• directions

Tracking Legislation Important to the New Jersey Business Community -

Week of June 1 in Review


Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee NJ Fair Debt Collection Practices Act -A-2493 (Burzichelli/D-3; Milam/D-1; DeAngelo/D-14; Evans/D-35): Committee passed. Establishes state guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business and institutes penalties, including punitive damages, for violations. The State Chamber opposes this legislation because it is a duplication of existing federal law and regulations; it places an additional burden on the employer community; and adds confusion and unintended consequences on the employer and the consumer.


Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee Encouraging Investment in Technology Businesses - A-3883 (Chivikula/D-17; Oliver/D-34; Giblin/D-34): Committee passed, referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Revises the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Program, which allows unprofitable technology and biotechnology businesses to sell their unused net operating losses (NOLs) and R&D tax credits. This bill would also increase the lifetime benefit per business from $10 million to $15 million, increase the minimum market price for the transfer from 75 percent to 80 percent of the tax benefit, and allow unused funds from the annual $10 million set-aside for businesses in innovation zones to be transferred to the general program pool.


Societal Benefits Charge - A-616 (Karrow/R-23; Chivukula/D-17; Prieto/D-32): Committee passed. Establishes an allocation of the funds collected under energy efficiency, clean energy and renewable energy programs generated from the societal benefits charge imposed on utility customers by the Board of Public Utilities. The original bill was to allocate the benefits between residential customers and commercial and industrial customers, but it was amended and now only provides benefits to residential customers. The State Chamber strongly believes that the business community should be included in the legislation since employers contribute to the societal benefits charge.


Senate Legislative Oversight Committee DEP's Water Quality Management Planning Rules:The Senate Legislative Oversight Committee held a special hearing regarding the implementation of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Water Quality Management Planning rules adopted in July 2008. These rules primarily implement the New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act, which impacts the state's surface and ground water resources. Each county is currently in the process of developing maps that list where development is allowed or prohibited. DEP Assistant Commissioner of Land Use Management Scott Brubaker and DEP Director of Watershed Management Larry Baier updated the Committee and said 17 counties have agreed to submit wastewater management plans, while four counties - Bergen, Passaic, Union and Warren - have not submitted plans to date. Others testifying included the NJ Builders Association and the NJ County Planners Association. Suggestions ranged from requesting a two-year extension, creating an oversight board, and providing consistency with mapping between the DEP and the Office of Smart Growth.


Assembly Higher Education Committee RWJ and Chamber Foundations Partner to Reverse NJ's Nurse Faculty Shortage, Avert Crisis: To help reverse the state's nursing shortage that could cause grave harm to patient care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the NJ Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced before the Assembly Higher Education Committee a major new initiative designed to ensure that New Jersey will have the nursing workforce it needs to meet its future health care demands. The $22 million, five-year New Jersey Nursing Initiative will increase the number of nurse faculty in the state, providing enough faculty to educate the next generation of nurses. Testifying at the hearing was Susan Bakewell-Sachs, dean of the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science at The College of New Jersey and Program Director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative.

Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee Promoting Health Information Technology Products - A-3934 (Conaway/D-7; Chivukula/D-17): Committee passed. Permits the use of certain software and hardware products so that a statewide electronic health information infrastructure can be established and implemented.


Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Expanding Employment Protection To Emergency Responders-A-1263 (Moriarty/D-4; Burzichelli/D-3; Love/D-4): Committee held. The Emergency Responders Employment Protection Act provides employment protection to volunteer emergency responders who, because they are providing emergency services in response to a state of emergency or emergency call, fail to report to work.


Assembly Appropriations Committee Extending Investments in the State's Pension Funds- A-3817 (Schaer/D-36; Gusciora/D-15) and S-2552 (Sweeney/D-3; O'Toole/R-40): Committee passed. Provides the Division of Investment and the State Investment Council with more investment options for the state's Cash Management and pension funds for one year. The bill is intended to provide liquidity to New Jersey community banks and to provide the Director of the Division of Investment with the flexibility to safeguard the value of the fund portfolios.

*From the NJ State Chamber of Commerce*