Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:
Time Extension on Investigations
A-4543 (Spencer/D-29; Schepisi/R-39; Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-16; Whelan/D-2; Beck/R-11)
Senate passed 37-0; Assembly passed 80-0. Sent to Governor. Senate committee passed. In the nearly five years since the Site Remediation Reform Act was signed into law on May 7, 2009, there have been many changes in the way site cleanups are implemented and administered, principally due to the advent of the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) program. The goal of the LSRP program is to turn idle properties into productive use. However, one constant has been looming -- the May 7, 2014 statutory deadline to complete the remedial investigation for an entire contaminated site. This bill authorizes the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to offer a two-year extension for remedial investigations of certain contaminated sites to responsible parties that have made measureable progress with their sites. This measure will allow progress to continue and avoid placing these properties into the DEP's direct oversight.
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-3075 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Beck, Jennifer- Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Abstain; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Pennacchio, Joseph - Yes; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - Yes; Weinberg, Loretta -- No
Wastewater Service Area Extension
A-4531 (Greenwald/D-6; Bramnick/R-21; Chivukula/D-17; Sarlo/D-36; Oroho/R-24): )
Senate passed 30-5; Assembly passed 67 (Yes) - 7 (No) - 3 (Abstain). Assembly committee passed; Senate committee passed. Provides for the extension of wastewater service area designations and sewer service area designations in wastewater management plans and water quality management plans. As the state identifies regional clusters of future growth, this measure will allow for the continued processing of certain amendments and revisions to wastewater management plans and water quality management plans by the DEP.
Assembly Budget Committee A-4531 Vote: Prieto, Vincent (C) - Yes; Schaer, Gary S. (VC) - Yes; Brown, Christopher J. - Yes; Burzichelli, John J. - Yes; DiMaio, John - Yes; Johnson, Gordon M. - Not Voting; O'Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. - Yes; Pintor Marin, Eliana - Yes; Singleton, Troy- Yes; Watson Coleman, Bonnie - Yes; Webber, Jay - Yes; Wimberly, Benjie E. - Yes
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-3107 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Beck, Jennifer- Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - No; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Pennacchio, Joseph - Yes; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - Yes; Weinberg, Loretta -- No
Held. This bill would have authorized county and municipal utilities to establish and maintain stormwater utilities in order to manage stormwater runoff. The State Chamber opposes this legislation because it would have imposed a "rain tax" on the business community.
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; Van Drew/D-1; Oroho/R-24)
Assembly passed 71-0; Senate passed 38-0. Sent to Governor. Makes changes to the process for contested case hearings handled by the Office of Administrative Law, as recommended by the Red Tape Review Commission. The State Chamber continues to support streamlined government procedures, which boosts New Jersey's economic competitiveness.
Senate passed 38-0; sent to the Governor. Requires state agencies to conduct periodic reviews of permits, licenses and certifications they issue in order to identify those that are obsolete or that can be administered through a more expedited procedure. This legislation will promote efficiency in state government and help identify cumbersome requirements.
A-3321 (Burzichelli/D-3; Ramos/D-33; Egan/D-17; Stender/D-22; Wisniewski/D-19; Rumana/R-40; Whelan/D-2; Addiego/R-8)
Assembly concurrence passed 79-0; sent to the Governor. Requires the state's administrative agencies to use technology - including the Internet and email - to streamline rule-making notices and comment procedures, and to facilitate regulatory compliance. This legislation expedites the transfer of rules and procedures and the administrative process.
Clerical Error Fee Elimination
A-3319 (Burzichelli/D-3; Ramos/D-33; Egan/D-17; Stender/D-22; Rumana/R-40; Beach/D-6; Oroho/R-24)
Senate passed 39-0; sent to the Governor. Prohibits state government departments and agencies from imposing a fee, fine or penalty on any applicant when it is imposed solely to correct clerical errors made by the applicant on an application for a permit, certificate or any other purpose. This legislation will provide easier regulatory access for businesses and would not apply to an applicant who provides false, misleading or fraudulent information.
Increase in Worker's Compensation Payments
S-613 (Sweeney/D-3; Madden/D-4)
Senate passed 23-14. Imposes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on workers' compensation benefit rates for certain cases that occurred after 1980. While the intent of the legislation is admirable, the State Chamber cannot disregard the $165 million per year cost associated with full implementation. Calculations estimate that paying a nearly 34-year COLA in just three years will produce an estimated 6 percent increase in workers' compensation premiums.
Combating UI Fraud
A-3812 (DeAngelo/D-14; Space/R-24; Fuentes/D-5; McHose/R-24; Benson/D-14; Sumter/D-35; Madden/D-4; Sarlo/D-36; Cunningham/D-31; Van Drew/D-1)
Assembly concurrence passed 79-0; sent to the Governor. Requires certain state agencies to notify the state Labor and Workforce Development Department when state residents die or are incarcerated to eliminate fraud in the unemployment insurance (UI) system. The State Chamber believes this bill will act as a safeguard for this important public benefit program.
Disallows Facility Charge
S-2747 (Gordon/D38; Scutari/D-22; Stender/D-22; Giblin/D-34; Diegnan/D-18; Rible/R-30; Riley/D-3; Rumana/R-40)
Assembly passed 70-0; sent to Governor. Assembly committee passed. This measure would prohibit the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from imposing a cargo facility charge on users, ocean common carriers, and marine terminal operators. The exception to this legislation would be a written mutual agreement between the bi-state agency and the user. Banning fees that add to the cost of international commerce will make New Jersey more competitive, especially with other ports along the eastern seaboard, such as Baltimore and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Assembly Budget Committee A-4170 Vote: Prieto, Vincent (C) - Yes; Schaer, Gary S. (VC) - Yes; Brown, Christopher J. - Yes; Burzichelli, John J. - Yes; DiMaio, John - Yes; Johnson, Gordon M. - Not Voting; O'Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. - Yes; Pintor Marin, Eliana - Yes; Singleton, Troy- Yes; Watson Coleman, Bonnie - Yes; Webber, Jay - Yes; Wimberly, Benjie E. - Yes
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.