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10/20/15 Legislative Update

 

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TRENTON WATCH  

October 20, 2015

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  
Thumbs Up
Surveying Outgoing Employers - S-2710 (Bucco/R-25; Sarlo/D-36): Senate passed 38-0. Requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to annually provide results of surveys of employers that leave the state. The goal of this legislation is to determine the reasons why employers leave the state, information that would inform public policy solutions for the state's economy. Contact: Michael Egenton

ENVIRONMENT

 

Senate Environment and Energy Committee
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Condemns DEP Proposal - SCR-180 (Lesniak/D-20; Smith/D-17; Greenstein/D-14): Senate committee passed. The State Chamber does not agree with the resolution that states that the DEP's proposal to revise Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules is inconsistent with legislative intent. The proposal is positive and maintains the DEP's intent on easing regulatory burdens by clarifying and consolidating many sections of the rule. The State Chamber opposes this concurrent resolution and believes the more transparent and inclusive the DEP can be when developing regulations, the better the result will be for the public, the environment and for the regulated community. Contact: Michael Egenton
Senate Environment and Energy Committee SCR-180 Vote: Smith, Bob. (C) - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. (VC) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Not Voting; Codey, Richard J. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - No

ENERGY

 

Senate Environment and Energy Committee
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Regulates Hydraulic Fracturing - S-2534 (Allen/R-7): Held. Requires entities that are engaged in hydraulic fracturing to report laboratory analysis of waste or material generated by hydraulic fracturing. It also requires that entities get a DEP permit, and disclose plans, methods, and processes to treat, store, process, or dispose of waste or material. This bill sets a bad precedent by limiting opportunities for those in the field of energy production. Natural gas provides a clean, safe and affordable energy source to both residents and business owners. Placing statewide restrictions sends the wrong message both regionally and globally. Contact: Michael Egenton

LABOR 

  
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Increase in Workers' Compensation Payments - S-929 (Sweeney/D-3; Madden/D-4)/A-1908 (Burzichelli/D-3; Moriarty/D-4): Senate passed 24-12; sent to Governor. 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 laudable, the legislation will increase the cost of workers' compensation insurance. The estimated $58 million annual cost will be paid for by increasing a $223 million annual surcharge that New Jersey employers now pay to the Second Injury Fund. It is already the second-highest such charge in the nation. Contact: Michael Egenton
  
Thumbs Up
Preferential Treatment for Long-Term Unemployed for Training Programs - S-1621/A-2926 (Sweeney/D-3; Barnes/D-18; Lagana/D-38; Coughlin/D-19; Mosquera/D-4; Webber/R-26; Pinkin/D-18; Danielsen/D-17): Senate concurrence passed 36-0. The Senate concurred with the governor's conditional veto which outlined concerns regarding the use of federal monies for programs contrary to approval. The governor removed references in the bill to federal monies and made adjustments to programs using state funds to accommodate the long term unemployed. The bill prioritizes state-administered training programs for displaced workers to those who have exhausted all state and federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits from fiscal year 2015 through 2018. This legislation will ensure the proper training of those struggling with long-term unemployment. Contact: Michael Egenton

SMALL BUSINESS 

 

Senate Economic Growth Committee
Thumbs Up
"Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program" - S-3064 (Pennacchio/R-26; Rice/D-28): Senate committee passed. Provides support services to small businesses and helps small businesses meet surety bonding requirements in order for them to bid on public works projects or perform contracts offered by the state or by the federal government.The bill requires the State Treasurer to annually transfer $250,000 from the urban enterprise zone assistance fund to the "Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Fund," a special fund created by the authority as part of the program.Contact: Matt Malat
Senate Economic Growth Committee S-3064 Vote: Lesniak, Raymond J. (C) - Yes; Cruz-Perez, Nilsa (VC) - Yes; Kyrillos, Joseph M. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Whelan, Jim - Yes

 

Senate Economic Growth Committee
  
Thumbs Up
"Small Business Saturday" - SJR-90 (Allen/R-7; Cunningham/D-31)/SR-103 (Turner/D-15; Bucco/R-26): Senate committee passed.Designates the Saturday following Thanksgiving of each year as "Small Business Saturday." The State Chamber supports the designations to help continue the economic momentum created by "Black Friday" and to help New Jersey's main street/small business establishments. Contact: Matt Malat
  
Senate Commerce Committee SJR-90/SR-103 Vote: Gill, Nia H. (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Yes; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas - Yes
  

TOURISM

 

Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee
Thumbs Up
Tax Credit for Entertainers Performing in Atlantic City - S-2721 (Kean/R-21; Whelan/D-2): Senate committee passed.Provides for a gross income tax credit for A-list performing artists for income derived from certain live performances contracted for and rendered within the Atlantic City Tourism District and additional locations within the state. This tax credit creates a 100% state income tax exemption for top performers who commit to perform periodically in Atlantic City. The economic success of Atlantic City as a premier destination for gambling and entertainment requires additional incentives for drawing top-ranked entertainers and spectator events to the Atlantic City Tourism District and other locations in the state. Contact: Michael Egenton & Matt Malat
Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee S-2721 Vote: Whelan, Jim (C) - Yes; Turner, Shirley K. (VC) - Yes; Barnes, Peter J. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes 

TRANSPORTATION 

  
Thumbs Up
 Gateway Tunnel Project - SCR-179 (Sweeney/D-3; Kean/R-21): Senate passed 38-0. This resolution supports the efforts of the states of New Jersey and New York to secure federal funding for construction of a new two-track Hudson River rail tunnel. The State Chamber supports the construction of a new tunnel, which will increase commerce and economic development on both sides of the Hudson River. Contact: Michael Egenton

Thumbs up and down indicates the chamber's support or opposition to issues. Call the State Chamber Government Relations Department at (609) 989-7888 with questions or comments.