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Mar 17

COVID-19 Bill Package Released from Assembly

Posted on March 17, 2020 at 10:58 AM by Legislative Staff

On Monday under emergency voting rules, the Assembly considered a bill package related to COVID-19. At this time the bill text is unavailable but we will provide a more detailed update once the bill text becomes available. The Senate voting session is scheduled for March 23.

Based on comments made at yesterday’s Assembly voting session, Assembly Speaker Coughlin noted that the Assembly worked with the Senate and the Governor’s Office to make certain that they can get legislation passed to assist with COVID-19. The Assembly unanimously approved all the bills listed below, unless otherwise noted, by using emergency voting rules. Again, no text has been published so further analysis will need to wait until it is available.  League observations from the hearing are noted in italics.

Municipal Concerns:

A-3095 - Provides county clerks with additional week to mail ballots for 2020 primary election.

A-3849 - Permits public agency to respond to request for government record within 21 calendar days during period of emergency or other exigency.

A-3850 - Allows public bodies to conduct meetings by electronic means during periods of emergency.

A-3851 - Extends deadlines for adoption of county and municipal budgets under certain circumstances.

A-3847 - Provides paid leave without utilizing accumulated leave for local government employees under certain circumstances. Passed by a vote of 56 yes, 4 no, and 4 abstains.

School Concerns:

A-3813 - Permits use of virtual or remote instruction to meet minimum 180-day school year requirement under certain circumstances. Was amended on the floor and passed by a vote of 55 yes, 0 no, and 9 abstains.

A-3839 - Makes supplemental appropriation of $10 million from General Fund to DOE to support school facility cleaning and sanitization

A-3840 - Requires school districts to provide school meals or meal vouchers to students eligible for free and reduced price school meals during school closures due to COVID-19 epidemic

A-3842 - Establishes Bridging the Digital Divide in Schools Grant Program in DOE to provide and expand access to technology and equipment for students in certain school districts. Passed by a vote of 59 yes, 3 no, and 3 abstains.

Business Concerns:

A-3841 - Extends time to file gross income tax or corporation business tax return by one month.

A-3844 - Concerns business interruption insurance during coronavirus disease 2019 state of emergency.

A-3845 - Expands EDA small business loan program to include small businesses negatively affected by certain epidemics.

Health Issues:

A-3843 - Requires health insurance and Medicaid coverage for testing and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019. Passed by a vote of 64 yes, 0 no, and 1 abstain.

A-3860  - Facilitates use of telemedicine and telehealth to respond to health emergencies.

A-3854 - Authorizes licensed health care facilities and laboratories to develop and administer coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests.

A-3856 - Makes FY 2020 supplemental appropriation of $10 million for residential facility sanitation due to coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.

Labor Issues:

A-3846 - Creates “Epidemic and Emergency Relief Fund”; provides for lost income of workers affected by epidemics. Passed by a vote of 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 abstains.

A-3848 - Concerns time off from work in connection with infectious disease.

Public Assistance Issues:

A-3855 - Requires food access information be displayed on websites of 2-1-1 system and executive branch departments during public health emergencies.

A-3857 - Makes FY2020 supplemental appropriation of $5 million to Community Food Bank of New Jersey to provide meals for children who are out of school and received subsidized lunches.

A-3858 - Requires Commissioner of Human Services to issue supplemental cash assistance payments to recipients of certain public assistance programs under certain circumstances. Passed by a vote of 53 yes, 1 no, and 12 abstains.

A-3859 - Concerns prohibition of residential tenant eviction and eviction due to residential foreclosure during certain emergency circumstances. Passed by a vote of 60 yes, 0 no, and 5 abstains. Please note during the hearing Assemblyman Bramnick raised concern about the bill having a sunset and that this bill is appropriate during this emergency but was concerned it could be applied during a snow emergency.

ACR-165 - Urges DHS to apply for federal waivers to facilitate and increase access to SNAP benefits during coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.

AJR-158 - Urges FCC to take temporary measures to secure broadband access for those affected by COVID-19.

The Assembly removed A-3853 - Establishes “COVID-19 Emergency Food Distribution Fund”; appropriates $10,000,000 from the agenda. They also added the following bills:

A-3861 - Permits corporations to hold shareholders' meetings in part or solely by means of remote communication during state of emergency.

A-3862 - Permits professional and occupational licensing boards to expedite licensure of certain individuals during state of emergency or public health emergency.

A-3863 - Extends petition filing deadline by two weeks for all candidates, and waives signature requirements for candidates for party office, for 2020 primary election.

A-3864 - Authorizes Notaries Public to Perform Certain Notarial Acts Remotely.

A-3865 - Limits return of items purchased from retail food stores under certain circumstances. Passed by a vote of 49 yes, 4 no, and 12 abstains.

contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Analayst, or 609-695-3481, x112.