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Economic Development
Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee
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Permit Extension Act - A-1338
(Greenwald/D-6; DeCroce/R-26; Green/D-22; Milam/D-1; Moriarty/D-4):

Committee passed. This bill extends the expiration date of permit approvals to December 31, 2014. The bill also clarifies that the extension applies to smart growth areas. The poor economic climate has severely affected the state's banking, real estate and construction sectors. Businesses cannot easily obtain financing under existing economic conditions and in some cases are forced to delay scheduled projects that have already been approved by a government entity and granted permits. Such delays result in some of these permits expiring before the projects are completed. Given that the permit application process is extremely time consuming and expensive, it makes sense to allow additional time for stalled projects to be completed.

Assembly Housing and Local Government A-1338 Vote: Green, Jerry (Chair) - Yes; Mila, Jasey (Vice Chair) - Yes; Carroll, Michael Patrick - Yes; Clifton, Robert D. - Yes; Jimenez, Angelica M. - Yes; Quijano, Annette - Yes

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Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
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Military Support - S-234
(Oroho/R-24; Bucco/R-25; Beach/D-6):

Committee passed. This bill provides corporation business tax or gross income tax credits to businesses that have employees in the National Guard or a reserve component of the Armed Forces that are mobilized for active duty. The credit is equal to 20 percent of the salary and wages paid by the businesses, with a limit of $2,000 per employee

Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee S-234 Vote: Beach, James (Chair) - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff (Vice Chair) - Not Voting; Allen, Diane B. - Yes; Connors, Christopher J. - Yes; Norcross, Donald - Yes

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Education
Assembly Education Committee and Senate Education Committee
Thumbs Up

School Attendance - A-1411
(Watson Coleman/D-15; Wilson/D-5) & S-647 (Pou/D-35; Ruiz/D-29):

Committees passed. These bills raise the age requirement for compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18 years of age, except for students who graduate from high school prior to their eighteenth birthday.

Assembly Education Committee and Senate Education Committee A-1411 Vote: Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. (Chair) - Yes; Watson Coleman, Bonnie (Vice Chair) Singleton, Troy - Yes- Yes; Caputo, Ralph R. - Not Voting; Jasey, Mila M. - Yes; Jimenez, Angelica M. - Yes; Rumana, Scott T. - No; Wagner, Connie - Yes; Wolfe, David W. - No

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Energy
Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee
Thumbs Down

RGGI - A-1998
(McKeon/D-27; Chivukula/D-17; Stender/D-22; Barnes/D-18; Gusciora/D-15; Vainieri Huttle/D-37):

Committee passed. This bill requires participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The State Chamber opposes this measure because the two-year-old RGGI program was not effective in cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and the program ultimately contributed to higher energy prices for residents and businesses in New Jersey. Additionally, only ten northeastern states were part of RGGI, while states like our neighboring Pennsylvania declined.

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Environment
Senate Environment and Energy Committee
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Hydraulic Fracturing - S-246
(McKeon/D-27; Chivukula/D-17; Stender/D-22; Barnes/D-18; Gusciora/D-15; Vainieri Huttle/D-37):

Committee passed. This bill prohibits hydraulic fracturing in New Jersey for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production. While the State Chamber recognizes that New Jersey, due to its underlying geology, has not deployed this technology, we believe that an outright ban would set a bad precedent and have consequences for our natural gas and oil development both in New Jersey and regionally. The State Chamber supports the Governor's one-year moratorium that directs the DEP to engage in a study that further evaluates the issue of "fracking."

Senate Environment and Energy Committee S-246 Vote: Smith, Bob (Chair) - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - Yes; Whelan, Jim - Yes

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Health
We are Seeking Amendments
Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee
Split

Health Insurance Exchange - A-2171
(Conaway/D-7; Singleton/D-7; Chivukula/D-17; Ramos/D-33):

Committee passed. This bill establishes the New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange. States must pass legislation establishing a state-based Exchange, a marketplace where individuals and small employers will be able to purchase health insurance by June of 2012 in order to qualify for federal grant funding. While we are pleased that the Legislature is moving forward with Exchange implementation, we have concerns with certain provisions of the bill, including committing New Jersey to establishing a Basic Health Plan without knowing the full financial impact; restricting certain individuals, such as those employed by carriers, providers and hospitals, from participating on the governing board; financing that places the burden solely on one industry; and setting up an "active purchaser" model, which would limit competition and consumer choice.

Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee A-2171 Vote: Conaway, Herb, Jr. (Chair) - Yes; Benson, Daniel R. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Angelini, Mary Pat - No; Eustace, Timothy J. - Yes; Green, Jerry - Yes; Handlin, Amy H. - Abstain; Jimenez, Angelica M. - Yes; Munoz, Nancy F. - Abstain; Peterson, Erik - No; Sumter, Shavonda E. - Yes; Tucker, Cleopatra G. - Yes

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Labor
Senate Labor Committee
Thumbs Down

Prohibiting Credit Checks - S-455
(Turner/D-15; Gill/D-34):

Committee passed. This bill prohibits an employer from requiring a credit check on a current or prospective employee, unless the employer is required to do so by law, or reasonably believes that an employee has engaged in a specific activity that is financial in nature and constitutes a violation of law. The use of credit histories has historically been an additional tool for employers in assessing potential job candidates. Employers should not be precluded from conducting certain kinds of background checks. This legislation will add to the cost of doing business in our state by imposing new mandates and restrictions on business.

Senate Labor Committee S-455 Vote: Madden, Fred H., Jr. (Chair) - Yes; Codey, Richard J. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - No; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes

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Thumbs Up

Workforce Training - S-873
(Cunningham/D-31):

Senate passed 39-0. This bill permits the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development to request additional funds from the Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skills to provide basic skills training at the discretion of the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.

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Senate Labor Committee
Thumbs Up

UI Rates - S-1121
(Madden/D-4; Oroho/R-24):

Committee passed. This bill modifies the experience rating provisions of the unemployment insurance (UI) law used to set employer tax rates for certain employers. Currently, employers with positive reserve ratios are effectively subsidizing employers with negative reserve ratios. This situation is also delaying efforts to restore the solvency of the UI fund.

Senate Labor Committee S-1121 Vote: Madden, Fred H., Jr. (Chair) - Yes; Codey, Richard J. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - Abstain; Bucco, Anthony R. - Abstain; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes

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Regulation
Senate Commerce Committee
Thumbs Up

Limited Liability Companies - S-742
(Sarlo/D-36; Oroho/R-24):

Committee passed. This bill repeals the New Jersey Limited Liability Company Act, and replaces it with a more modern regulatory system for the creation and operation of limited liability companies in New Jersey.

Senate Commerce Committee S-742 Vote: Gill, Nia H. (Chair) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H., Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Yes

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Trenton Watch Archive