June 21, 2019  

I.   State Issues
II.  Federal Issue
III. League Conference
Municipal Clerks:  Please forward to Mayor, Governing Body and Department Heads. 

I. State Issues

a. Senate Removes S-106 and S-107 from the Voting Session Agenda

We are pleased to report that late on Wednesday, the Senate removed S-106, which amends the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), and S-107, which amends the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) from their agenda for consideration at the June 20 voting session. It is our understanding that the bills were removed from the agenda due to concerns of various Legislators. We thank you for the outreach to your State Senators; it made a difference and your voices were heard. 
The Senate Budget and Appropriations committee amendments to the bills are now available online and we will provide a detailed update in the upcoming days.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x112.

b. Taxpayer Equity Liability Standards Bill Passes

On Monday the State Senate, by a vote of 36-0, approved S-3739 and the Assembly, by a vote of 75-1, approved A-5392.  This legislation will establish liability standards in sexual abuse lawsuits filed against public entities and public employees.  As amended, this bill will apply the same standards to public employees and entities as will be applied to private, non-profit organizations, per the recent revisions in P.L. 2019, c.120.   The League supports this important correction to the current statute.
The final bill reflects amendments suggested by a coalition that includes the League, the Association of Counties, the School Boards Association and the MEL-JIF to assure that public and private entities are treated alike. S-3739/A-5392 address a shortcoming in the recent amendments made by PL 2019, c.120.
We commend the efforts of the respective sponsors, Senators Vitale and Scutari and Assemblywomen Quijano and Murphy to assure justice for the victims of these heinous acts. Aware of the problem, local governments are today, more vigilant and fully committed to doing all that can be done to prevent abuse and to expose offenders. These efforts include background checks on employees and volunteers; immediate investigation when abuse is suspected; and, immediate action when abuse is reported.  
A-5392/S-3739 now heads to the Governor for consideration.

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

c. FY 2020 Budget Bills Sent to Governor

As expected, the State Senate and the General Assembly have approved and sent to the Governor, a State spending plan for the 2020 Fiscal Year that begins on July 1. S-2020(A-5600) was approved in the State Senate with a vote of 31 – Yes, 6 – No, and 3 not voting. The Assembly vote was 53 – Yes, 23 – No, 3 not voting, and one abstention.
The bill assumes robust corporate and sales tax receipts. It also rejects many of the Governor’s proposed revenue enhancements. The Governor has indicated that he does not share the Legislature’s optimism for the sustainability of such strong sales and corporate tax growth rates. If the bill’s revenue projections cannot be certified, the Governor would need to recommend spending cuts, by using line-item vetoes.
We will keep you posted on further developments, paying particular attention to municipal priorities.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x121.

d. State of Emergency Declared for Burlington, Camden & Gloucester

Yesterday Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 70 declaring a State of Emergency, effective immediately in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties due to the severe weather conditions, including heavy rains and extreme flooding. The State is now deploying resources and personnel to help with recovery efforts.  The State of Emergency will remain in effect until such time as it is determined by the State that an emergency no longer exists.  We suggest you review Local Finance Notice 2018-20 for guidance on emergency appropriations and procurement. We will continue to provide updates on guidance or directives issued by the State.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x112.

e. Medical Marijuana Expansion Heads to the Governor

Yesterday, the Assembly and Senate passed a revised medical marijuana expansion bill.  A-20/S-20 is new legislation, but closely mirrors the previous legislation A-10 in most areas. The new bill apparently reflects negotiations between the Governor’s office and the Legislature.  
The new legislation was just made available yesterday and the League is reviewing the bill.  The statement from the Assembly Appropriations Committee summarizes the legislation.   It appears, on first glance, that the major difference between the bill now headed to the Governor and the previous legislation is the raising of the cultivator cap to 28, instead of 23. The Murphy Administration will now amend the request for applications. Instead of making 108 licenses available for new marijuana businesses, it will now accept 5 cultivation/growth facilities, 15 dispensaries and 4 vertically “integrated alternative treatment centers. “
Language permitting municipalities to assess an up-to-2% local option tax at the point of sale and requiring municipal endorsement for facilities was preserved.  
The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.
Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x120

f. First Responders’ Workers’ Comp Re-Write Heads to Governor

Both Houses have passed and sent to the Governor, the "Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act", which concerns workers' compensation for public safety workers. The bill, S-716(A-1741), makes it much easier for any public safety worker – volunteer or professional – to receive a workers’ compensation award.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee amended the bill, in response to suggestions put forward by the Municipal Excess Liability (MEL) fund and the League. We appreciate those amendments, and we thank the sponsors for their consideration of our concerns, throughout the process. We will carefully review the Department of Labor’s mandatory annual analysis of claims and costs. However, since the Office of Legislative Services has concluded ‘…that the bill will most likely increase annual expenditures by State and local public entities …,’ we must continue our opposition. We will, accordingly, ask the Governor to consider further changes.
We want to acknowledge the leadership of the MEL’s, David Grubb and Paul Bent on this matter. The valuable amendments would not have happened without their effort and expertise.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x121.

II. Federal Issue

a. Federal Ways & Means Committee to Hold Hearing on Local Impact of
    SALT Cap

On Wednesday, it was announced that a Ways and Means subcommittee will hold a hearing next week to review how the recently enacted $10,000 cap on federal income tax deductions for state and local taxes (“SALT”) may “harm communities, schools, first responders, and housing values.” 
The Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee will hold a hearing on June 25, 2019, at 10 a.m. and written comments will be accepted until close of business on July 9, 2019.  For further information, including how to submit your own comments, please see the Ways and Means Committee meeting announcement.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, fmarshall@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x137.

III. League Conference

a. NJLM Annual Conference Exhibit Booth Registration is Open!

Invite your vendors to exhibit at the 2019 NJLM Annual Conference and showcase their product or service to other municipalities. Exhibit space is over 80% sold out so contact your vendors today – or send us a note and we’ll reach out to them!  The 2019 Exhibitor and Sponsorship Prospectus (PDF), Interactive Floor Plan and other exhibit information can be downloaded at www.njlm.org/exhibit.
Contact: Kristin Lawrence, Director of Exhibition and Sponsorships, 609-695-3481 x125 or klawrence@njlm.org.

b. Reserve Your Hotel for the League Conference 

Preparations for the 104th Annual League Conference November 19-21 are underway and the hotel reservations system is open for attendees and exhibitors at the League Conference Web Page . There you will also see a preliminary schedule of conference sessions.

Staying in Atlantic City for the Conference is a great way to get the most from your attendance at the Conference.  Staying over will maximize your time and opportunities to participate in the educational, informational, and networking opportunities offered throughout the Annual League Conference. 

c. Unauthorized Hotel Reservation Services

Every year there are unauthorized firms soliciting housing and hotel reservations from attendees at the Annual League Conference.  We assure you that the only firm authorized to handle our conference housing reservations is AC Central Reservations. This information is on the top of the official conference housing form sent to all municipal clerks and posted on our website.
Using unauthorized reservation services creates real problems for you and the conference as a whole. You cannot be assured your credit card information is secure and your room reservation may not actually be made. Using unauthorized services means your room will not be part of the official conference housing block so you won’t get emergency housing information (which happened in both 2011 and 2012), nor will there be adequate shuttle bus services to your hotel.
As always, the League is available to answer your questions on any aspect of the annual conference and we strive to make your participation both enjoyable and highly productive.
Contact: Michael J. Darcy, CAE, Executive Director, mdarcy@njlm.org, 609-695-3481, x116.


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