Today is budget day.  At some point today, both houses of the legislature will vote on the fiscal year 2022 (FY22) budget.  This is a good budget and we are supporting it.  It includes a more-than-full pension payment, funding of post-retirement medical benefits, more school funding for pre-k-12, more operating aid for community colleges, and funding for various other items, like food programs and a community schools pilot program.

Here’s how the budget process works:

  • The governor proposes a budget, usually towards the end of February.
  • The legislature goes on “budget break” and takes public comments and hears from each executive department about its budget needs.
  • Budget break ends, regular legislative work resumes.
  • The budget is hashed out in a back room and a deal is announced.  The public waits for documents detailing the spending.
  • Budget committees vote on a budget minutes after seeing a document that is almost 300 pages long (legal paper, let’s remember!).
  • The minority party complains about lack of transparency and the majority party brushes the complaints aside.

This year was true to form.  Originally, word was the budget would be done on June 21.  As no news came out, the date moved to June 24.  On Monday, a deal was announced.  Budget committees were scheduled in both houses for the 22 at 1 pm, virtually in the Assembly and in-person in the Senate.  Documents detailing the budget spending (the score sheet and language changes) started appearing on the legislature’s website after 10 pm.  The bill itself was not available.

When the committee meetings started, the budget bill wasn’t ready yet.  Other bills weren’t ready either, and the meetings had to pause while bills were prepared and added to the agenda.  In the Senate committee room, Republicans hadn’t been given an updated copy of the agenda the committee chair was using, and made their displeasure known.  Because of legislative technicalities (if you really want to know about how this works, just email me and I’ll be happy to explain it) some bills that had already gone through a committee vote needed another vote in committee to be included on today’s agenda in the full Senate.  They were added without any notice – even staff didn’t know they were being done ahead of time.

By 5 pm, errors in the budget bill had been corrected, and it was voted on in both houses, as was the “debt defeasance and prevention fund,” which is designed to pay down some of the state’s debt.

You can read a less snarky version of budget committees here: https://www.njspotlight.com/2021/06/nj-budget-46-4-billion-history-making-taxes-pension-debt/

The rest of this update is bills… long lists of bills…. That’s what happens at the end of June.  There are bills up today, and results from budget committees on June 22, the full voting session on the 21, and committees on the 17.  Your eyes may glaze over….

BILLS TO BE CONSIDERED THURSDAY, JUNE 24

  • A13/S4000 – Establishes “New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund,” appropriates $3.7 billion. (Support)
  • A1372 – Requires lead paint inspection prior to home purchases and tenant turnover; establishes educational program on lead hazards. (Support)
  • A1459 – Prohibits the sale of certain children’s products containing lead, mercury, or cadmium. (Support)
  • A169/S108 – Concerns speech rights of student journalists at public schools and public institutions of higher education. (Support)
  • A192 – Establishes “New Jersey STEM Scholars Grant Pilot Program” in Department of Education. (Support)
  • A2134/S830 – Requires public water systems to offer drinking water tests to customers in certain circumstances. (Support)
  • A2135/S829 – Requires property condition disclosure statement to indicate presence of lead plumbing in residential property. (Support)
  • A2687/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)
  • A2957 – Establishes task force to examine issues and make recommendations concerning youth sports, including abusive coaching, confrontational parents, and bullying of players. (Support)
  • A3027 – Commits $3 million from Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skill to NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development. (Monitor)
  • A3149/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)
  • A4434/S2716 – Establishes Student Wellness Grant Program in DOE. (Support)
  • A4435/S2717 – Requires DCF to give priority to certain school districts with student mental health counseling centers in awarding grants under School Based Youth Services Program. (Monitor)
  • A4517/S2766 – Requires Civil Service Commission establish mentoring program for certain civil service law enforcement applicants. (Support)
  • A4542/S2765 – Requires Civil Services Commission to undertake various initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity within law enforcement agencies. (Support)
  • A4598/S2767 – Establishes database to aid in civil service hiring process for certain law enforcement officers; requires Statewide diversity analysis of law enforcement. (Support)
  • A4663/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)
  • A4906 – Allows minors to serve as election workers between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on elections days. (Monitor)
  • A5343 – 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. (Support)
  • A5539 – Provides partial pension and retirement income exclusion for taxpayers with income between $100,000 and $150,000. (Monitor)
  • A5597/S3801 – Permits school districts to administer student health surveys after prior written notification to parents and legal guardians. (Monitor)
  • A5701/S2160 – Creates special education unit within the Office of Administrative Law; requires annual report. (Support)
  • A5805/S3798 – Eliminates premiums and waiting periods for certain NJ FamilyCare enrollees; directs DHS to implement additional targeted outreach initiatives to increase enrollment; revises reporting requirements; appropriates $20 million. (Support)
  • A5814 – Creates School Bus Safety Ombudsman position in, but not of, Department of Education. (Support)
  • A5818 – Provides for debarment of school bus contractors for certain violations; requires certain information in pupil transportation contract bid. (Support)
  • A5834/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)
  • A5862 – “Responsible Collective Negotiations Act.” (Seek amendments)
  • A5870/S2022 – Appropriates $46,380,012,000 in State funds and $21,026,030,082 in federal funds for the State budget for fiscal year 2021-2022. (Support)
  • A5882/S3943 – Establishes State supplement for federal summer food service program meals. (Support)
  • A5883/S3944 – Establishes State supplement for “breakfast after the bell” meals. (Support)
  • A5884/S3945 – Establishes Office of Food Insecurity Advocate. (Support)
  • A5886/S3959 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for school security projects in certain school districts; appropriates $66,173,243. (Monitor)
  • A5887/S3960 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for water infrastructure projects in certain school districts; appropriates $6,608,212. (Monitor)
  • A5888/S3961 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical education at county colleges; appropriates $26,456,996. (Monitor)
  • A5889/S3962 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Fund” for career and technical education expansion in county vocational school districts; appropriates $222,904,769. (Monitor)
  • A5994/S3995 – Establishes School and Small Business Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program Fund in BPU. (Support)
  • S3637 – “New Jersey Retirement Infrastructure Collateralized Holdings Fund Act”; creates trust fund for conveyance of certain assets for benefit of State-administered retirement systems; requires remediation of emergent conditions for certain public assets; appro (Monitor)
  • S3954 – Provides partial pension and retirement income exclusion for taxpayers with income between $100,000 and $150,000. (Monitor)

RESULTS FROM TUESDAY, JUNE 22

  • A1372/S1147 – Requires lead paint inspection on certain residential rental property, including upon tenant turnover; establishes lead-based paint hazard education program; appropriates $3,900,000. (Reported out of committee with committee substitute, 2nd reading in Assembly and Senate) (Support)
  • A2135/S829 – Requires property condition disclosure statement to indicate presence of lead plumbing in residential property. (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly) (Support)
  • A5365/S3872 – Permits parent or guardian to request grade retention for student during 2021-2022 school year. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Monitor)
  • A5539/S3954- Provides partial pension and retirement income exclusion for taxpayers with income between $100,000 and $150,000. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly and Senate) (Monitor)
  • A5805/S3798 – Eliminates premiums and waiting periods for certain NJ FamilyCare enrollees; directs DHS to implement additional targeted outreach initiatives to increase enrollment; revises reporting requirements; appropriates $20 million. (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly and Senate) (Support)
  • A5814 – Creates School Bus Safety Ombudsman position in, but not of, Department of Education. (Transferred to Assembly Budget Committee. Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly) (Support)
  • A5862 – “Responsible Collective Negotiations Act.” (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly) (Seek Amendments)
  • A5870/S2022 – Appropriates $46,380,012,000 in State funds and $21,026,030,082 in federal funds for the State budget for fiscal year 2021-2022. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly and Senate) (Support)
  • A5886/S3959 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for school security projects in certain school districts; appropriates $66,173,243. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Monitor)
  • A5887/S3960 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for water infrastructure projects in certain school districts; appropriates $6,608,212. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Monitor)
  • A5888/S3961 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical education at county colleges; appropriates $26,456,996. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Monitor)
  • A5889/S3962 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Fund” for career and technical education expansion in county vocational school districts; appropriates $222,904,769. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Monitor)
  • A5944/S3995 – Establishes School and Small Business Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program Fund in BPU. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly and Senate) (Support)
  • S793 – Commits $3 million from Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skill to NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Monitor)
  • S3284 – Provides for accidental death benefit if death of TPAF member and certain PERS members is caused by COVID-19. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Support)
  • S3617 – Establishes School Funding Formula Evaluation Task Force. (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate) (Seek Amendments)

RESULTS FROM MONDAY, JUNE 21

  • A679/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) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A681/S397 – Expands scope of law prohibiting age discrimination. (Support) (Passed in Senate and sent to Governor)
  • A1385/S970 – Requires members of governing boards of public institutions of higher education to complete training program developed by institution in consultation with Secretary of Higher Education. (Monitor) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A1599 – Requires public school students with concussion to be evaluated by licensed health care professionals before return to school; requires school districts to provide restrictions or limitations to student as needed. (Support) (Passed in Assembly; referred to Senate Education Committee)
  • A1971 – Directs BPU to develop and implement electric school bus pilot program. (Seek Amendments) (Passed in Assembly; referred to Senate Economic Growth Committee)
  • A2311/S356 – Establishes study commission to examine development of mutually beneficial relationships between institutions of higher education and municipalities. (Support) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A3007 – Requires institutions of higher education to provide students with access to mental health care programs and services and to establish a hotline to provide information concerning the availability of those services. (Support) (Passed in Assembly; referred to Senate Higher Education Committee)
  • A3149/S84/S2093 – Increases penalty for hazing; clarifies that prohibited conduct includes causing, coercing, or forcing consumption of alcohol or drugs. (Support)  (Amended on Assembly floor, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A4433/S2715 – Creates grant program to encourage school districts to partner with institutions of higher education in training school-based mental health services providers. (Support) (Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A4434/S2716 – Establishes Student Wellness Grant Program in DOE. (Support) (Amended on Senate floor, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A4436/S555/S2718 – Establishes “Student Mental Health Task Force” to study resources available to schools and parents to address student mental health needs. (Support) (Passed in Senate; received in Assembly, 2nd reading in Assembly to concur with Senate amendments)
  • A4544/S3150 – Permits school nurse who is retired from TPAF to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF. (Seek Amedments)(Passed in both houses and sent to Governor)
  • A4517 /S2766 – Requires Civil Service Commission establish mentoring program for minority civil service law enforcement applicants. (Support) (Amended on Assembly floor, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A4542/S2765 – Requires Civil Services Commission to undertake various initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity within law enforcement agencies. (Support) (Amended on Assembly floor, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A4594/S2826 – Directs DOE to establish five-year pilot program for issuance of limited certificate of eligibility with advanced standing and limited certificate of eligibility for certain teacher candidates. (Monitor) (Passed in Assembly and sent to Governor)
  • A4598/S2767 – Establishes oversight database to aid in civil service hiring process for law enforcement officers; requires Statewide diversity analysis of law enforcement. (Support) (Amended on Assembly floor, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A4906 – Allows minors to serve as election workers between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on elections days. (Monitor) (Amended on Assembly floor, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A5312/S2834 – Mandates training on culturally responsive teaching for all candidates for teaching certification. (Support) (Passed in Assembly and sent to Governor)
  • A5343/S3398 – 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. (Support) (Passed in Senate; received in Assembly, 2nd reading in Assembly to concur with Senate amendments)
  • A5537/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)(Passed in Assembly; received in Senate, 2nd reading in Senate to concur with Assembly amendments)
  • A5817 – Revises violation and fines for approving or assigning unauthorized individuals as school bus drivers. (Monitor) (Passed in Assembly; received in Senate w/o committee reference, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A5818 – Provides for debarment of school bus contractors for certain violations; requires certain information in pupil transportation contract bid. (Support) (Amended on Assembly floor, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • A5825/S3487 – 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. (Support) (Passed in Assembly; received in Senate w/o committee reference, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A5845/S3654 – Establishes Amistad Commission Exemplary Award Program; appropriates $10,000. (Support) (Passed in Assembly and sent to Governor)
  • A5886/S3959 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for school security projects in certain school districts; appropriates $66,173,243. (Monitor) (Passed in Assembly; referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee)
  • A5887/S3960 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for water infrastructure projects in certain school districts; appropriates $6,608,212. (Monitor) (Passed in Assembly; referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee)
  • A5888/S3961 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical education at county colleges; appropriates $26,456,996. (Monitor) (Passed in Assembly; referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee)
  • A5889/S3962 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical education expansion in county vocational school districts; appropriates $222,904,769. (Monitor) (Passed in Assembly; referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee)
  • S990 – Requires school district to provide information to DOE on various aspects of computer science courses. (Monitor) (Passed in Senate; referred to Assembly Education Committee)
  • S1230 – Establishes “New Jersey Higher Education Funding Formula Commission.” (Support) (Passed in Senate; referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee)
  • S2924 – Creates two-year “Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youths and Communities Pilot Program” in Juvenile Justice Commission focused on reducing youth involvement with youth justice system; appropriates $8.4 million in FY 2021 and FY 2022. (Support) (Passed in Senate; received in Assembly w/o committee reference, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • S3213 – Establishes New Jersey Community Learning Program in DOE to provide comprehensive extended learning time programs in certain communities; dedicates portion of State cannabis revenue to support program. (Support) (Passed in Senate; referred to Assembly Education Committee)
  • 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)(Passed in Senate; Received in Assembly w/o committee reference, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  • S3685 – Permits teacher and professional staff member who provides special services retired from TPAF to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF if employment commences during state of emergency for COVID-19 pandemic. (Monitor) (Passed in Senate; referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee)

RESULTS FROM THURSDAY, JUNE 17

  • A4433/S2715 – Creates grant program to encourage school districts to partner with institutions of higher education in training school-based mental health services providers. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A4434/S2716 – Establishes Student Wellness Grant Program in DOE. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A4436/S555/S2718 – Establishes “Student Mental Health Task Force” to study resources available to schools and parents to address student mental health needs. (Support) (S555 combined with S2718; Reported out of committee with committee substitute, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • A5343/S3398 – 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. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S2924 – Creates two-year “Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youths and Communities Pilot Program” in Juvenile Justice Commission focused on reducing youth involvement with youth justice system; appropriates $8.4 million in FY 2021 and FY 2022. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S3637 – “New Jersey Retirement Infrastructure Collateralized Holdings Fund Act”; creates trust fund for conveyance of certain assets for benefit of State-administered retirement systems; requires remediation of emergent conditions for certain public assets; (Monitor) (Bill held)
  • S3685 – Permits school teacher who is retired from TPAF to return to employment during public health emergency and state of emergency for COVID-19 pandemic, for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • 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) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S3943 – Establishes State supplement for federal summer food service program meals. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S3944 – Establishes State supplement for “breakfast after the bell” meals. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S3945 – Establishes Office of Food Insecurity Advocate. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
  • S3959 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for school security projects in certain school districts; appropriates $66,173,243. (Monitor) (Bill held)
  • S3960 – Awards project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for water infrastructure projects in certain school districts; appropriates $6,608,212. (Monitor) (Bill held)
  • S3961 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical education at county colleges; appropriates $26,456,996. (Monitor) (Bill held)
  • S3962 – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical education expansion in county vocational school districts; appropriates $222,904,769. (Monitor) (Bill held)

WHEN IS THE LEGISLATURE MEETING AGAIN?

(The Senate says they’re back on June 30.  Don’t know if the Assembly is coming back after today at all)
  • Monday, June 28                    Assembly Voting
  • Tuesday, June 29                    Assembly Voting
  • Wednesday, June 30               Assembly/Senate Voting

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