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Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

Environment
Senate Environment and Energy Committee
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Blocks DEP Rule
SCR-66 (Lesniak/D-20; Smith/D-17; Greenstein/D-14)
ACR-160 (McKeon/D-27; Spencer/D-29; Eustace/D-38; Muoio/D-15; Jasey/D-27)

The Senate's version of the bill passed in committee. The Assembly passed their version of the bill (ACR-160) by 47-24-5. These bills block adoption of the DEP's proposed rules and regulations regarding the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules. The proposed rules and regulations are the product of years of work from stakeholders, and maintains the DEP's intent on easing regulatory burdens by clarifying and consolidating many sections of the rules. Additionally, the regulations will add appropriate flexibility and provide greater consistency with federal, local and other state requirements.

Senate Environment and Energy Committee SCR-66 Vote: Smith, Bob (C) - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. (VC) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Not Voting; Codey, Richard J. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - No

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Labor
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
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Raises Minimum Wage to $15
S-15 (Sweeney/D-3; Vitale/D-19)
A-15 (Prieto/D-32; Wisniewski/D-19; Schaer/D-36; Tucker/D-28; Oliver/D-34; Wimberly/D-35)

Senate committee passed. Raises the hourly minimum wage rate to $10.10, makes further increases over a four-year period to $15 per hour, and maintains annual increases based on the CPI. If the federal minimum wage exceeds the state minimum wage, the state will adopt the federal minimum wage and increases will be based on increases in the CPI. This mandated increase in the minimum wage will put an onerous burden on business owners and significantly increase the cost of doing business in New Jersey. Businesses will make modifications by reducing hours, scaling back benefits, automating services, terminating current employees or closing their operations.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-15 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - No; Bucco, Anthony R. - No; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - No; Oroho, Steven V. - No; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - No; Van Drew, Jeff - No

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Assembly Appropriations Committee
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Provides Transition Period for Building Service Employees
A-3907 (Giblin/D-34; Singleton/D-7)

Senate committee passed. This bill would require that, upon entering or terminating a contract for building services (which includes, but is not limited to, janitorial, building maintenance, landscaping and security services) or transferring ownership of a building, the successor contractor or building owner retain the prior business's employees for a 90-day period. This legislation would favor one group of employees at the expense of others by imposing onerous requirements on nonunionized businesses, thereby increasing costs and significantly reducing employer flexibility in hiring for the provision of these services.

Assembly Appropriations Committee A-3907 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (C) - Yes; Spencer, L. Grace (VC) - Yes; Conaway, Herb, Jr. - Yes; DiMaio, John - No; Lagana, Joseph A. - Not Voting; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. - Yes; Phoebus, Gail - No; Quijano, Annette - Yes; Schaer, Gary S. - Yes; Schepisi, Holly - No

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Economic Development
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
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Establishes "Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program"
S-123 (Pennacchio/R-26; Rice/D-28)
A-3559 (Holley/D-20; Oliver/D-34; Wimberly/D-35)

Senate committee passed. Establishes a "Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program" to be run by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to assist certain small businesses in meeting state or federal contract surety bond requirements. The program will receive $250,000 annually from the enterprise zone assistance fund. This program is intended to give small businesses the knowledge and capacity to bid on public works projects or perform government contracts.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-123 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - Yes

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Senate Economic Growth Committee
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Establishes Joint Permit Application Process for Aquaculture Projects
S-316 (Van Drew/D-1; Connors/R-9)
A-793 (Andrzejczak/D-1; Land/D-1)

Senate committee held. Requires the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Protection to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish a joint permit application process for aquaculture projects that require both State and federal permits, licenses and approvals. This bill will make the approval process much more efficient and increase the incentive for developers to launch aquaculture projects.

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Senate Economic Growth Committee
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Requires Adoption of Joint Application and Review Program for Aquaculture Projects
S-317 (Van Drew/D-1; Connors/R-9)
A-794 (Andrzejczak/D-1; Land/D-1)

Senate committee held. This legislation will require the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, to develop and implement an aquaculture permitting review program to provide for the coordinated review of any aquaculture project. This bill, in conjunction with S-316, will attract more developers to aquaculture projects.

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Assembly Appropriations Committee
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Expediting Permits
A-1768 (Burzichelli/D-3; Rumana/R-40; Phoebus/R-24)
S-482 (Oroho/R-24; Stack/D-33)

Assembly committee passed. Directs every state agency to identify permits that can be expedited by issuing a general permit instead. This reform measure implements one of the findings of the "Red Tape Review Commission Findings and Recommendations" report, issued in 2012.

Assembly Appropriations Committee A-1768 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (C) - Yes; Spencer, L. Grace (VC) - Yes; Conaway, Herb, Jr. - Yes; DiMaio, John - Yes; Lagana, Joseph A. - Not Voting; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. - Yes; Phoebus, Gail - Yes; Quijano, Annette - Yes; Schaer, Gary S. - Yes; Schepisi, Holly - Yes

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Assembly Judiciary Committee
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Extends Permits for Superstorm Sandy-impacted Counties
A-3617 (Green/D-22; Rible/R-30)
S-2390 (Sarlo/D-36; Kyrillos/R-13)

Assembly committee passed. Extends expiration date of certain permits for one year in Superstorm Sandy-impacted counties. Gaining a permit extension is difficult and costly, resulting in once-approved permits to expire or lapse. This causes lenders to re-appraise and subsequently lower real estate valuations, thereby requiring the reclassification of numerous loans, which affect the developer's ability to apply for future loans. Under this bill, nine counties in New Jersey would have their permits extended to December 31, 2016.

Assembly Judiciary Committee A-3617 Vote: McKeon, John F. (C) - Yes; Johnson, Gordon M. (VC) - Yes; Caputo, Ralph R. - Yes; Carroll, Michael Patrick - Yes; Muoio, Elizabeth Maher - Yes; O'Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. - Yes; Zwicker, Andrew - Yes

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Transportation
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
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Regulates Transportation Network Companies
S-2179 (Sarlo/D-36; Kyrillos/R-13)

Senate committee passed. Regulates ridesharing companies that use the internet or other digital communications to connect drivers with people who need rides. The State Chamber supports the Senate version of the bill which standardizes electronic background checks. The Chamber believes that ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft give safe and affordable transportation options to New Jersey residents and visitors.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-2179 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Abstain; Beck, Jennifer - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - No; Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - No; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - Yes

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Pension
Assembly Judiciary Committee
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Mandates Pension Payments
ACR-109 (Prieto/D-32; Jimenez/D-32; Giblin/D-34; Caputo/D-28)
SCR-2 (Sweeney/D-3; Turner/D-15; Greenstein/D-14)

Public hearing to discuss proposed constitutional amendment that mandates quarterly payments to fund the pensions of public employees. Under this proposal, future governors and legislators will not have any maneuverability regarding the pension payments regardless of the state's economic conditions. The State Chamber believes this proposal will severely impact the state's fiscal stability, which will ultimately have a negative effect on our effort to create jobs and grow our economy.

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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.

While no one likes tax increases and not all of the provisions in the TTF funding bill are optimal, the overall impact of the legislation is positive. The revenue raised by the TTF bill will be invested in repair and maintenance of our roads, bridges and tunnels, which is a critical investment for New Jersey's future.

The Web Equals or Surpasses Traditional Face-to-Face or Phone Contact for Finding New Customers

How profoundly the internet has changed the way business is conducted is clearly illustrated in the new CohnReznick - New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Spring 2016 Business Climate Survey of New Jersey business leaders released today.

Walter Brasch was elected treasurer of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce by the Board of Directors at its June 8 meeting. Brasch, who has served on the Board for six years, is partner and chief business development officer at PKF O’Connor Davies, the accounting and consulting services firm in Cranford.

First, the N.J. Chamber applauds Senate President Steve Sweeney, Sen. Steven Oroho, Sen. Paul Sarlo, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and Sen. Joe Kyrillos for their work on this proposal and their willingness to work to find solutions to these difficult issues in an effective and bipartisan way.

2016 06 09 Open HouseBusiness leaders, legislators and state government department heads, including Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, packed the galleries and the outdoor pavilions of the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton on June 9 for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's 19th Annual Open House.

2016 05 23 Booker tmbWhen Sen. Cory Booker arrived in Washington a few years ago, he was a national figure with a huge Twitter following and a personal mission to reach across the aisle to get things done. You can say he still has national credibility. When there is a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, his name comes up. When there is talk about Hillary Clinton's running mate, his name comes up.

2016 05 18 njcc golf tmPro athletes in every sport seem to have two things in common - they love to golf and they are good at it. Former New Jersey Devils goalie Chris Terreri supported that notion by nailing a hole-in-one on Hole 13 at the New Jersey Chamber Challenge golf outing at The Bedens Brook Club in Skillman on May 16.

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce welcomes the news that the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is back to fiscal health and that New Jersey employers will realize $380 million in tax savings beginning in July, 2016.

2016 05 10 RTB tmbState leaders have no shortage of "looming disasters" to solve, ranging from a fund to pay for road, bridge and mass transit maintenance that is on the verge of insolvency to a fund to pay public workers' pensions that is falling further into debt at a pace of $10 million per day, Assemblyman Gary Schaer told N.J. Chamber members. And that doesn't include other issues bouncing around the State House, such as education funding, higher education funding and how to address Atlantic City's budget issues, the assemblyman added.

N.J. Chamber President and CEO Tom Bracken's statement on the state Senate's decision not to vote on paid sick leave legislation:

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce believes it is good news that the New Jersey state Senate decided not to vote Monday on Senate Bill S799, the legislation that forces employers to offer paid sick leave.

2016 05 06 bracken tmNew Jersey Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Tom Bracken says a meeting between the state's legislative and business leaders is long overdue.

Following up on comments made by Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) earlier in the week that legislative leaders should come together to work on a compromise measure in the ongoing Atlantic City saga and should continue to meet on a regular basis, Bracken said that such an idea was encouraging.