LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – AUGUST 4, 2021

Although the legislature isn’t supposed to be meeting until November, a quick mid-summer update.

There are many bills on the governor’s desk.  Normally, in NJ, the governor has 45 days to take action on a bill, or it becomes law on the 45th day without the governor’s signature.  But it’s fuzzy legislative math.  It’s 45 days from when a bill is placed on the governor’s desk, but if the house of origin isn’t in session on the 45th day, that timeline is extended until the house reconvenes. (Some of you may recall I wrote about this once before.  There was a spate of canceled sessions in February over this timeline and the enabling legislation to legalize marijuana.).

Since the legislature has said it isn’t going to come back in session until November, Governor Murphy has well beyond 45 days to consider bills.  Bills signed into law since the last update, July 1, are below some news and politics.  Those waiting on the governor’s desk are below that.

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest news:

In politics,

BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW SINCE JULY 1

  • S854, now P.L.2021, c.185 – “Laura Wooten’s Law”; Requires civics instruction in middle school; authorizes New Jersey Center for Civic Education to provide curricula, professional development and technical assistance for middle and high school civics.
  • A5343, now P.L.2021, c.183 – Requires public community water systems to inventory and replace lead service lines within 10 years; provides for recoupment of costs by investor-owned public water systems.
  • S1147, now P.L.2021, c.182 – Requires lead paint inspection on certain residential rental property, including upon tenant turnover; establishes lead-based paint hazard education program; appropriates $3,900,000.
  • A850, now P.L.2021, c.161 – Establishes “Broadband Access Study Commission.”
  • A5825, now P.L.2021, c.163 – Changes effective date of Garden State Health Plan; exempts certain charter and renaissance schools from certain healthcare plan requirements; requires certain negotiations over certain health care costs.

BILLS ON THE GOVERNOR’S DESK

  • A681 – Expands scope of law prohibiting age discrimination. (Support)
  • A970 – Establishes Mental Health Screening in Schools Grant Program in DOE; appropriates $1 million. (Support)
  • A1625 – Directs DOE to develop outreach program to encourage young women and minorities to pursue post-secondary degrees and careers in STEM. (Support)
  • A2311 – Establishes study commission to examine development of mutually beneficial relationships between institutions of higher education and municipalities (Support).
  • A2455 – Establishes pilot program in DOE to support FIRST Robotics Programs in school districts. (Support)
  • A3027 – Commits $3 million from Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skill to NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development. (Support)
  • A3857 – Makes FY 2020 supplemental appropriations of $15 million for grants to food banks. (Support)
  • A4433 – Creates grant program to encourage school districts to partner with institutions of higher education in training school-based mental health services providers. (Support)
  • A4544 – Permits school nurse who is retired from TPAF to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF. (Seek amendments)
  • A4836 – Establishes task force to evaluate quality, efficacy, costs, and educational outcomes of online courses offered by public and independent institutions of higher education and degree-granting proprietary institutions during COVID-19 pandemic. (Support)
  • A5817 – Revises violation and fines for approving or assigning unauthorized individuals as school bus drivers. (Support)
  • A5818 – Provides for debarment of school bus contractors for certain violations; requires certain information in pupil transportation contract bid. (Support)
  • A5882 – Establishes State supplement for federal summer food service program meals. (Support)
  • A5883 – Establishes State supplement for “breakfast after the bell” meals. (Support)
  • S108 -Concerns speech rights of student journalists at public schools and public institutions of S84 – Requires institutions of higher education and public and nonpublic high schools and middle schools to adopt anti-hazing policies; expands activities encompassing criminal hazing and upgrades penalties for engaging in these activities. (Support)
  • S225 – Provides that student-athlete who sustains concussion must return to regular school activities prior to return to competition; requires school districts to implement six-step return-to-competition process. (Support)
  • higher education. (Support)
  • S829 – Requires property condition disclosure statement to indicate presence of lead plumbing in residential property. (Support)
  • S830 – Requires public water systems to offer drinking water tests to customers in certain circumstances. (Support)
  • S969 – Establishes loan redemption program for teachers in certain fields to redeem loan amounts received under New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students Loan Program through employment in certain low performing schools. (Support)
  • S2160 – Creates special education unit within the Office of Administrative Law; requires annual report. (Support)
  • S2765 – Requires Civil Services Commission to undertake various initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity within law enforcement agencies. (Support)
  • S2766 – Requires Civil Service Commission establish mentoring program for certain civil service law enforcement applicants. (Support)
  • S2767 – Establishes database to aid in civil service hiring process for certain law enforcement officers; requires Statewide diversity analysis of law enforcement. (Support)
  • S2834 – Mandates training on culturally responsive teaching for all candidates for teaching certification. (Support)
  • S2924 – Creates two-year “Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youths and Communities Pilot Program” in Juvenile Justice Commission; appropriates $4.2 million in FY 2022 and FY 2023. (Support)
  • S3253 – Establishes alternate route to expedite certification of teachers at early college high school programs. (Oppose)
  • S3488 – Modifies certain procedures pertaining to school district regionalization; establishes grant program for cost reimbursement of conducting regionalization feasibility studies; and provides financial incentives for regionalization. (Support)
  • S3654 – Establishes Amistad Commission Exemplary Award Program; appropriates $10,000.
  • S3881 – Extends deadline for completion and filing of annual audit report of school district for 2020-2021 school year; establishes deadline for submission of Audit Summary for 2020-2021 school year. (Oppose)
  • S3945 – Establishes Office of Food Insecurity Advocate. (Support)
  • S3995 – Establishes School and Small Business Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program Fund in BPU. (Support)
  • SJR109 – Condemns hate and violent extremism and commits to defense of safe and just democracy. (Support)

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