Current Legislation - Feb. 6, 2012
PAYCHECK PROTECTION ACT: Ar-50 (Lampitt). This resolution passed the Assembly Women and Children Committee unanimously and awaits a floor vote, not yet scheduled. This resolution urges the United States Congress to pass the "Paycheck Fairness Act" in order to combat the persistent income gap attributable to systemic gender discrimination and provide women with more tools to achieve pay equity in the workplace, and assist the two-thirds of American families who rely on a woman's wages as a significant portion of their income achieve economic security. NJEA testified in support of the resolution as the NEA supports the act in Congress. We testified to the attributes of collective bargaining, seniority and tenure in providing for fairness in the workplace.
COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE: S-647 (Pou, Ruiz). NJEA supported this bill which passed the Senate Education Committee and was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill raises the requirement for compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18 years of age. Students who graduate from high school prior to their eighteenth birthday would be exempt from this requirement. This bill is part of the NJEA education reform agenda.
OFFICE OF DROPOUT PREVENTION: S-134 (Rice, Turner). NJEA supported this bill which passed the Senate Education Committee and will go to the Senate floor for a vote (not scheduled). This bill establishes the Office of Dropout Prevention and Reengagement of Out-of-School Youth in the Department of Education. The bill requires this newly created Office to coordinate with school districts in the development of a Statewide strategic plan to address the problem of student dropouts; recommend and develop programs to prevent students from dropping out of school; and address issues associated with the reenrollment of students who have left school prior to graduation. NJEA won an amendment to the bill allowing for two members of a school system to serve on a Task Force within the DOE studying school dropouts.
SURVIVOR RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE: S-447 (Turner) requires the consent of a spouse for a member of the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund, the Public Employees’ Retirement System or the Judicial Retirement System to take a maximum retirement allowance that does not provide a survivor retirement allowance. The bill was released from Senate State Government Committee 5-0-2 and has been referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. NJEA supported the bill.
EDUCATION SERVICES: S-610 (Sweeney, Gordon) authorizes the executive county superintendent of schools to identify an education services agency to serve the county for the purpose of promoting shared services. The education services agency must be either a county special services school district or an education services commission located in the county. If the county does not have one of these entities, the Commissioner of Education is required to designate one of these entities in an adjoining county to serve as the education services agency. The bill was released from Senate Education Committee 3-0-2 and is now on second reading in the Senate. NJEA opposed the bill.