First, both of our ESP bills have moved.  The governor signed the binding arbitration bill, P.L.2020, c.66, and our subcontracting bill (A4140/S203) passed both houses of the legislature on Thursday and awaits the governor’s signature.   Thank the legislature for passing these important bills! https://actioncenter.njea.org/thank-the-legislature-2/

A lot of actions were taken in other areas.  Between buildings, ballots, and the budget, the state has been busy in August.  We have a lot to cover!

(Did you fill out your census form?  If not, go to https://www.2020census.gov/)

  • Budget Before we get to the budget address, some background.  As you may recall, the administration was predicting close to a $10 billion deficit between fiscal years (FY) 20 and 21.  After some haggling, the legislature passed a bill to allow the state to borrow up to $9.9 billion in general obligation debt without voter approval.  The NJ Republican Party sued, and the state was waiting for the NJ Supreme Court to hear the case, which would decide the path of the FY 21 budget.

    On August 12, the NJ Supreme Court cleared the way for the administration to borrow money for FY 21.  According to the bill that the legislature passed, any funding requests have to be approved by a four-member panel of the legislature which includes the leaders of both houses and the budget chairs in both houses.  The Court, while approving the spending, added the requirement that before any borrowing will have to be defined in formal budget certifications.  https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/08/nj-supreme-court-oks-murphy-administration-to-borrow-billions-without-voter-approval-some-limitations/

    A “mini-budget” extended the FY 2020 budget until the end of September passed at the end of June.  To balance this budget, much of the spending was pushed into the next fiscal year.  For example, state aid payments and pension payments that should have been done in September were pushed into October.  The FY 21 budget must be in place October 1.
    On August 25, the governor gave his budget address for FY 21 at Rutgers SHI Stadium in Piscataway, so that attendees could socially distance.  Other than a tent falling over during the address, the governor’s address went off as expected.  You can read his full address here: https://nj.gov/governor/news/addresses/approved/20200825.shtml, or watch it here: https://youtu.be/wLvzWW6jad8.

    There won’t be any public testimony on this year’s budget (although written testimony will be accepted), but there will be some departmental hearings, where cabinet members come before the legislature and explain and defend their budget.  Remember:  while the governor proposes the budget, the legislature can add or remove spending in its budget bill.  Then the governor can sign the bill or line-item veto spending!

    This budget relies on the borrowing mentioned earlier to balance it.  It includes the following:

    • A full pension payment of $4.9 billion, equal to 80% of the actuarially determined contribution, continuing the path to fully funding the pension.
    • No cuts to K-12 State Aid, sort of.  The overall pool of funding for K-12 aid remains the same as in FY2020; however, district allocations continue to be revised as per S2, which phased out adjustment aid.  This means that some districts are gaining money and some are losing.
    • Preschool Aid increases by $68 million, $10 million for new programs and the rest for existing programs.
    • County college operating aid is reduced by $25 million. Between this recommendation, a deappropriation due to the pandemic, and a reduction in aid and the mini-budget, they will have lost 31% of their aid.
    • Restored funding for the Homestead Benefit and Senior Freeze property tax relief programs.
    • Tax policies to build revenue, restoring tax fairness, including a millionaires tax on all income above $1 million, a 2.5% corporation surcharge, and removal of the tax cap on boats, and raising firearm and ammunition taxes and fees, among others.

As usual, John Reitmyer does a nice job explaining the budget:  https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/08/nj-gov-murphy-2020-budget-taxes-spending-borrowing-property-tax-relief/  To read more about community college aid, look here:  https://nj1015.com/nj-community-colleges-face-31-cut-in-state-operating-aid/

  • In other news

Sports physicals: There are changes to sports physicals for student-athletes, based on S2518, which was signed into law: https://www.nj.gov/education/broadcasts/2020/aug/28/Changes%20to%20Physical%20Examination%20Requirements%20for%20Fall%20Student-Athletes.pdf

COVID Testing: A bill was introduced, A4529, which would require school district students, staff, and volunteers to have COVID-19 test prior to start of 2020-2021 school year.  This bill is not scheduled at the current time.

Teacher evaluation:  Since there was no statewide testing this spring, teacher evaluation weights for all teachers are 85% teacher practice and 15% SGOs.  Guidance on conducting evaluations for the 20-21 school year will be forthcoming.
https://www.nj.gov/education/broadcasts/2020/aug/28/Notification%20of%20Educator%20Evaluation%20Rubric%20Weights%20for%202020-21%20and%20Back%20to%20School%20Reminders.pdf

BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW

  • A4276- Establishes “The Ballot Cure Act” to modify and establish various voting procedures. (Monitor)
  • A4320- Requires certain information to increase public awareness and use of voting by mail; prohibits rejection of mail-in ballots for certain defects; requires certain mail-in ballots to be retained. (Monitor)
  • A4475- Requires county boards of election to establish ballot drop boxes in each county at least 45 days before election: revises procedures concerning mail-in ballots for 2020 general election. (Monitor)
  • A3641- Requires DLPS to incorporate implicit bias in cultural diversity training materials for law enforcement officers; makes mandatory cultural diversity and implicit bias training for law enforcement officers. (Support)
  • S993- Concerns arbitration for certain non-teaching school staff. (Support)
  • S2518- Delays physical examination requirement for certain student-athletes who participate in school-sponsored athletic activities during fall athletic season of 2020-2021 school year. (Monitor)

RESULTS FROM MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2020:

  • A4310- Requires Division of Local Government Services to approve local unit budgets with excess anticipated miscellaneous revenue due to COVID-19 and authorizes school districts to maintain surplus at four percent for 2020-2021 school year. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A4357- Permits special education students and bilingual education students to repeat prior year grade level during 2020-2021 school year upon parental request. (Oppose) (For discussion only)
  • A4461- Requires State to enter into contract for COVID-19 related goods and services for purchase by public schools. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • AR169- Urges President and Congress to enact “CARE for Kids Act of 2019.” (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A850- Establishes “Community Broadband Study Commission.” (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A1070- Requires Secretary of Higher Education to develop guidance for institutions of higher education to identify cultural barriers in recruitment and retention of underrepresented students for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A1625- Directs DOE to develop outreach program to encourage young women and minorities to pursue post-secondary degrees and careers in STEM. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A3649- Requires OIT to establish Statewide wireless network through public-private partnership agreement. (Monitor)

RESULTS FROM THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2020

  • A4259- Allows office of municipal clerk to receive voted mail-in ballots and applications for those ballots by hand delivery; extends deadline for mail-in ballots to be received and canvassed. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee)
  • A4276- Establishes “The Ballot Cure Act” to modify and establish various voting procedures. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee)
  • A4320- Requires certain information to increase public awareness and use of voting by mail; extends deadline for mail-in ballots to be received and canvassed; requires certain mail-in ballots to be retained. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee)
  • A4475- Requires county boards of election to establish ballot drop boxes in each county at least seven days before election. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee)

RESULTS FROM MONDAY, AUGUST 17, 2020

  • S1228- Directs Secretary of Higher Education to conduct study to determine extent and cause of outmigration of high school graduates to out of State colleges (No Position) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S1271/S2660- Establishes requirements for closures of private career schools and institutions of higher education, modifies review process of new academic programs, and requires approval of branch campuses (Monitor) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S1851- Eliminates eligibility of postsecondary students and other individuals for State student assistance, training, and employment services if school or training provider requires student to consent to arbitration agreement or proceeding or to waive certain rights (Monitor) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2026- Requires institutions of higher education and private career schools to provide on website employment data of graduates; requires DOLWD to compile certain employment information. (Seek Amendments) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)

RESULTS FROM THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2020

  • A970/S2259- Requires public schools to administer written screenings for depression for students in certain grades (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A4006/S2404- Postpones New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) review for certain school districts to accommodate disruption due to COVID 19 pandemic (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S68- Requires school districts to provide information on free application for federal student aid to students in grades 11 and 12 (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S99- Requires availability of early voting for certain elections; makes appropriation (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S1848- Creates priority hiring pool for public school employment of certain individuals who were previously employed in school districts that experienced reduction in State school aid (Monitor) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2401- Prohibits public school students and employees from immediately returning to school after traveling to certain places during public health emergencies (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2580- Requires county boards of election to establish ballot drop boxes in each county at least 45 days before election; revises procedures concerning mail in ballots for 2020 general election (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2598/S2699- Establishes “The Ballot Cure Act” to modify and establish various voting procedures (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee substitute, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2633 – Extends ballot receipt and election certification deadlines; increases certain messenger and bearer ballot limits; requires certain information to increase public awareness and use of voting by mail (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee substitute, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2698 – Requires State to enter into contract and coordinate with certain cooperative purchasing systems for procurement of COVID 19 related goods and services by school districts and county colleges (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2776- Requires county board of elections to mail notice to mail in voters after each election confirming ballot was received and counted (Monitor) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2820- Allows registered voters to submit application to vote by mail using online voter registration website maintained by Secretary of State up to seven days before election (Monitor) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)

RESULTS FROM FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2020

  • S2590- Requires civil service examination for police and correctional police officers to include questions to identify implicit racial bias (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2765- Requires Civil Services Commission to undertake various initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity within law enforcement agencies (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2766- Requires Civil Service Commission establish mentoring program for minority civil service law enforcement applicants (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2767- Establishes oversight database to aid in civil service hiring process for law enforcement officers; requires Statewide diversity analysis of law enforcement (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • SJR93- Designates February 14 of each year as Frederick Douglass Day in NJ (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • SJR94- Establishes task force to study racial bias within criminal justice system (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)

RESULTS FROM MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2020

  • A2212/S232- Requires DEP to evaluate environmental and public health stressor of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A4276/S2598/S2699- Establishes “The Ballot Cure Act” to modify and establish various voting procedures (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A4320/S2633- Requires certain information to increase public awareness and use of voting by mail; prohibits rejection of mail in ballots for certain defects; requires certain mail in ballots to be retained (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee substitute, 2nd reading in Assembly) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A4461- Requires State to enter into contract and coordinate with certain cooperative purchasing systems for procurement of COVID 19 related goods and services by school districts and county colleges (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A4475/S2580- Requires county boards of election to establish ballot drop boxes in each county at least 45 days before election: revises procedures concerning mail in ballots for 2020 general election (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • ACR113- Reconstitutes the “Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity.” (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • AJR172- Establishes task force to study racial bias within criminal justice system (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • AJR180- Designates February 14 of each year as Frederick Douglass Day in NJ (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • S2843- Establishes measures to provide employment stability for high school coaches employed in school districts (Seek Amendments) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • SCR15- Reconstitutes the “Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity.” (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)

RESULTS FROM THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, 2020

  • A850- Establishes “Community Broadband Study Commission.” (Support) (Passed in Assembly)
  • A1070- Requires Secretary of Higher Education to develop guidance for institutions of higher education to identify cultural barriers in recruitment and retention of underrepresented students for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs (Support) (Passed in Assembly)
  • A1625- Directs DOE to develop outreach program to encourage young women and minorities to pursue post-secondary degrees and careers in STEM (Support) (Passed in Assembly)
  • A2212/S232- Requires DEP to evaluate environmental and public health stressor of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications (Support) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor).
  • A2394- Requires law enforcement agencies in this State to establish minority recruitment and selection programs; establishes reporting requirement (Support) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A3971- Authorizes the issuance of “coronavirus relief bonds” by municipalities and counties (Monitor) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A4006/S2404- Postpones New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) review for certain school districts to accommodate disruption due to COVID 19 pandemic (Support) (Substituted for S2404. Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A4276/A2598/S2699- Establishes “The Ballot Cure Act” to modify and establish various voting procedures (Monitor) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A4320/S2633- Requires certain information to increase public awareness and use of voting by mail; prohibits rejection of mail in ballots for certain defects; requires certain mail in ballots to be retained (Monitor) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A4461- Requires State to enter into contract and coordinate with certain cooperative purchasing systems for procurement of COVID 19 related goods and services by school districts and county colleges (Support) (Passed in Assembly).
  • A4475/S2580- Requires county boards of election to establish ballot drop boxes in each county at least 45 days before election: revises procedures concerning mail in ballots for 2020 general election (Monitor) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • ACR113/SCR15- Reconstitutes the “Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity.” (Support) (Passed in both houses and filed)
  • AJR172- Establishes task force to study racial bias within criminal justice system (Support) (Passed in Assembly)
  • AR169- Urges President and Congress to enact “CARE for Kids Act of 2019.” (Support) (Passed and filed)
  • S1228- Directs Secretary of Higher Education to conduct study to determine extent and cause of outmigration of high school graduates to out of State colleges (No Position) (Passed in Senate)
  • S1271/S2660- Establishes requirements for closures of private career schools and institutions of higher education, modifies review process of new academic programs, and requires approval of branch campuses (Monitor) (Passed in Senate)
  • S2303- Concerns subcontracting agreements entered into by public school districts and county colleges (Support) (Passed in Senate and sent to Governor)
  • S2486- Establishes Clayton Model Pilot Program in DOE to provide school based social emotional learning to students in grades kindergarten through five at certain public schools (Support) (Passed in Senate)
  • S2590- Requires civil service examination for police and correctional police officers to include questions to identify implicit racial bias (Support) (Passed in Senate)
  • S2765- Requires Civil Services Commission to undertake various initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity within law enforcement agencies (Support) (Passed in Senate)
  • S2766- Requires Civil Service Commission establish mentoring program for minority civil service law enforcement applicants (Support) (Passed in Senate)
  • S2767- Establishes oversight database to aid in civil service hiring process for law enforcement officers; requires Statewide diversity analysis of law enforcement (Support) (Passed in Senate) 

WHEN IS THE LEGISLATURE MEETING AGAIN? (subject to change)

  • Monday, Sept. 14        Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Thursday, Sept. 17      Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Monday, Sept. 21        Senate Committees/Assembly Voting Session
  • Thursday, Sept. 24      Senate and Assembly Voting Session
  • Friday, Sept. 25           Senate Voting Session
  • Tuesday, Sept. 29       Senate Voting Session
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30  Assembly Voting Session
  • Thursday, Oct. 8         Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Monday, Oct. 19         Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Thursday, Oct. 22       Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Thursday, Oct. 29       Senate and Assembly Voting Session
  • Monday, Nov. 9          Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Monday, Nov. 16        Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Monday, Dec. 7          Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Thursday, Dec. 10       Senate and Assembly Committees
  • Monday, Dec. 14        Assembly Committees
  • Thursday, Dec. 17       Senate and Assembly Voting Session

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