The 218th Legislative Session brought a vast amount of activity that impacts the South Jersey business community. As the South Jersey business community’s voice in Trenton, the CCSNJ worked diligently throughout this legislative session to ensure that its members were well-represented on the issues that matter most to members' bottom line and day-to-day business operations. Whether it be costly labor mandates, workforce development initiatives, fair taxation policy, measures to make New Jersey more fiscally responsible or industry-specific issues, the CCSNJ was fighting for the business community weighing in on approximately 100 bills since Governor Murphy took office. Below is a sample of some of the critical issues that the CCSNJ actively lobbied on, including their current status and a link to the CCSNJ’s full position statement. We look forward to working tirelessly for our members during the 219 th Legislative Session, which began January 14, 2020, and welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions on how we can better serve you in Trenton. 
Labor Mandates
$15 Minimum Wage
On February 4, 2019, Governor Murphy signed A-15 (Coughlin/Tucker) , which would increase New Jersey’s minimum wage rate to $15 per hour by 2024 for most businesses. At the time of its passage, New Jersey was only the fourth state to enact a phased-in $15 minimum wage rate in the nation. On January 1, 2020 the minimum wage rate increased to $11 per hour and will continue to increase by $1 per hour every January 1 until it reaches $15 on January 1, 2024. Some businesses that operate seasonally and small businesses (defined as less than six employees) will have a longer phase-in period reaching $15 in 2026. The agricultural worker wage rate would rise to $12.50 by 2024, but no higher without review by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and with legislative approval.

Paid Family Leave Expansion
On February 19, 2019, Governor Murphy signed S-2528 (Sweeney/Diegnan) into law, which greatly expanded New Jersey’s current paid family leave law. The CCSNJ opposed this bill. Under the new law, weekly benefits doubled from six to 12 in a one-year period and the weekly benefit amount increased dramatically from two-thirds of a worker's average weekly wage to 85 percent with a new maximum weekly payment of approximately $900. Additionally, in cases of intermittent leave, the maximum number of days increased annually from 42 to 52. The expanded law also mandates that employers with 30 or more employees provide job-protected family leave, a change from the original program that only required job protection from companies with 50 or more employees.

Earned Sick Leave
On May 2, 2018, Governor Murphy signed A-1827 (Lampitt) , which would mandate paid sick leave for all businesses in New Jersey. This new law, which the CCSNJ opposed, requires all employers to pay employees for time off from work for their own illness, the illness of a family member, and several other reasons as outlined in the statute. The measure, which has no small business exemption, does the following: requires employers to provide 40 hours (5 days) of leave per year; greatly expands the definition of "family member" to include not only the employee's own children, grandchildren, sibling(s), spouse, parent(s) or grandparent(s), but also the sibling or parent of their spouse or partner, or any blood relative; allows the use of sick leave to attend school-related events (school meetings, events or activities held during the work day); prohibits employers from taking any adverse employment action against an employee who takes this leave including "unfavorable reassignment," demotion, and refusal to promote an employee; and, places the burden of proof on the employer to prove that they did not take an adverse employment action against an employee who utilizes the leave. This legislation took effect on October 29, 2018.

Pay Equity
On April 24, 2018, Governor Murphy signed A-1 (Lampitt) , otherwise known as the “Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act,” into law. While the CCSNJ supports equal pay regardless of gender, the scope of the law goes well beyond both federal and state requirements, which makes compliance and recordkeeping difficult for the business community. The CCSNJ had concerns with the following aspects of the new law: allowing for juries to award treble damages (triple the amount of the actual/compensatory damages) to plaintiffs; placing the burden of proof on the employer to justify any pay differential between an employee in a protected class and one not in a protected class; and, requiring a comparison of wage rates in all of the business’s operations and facilities regardless of geography. The bill went into effect July 1, 2018.

Confidential Settlement Agreements in
the Workplace
On March 18, 2019, Governor Murphy signed S-121 (Weinberg) / A-1242 (McKeon/Bramnick) into law, which bars provisions in employment contracts that waive certain rights, and remedies and agreements that conceal details relating to discrimination claims. The CCSNJ, which opposed this bill, commends the bill’s sponsors for introducing this legislation that aims to eradicate sexual harassment and assault in the workplace at a crucial and long overdue time when the “#MeToo” and “#TimesUp” movements are dominating today’s culture. Unfortunately, the legislation fell short of its intended goal with vague language that is written so expansively that any form of discrimination, retaliation or harassment – not just sexual harassment – would fall under it, removing an employer’s right to a confidential settlement regardless of the claims’ veracity. Additionally, it does not take into consideration that the complainant may want confidentiality as they navigate the legal proceedings and come to terms on a final agreement.

NJ WARN Act Expansion
Both the Senate and Assembly considered S-3170 (Cryan/Pou), which increases the prenotification time and requires severance pay in certain plant closings, transfers, and mass layoffs. The CCSNJ opposed this measure. The previous New Jersey WARN Act, which was enacted in 2007 after the closing of the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant, required companies with 100 or more employees to provide 60 days’ notice to the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development, to the Mayor of the municipality in which the facility is located, and to each employee in the event of a layoff of 50 or more full-time employees. Additionally, employers were required to provide severance to employees if they did not meet the 60-day notice requirement.  S-3170 (Cryan/Pou) increases the notification time to 90 days and requires employers to pay severance to employees equal to one week for each year of employment, regardless of whether or not the companies meet the notice requirement. The new law takes effect in mid-July of this year.

The bill was sent to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk January 13, 2020 and signed by the Governor on January 21, 2020.

The statue is currently unavailable online. Contact Hilary Beckett, CCSNJ Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] for more information.

Independent Contractor Legislation
Senate President Sweeney introduced legislation, S-4204 (Sweeney), which would ban certain independent contractor relationships – a measure the CCSNJ opposes. Since its initial introduction, the bill was amended to not be as broad and impact as many, but still makes fundamental changes to the ABC Test , which is what employers use to determine whether or not a person must be classified as an employee or not. Of specific concern to the CCSNJ are the changes to the C-prong, which eliminates “trade, occupation, profession” from the definition of independent contractors. Instead, the legislation limits the prong to “business or enterprise,” crushing the entrepreneurs that are critical to the start-up/innovation economy in New Jersey. Although early indications pointed to this bill passing during lame duck, it stalled in the final days. The CCSNJ continues to oppose this legislation and will monitor it in the new legislative session.

To be added to the CCSNJ's list of businesses monitoring this bill, click here .
New Jersey Call Center Jobs Act
The CCSNJ opposed S-1780 (Diegnan/Turner) / A-1992 (Sumter/Eustace) otherwise known as the “New Jersey Call Center Jobs Act,” which requires any employer that relocates a call center, or transfers one or more facilities or operating units comprising at least 20 percent of a call center’s total operating volume to one or more foreign countries, to notify the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development at least 90 days prior to the relocation or transfer. The bill also requires any employer with a call center in New Jersey to maintain a staffing level capable of handling 65 percent of the telephone calls, emails, or other electronic communications when measured against the previous six-month average volume of those operations for calls originating in New Jersey or from a New Jersey-based customer. 

The bill was sent to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk January 13, 2020 and signed by the Governor on January 21, 2020.

The statue is currently unavailable online. Contact Hilary Beckett, CCSNJ Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] for more information.

Workforce & Economic
Development Issues
NJEDA'S Tax Incentive Programs
The CCSNJ was invited on several occasions to provide comments to various Legislative Committees on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive programs. These hearings, held with various stakeholders, explored the economic impact the programs have had since going into effect and new legislative options to improve the programs in the future. On June 30, 2018, the previous programs – Grow New Jersey and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program (ERG) – both expired leaving New Jersey with no large-scale tax incentive tools to entice businesses to relocate or expand in the state. On August 23, 2019, Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed a bill supported by the CCSNJ , which would have extended the state’s Grow NJ and ERG programs until January 31, 2020. To date, the Legislature and Administration have yet to come to a compromise on how the next iteration of tax incentives should be implemented. It is expected that this issue will be revisited in the upcoming legislative session.

To read the Governor’s conditional veto message, click here
To read the CCSNJ’s most recent testimony, click here .
NJ-PA Income Tax Reciprocity
On August 27, 2018, Governor Murphy absolute vetoed S-878 (Madden/Sweeny) , a bill that would restrict the authority of the Governor to terminate reciprocal personal income tax agreements with other states and require such termination subject to enactment by the State Legislature. In addition to corresponding directly with the Governor urging him to sign this bill, the CCSNJ was actively encouraging members to write letters to the Governor urging him to sign this bill into law. The CCSNJ will to continue to oppose any future effort to rescind the PA/NJ Reciprocal Income Tax Agreement.

To view the CCSNJ position, click here.
Garden State Growth Zone at the Atlantic City International Airport
On October 3, 2018, Governor Murphy signed into law A-3676 (Mazzeo/Armato) / S-2307 (Sweeney/Van Drew) , which would create a Garden State Growth Zone (GSGZ) at the Atlantic City International Airport and surrounding areas. The CCSNJ supported this measure. The GSGZ designation allows for enhanced incentives to qualified businesses that choose to locate within one mile of the airport or nearby technical center. Under the statue, the type and amount of eligibility for certain incentives offered under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant (ERG) Program for businesses located in a GSGZ would be expanded in an effort to entice businesses to locate in the area.

To read CCSNJ’s position, click here .
To read the statute, click here.
Sports Betting
On June 11, 2018, Governor Murphy signed S-2602 (Sweeney/Van Drew/Gopal) , which would regulate sports wagering in New Jersey. The CCSNJ strongly supported this measure. The effort to legalize sports wagering in New Jersey dates back to 2010 when voters approved by a two to one margin a referendum seeking to allow betting on all professional sports, and collegiate games played outside of New Jersey. The legal victory that was delivered by the Supreme Court in May of 2018 paved the way for this measure to finally become a reality and the CCSNJ commends the many elected officials who worked diligently on this issue over the years. The Supreme Court ruling and subsequent passage of this bill was a watershed moment for the State of New Jersey that aids in the continued rebirth of Atlantic City, supports the horseracing industry and opens the door to significant state revenue generation for years to come. 

To read CCSNJ’s position, click here.
To read the statute, click here.
UEZ Legislation
On May 30, 2018, Governor Murphy signed S-846 (Turner/Cruz-Perez) , which extended the designation of the five Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZs) that previously expired on January 1, 2017 for a five-year period. This allowed Bridgeton and Camden in southern New Jersey, as well as Newark, Plainfield, and Trenton to re-enter the program. Additionally, the law extended the designation for any UEZ that was set to expire for an additional five-year period, assuring all previous and current municipalities in the program remain so until December 31, 2023. Lastly, the statue requires the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to study the UEZ program and report to the Legislature on recommendations as to whether the program should continue as is, be amended, or expire at the end of the five year window. The CCSNJ has been strongly supportive of Urban Enterprise Zones for many years as we believe this program is an important tool for businesses located in economically challenged towns. Extending the UEZ designation in these communities sends a strong message that the Legislature is focused on businesses remaining and growing in many of New Jersey's urban centers.

To read the CCSNJ position, click here.
To read the statute, click here.
Pro-Apprenticeship Legislation
The CCSNJ supported the following bills that if implemented would support, advance and make apprenticeship programs more available in New Jersey:
  • A-4604/S-3066 (Lampitt/Ruiz): Signed by Governor Murphy on January 13, 2020. The statue is currently unavailable online. Contact Hilary Beckett, CCSNJ Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] for more information.

  • A-4655/S-3063 (Armato/Ruiz): Sent to the Governor's desk on January 13, 2020, Governor Murphy declined to sign the bill, meaning it expired without becoming law.

  • A-4656/S-3064 (Armato/Ruiz): Signed by Governor Murphy on January 13, 2020. The statue is currently unavailable online. Contact Hilary Beckett, CCSNJ Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] for more information.

  • A-4829/S-3068 (Lopez/Ruiz)
These bills, if enacted, could assist in cultivating a skilled and highly trained New Jersey workforce. Specifically, they would: provide grants to apprenticeship programs in areas deemed “high growth”, provide tuition waiver apprenticeships courses, develop a task force to develop a state-wide plan to diversify the types of apprenticeship programs offered in New Jersey, and establish an apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities or people with disabilities.

To read the CCSNJ position,   click here.
New Jersey-Based Wineries
The CCSNJ supported three bills that deal with the ever-growing wine industry in New Jersey: S-1057 (Van Drew) , which requires the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to establish a loan program for certain vineyard and winery capital expenses; S-1082 (Cruz-Perez) , which would provide tax credits to vineyards and wineries for qualified capital expenses; and, S-1083 (Cruz-Perez) , which would establish a loan program and provide tax credits for the establishment of new vineyards and wineries in New Jersey. Although not well-known, New Jersey was the seventh-leading domestic wine producer in the country in 2010, creating the equivalent of more than 700,000 cases of wine from yields across nearly 2.5 million acres on approximately 200 farms—a figure the U.S. Department of Agriculture believes has increased dramatically in recent years. Providing access to capital and/or tax credits for new or existing vineyards and wineries, which often meet the criteria to be considered a small business in New Jersey, will only help this critical industry to the South Jersey economy continue to flourish.

S-1057 (Van Drew) was signed by the Governor on February 7, 2019.
S-1083 (Cruz-Perez/Gopal) was sent to the Governor's desk on January 13, 2020, Governor Murphy declined to sign the bill, meaning it expired without becoming law.

For CCSNJ’s position, click here .
To read the statute (S-1057 – Van Drew), click here .
State Budget and Affordability Issues
Fiscal Year 2019 State Budget
On June 30, 2018, the FY2019 State Budget was finalized hours before the constitutional deadline. The final $37.4 billion budget represented a compromise struck by Governor Murphy and legislative leaders, which included: an increase in the gross income tax on individuals that earn over $5 million annually from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent; an increase in the Corporation Business Tax by two percent; and an expanded sales tax to include ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, and transient accommodations such as AirBNB. There was also new allocations for K-12 education, mass transit, free community college and public-employee pensions. The CCSNJ convened an Ad-Hoc Committee on Taxation to discuss the taxation proposals in Governor Murphy’s budget. As a result of the meeting, it was decided that several of these proposals could have varying effects on the state budget, but most would not impact the CCSNJ membership with the exception of the gross income tax increase and the corporation business tax increase.

To read CCSNJ’s budget testimony, click here.
To view the Citizen’s Guide to the FY2019 State Budget, click here .
Fiscal Year 2020 State Budget
On June 30, 2019, Governor Murphy signed the FY2020 State Budget. The $38.7 billion budget was largely similar to the budget the Legislature passed and sent to the Governor days before, which removed all initially proposed tax increases including the “millionaire’s tax” – a major priority to the Governor. However, the final budget included an increase from two percent to three percent on what Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) charge consumers for health policies. Although Governor Murphy signed the budget, he line-item vetoed just under $50 million in spending added by the Legislature, including spending identified for South Jersey-based organizations including: a $5 million grant to Cooper University Hospital for a "vulnerable communities’ access to care" initiative; $500,000 from Rutgers University – Camden for a Camden workforce study with the Cooper's Ferry Partnership; and, $500,000 cut in “Institutional Support” for Rutgers University – Camden. A provision was also vetoed that would allocate $4 million from the sale of state land intended for a “development” project at the Wildwood Boardwalk.

In addition to the line-item vetoes, Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order No. 73 directing the Department of Treasury to place up to $235 million in discretionary spending into reserve, essentially freezing it. These allocations were being monitored by the Department and were released earlier this month.

To read the CCSNJ’s budget testimony, click here.
To read the Citizen’s Guide to the FY2020 Budget, click here
"Path to Progress" Report
In August 2018, the New Jersey Economic & Fiscal Policy Workgroup issued a report, " Path to Progress. " The workgroup was convened by Senate President Sweeney in January of 2018 to address the State's continued fiscal crisis. Its mission is to: identify ways to address soaring pension and benefit costs, hold down property taxes, make state and local government and school districts more efficient, assess the equity and efficiency of our state and local tax structure, leverage the value of state assets, and mitigate the negative impact of the federal tax law that targeted high-cost states. Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald served as co-chair, and several other South Jersey legislators participated in the group. Many of the report's recommendations surrounding public employee benefits are ones that the Chamber has supported and were included in the CCSNJ’s Board Council on Responsible Government Spending reports, the first of which was issued in 2006 with subsequent reports issued in 2007 and 2008 . The CCSNJ continues to encourage all members to support for these reform measures.

Of the bills introduced, the following received action this session. CCSNJ will continue to monitor those bills that did not pass in the new session.

  • S-3042/A-4619: Creates subaccounts for State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) and School Employee Health Benefits Plan (SEHBP) health care services and prescription drug claims; requires procurement by State of third-party medical claims reviewer. Signed by Governor Murphy on June 30, 2019. To view the statute, click here.

  • S-3770: Establishes the “New Jersey Economic and Fiscal Policy Review Commission” to provide an ongoing review of State and local tax structure, economic conditions, and related fiscal issues. It was sent to the Governor's desk on January 13, 2020, Governor Murphy declined to sign the bill, meaning it expired without becoming law.

  • S-3756: Requires limited purpose regional school districts to coordinate with constituent districts regarding school calendar and curriculum. Signed by Governor Murphy on January 21, 2020. The statue is currently unavailable online. Contact Hilary Beckett, CCSNJ Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] for more information.

  • S-3763: Renames joint meetings as regional service agencies; grandfathers existing joint meetings. Signed by Governor Murphy on January 21, 2020. The statue is currently unavailable online. Contact Hilary Beckett, CCSNJ Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] for more information.

  • S-3246/A-4807: Establishes elective pass-through business alternative income tax and allows refundable gross income tax credit for taxpayers earning income from pass-through businesses in taxable year. Signed by Governor Murphy on January 13, 2020. The statue is currently unavailable online. Contact Hilary Beckett, CCSNJ Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] for more information.

The CCSNJ commends the Senate President for taking such bold steps to make New Jersey more affordable and looks forward to continuing to support these measures in the new session.
Atlantic City Rail Line
On August 3, 2018, New Jersey Transit announced that they planned to suspend the Atlantic City Rail Line (ACL), which runs from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station through South Jersey ending in Atlantic City. It is the only rail line NJ Transit operates in the southern part of the state and the only rail line that runs to Atlantic City. The suspension – which was needed for safety upgrades to the line – started on September 5, 2018 and did not return to service until May 24, 2019. The lack of available technicians forced the agency to split their workforce between south and north Jersey in order to complete the upgrades before the December 31, 2018 federally-mandated deadline. CCSNJ submitted written testimony to the Joint Transportation Committee hearing on the closure, along with a map designed to show how many casino employees live throughout Southern New Jersey that could potentially be impacted. The AC Line resumed service on May 24, 2019, month after the initial reopening date given by New Jersey Transit.

To read the CCSNJ’s position, click here.
To view impacted casino employee map, click here .
Energy & Environmental Issues
Energy Master Plan
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) unveiled the draft Energy Master Plan on June 10, 2019, which announced an ambitious goal to achieve 100 percent clean energy in New Jersey by 2050. The CCSNJ testified at the September 12 public hearing and provided written comments to the New Jersey Energy Master Plan (EMP) Committee as a part of the public participation process. Additionally, in 2018 when the committee was seeking feedback on concepts for the draft plan, the CCSNJ provided comments.

In its 2019 testimony, the CCSNJ commended Governor Murphy for his attention to growth in the renewable energy space and desire to have New Jersey be a leader in wind energy production. However, the CCSNJ urged the administration to consider the role that both natural gas and nuclear energy play in New Jersey’s current energy portfolio and encouraged both clean energy alternatives be included in the final plan. Additionally, the CCSNJ expressed concerns about the draft EMP’s cost to the state’s economy, which is not discussed in the document. The CCSNJ encouraged an economic analysis be conducted by an independent outside organization to fully understand what the costs and impacts will be on the state’s residents and businesses. Governor Phil Murphy announced at his State of the State address on January 14, 2020 that he will unveil the new Energy Master Plan before the end of January.

To view the CCSNJ’s 2019 Energy Master Plan testimony, click here.
Site Remediation Reform Act
The CCSNJ was an active stakeholder in the Site Remediation Reform Act stakeholder process throughout the session. S-3682 (Smith/Bateman) , which made various changes to laws governing remediation of contaminated sites, was signed into law by Governor Murphy on August 23, 2019. The CCSNJ’s initial comments, and comments after the legislation was amended while moving through the Legislature, were supportive of making slight changes to what is considered an already excellent program. The tweaks to the program that the CCSNJ recommended and/or supported include: burdensome pubic inquires; the concern surrounding new, duplicative or contrasting regulations for Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSPRs) to follow; and the addition of provisions designed to mitigate any unfairness from the imposition of direct oversite and concerns over how these changes will affect ongoing cases.

The CCSNJ continues to be a participant in the ongoing stakeholder process throughout 2020.

To view the CCSNJ’s position, click here.
As always, your feedback is important to us.
If you have any comment, questions or suggestions please contact Hilary Beckett, Manager, Government Affairs, at [email protected] or by clicking here .