The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is tracking legislation and other items important to the business community:
Foreclosure of Abandoned Residential Properties
Senate passed 35-2. Assembly passed 79-0, sent to the Governor. This legislation would create an expedited foreclosure procedure for abandoned, foreclosed properties which have fallen into disrepair. To qualify for expedited foreclosure consideration, a home must be vacant and abandoned, and meet certain conditions of proof to show that it has fallen into a state of disrepair. This bill would provide the necessary tools to alleviate the backlog of pending and anticipated foreclosures.
New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act
(Lesniak/D-20; Cunningham/D-31; Ruiz/D-29):
Senate passed 22-17, sent to the Assembly. This act authorizes the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Agency to purchase foreclosed residential properties for affordable housing use. This legislation would help mitigate the impact of foreclosures on homeowners, communities and financial institutions.
NJ Health Benefit Exchange Act
Assembly passed 44-33, sent to the Governor. This bill creates a statewide health insurance exchange pursuant to the federal "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act". The exchange would be established in the Executive Branch of State Government in order to effectuate the provisions of the federal act and would be governed by a board of directors that would develop and implement a plan of operation for the exchange. The State Chamber has concerns about the uncertain financial impact of the act on the business community and duplication of duties already delegated to the Department of Banking and Insurance.
Minimum Wage Hike
Committee passed. This concurrent resolution amends the State Constitution to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour as well as cost of living increases based on increases in the consumer price index. The State Chamber opposes this measure because a minimum wage hike will adversely affect the number of future hires in the private sector, inflate the cost of goods and services and hamper the ability for businesses to plan ahead. Additionally, the State Constitution should not be used in a manner to determine public policy and will set a bad precedent
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee SCR-1 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (Chair) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - No; Bucco, Anthony R. - No; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - No; Oroho, Steven V. - No; Pennacchio, Joseph - No; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Sweeney, Steven M. - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - No; Weinberg, Loretta - Yes
Committee passed. This bill imposes additional requirements and procedures on public service privatization contracts. The State Chamber believes the goal of privatization is to provide the best services at the lowest prices, which equates to cost savings for the New Jersey taxpayer. Provisions in this bill will create impediments and hurdles, thereby complicating and stifling the current system.
Senate Labor Committee S-968/S-1494 Vote: Madden, Fred H., Jr. (Chair) - Yes; Codey, Richard J. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - No; Bucco, Anthony R. - No; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes
Onerous TDI Notification Requirements
Committee passed, referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. This bill mandates that employers distribute information regarding temporary disability leave, family disability leave and unemployment compensation multiple times to employees. While employers already post required written notices at their job locations, adding this requirement will add another unnecessary administrative burden on employers.
Senate Labor Committee S-2044 Vote: Madden, Fred H., Jr. (Chair) - Yes; Codey, Richard J. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - No; Bucco, Anthony R. - Abstain; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes
Misclassifying Trucking Industry Employees
(Wisniewski/D-19; Prieto/D-32; Giblin/D-34; Quijano/D-20; Johnson/D-37; Singleton/D-7; Stender/D-22):
Committee passed. This bill will create a third degree crime on trucking industry employees who misclassify employees as "independent contractors," particularly impacting small business owner-operators. The State Chamber opposes this measure because it prohibits trucking industry employers from continuing a pre-established arrangement with their drivers and could potentially drive up the cost of goods throughout New Jersey.
Assembly Labor Committee A-1578 Vote: Egan, Joseph V. (Chair) - Yes; Wagner, Connie (Vice Chair) - Yes; Albano, Nelson T. - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - No; DeAngelo, Wayne P. - Yes; O'Donnell, Jason - Yes; Schroeder, Robert - No; Webber, Jay - No
Thumbs up and down indicates the Chamber's support or opposition to issues. Call the New Jersey Chamber Government Relations Department at (609) 989-7888 with questions or comments.