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Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

 

Consumer Affairs
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Social Media
A-2878
(Burzichelli/D-3; Greenwald/D-6; Ramos/D-33; Conaway/D-7; Caride/D-36):

Assembly voted 77-0 on Governor's recommendations. Governor conditionally vetoed on May 6. Prohibits an employer from requiring a current or prospective employee from providing or disclosing any user name or password, or in any way providing the employer access to a personal account or service through an electronic communications device. The State Chamber voiced concerns regarding liability issues and opposed a provision in the bill that would have imposed a new cause of action allowing employees to sue employers for violations. In the Governor's conditional veto message, he recommended changes that protect the privacy of employees and job candidates, while ensuring that employers may appropriately screen job candidates, manage their personnel, and protect their business assets and proprietary information. The State Chamber supports the language adopted from the Governor's recommendations.

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Economic Development
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Eminent Domain Reform
A-3615
(Coutinho/D-29; Bucco/R-25; Munoz/R-21) and
S-2447
(Van Drew/D-1; Rice/D-28):

Assembly passed 78-0. Amends the "Local Redevelopment and Housing Law," to incorporate the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Gallenthin v. Paulsboro, 191 N.J. 344 (2007), which emphasizes that the use of eminent domain cannot be justified solely because the property is underutilized unless the property otherwise meets the criteria for blight. The State Chamber believes this clarification will create more opportunities for towns and developers to advance beneficial redevelopment projects throughout the state.

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Streamlining Economic Incentives
A-3680
(Coutinho/D-29; Singleton/D-7; Watson Coleman/D-15; Ramos/D-33; Green/D-22; Bramnick/R-21; Bucco/R-25; Conaway/D-7; Wimberly/D-35):

Assembly passed 53-6. Enhances and merges five of the state's economic incentive programs into the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program. The State Chamber believes enhancing the state's incentive programs will benefit small businesses, attract larger businesses to the state, and encourage new entrepreneurs - making New Jersey a formidable competitor in both the national and global economy.

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Environment
Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee
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Environmental Justice
A-3836
(Spencer/D-29; Giblin/D-34):

Committee held. Authorizes the DEP to designate an area within a municipality a "burdened community," which would require additional environmental evaluations and public hearings before a permit can be issued. The bill prohibits the DEP from approving a permit unless the governing body of the municipality in which the burdened community is located adopts an ordinance approving the project. The State Chamber is concerned that the increased bureaucratic procedures would add hurdles to obtaining permits in urban locations.

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Health
Assembly Appropriations Committee
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Ultrasound Mandate
A-2022
(Singleton/D-7; Benson/D-14; Johnson/D-37; Lampitt/D-6; Quijano/D-20; Vainieri Huttle/D-37) and
S-792
(Weinberg/D-37; Gill/D-34):

Committee passed. Requires insurers to cover comprehensive ultrasound breast screening if a mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue and requires mammogram reports to contain information on breast density. The State Chamber believes health insurance mandates raises the cost of coverage, placing additional financial pressures on businesses and their employees.

Assembly Appropriations Committee A-2022/S-792 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (C) - Yes; Casagrande, Caroline - Yes; Conaway, Herb - Not Voting; DeCroce, BettyLou - Yes; Fuentes, Angel - Yes; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Yes; McHose, Alison Littell - Abstain; Prieto, Vincent - Yes; Spencer, L. Grace - Not Voting

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Labor
Assembly Labor Committee
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Impeding Privatization
S-968 / S-1494/ / A-998
(Weinberg/D-37; Turner/D-15; Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Watson Coleman/D-15):

Assembly passed 48-29; Senate passed 21-12; sent to the Governor. 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 New Jersey taxpayers. Provisions in this bill will create impediments and hurdles, thereby complicating and stifling the current system.

Assembly Labor Committee A-998 Vote: Egan, Joseph V. (C) - Yes; Wagner, Connie (VC) - Yes; Albano, Nelson T. - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Abstain; DeAngelo, Wayne P. - Yes; O'Donnell, Jason - Yes; Space, Parker - No; Webber, Jay - No

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Call Center Relocation
A-3775
(Wagner/D-38; Eustace/D-38; DeAngelo/D-14; Benson/D-14) and
S-2188
(Gordon/D-38; Weinberg/D-37):

Committee passed. Requires employers to notify the state and to return fiscal incentives granted from the state when relocating a call center from New Jersey to a foreign country. The State Chamber believes this legislation would discourage companies interested in locating call centers in New Jersey.

Assembly Labor Committee A-3775 and S-2188 Vote: Egan, Joseph V. (C) - Yes; Wagner, Connie (VC) - Yes; Albano, Nelson T. - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Yes; DeAngelo, Wayne P. - Yes; O'Donnell, Jason - Yes; Space, Parker - Yes; Webber, Jay - No

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Suspends Employer UI Tax
A-4112 / A-3675
(Eustace/D-38; Singleton/D-7; Wagner/D-38; McHose/R-24; Egan/D-17; Coughlin/D-19):

Assembly committee passed. Suspends the 10 percent unemployment surcharge scheduled to take effect for FY-2014, saving the employer community an estimated $293 million. Specifically, the bill would base the employer unemployment insurance tax on the "E" column of the tax table, but without the 10 percent surcharge provided in the law. This legislation was a result of a recommendation by the Unemployment Insurance Task Force and will help address the need to restore solvency to the Unemployment Trust Fund.

Assembly Labor Committee A-4112/A-3675 Vote: Egan, Joseph V. (C) - Yes; Wagner, Connie (VC) - Yes; Albano, Nelson T. - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Yes; DeAngelo, Wayne P. - Yes; O'Donnell, Jason - Yes; Space, Parker - Yes; Webber, Jay - Yes

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Legal
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New Crime for Cargo Theft
S-2092 / A-3003
(Pennachio/R-26; Gordon/D-38; Casagrande/R-11; Barnes/D-18; Coutinho/D-29; Rible/R-30):

The Governor signed this legislation into law on May 9. The bill creates a crime and penalties for theft from cargo carriers, designated as the "Lieutenant Scott Jenkins' Law." This legislation will help deter potential cargo thieves and protect those who guard New Jersey's ports.

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Regulation
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Process Revision For Contested Cases Before the OAL
A-1521
(Burzichelli/D-3; Rumana/R-40; Quijano/D-20; Caputo/D-28; Ramos/D-33):

Assembly passed 73-1. Makes changes to the process for contested case hearings handled by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), as recommended by the Christie Administration's Red Tape Review Group. The State Chamber supports an expedited and simplified government procedure, which boosts New Jersey's economic competitiveness.

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Transportation
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Third Degree Crime on Trucking Companies
A-1578
(Wisniewski/D-19; Prieto/D-32; Giblin/D-34; Quijano/D-20):

Assembly passed 43-30. Creates a third degree crime on trucking companies that contract with independent owner-operators, particularly impacting small businesses. The State Chamber opposes this measure because it prohibits trucking companies from continuing a pre-established relationship with independent owner-operators through a federal lease and could potentially drive up the cost of goods throughout New Jersey.

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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.

Trenton Watch Archive