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Economic Development
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New Business Incentive - S-3033
(Lesniak/D-20; Kyrillos/R-13; Coutinho/D-29; Conaway/D-7; Bucco/R-25; Chiusano/R-24; Ramos/D-33):

Governor signed P.L.2011, c.149. This law establishes a $200 million "Grow New Jersey" tax credit program. The credit is $5,000 per employee, per year for up to ten years with the potential for a bonus award of an additional $3,000 per employee per year. An eligible business must have a minimum of 100 new or retained full-time employees and make a capital investment of at least $20 million. The program's cost would fall under the $1.5 billion cap established under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, and the initial allocation could be increased at the discretion of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

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Codifying Business Action Center - A-4337
(Madden/D-4; Oroho/R-24):

Assembly passed 47-29-2. Senate passed 34-3 and sent to Governor. This bill creates the New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC) within the Department of State, and transfers the majority of responsibilities of the Business Retention and Attraction Division to the BAC, which will act as the state's liaison to the business community and provide information on incentives, permits, taxes, regulations and other key areas of concern to employers. The bill also requires the BAC to provide, upon request and free of charge, businesses within the state that have fewer than 99 employees with individualized competitive intelligence information.

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Energy
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Societal Benefits Charge - A-2528
(Chivukula/D-17; Quijano/D-20):

Senate passed 33-4. Assembly passed 68-6 and sent to Governor. This bill provides for the allocation of a societal benefits charge among residential, commercial and industrial utility customers. The bill allows commercial and industrial ratepayers to take a credit of up to 50 percent of the societal benefit charge to offset the cost of BPU-approved energy efficient projects.

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Environment
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Wastewater Management Planning - S-3156
(Sarlo/D-36; Oroho/R-24; Coutinho/D-29; Greenwald/D-6; DeCroce/R-26; McHose/R-24):

Assembly passed 56-14-3. Senate passed 27-5 and sent to Governor. This bill extends designated wastewater and sewer service areas for at least 180 days, but no longer than three years; and revises aspects of the wastewater management planning process.

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Government Reform
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Pension and Benefits Reform - S-2100
(Sweeney/D-3; Ruiz/D-29; Moriarty/D-4; Barnes/D-18; Addiego/R-8; Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Greenstein/D-14):

Assembly passed 76-0 and sent to Governor. This bill prohibits new employees of certain organizations from enrolling in a state-administered retirement system or public employee health care benefits plan.

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Cost Savings - S-3148
(Norcross/D-5; Turner/D-15; Greenwald/D-6; Moriarty/D-4; DeAngelo/D-14; Singleton/D-7; Green/D-22; Bramnick/R-21):

Assembly passed 62-11-2. Senate passed 33-2 and sent to Governor. This bill establishes procedures for districts, municipalities or voters to move annual school elections to the date of the general elections in November, and eliminates a general vote on school budgets for such districts, except in cases of separate spending proposals that exceed the tax cap.

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Health
twatch-down

Health Insurance Mandate - S-1834
(Madden/D-4; Sarlo/D-36; Egan/D-17; Singleton/D-7):

Assembly passed 68-2-5 and sent to Governor. This bill requires health insurers to cover oral cancer medications on the same basis as they cover intravenous cancer medications. The bill also prohibits a contract or policy from imposing an increase in patient cost sharing for either intravenous or oral cancer medications that are covered under the contract or policy as of the effective date of the bill. This mandate will increase health care costs for employers, who are already struggling to afford health insurance premiums.

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Labor
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Unemployment Insurance - S-3186
(Madden/D-4; Sarlo/D-36; Egan/D-17; Singleton/D-7):

Senate passed 38-0. Assembly passed 74-0 and sent to Governor. This bill allows unemployed New Jersey workers to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

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Regulation
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Small Business Regulatory Relief - A-2129
(Chivukula/D-17; McHose/R-24; Burzichelli/D-3):

Senate passed 37-0. Assembly passed 73-0 and sent to Governor. This bill requires an agency to conduct a review of rules that are up for re-adoption, ensuring that they have minimal impact on small businesses. The bill updates the NJ Regulatory Flexibility Act so that it is consistent with the provisions of a model bill endorsed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Consumer Benefits - A-3133
(Riley/D-3; Coughlin/D-19; Burzichelli/D-3):

Governor signed P.L.2011, c.164. This bill permits the use of rebates, allowances, concessions or benefits for motor fuel purchases on credit, debit or rewards cards. Currently, New Jersey is the only state in the region that does not allow consumers to earn discounts on gasoline through frequent shopper cards or debit cards. This would give New Jersey consumers the same access to these promotions as other states.

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Gov. Chris Christie is flanked by New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jeff Scheininger (left) and Chamber President and CEO Tom Bracken at the 75th Annual Congressional Dinner. (Photo by Russ DeSantis)The 75th Annual Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner on Jan. 26 and 27 brought to Washington a who's who of New Jersey business and government leaders, all of whom participated in what The Star-Ledger called the Walk to Washington's "time-honored exercise in extreme networking."

Gov. Christie adresses the crowd at the 2012 NJ Chamber Walk to Washington

New Jersey businesses will be essential in the effort to cut taxes and rein in government spending, Gov. Chris Christie told the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce on Thursday night in Washington.

Governor Chris Christie told a group of business leaders that Democrats in the Legislature may jeopardize New Jersey’s economic recovery by putting social issues ahead of job creation and tax cuts.

A crowded car aboard the annual New Jersey Chamber of Commerce train ride to Washington. - John O'Boyle/The Star-Ledger

TRENTON — For New Jersey’s power brokers, the annual chamber-sponsored schlep from Newark to Washington is a time-honored exercise in extreme networking.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski talks with Senator Loretta Weinberg during the annual New Jersey Chamber of Commerce train ride.

Governor Christie told an audience of state business leaders who traveled to Washington on Thursday that legislative critics of his proposed income tax cut were hypocrites because they had supported fiscally irresponsible budgets before.

2012 New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Walk to Washington.

WASHINGTON — Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday ripped Democrats in the Legislature as misguided for trying to legalize gay marriage and for their criticism of his income tax plan during a speech at the state’s annual Chamber of Commerce congressional dinner.

Gov. Christie, pictured on Wednesday when he announced his plan, with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Sol J. Barer, chairman of the UMDNJ advisory committee, to merge Rutgers-Camden into Rowan University. (Mel Evans, Associated Press)

WASHINGTON - Without uttering the words "gay marriage," Gov. Christie delivered a fiery attack on Democrats for pushing ahead with a same-sex marriage bill when the state should be focused on job creation.

WASHINGTON - Solving social issues can wait. Jobs can't.

News

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will be leading a New Jersey invasion of Washington Thursday night, following the state's annual train party for politicians, businesspeople and lobbyists.

Press ReleaseN.J. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Bracken's statement on Gov. Chris Christie's State of the State Address:

Economic Development
Thumbs Up

New Business Incentive - S-3033
(Lesniak/D-20; Kyrillos/R-13; Coutinho/D-29; Conaway/D-7; Bucco/R-25; Chiusano/R-24; Ramos/D-33):

Assembly passed 61-2-5. Senate passed 37-0 and sent to Governor. This bill establishes a $200 million "Grow New Jersey" tax credit program. The program's cost would fall under the $1.5 billion cap established under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, and the initial allocation could be increased at the discretion of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. An eligible business must have a minimum of 100 new or retained full-time employees and make a capital investment of at least $20 million. Thecredit is $5,000 per employee, per year for up to ten years with the potential for a bonus award of an additional $3,000 per employee per year.

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Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
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Codifying Business Action Center - S-3079
(Lesniak/D-20; Kyrillos/R-13; Coutinho/D-29; Conaway/D-7; Bucco/R-25; Chiusano/R-24; Ramos/D-33):

Assembly passed 61-2-5. Senate passed 37-0 and sent to Governor. This bill establishes a $200 million "Grow New Jersey" tax credit program. The program's cost would fall under the $1.5 billion cap established under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, and the initial allocation could be increased at the discretion of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. An eligible business must have a minimum of 100 new or retained full-time employees and make a capital investment of at least $20 million. Thecredit is $5,000 per employee, per year for up to ten years with the potential for a bonus award of an additional $3,000 per employee per year.

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Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee
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Permit Extension Act - A-4422
(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 permit approvals 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 Committee A-4422 Vote: Green, Jerry (Chair) - Yes; Benson, Daniel R. - Yes; Carroll, Michael Patrick - Yes; Riley, Celeste M. - Yes; Ryan, Kevin J. - Not Voting; Singleton, Troy - Yes; Vandervalk, Charlotte - Yes

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Energy
Senate Environment and Energy Committee
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Societal Benefits Charge - A-2528
(Chivukula/D-17; Quijano/D-20):

Committee passed. Assembly passed 66-7-1. This bill provides for the allocation of a "societal benefits charge" among residential, commercial and industrial utility customers. The bill was amended to allow commercial and industrial ratepayers to take a credit of up to 50 percent of the societal benefit charge to offset the cost of BPU-approved energy efficient projects.

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Hydraulic Fracturing - SR98
(Gordon/D-38):

Senate passed by voice vote. This resolution urges the Congress and President to enact H.R. 1084 and S.587, which would repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing under the federal "Safe Drinking Water Act" and require disclosure of the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing.

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Environment
Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee
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Waiver Rule - ACR206
(Barnes/D-18; McKeon/D-27; Gusciora/D-15):

Committee passed. This resolution states that the rules and regulations for the "waiver rule" proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are inconsistent with legislative intent. The New Jersey Chamber believes the waiver rule, which allows the DEP to waive strict compliance with regulations in certain limited circumstances, is consistent with the findings of the state's Red Tape Review Commission which calls for flexibility and predictability for regulated businesses.

Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee ACR206 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (Chair) - Yes; Caputo, Ralph R. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - No; Polistina, Vincent J. - No; Wagner, Connie - Yes

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Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee
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Wastewater Management - A-4335
(Coutinho/D-29; Greenwald/D-6; DeCroce/R-26; McHose/R-24):

Committee passed. This bill extends wastewater service and sewer service area designations for at least 180 days, but no longer than three years; and revises certain aspects of the wastewater management planning process.

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee A-4335 Vote: McKeon, John F. (Chair) - Yes; Barnes, Peter J., III - Yes; Coutinho, Albert - Yes; Coyle, Denise M. - Yes; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Not Voting; Mainor, Charles - Yes; Rible, David P. - Yes

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Government Reform
Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee
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Cost Savings - S-3148
(Norcross/D-5):

Committee passed. This bill establishes procedures for districts, municipalities or voters to opt to move annual school elections to the date of the general election in November and eliminates a vote on school budgets for such districts, except for separate proposals to spend above the tax cap.

Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee S-3148 Vote: Whelan, Jim (Chair) - Yes; Gordon, Robert M. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Abstain; Turner, Shirley K. - Yes

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Health
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Health Insurance Mandate - S-1834
(Weinberg; Gill):

Senate passed 37-2. This bill requires health insurers to cover oral cancer medications on the same basis as intravenous cancer medications. The bill also prohibits a contract or policy from imposing an increase in patient cost sharing for either intravenous or oral cancer medications that are covered under the contract or policy as of the effective date of the bill. This mandate will increase health care costs for employers, who are already struggling to afford health insurance premiums.

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Legal
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Arbitration Agreements - A-3434
(Moriarty/D-4; Diegnan/D-18; Barnes/D-18; Watson Coleman/D-15):

Assembly passed 44-27. This bill outlines the factors for a court reviewing a contract containing an arbitration agreement. The bill may require a court to consider an arbitration agreement unconscionable if the contract is standardized and not negotiated between the parties, which would encompass a large number of existing consumer contracts and ultimately would increase costs.

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Regulation
Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee
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Small Business Regulatory Relief - A-2129
(Chivukula/D-17; McHose/R-24; Burzichelli/D-3):

Committee passed. Under the bill, an agency is required to conduct a review of rules that are up for re-adoption, ensuring that they have minimal impact on small businesses This bill updates the NJ Regulatory Flexibility Act so that it is consistent with the provisions of a model bill endorsed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee A-2129 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A.(Chair) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (Vice Chair) - Yes; Beach, James - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Buono, Barbara - Abstain; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Doherty, Michael J. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Pennacchio, Joseph - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - Yes

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Regulatory Reform - A-2464
(Burzichelli/D-3; Quijano/D-20):

Senate passed 35-2 and sent to Governor. This bill requires that all state agency rules be published in the NJ Register, and prohibits the use of regulatory guidance documents unless an agency determines that regulatory guidance is necessary in order to clarify a component of a new rule or adopted amendments to an existing rule.

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Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee
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Administrative Procedure Act - S-2607
(Oroho/R-24; Van Drew/D-1) & A-2922 (Burzichelli/D-3; Coughlin/D-19; Barnes/D-18; Chiusano/R-24):

Committee passed. These bills establish procedures to determine how conflicts or inconsistencies between rules of different agencies can be resolved.

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Consumer Benefits - A-3133
(Riley/D-3; Coughlin/D-19; Burzichelli/D-3):

Senate passed 38-0 and sent to Governor. This bill permits the use of rebates, allowances, concessions, or benefits for motor fuel purchases on credit, debit or rewards cards. Currently New Jersey is the only state in the region that does not allow consumers to earn discounts on gasoline through frequent shopper cards or debit cards. This would give New Jersey consumers the same access to these promotions as other states.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.