Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:
Removes Public Entities from Environmental Liability
A-1779 (McKeon/D-27; Spencer/D-29; Giblin/D-34; Caride/D-36; O'Donnell/D-31)
Assembly committee passed. Prohibits an action against local public entities for damages associated with the discharge of a hazardous substance. There are several municipalities and their local sewer and water authorities that have contributed significantly to the contamination of the Passaic River by discharging sewage and wastewater into the river for decades. This legislation sets a bad precedent by allowing these entities to escape liability for polluting; and escape their shared responsibility for paying cleanup costs.
Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee A-1779 Vote: Spencer, L. Grace. (C) - Not Voting; McKeon, John F. (VC) - Yes; Benson, Daniel R. - Yes; Rumana, Scott T. - Abstain; Wisniewski, John S. - Yes; Wolfe, David W. - No
Assembly committee passed. Prioritizes state-administered training programs for displaced workers for those who have exhausted all state and federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits from fiscal year 2015 through 2018. This legislation will ensure the proper training for those struggling with long-term unemployment.
Assembly Labor Committee A-2926 and S-1621 Vote: Egan, Joseph V. (C) - Yes; Sumter, Shavonda E. (VC) - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Not Voting; O'Donnell, Jason - Yes; Quijano, Annette - Yes; Space, Parker - Yes; Webber, Jay - Yes
Prohibits Employer Credit Check
S-524 / S1130 (Gill/D-34)
Senate committee passed. Prohibits an employer from requiring a credit check on a current or prospective employee, unless the employer is required to do so by law, or reasonably believes that an employee has engaged in a specific activity that is financial in nature and constitutes a violation of law. Businesses should have the option to utilize the use of credit information and the flexibility to determine and assess their individual needs based on their business operation.
Senate Labor Committee S-524/ S-1130 Vote: Madden, Fred H. (C) - Yes; Vitale, Joseph F. (VC) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - No; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes
Assembly committee passed. Awards worker's compensation benefits to a public safety worker if they are exposed to a serious disease, toxin, or pathogen. If the worker is found to have contracted a disease, there will be a rebuttable presumption that any injury, disability, illness or death caused by the malady is compensable under workers' compensation. The State Chamber has concerns that this legislation may have unintended consequences.
Assembly Labor Committee A-1347 and S- Vote: Egan, Joseph V. (C) - Yes; Sumter, Shavonda E. (VC) - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Abstain; Mukherji, Raj - Not Voting; O'Donnell, Jason - Yes; Quijano, Annette - Yes; Space, Parker - No; Webber, Jay - No
Safeguards on the Use of Drones
A-4344 (Quijano/D-20; Benson/D-14; Fuentes/D-5; Lagana/D-38)
Assembly committee passed. Establishes a fourth degree crime of conducting surveillance of a critical infrastructure using a privately owned drone. The bill also requires certain drones to be registered and insured. Business infrastructure deemed sensitive and critical must be protected from the risk of criminal or malicious activity.
Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee A-4344 Vote: Quijano, Annette (C) - Yes; DeAngelo, Wayne P. - Yes; Pinkin, Nancy J. - Yes; Russo, David C. - Yes; Schepisi, Holly - Not Voting
Board of Public Utilities President Richard Mroz answered questions before the Assembly Budget Committee regarding energy efficiency programs. Assemblyman John MeKeon questioned the BPU president about the societal benefits charge and whether or not the charge is lowering demand and costs for ratepayers. BPU President Mroz responded that the BPU is consistently engaged in energy efficiency assistance activities, such as window replacement and weatherproofing to lower demand.
State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff delivered his revenue update before the Assembly Budget Committee. Treasurer Eristoff stated that revenues are $204 million higher than originally anticipated. Combined with a savings of $8 million, the Administration will use this additional $212 million towards the state's pension contribution at the close of June. While there is some growth this year, the Treasurer reported that the state's winter operations will cost $58 million. The State Treasurer stated that employer withholding (the largest single component of the gross income tax) will grow at 5.5%.
Tax Exemption during Declared Emergency
A-1342 (Quijano/D-20; Simon/R-16)
For discussion only. Exempts certain out-of-state businesses and employees from certain state and local taxes, fees, and business registration requirements when temporarily performing work or services in New Jersey during a declared disaster or emergency. Allowing out-of-state utilities workers and businesses to operate with ease will ensure an expedited disaster response and allow state businesses to resume operations in a timely fashion.
Expands Weights and Measures to County Sherriff's Officers
A-3960 (Eustace/D-38; Johnson/D-37; Vainieri Huttle/D-37)
Held. Allows sheriff's officers in Bergen County to have the power to enforce all the provisions of the State Motor Vehicle Code. The bill includes the authority to measure and weigh vehicles. The passage of this bill will only add to the inefficiencies of commerce in New Jersey and add another layer of regulation to an already overregulated industry.
Thumbs up and down indicates the Chamber's support or opposition to issues. Call the New Jersey Chamber Government Relations Department at (609) 989-7888 with questions or comments.