The “Anti-Bullying bill of rights”: S-2392 (Buono, Allen, Weinberg)/A-3466 (Vaineri Huttle, Angelini, Diegan, Handlin, Moriarty, McKeon, Lampitt, Jasey). This legislation, which establishes measures to address harassment, intimidation and bullying in school settings, was released unanimously from the Senate Ed Committee and the Assembly Education Committee. NJEA supports this bill; however, is seeking amendments to strengthen its effectiveness. Our recommendations include: a) proper funding for training and programs in each district and, b) insuring that school personnel are properly trained and certified as bullying specialists. The bill now heads to the full Senate and Assembly for floor votes.
Survivor Benefit: S-439 (Turner, Goodwin
) S-439 was released from committee by a vote of 13 to 0 and is now on second reading in the Senate. The bill, which NJEA supported, 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) to be notified and consent 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 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governing non-governmental plans survivor options.
NJBEST: S-1718 (Turner) was released from the Senate Education Committee and has been second referenced to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. NJEA supported this bill which allows a taxpayer to deduct the amount of the taxpayer’s contribution to an account created under the New Jersey Better Educational Savings Trust (NJBEST) Program, New Jersey’s federally qualified higher education tuition program, from the taxpayer’s gross income for the taxable year in which the contribution is made.
Fire Safety Bill: S-2319 (Ruiz)/A-1570 (Scalera, Chivukula, Lampitt, Evans) This bill was released from the Senate Education Committee and will go the Senate floor for a vote which is not yet scheduled. 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.
Advertising On Exterior Of School Buses: S-2309 (Gordon, Vitale)/A-1637 (Wagner, Rudder, Voss, Addiego) This legislation, which permits boards of education to contract for the sale of advertising space on the exterior of school buses, was released from the Senate Education Committee. The bill requires that 50% of any revenue generated by the sale must be used by the board to offset the fuel costs of providing pupil transportation services and the remaining 50% of the revenue will be used to support programs and services the board deems appropriate. Advertisements for tobacco or alcohol products or for political advocacy will be prohibited, in addition to any other advertisements that the Commissioner of Education deems inappropriate. The Assembly version of the bill, A-1637, has already passed that house with a unanimous vote. NJEA took no position on the legislation.
Property Tax Levy Cap Task Force: S-2201 (Sweeney, 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, was released unanimously from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is on second reading in the Senate. 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 Assembly version, A-3155, has been introduced and is awaiting action in the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.