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Legislative Update 5/31/17

TRENTON WATCH  

May 30, 2017

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:


CONSUMER AFFAIRS

Thumbs UpLimits Consumer Contract Disputes Forum - S-3026 (Smith/D-17; Thompson/R-12)/A-4634 (Lampitt/D-6; Eustace/D-38; Zwicker/D-16): Senate passed 39-0. Organizations that donate food to needy individuals are immune from civil and criminal liability, but there are some ambiguities in the federal and state laws. By clarifying the definition of "donate," this bill permits nonprofit organizations to recover the cost of handling donated food, which can allow for innovative approaches to selling surplus food at deeply reduced prices. The bill expands liability protections, and in doing so, the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of using perishable food. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Thumbs UpDesignates Small Business Month - AJR-52 (DeAngelo/D-14; Quijano/D-20; Houghtaling/D-11; Downey/D-11): Assembly passed 74-0. Designates May of each year as "Small Business Month" in New Jersey. The intent of this resolution is to recognize the importance of small businesses in the state and local economies, and how their success strengthens community identity and pride. Small businesses, businesses with fewer than 500 employees, contribute to approximately half of the nation's annual GDP and more than half of the nation's employment. New Jersey was recently reported to have more than 820,000 small businesses, which comprise more than 98 percent of all New Jersey employers, and employ 1.7 million workers, making up more than half of the state's workforce. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


ENERGY

Thumbs UpGreen Building Permits - A-2081 (Mukherji/D-33; Pintor Marin/D-29; Muoio/D-15; Holley/D-20; Chiaravalloti/D-31)/S-3129 (Greenstein/D-14; Smith/D-17): Assembly passed 54-19. Provides for priority consideration, by Department of Community Affairs, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, and municipalities, of permit applications for green building projects. A project qualifies as a "green building project" if it is designed in accordance with the green building manual prepared by the Commissioner of Community Affairs. The application would include a letter from a licensed architect or engineer describing how the project qualifies as a green building project. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thumbs downRGGI - A-4701 (Eustace/D-38; Zwicker/D-16; Huttle/D-37; Gusciora/D-15; Kennedy/D-22; Benson/D-14; Jasey/D-27; Sweeney/D-3; Smith/D-17): Assembly passed 47-26, Senate passed 23-15, sent to Governor. Clarifies previous law by requiring the state's full participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The State Chamber opposes this measure because the RGGI program ultimately contributed to higher energy prices for residents and businesses in New Jersey. Additionally, states that contribute to New Jersey's overall air quality (such as Pennsylvania) continue to not participate in the RGGI cap-and-trade program. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee A-4701 Vote: Eustace, Tim (C) - Yes; McKeon, John F. (VC) - Yes; Chiaravalloti, Nicholas - Yes; Rooney, Kevin J. - No; Wisniewski, John S. - Yes; Wolfe, David W. - No 


LABOR

 Senate Labor Committee

Thumbs downPrevailing Wage for Tax Abated Properties - S-1162  (Sweeney/D-3): Senate committee passed. Imposes prevailing wage for public work on properties receiving tax abatements or exemptions. This bill mandates that a public work is subject to prevailing wage requirements if a public body authorizes a tax abatement or exemption for that property. This requirement does not apply to properties owned by nonprofit organizations. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Senate Labor Committee S-1162 VoteMadden, Fred H., Jr. (C) - Yes; Vitale, Joseph F. (VC) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Not Voting; Cunningham, Sandra B. - No

Thumbs downWage and Salary Information -  A-3480 (Downey/D-11; Lampitt/D-6; Schaer/D-36; Houghtaling/D-11; Benson/D-14; Singleton/D-7; Muoio/D-15; DeAngelo/D-14)/A-4119 (Lampitt/D-6; Benson/D-14; Singleton/D-7;  Muoio/D-15; DeAngelo/D-14): Assembly passed 49-19. This bill prohibits any employer from seeking information on the wage or salary history of a prospective employee. Requiring the information as part of the interview process is also prohibited. An employer may only confirm the wage or salary history information after making a job offer to the prospective employee. The State Chamber recognizes the importance of equal pay for women, but salary and wage information provides a business with the ability to identify comparable salaries for certain jobs and a means of gauging how likely a candidate is to accept an offer the business is prepared to make. Additionally, knowing a candidate's compensation actually helps the employer negotiate the best deal for both employee and employer. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


STATE GOVERNMENT

Thumbs UpNon-Commercial Sustaining Announcements - S-2751 (Diegnan/D-18; Gordon/D-38): Senate passed 25-13. Provides that state contracts for public service announcements (non-commercial sustaining announcements) on public radio and television stations will be purchased as a single contract, without public advertising for bids, to a non-profit association that represents broadcasters. Non-commercial sustaining announcements are radio and television public service announcements that promote various programs, including public health and safety campaigns, public education, and public outreach or awareness missions. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


TAXATION

Thumbs UpThird-Party Property Tax Appeals - S-2212 (Singer/R-30; Cruz-Perez/D-5)/A-3888 (Gusciora/D-15; Pinkin/D-18): Senate passed 24-9. Prohibits third-party property tax appeals. This bill was introduced in response to a property tax appeal by the residents of Princeton against Princeton University, as well as the growing number of appeals by municipalities against hospitals. Property tax appeals can create uncertainty in local government finances by delegitimizing local governments' authority in determining tax exemption status. Because the burden of proof is on the non-profit to re-prove its eligibility status for tax-exemption, these cases can divert necessary resources away from essential programs and services. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


TOURISM

 Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee

Thumbs UpNew Jersey State Ship - S-2887 (Cruz-Perez/D-5; Beach/D-6)/A-4011 (Jones/D-5; Barclay/D-5; Moriarty/D-4; Mosquera/D-4; Greenwald/D-6; Lampitt/D-6; Mazzeo/D-2; Chiaravalloti/D-31): Senate committee passed. Designates USS New Jersey as New Jersey State Ship. The USS New Jersey, launched in 1942, was engaged in three wars, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The ship is now an educational museum based in Camden. This designation acknowledges the important role that the USS New Jersey played in the country's naval history. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee S-2887 VoteWhelan, Jim (C) - Yes; Cruz-Perez, Nilsa - Yes; Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes 


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.