Out-of-Network Referrals: A-1997 (Conaway, Quigley) requires certain types of managed-care plans to provide coverage for patients who use in-network providers for covered services from a specialist without obtaining a written referral from the enrollee’s primary care provider. NJEA supported this bill, which passed in the Assembly 63-10-1 and has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.
“Asperger’s Syndrome Awareness Week”: AJR-11 (Voss, Polistina)/SJR-38 (Weinberg, Madden) This resolution passed the Senate by a unanimous vote of 40-0-0. This resolution designates the second full week in April as “Asperger’s Syndrome Awareness Week.” The resolution previously passed the full Assembly. It was substituted for SJR-38 (an identical version). The resolution now goes to the Governor for his signature. NJEA supported the resolution.
Survivor Benefit: S-439 (Turner, Goodwin
) S-439 passed the Senate 40-0. The bill, which NJEA supports, requires that a spouse of a retiree from the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) be notified and consents in writing if the retiree selects the survivor option providing less than a 50 percent survivor benefit to the spouse. This legislation, if enacted into law, is similar to the federal law (Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA) governing nongovernmental plans survivor options. The bill now moves to the Assembly, where it has been referred to the Assembly State Government Committee. NJEA supports this legislation.
Property Tax Levy Cap Task Force: S-2201 (Sweeney/T. Kean) This bill, which would establish the “Property Tax Levy Cap Task Force” to monitor the impact of recent changes to the levy cap law, unanimously passed the Senate in a 40-0 vote. NJEA supported the legislation, emphasizing the need to examine the effect that the cap is having on the ability of public schools to provide a quality education. The bill now moves to the Assembly, where it awaits action in the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
Information only -- Arbitration Cap Bill: S-5 (Sweeney, Doherty, Kyrillos)/A-3393 (Greenwald, Quigley, Chivukula, Evans, O’Scanlon) passed both houses and is on the Governor’s desk. The bills—representing a major piece of the “tool kit”—call for limiting annual pay raises at 2 percent for police and fire unions if they can’t reach an agreement during contract negotiations.
NJEA remained neutral on the bill since our contracts are not subject to interest arbitration. However, it does set the stage for lower settlements and possible movement of legislation impacting our employee negotiations.
Fire Safety For Colleges: A-1570 Sca (Scalera, Chivukula, Lampitt, Evans)/S-2319 (Ruiz): The bill passed the Senate 40-0 and has been sent to the Governor. NJEA supported this bill which requires every public and independent institution of higher education within the State to disseminate fire safety information about their facilities to students and to all employees upon initial employment. The information must include, but is not limited to, information on sprinkler systems, evacuation plans and other fire safety measures.
All Public Employees Must Live in New Jersey: A-2478 (Moriarty, Riley, Burzichelli, Fuentes, Wilson)/S-1730 (Norcorss, O’Toole, Sacco), The New Jersey First Act, passed in the Assembly (68-5-4-1).
Under the bill, all newly hired public employees would be required to live in New Jersey or move to the state within a year of taking a position.
The measure would cover all state, county and municipal employees as well as anyone working for political subdivisions of the state. Employees of public authorities, boards, agencies and commissions would also be subject to the measure. Additionally, the bill would cover all employees working within the educational system. A three-member committee, with one person each appointed by the Governor, Senate President and Assembly Speaker, would review individual applications for exemption in cases involving extreme hardship or other unique circumstances.
NJEA had opposed the bill but worked tirelessly with the sponsors to get amendments protecting all current employees under all the circumstances that we could contemplate.