Legislative Update May 9, 2011
ALL PUBLIC EMPLOYEES MUST LIVE IN NEW JERSEY: S-1730 (Norcross, O’Toole, Sacco)/ A-2478 (Moriarty, Riley, Burzichelli, Fuentes, Wilson) The New Jersey First Act. The Assembly concurred with the Governor’s conditional veto (70-5-1) and sent the bill back to the Governor. The conditional veto would allow for the legislation to be enacted four months after the date of signing.
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 and grandfathering all current employees under all the circumstances that we could contemplate.
Disqualifying Board of Education Members for Criminal Convictions: A-444 (Green, Bramnick, Conners, Conaway, Jasey)/S-295 (Allen, Buono) The Assembly concurred with the Governor’s conditional veto (76-0-0). This legislation would disqualify board of education members for convictions of certain crimes and requires background checks. It holds school board members to the same standards as school employees. In the conditional veto, “bias intimidation” is included as a disqualifying offense.
NJEA supported the initial legislation and added language to include charter school board of trustees. We also supported the intent of the conditional veto. The bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence.
CONFIDENTIALITY STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: S-2562 (Greenstein, Turner)/A-1068 (Gusciora, Coughlin. DeAngelo) has been signed into law (P.L.2011, c.69) and takes effect immediately. This bill, initiated by NJEA, would conform to Federal law by requiring confidentiality standards for public employees who may require employee assistance programs. The legislation would only allow for exceptions should the employee sign a waiver statement or under certain conditions stipulated by the employee assistance program advisor.