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Legislative Update 6/23/17

TRENTON WATCH
June 23, 2017

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

CONSUMER AFFAIRS

Minimum Age for Tobacco Products - S-359 (Codey/D-27; Vitale/D-19; Huttle/D-37; Conaway/D-7; Jimenez/D-32; Lampitt/D-6; Diegnan/D-18; Jasey/D-27; Sumter/D-35): Assembly passed 53-16, sent to the Governor. Raises minimum age for purchase and sale of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21. This bill also amends related statutes concerning penalties, fines, signage requirements, non-face-to-face transactions and enforcement provisions to reflect the increased minimum age. Contact: Michael Egenton

Tax Deduction for Charitable Food Contributions - S-3012 (Lesniak/D-20; Oroho/R-24)/A-2753 (Mukherji/D-33; Benson/D-14): Senate 38-0. Allows a NJ gross income tax deduction for charitable contributions of food made from business inventory. The deduction applies to food that meets all quality and labeling standards even though the food may not be marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other conditions. This new tax deduction will encourage charitable contributions of food to deserving organizations that support those in need. Contact: Michael Egenton

 

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CORPORATIONS

Senate Commerce Committee

"Force the Vote" - A-2161 (Diegnan/D-18; Pinkin/D-18)/S-2237 (Diegnan/D-18): Senate committee passed. Clarifies that corporations may adopt the "force the vote" provision in plans for merger or consolidation. A "force the vote" provision allows shareholders of a corporation to vote on a plan of merger or consolidation after approval by the corporation's board of directions, even if the board later determines that the plan is no longer advisable and recommends that the shareholders vote against the plan. The board, however, is allowed to make revisions to the merger or consolidation plan at any time prior to executing the plan. These provisions are modeled after the Delaware Business Corporation Law. Contact: Michael Egenton

Senate Commerce Committee A-2161/S-2237 Vote: Pou, Nellie (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Not Voting; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H. Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Not Voting
Senate Commerce Committee

Derivative Proceedings and Shareholder Class Actions - A-2970 (Diegnan/D-18; Pinkin/D-18; Mukherji/D-33; Karabinchak/D-18)/S-2236 (Diegnan/D-18): Senate committee passed. Revises applicability of the law concerning derivative proceedings and shareholder class actions. This bill allows the use of derivative proceedings and class actions for all corporations unless a corporation chooses otherwise. Current law only allows these suits if a corporation makes them applicable in its certificate of incorporation. A derivative proceeding is a lawsuit brought by a shareholder in the name of the corporation against a third party, with proceeds being awarded to the corporation, not to the individual shareholders that initiated the action. This bill gives corporations greater freedom to use derivative proceedings and class actions. Contact: Michael Egenton

Senate Commerce Committee A-2970/S-2236 Vote: Pou, Nellie (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Not Voting; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H. Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Not Voting
Senate Commerce Committee

Limitations on Books and Records - A-2975 (Diegnan/D-18; Pinkin/D-18; Kennedy/D-22)/S-2238 (Diegnan/D-18): Senate committee passed. Permits corporation to impose reasonable limitations or conditions on the use or distribution of books and records by shareholders. Corporations are required to provide shareholders access to books and records. Due to the innovations in technology, information is now relatively easy to disseminate. This bill would allow corporations to reasonably limit the release of materials that are required to be kept confidential. This bill was proposed by the New Jersey Corporate and Business Law Study Commission. Contact: Michael Egenton

Senate Commerce Committee A-2975/S-2238 Vote: Pou, Nellie (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Not Voting; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H. Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Not Voting
Senate Commerce Committee

Forum Selection in Corporate By-Laws - S-2234 (Diegnan/D-18)/A-2162 (Diegnan/D-18; Schaer/D-36): Senate committee passed. This bill allows for corporations to include a 'forum selection' requirement in their by-laws. The by-laws of a corporation may provide that the federal and state courts in New Jersey shall be the sole and exclusive forum for any lawsuits involving shareholders. These bylaws generally remove incentive for lawsuits against a company and therefore protect companies against litigation. Contact: Michael Egenton

Senate Commerce Committee S-2234 Vote: Pou, Nellie (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Not Voting; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H. Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Not Votings
Senate Commerce Committee

Electronic Approval -S-2235 (Diegnan/D-18)/A-2971 (Diegnan/D-18; Webber/R-26; Pinkin/D-18): Senate committee passed. Clarifies that corporate directors may approve actions by electronic transmission. Under current law, action without a meeting can only be taken if all members of the board consent to the action in writing. Approval by electronic transmission has already been in practice, but this law clarifies the approval into law. Contact: Michael Egenton

Senate Commerce Committee S-2235 Vote: Pou, Nellie (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Not Voting; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H. Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Not Voting
Senate Commerce Committee

Proxy Solicitation Materials - S-2239 (Diegnan/D-18)/A-2973 (Diegnan/D-18; Pinkin/D-18): Senate committee passed. This bill allows corporations to establish procedures and conditions to regulate what materials with respect to individual shareholders would be included in the corporation's proxy solicitation materials. Proxy solicitation is an attempt by a group to obtain the authorization of other members to vote on their behalf. This legislation would give shareholders the ability to regulate votes if vote authorization is given to other shareholders. Contact: Michael Egenton

Senate Commerce Committee S-2239 Vote: Pou, Nellie (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Not Voting; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H. Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Not Voting
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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Permits Certain Small Businesses to Qualify for EDA Loans - A-1451 (Lampitt/D-6; Mosquera/D-4; Green/D-22; Caride/D-36; Pintor Marin/D-29; Wimberly/D-35)/S-1030 (Weinberg/D-37; Cruz-Perez/D-5): Assembly passed 67-8. Permits small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses located in certain areas to qualify for loans from EDA as if located in a designated urban center. The bill would allow the Metropolitan Planning Area in the State Development and Redevelopment Act to determine the areas in which businesses must be located. The areas include Camden, Paterson and Trenton. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and the State Chamber believes that these loans give such companies enhanced ability to conduct business in New Jersey. Contact: Lauren Lalicon

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INSURANCE

Assembly Appropriations Committee

Telemedicine - S-291 (Vitale/D-19; Whelan/D-2; Allen/R-7; Turner/D-15; Lampitt/D-6; Coughlin/D-19; Conaway/D-7; Huttle/D-37; Lagana/D-38; Mukherji/D-33; Moriarty/D-4): Assembly committee passed. Senate passed 38-0. Assembly passed 73-0. Sent to the Governor. Authorizes health care providers to engage in telehealth and telemedicine. Telemedicine allows for providers to deliver health care from a distance through video or audio technology. Providers are able to increase the wellness of their community by expanding access to healthcare with modern technology while also cutting costs and lowering premiums as more people use telemedicine services and less people choose to go to emergency rooms for non-acute health issues. Contact: Lauren Lalicon

Assembly Appropriations Committee A-1464 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (C) - Yes; Lagana, Joseph A. (VC) - Yes; Caride, Marlene - Yes; Conaway, Herb - Yes; DiMaio, John - Yes; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. - Yes; Phoebus, Gail - Yes; Quijano, Annette - Yes; Schaer, Gary S. - Yes; Schepisi, Holly - Yes
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LABOR

"Safe Transportation Jobs and Fair Employment Rules Act" - A-4870 (Prieto/D-32; Oliver/D-34; Quijano/D-20; Pintor Marin/D-29; Schaer/D-36; Huttle/D-37; Eustace/D-38)/S-3226 (Ruiz/D-29; Sweeney/D-3): Assembly passed 51-23. Increases wages for subcontracted airline workers from $10.20 an hour to $17.98 an hour, and applies to workers at Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark Penn Station, and the Hoboken Terminal. This legislation imposes a staggering wage increase of more than 110 percent. The proposed $17.98 minimum wage rate (plus $4.27 in benefits) would result in a total minimum compensation of $22.25. The total compensation mandate would be nearly double that of competing airports. Newark Liberty International Airport is a vital economic engine and job creator for New Jersey. Policymakers should not jeopardize those benefits by imposing artificially high costs on the airport. Contact: Michael Egenton

Assembly Appropriations Committee

Paid Family Leave Revisions - A-4927 (Prieto/D-32; Oliver/D-34; Gusciora/D-15; Jasey/D-27): Assembly passed 49-23. Revises the law concerning family leave, family temporary disability leave, and the domestic or sexual violence safety leave. The bill would double the amount of time workers can take off, and increases the weekly benefit for workers taking time off from 67 percent of their regular pay to 80 percent. The current weekly cap of $633 would increase to $932. Sustaining the additional employees who will collect Paid Family Leave benefits will cause financial pressure on the fund-especially for small businesses-and taxes would have to be raised in order to provide coverage to these employees. Additionally, there will be added challenges and hardships for employers to replace employees who may have unique work responsibilities. Contact: Michael Egenton

Assembly Appropriations Committee A-4927 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (C) - Yes; Lagana, Joseph A. (VC) - Yes; Caride, Marlene - Yes; Conaway, Herb - Yes; DiMaio, John - No; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. - Yes; Phoebus, Gail - No; Quijano, Annette - Yes; Schaer, Gary S. - Yes; Schepisi, Holly - Abstain
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SMALL BUSINESS

Paperwork Violations - A-1704 (Dancer/R-12)/S-1501 (Bucco/R-25): Assembly passed 76-0. Suspends fines for certain first-time paperwork violations committed by small businesses. A small business is an entity that employs 50 full-time employees or fewer. A fine would not be suspended if the violation presents a danger to public safety. The State Chamber supports common-sense proposals that provide "red tape" relief to employers. Contact: Michael Egenton

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TAXATION

Tax Credit for New Apprentices - AR-212 (Schaer/D-36; Singleton/D-7; Downey/D-11; Houghtaling/D-11; Jones/D-5): Assembly passed 70-0. This bill urges Congress and President to enact legislation that creates federal tax credits for hiring new apprentices. By 2018, the U.S. will face a shortage of over 7 million workers with post-secondary credentials. Approximately 45 percent of all jobs over the next decade will be "middle skill" occupations, which require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor's degree. An apprenticeship program is jointly sponsored by an employer and a labor group in which the business hires the workers and trains them on the job for a highly skilled occupation. Expanding the country's apprenticeship programs would allow the state to invest in sorely needed sectors of the job market while developing the skills of our workforce. Contact: Michael Egenton

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TOURISM

New Jersey State Ship - 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; Cruz-Perez/D-5; Beach/D-6): Senate passed 38-0, sent to the Governor. 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: Michael Egenton