding Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ), which will extend, for two years, UEZ authorization in municipalities where the program was scheduled to sunset at the end of 2016. (Those municipalities are Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton.)  The remaining zones do not expire for a number of years.

You can click here to email the Governor and ask him to sign the compromise legislation. 

For more, please click here for the League’s Town Crier blog post of  December 21, 2016.
Also, A-3695, which preempts municipal regulation of some taxi services such as Uber and Lyft,   is opposed by the League.  This legislation would unnecessarily exempt ride for hire services from local regulation. We have asked the Governor to conditionally veto the bill, so as to delete Section 26.

 For background on this issue, please click here for the September 21, 2016 Town Crier post.

Contacts:  UEZ: Michael Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.com, 609-695-3481 x120;
Uber/Lyft:  Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x121.

b. Registered Apprenticeship Bill

A-2863/S-2173 would require every contract subject to the State’s  prevailing wage requirements to require each worker employed under the contract to be enrolled in, or have completed, a registered apprenticeship, unless the contractor or subcontractor certifies that the worker is paid not less than the journey worker wage rate.
The bill defines a “registered apprenticeship program” as an apprenticeship program which is registered with and approved by the United States Department of Labor and which provides each trainee with combined classroom and on-the-job training under the direct and close supervision of a highly skilled worker in an occupation recognized as an apprenticeable trade and meets the program performance standards of enrollment and graduation under 29 C.F.R. Part 29, section 29.6.

The League opposes A-2863/S-2173.  While we value apprenticeships as a mechanism to provide skill training to prepare workers for their trade, we are extremely concerned that mandating that only contractors with a registered apprenticeship can bid on public works project will limit the number of potential bidders and increase the cost for public works projects.

The bill passed the Assembly and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.  Please contact your Senator and ask that they vote no on A-2863/S-2173.

Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njslom.org, 609- 695-3481, x112.
 
c. BPU Grants for Microgrid Studies

The BPU opened the first 60-day application window for the Town Center Distributed Energy Resources Microgrid Feasibility Study Incentive Program (Program) and inviting qualified state or local government entities to apply for incentives of up to $200,000 to cover the expense of a feasibility study.

Town Center Distributed Energy Resources (TCDER) Microgrids are capable of providing on-site power to connected critical facilities within a local area or town center setting during electric grid outages.  

To view the application click here.  
To view the full Microgrid Report please visit NJBPU Microgrid Report

For more information about this grant program contact BPU through Susanne LaFrankie, 609-292-0701 and Greg Reinert, 609-777-3305.

II. Federal Policy Issues

a. President Trump’s Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities/Immigration Enforcement

On January 25 President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”   Please click here for the League’s Town Crier January 27 post for more information.

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

b. FCC Seeks Comment on Wireless Facility Siting in the Right of Way

On December 22, 2016, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) released a notice seeking comment on “potential Commission action to help expedite the deployment [of] next generation wireless infrastructure by providing guidance on how federal law applies to local government review of wireless facility siting applications and local requirements for gaining access to the right of way.” A copy of this notice can be found here.

We are pleased to let you know that the FCC granted the motion of our national affiliate, the National League of Cities (NLC), and the new initial commenting deadline is now March 8, 2017, with a reply comment deadline of April 8, 2017. This extension gives us valuable time to gather information from municipalities on what the situation is in their communities.

This is a very important regulatory proceeding that will affect local government authority.  Strong and factually based comments are necessary as a counterweight to proposals that would limit home rule.

Additionally, the League and the National League of Cities need local governments to provide input on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) recent the December 22, 2016 notice.
Please consider responding to this brief survey provided here.

For background on this issue, please click here, for a white paper written by the League’s Bureau of Municipal information.

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

c. Don’t Let Federal Tax Reform Weaken Local Finance

As the 115th Congress kicked into full gear, the National League of Cities (NLC) took the campaign to preserve the tax exemption for municipal bonds national. In a joint effort with the Municipal Bonds for America Coalition, NLC and over 300 cities, public utilities and associations sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate Leadership, House Ways & Means Committee Members, and Senate Finance Committee Members that underscores the importance the financing tool represents for cities.

The timeliness of this effort cannot be overstated. As the Congressional Republican caucuses met in Philadelphia, last week for a policy summit, conversations on tax-reform were held. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady on Tuesday said, "Tax reform is truly one of those once-in-a-generation opportunities. We are committed to seizing it in a bold way."

Tax-exempt municipal bonds are the backbone of state and local government finance and are key to a vibrant national economy. NLC is committed to continue the fight to preserve the ability to finance in a cost-effective manor while supporting the idea of a comprehensive tax reform package that works to benefit municipalities.

Last November at our Annual Conference, we adopted a Resolution on this matter. We have already contacted all those who represent our State, in Congress. Now, they need to hear from you.

Tax-exempt municipal bonds are an essential and irreplaceable tool, used by municipalities to finance the construction and maintenance of Main Street infrastructure. Tax-exempt municipal bonds finance nearly two-thirds of the nation’s core infrastructure. Approximately $1.7 trillion in infrastructure investment over the last decade was financed with tax-exempt municipal bonds.  

Despite proven success as a financing tool that drives development, while saving local governments interest costs, tax-exempt municipal bonds could be capped, diminished or dismantled as a pay-for under federal tax reform. As Congress considers comprehensive tax reform during the next session, New Jersey municipalities must stand strong in defense of municipal bonds.
One way to ensure support for tax-exempt municipal bonds is to increase membership of the Congressional Municipal-Finance Caucus. Founded in March 2016 by Representatives Randy Hultgren of Illinois and Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the Caucus is fighting for local governments' ability to independently finance projects to keep their communities strong.
We need your help to grow the Caucus.  Click here to send a letter to your member of Congress today urging them to join the Congressional Municipal-Finance Caucus and protect the tax exemption for municipal bonds. By becoming a member of the Caucus, your member of Congress can join our fight to protect municipal bonds.

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

III. 2017 League Salary Survey

The League is conducting its biannual compilation of wages and salaries paid to mayors, governing body members and other key administrative personnel, including police officials.  We are writing to request your response to a survey to help us gather this data.  In order to use the data that you so generously take the time to provide, we request your response no later than April 12, 2017

You may find and complete the survey in 9 minutes by clicking here.  If you would prefer to print a copy of the survey to complete by hand, you may do so by clicking here.

Contact: Taran B. Samhammer, tsamhammer@njslom.org, (609) 695-3481 x124

IV. Also of Interest

a. Ready To Run – March 10-11

Now's the time to sign up for the annual Ready to Run® Campaign Training for Women hosted by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Ready to Run® is a bipartisan program for women who want to run for office, work on campaigns, get appointed to office, or learn more about the political system. It's all happening March 10-11 on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus, including special pre-conference sessions for women of color. Get the details here

b. NLC Congressional Cities Conference

Also, The National League of Cities (NLC) is committed to helping city leaders build better communities. Join them for a free webinar to discuss how your city can start saving money and generating revenue for your city.

Topics will include: NLC Community Showcase Video Program - Enhance your City Website, NLC Service Line Warranty Program - Be a Resource to Residents and Generate Revenue, U.S. Communities - Best Overall Supplier Government Pricing, Build America Mutual - Lower Cost of Financing Public Debt, NLC Prescription Discount Program - Residents Save 24% Off Retail Prescriptions, and Public Finance Authority - Streamline Economic Development.

For more information visit the NLC: http://social.bluehornet.com/hostedemail/email.htm?h=e07001e7a8dda073da752d7bad176648&CID=mcid&schema=echo4

c. The Bald Eagle Recovers

Our national bird, the bald eagle, has successfully recovered in the Garden State.  The episode, found at http://www.nj.gov/dep/podcast/, provides insightful information on the bald eagle’s habits, and life cycle.

d. Recognize Law Enforcement for Governor's Council on Mental Health Stigma Award

This year the New Jersey Governor's Council on Mental Health Stigma is recognizing Law Enforcement Professionals that have provided effective supports, services or programs that reduce the ways in which society stigmatizes people with mental illnesses.  The 2017 Ambassador Awards will honor people, institutions and endeavors whose work best exemplifies how communities encourage understanding and acceptance of adults and children whose lives are affected by mental illness. Nominations will be accepted until February 20, 2017. Click here to download form

e. Register Now for a Chance to Connect With Your Legislative Leaders

Register now for a chance to connect with your legislative leaders at the 25th Annual Mayor’s Legislative Day on February 8, 2017.

The Mayors' Legislative Day is unique occasion for local leaders to interact with individuals who are responsible for setting the agenda for Property Tax Reform, Affordable Housing, Pension and Health Benefits Reform, Transportation and Utility Issues.  It is also a great way to hear, first hand, about the State’s legislative agenda from the Governor, Administration officials and key members of the Senate and Assembly. 

For more information about this program please click the following link: http://www.njslom.org/seminar-documents/2017-feb08-legislative-day.html

Contact: Danielle Holland, Seminar Manager, dholland@njslom.org, 609- 695-3481, x118.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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