Friday, February 26th
NJ Weekly Newsletter
New Jersey Update
Governor Phil Murphy held a press conference this afternoon announcing an additional 3,149 positive COVID-19 cases, increasing the statewide total to 696,000. An additional 46 deaths were announced, increasing the statewide total to 20,861. The positivity rate is at 6.53% and the rate of transmission is at 0.89. There have been 1,899,671 total vaccinations in NJ as of this morning, with 1,262,124 being first doses and 636,947 being second doses. Governor Murphy stated that NJ could be receiving 70,000 additional doses next week if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency authorization. The Johnson & Johnson vaccination would require only one dose and no follow-up appointment necessary.

This morning, the Governor signed legislation to establish the community college opportunity grant program. The program will allow qualified students to attend NJ community college without tuition or educational fees. To read the Governor's full press release, click here.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Chair, joined the press briefing today to announce the second-phase of the community-based partnership between the Murphy Administration and the Biden Administration to provide equitable access to underserved communities throughout NJ. Community-based vaccination sites will be opened up in Camden, Jersey City, Orange, Newark, and Pleasantville in this second phase. To read the Governor's press release, click here.

On Wednesday, the Governor and Acting Secretary, Dr. Brian Bridges, of the Office of Higher Education announced two new initiatives totaling $29.5 million in federal assistance COVID response funds. The first initiative is the Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge, which will provide $28.5 million, and the second is Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program, which will provide $1 million. Read More Here.

The death of Peter Barnes, III, a former Senator and Superior Court Judge in NJ, was recognized by Governor Murphy during the press briefing Wednesday.

Judy Persichilli, Department of Health Commissioner, announced 2 new community-based vaccination sites. These community-based sites throughout NJ will vaccinate 15,000 people in March, with each site vaccinating approximately 1,500 per week.

The Department of Health has developed a vulnerable populations plan modeled after the same strategy used to ramp up COVID-19 testing at urban centers.  Read More.

Commissioner Persichilli also announced the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will meet today to review data on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and if authorized for emergency use, will boost supply of available vaccines in NJ.

There are 7 counties that have been notified that they may allow in-person visitation by appointment at longterm care facilities as long as they can provide appropriate attestation and follow protocols. These counties include: Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, Gloucester, Salem, Camden and Burlington.  More Info Here.

On Monday, Governor Murphy announced that parents and guardians of collegiate athletes in NJ will be able to attend games for their children, effective immediately. This follows the recent announcement that parents and guardians of high school athletes will be allowed to attend sporting events. Beginning on Monday 3/1 @ 6am, facilities with 5,000 or more capacity will be permitted to have 10% capacity for indoor events, both sporting and other entertainment. For outdoor venues, there will be a 15% capacity limit.

The Governor also recognized the life and service of State Senator Cardinale, the second longest serving individual in the Legislature's history, ordering flags flown at half staff. 

Congressman Frank Pallone also joined the press briefing on Monday to discuss the American Rescue Plan which Congress is now working on. The bill provides for more direct assistance to States, counties, municipalities, and individuals.
Review of Governor Murphy's Budget Address
Tuesday afternoon, Governor Phil Murphy delivered his Budget Address which highlights key funding priorities for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022, beginning on July 1st, 2021. Notably, the proposed budget does not include any additional taxes or fees this year as revenues seem to be steady, which can be attributed to surges in the stock market, federal stimuli, as well as the State's expanded borrowing power which was approved by the Legislature after a delayed budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The Governor emphasized that although the budget reflects items that have been necessitated through the pandemic, it also seeks to propel the State forward, resuming the track it was on prior to the pandemic.

The $44.8 billion budget includes broad funding initiatives, including: 
  • A $2.19 billion surplus; 
  • A full pension payment of $6.4 billion for the first time since 1996; 
  • $10 million increase to charity care funding, 6 percent increase to the Medicaid budget which comes as the State anticipating a 16 percent increase in Medicaid enrollment between fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2022, and $25 million for subsidies for those enrolling in the State's new health insurance exchange;
  • $20 million initial investment in the “Cover All Kids” initiative to ensure every NJ child has access to healthcare;
  • Increases of $758 million for education funding and $120 million for higher education, including a proposed launch of the “Garden State Guarantee”, which would provide two years of free college or university tuition at a four-year institution to students with household incomes of $65,000 or less;
  • $1.25 billion to supplement property tax relief initiatives; 
  • About $200 million for economic growth and recovery initiatives throughout multiple state departments and agencies, including a $200 million package for small business and main streets, with programs tailored to communities of color;
  • Funding of $319 million in direct tax relief for middle-class families through revenues from the millionaire's tax which includes a middle-class tax rebate of up to $500 and an expanded state Child and Dependent Care Credit for families with incomes up to $150,000;
  • $200 million for the Offshore Wind Port in South Jersey; 
  • $200 million for current Schools Development Authority (SDA) projects; and $75 million for the SDA’s Capital Maintenance and Emergent Needs Grant program; 
  • $60 million for the continuation of the Drinking Water and Clean Water Infrastructure Fund; 
  • $86.6 million for critical capital improvements, including emergent life safety and IT projects;
  • $20 million into down-payment assistance to help provide 2,000 mortgages for first-time homebuyers; and
  • Over $15 million for corrections system improvements. 

The Legislature is now tasked with holding budget hearings with each State department, agency, and appropriate stakeholders in order to formulate their own budget while considering the Administration's priorities. Throughout the Legislature's process, the proposed funding items are subject to changes.

Vaccine Distribution Information and Notices from NJ DOH

General Information

EUA Fact Sheet for COVID-19 Vaccine Recipients and Caregivers [Pfizer/BioNTech] [Moderna]

Healthcare Provider Toolkit

Information for Long-Term Care Facilities

Policy, Guidance, and Directives

NJ News Quick Links

Governor's Notices

Department and Agency Notices

Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Department of Human Services

New Jersey Economic Development Authority
Weekly Legislative Update

Monday February 22nd

Assembly Voting Session:
Monday morning, the Assembly and Senate met to vote on recreational marijuana clean up legislation that addresses final concerns that the Administration had for underage use and possession of marijuana. The legislation was passed this morning and signed by the Governor thereafter. The Governor also signed the recreational marijuana legislation and a reform bill into law shortly before his briefing this afternoon. Please find the release here.

A5342 (Wimberly) - Revises consequences for underage possession or consumption of various forms of cannabis included in legislation passed by both Houses of Legislature; requires AG reports, reviewable by task force, on law enforcement interactions on underage violations. Passed and Signed by Governor

S3453 / A5359 (Cryan / Scutari / Pou / Quijano / Lopez / Caputo) - Amends certain provisions and effective date applicable to disclosure of personal information of judicial officers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers. Passed and Signed by Governor

Assembly State and Local Government Committee:

*A2117 (Tully / Swain / Armato) - Establishes State to oversee application for and receipt of federal funds Ombudsman by State agencies. Passed with committee amendments

A3471 (Sumter / Chaparro) - Concerns certification of tax collectors. Passed

A4473 / S2725 (Houghtaling / Downey / Gopal) - Concerns assessment of real property in counties operating under "Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program." Passed with committee amendments

*A4992 / *S446 (Schaer / Mazzeo / Murphy / Doherty / Sweeney) - Permits counties to share county tax administrators. Passed

Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee

A1223 (Chaparro / Webber) - Requires rail passenger service to provide purchasers with proof of payment at time of purchase. Passed with committee amendments

A3533 / S324 (Benson / Diegnan / Bucco) - Authorizes operators of motor vehicles to display electronic proof of registration. Passed with committee amendments

A4552 / S767 (Houghtaling / Benson / Tully / Gopal / Greenstein) - Exempts New Jersey Infrastructure Bank projects from certain local bond requirements. Passed with committee amendments

A4742 / S2938 (Benson / Vainieri Huttle / Turner / Diegnan) - Limits certain appointment times at MVC locations to obtain REAL ID to senior citizens and persons with certain medical conditions during COVID-19 pandemic. Passed

A4947 (Johnson / Wirths / Reynolds-Jackson) - Establishes retroactive date for provisions of P.L.2018, c.165, which clarifies provisions of "Predatory Towing Prevention Act." Passed

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee

A1976 (Pinkin / Benson) - Authorizes NJ Infrastructure Bank to issue up to $20 million in bonds to finance cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in State, local, and school district buildings. Passed with committee amendments

A2863 / S968 (Moen / Swain / Tully / Singleton / Lagana) - Requires public water systems to provide notice of elevated lead levels in drinking water to customers and local officials; requires landlords to notify tenants of elevated lead levels. Passed with committee amendments

A3352 (Pinkin) - Requires all newly constructed warehouses to be solar-ready buildings. Passed with committee substitute

A4899 (Benson / Verrelli) - Extends existing plug-in electric vehicle incentives to plug-in electric motorcycles. Passed with committee amendments

Assembly Agriculture Committee

A503 (Webber) - Concerns baked goods sold at farm markets. Passed

A3619 (Houghtaling / Dancer) - Allows commercial farmer to be awarded reasonable costs and attorney fees for defending against bad faith complaints under "Right to Farm Act". Passed

AJR21 (Mazzeo / Armato) - Designates months of June through September of each year as "Jersey Fresh Season." Passed

Assembly Human Services Committee

A209 (Tucker / Vainieri Huttle / Wimberly) - Establishes Disparity in Treatment of Persons with Disabilities in Underrepresented Communities Commission in DCA. Passed

A998 (Downey / Houghtaling / Benson) - Establishes social innovation loan guarantee pilot program and study commission within New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority concerning opioid and other substance use disorders. Passed

A1020 (Downey / Zwicker / Chiaravalloti) - Requires certain hospitals and healthcare facilities to collect patients' gender and sexual orientation information. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4963 (McKnight / Conaway) - Provides comprehensive Medicaid benefits to certain individuals formerly in foster care. Passed

AR214 (McKnight / Speight / Timberlake) - Urges support and protection for African-American women. Passed

Assembly Labor Committee

A1534 (Spearman / Chiaravalloti / Quijano) - "New Jersey Works Act"; Permits businesses to create pre-employment training programs in partnership with nonprofit organizations or educational institutions; provides tax credit to businesses that provide financial assistance to pre-employment training. Passed with Committee Amendments

A1597 (Mejia / Timberlake / Vainieri Huttle) - Establishes Task Force to Promote Employment by State Agencies of People with Disabilities. Passed with Committee Amendments

A1650 (Quijano) - Limits certain provisions in and enforceability of restrictive covenants. Passed

A4380 / S2488 (Benson / Moen / Johnson / Singleton / Scutari) - Allocates $50 million to Department of Labor and Workforce Development from federal government assistance to improve unemployment insurance benefit claims processing capacity. Passed

A4680 / S2932 (Burzichelli / Sweeney) - Concerns subcontracting agreements entered into by four-year public institutions of higher education. (pending referral) Passed

Assembly Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee

A195 (Carter / Karabinchak) - Requires Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to conduct study and issue report on impact of artificial intelligence on economic growth. Passed with Committee Amendments

A320 (Danielsen / McKeon / DeCroce) - Requires State to review and approve digital payment platform. Passed with Committee Amendments

A1191 (Zwicker) - Establishes "Beatrice Hicks Innovation Partnership"; provides funding for certain nonprofit partnerships to promote certain emerging technology businesses. Passed with Committee Amendments

A2455 (Benson / Pinkin / Vainieri Huttle) - Establishes pilot program in DOE to support FIRST Robotics Programs in school districts. Passed with Committee Amendments

A5013 (Zwicker / Carter / Vainieri Huttle) - Directs Secretary of State to develop national marketing campaign promoting State's innovation economy. Passed with Committee Amendments

Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources
The committee received testimony from invited guests concerning the impact of climate change and how variable weather patterns, sea level rise, and rising temperatures would exacerbate issues like flooding, water supply problems, and State or regional droughts.

Tuesday February 23rd:

Assembly Women and Children Committee

A4884 / *S3070 (Vainieri Huttle / McKnight / Reynolds-Jackson / Weinberg / Turner) - Establishes "Sexual Violence Restorative Justice Pilot Program." Passed with Committee Amendments

A4885 / *S3071 (Vainieri Huttle / Lopez / Reynolds-Jackson / Weinberg / Ruiz) - Requires law enforcement provide victim of sexual assault with police report; provides victim with option to review police report and submit corrective form. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4886 / *S3072 (Vainieri Huttle / Murphy / Reynolds-Jackson / Weinberg / Cunningham) - Requires resources be made available to victims of sexual assault. Passed

A4887 / *S3073 (Vainieri Huttle / Jasey / Timberlake / Weinberg / Corrado) - Establishes right of victims to be notified of county prosecutor's charging decision in sexual assault cases. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4888 / *S3074 (Vainieri Huttle / Lopez / Schepisi / Weinberg / Greenstein) - Requires AG audit sexual assault cases and issue annual report. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4889 / *S3075 (Vainieri Huttle / Quijano / Speight / Weinberg / Pou) - Establishes sexual violence liaison officer in Division of State Police and local police departments. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4890 / *S3076 (Vainieri Huttle / McKnight / Reynolds-Jackson / Weinberg / Gill) - Requires sexual assault training for prosecutors. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4892 / *S3078 (Vainieri Huttle / Lopez / Schepisi / Weinberg / Addiego) - Codifies State Workplace Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Policy. Held

Wednesday February 24th:

Assembly Appropriations Committee

A954 / A653 / A1669 (Karabinchak / Armato / Quijano / Mazzeo / Downey / Freiman / Vainieri Huttle) - Provides that purchase of insulin is not subject to deductible; requires health insurers to limit copayments and coinsurance for insulin; requires insulin manufacturers to submit report to Commissioner of Banking and Insurance. Passed with Committee Amendments / Held / Held

A1061 / S890 (Jasey / Johnson / Verrelli / Pou / Codey) - Requires DOH and DHS to identify and take appropriate steps to secure federal sources of funding to support maternal mental health. Passed

A1079 / S703 (Speight / Pintor Marin / Reynolds-Jackson / Ruiz / Cunningham) - Requires certain health care professionals to undergo implicit bias training. Passed with Committee Amendments

A1483 (Moriarty / Quijano) - Regulates pay-off of trade-in vehicles and certain vehicle title releases. Passed with Committee Amendments

A2101 / S828 (Swain / Tully / Verrelli / Lagana / Greenstein) - Requires public utilities and local units to provide notice prior to initiating certain infrastructure projects. Passed with Committee Amendments

A2302 (Pintor Marin / Benson / Timberlake) - Establishes creative crosswalks pilot program. Passed

A2562 (DeAngelo / Dancer / Chaparro) - Provides retirement allowance after 20 years of service regardless of age for members of PFRS. Passed with Committee Amendments

A2614 (Murphy / Benson / Timberlake) - "21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act." Passed

*A2890 / *S942 (Lopez / Chiaravalloti / Timberlake / Singleton / Cardinale) - Requires certain standards for professional and occupational boards considering applicants with criminal history records. Passed with Committee Amendments

A2891 (Lopez / Zwicker / Danielsen) - "Digital Asset and Blockchain Technology Act." Passed with Committee Amendments

A3998 / S2476 (Murphy / Giblin / Verrelli / Singleton / Addiego) - Concerns certain workers' compensation supplemental benefits for surviving dependents of essential employees who die in course of employment. Held

*A4310 (Benson / Dancer) - Requires Division of Local Government Services to approve local unit budgets with excess anticipated miscellaneous revenue due to COVID-19 and authorizes school districts to maintain surplus at four percent for 2020-2021 school year. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4463 (Quijano / Wimberly) - Establishes confidentiality of court records of certain eviction actions initiated during COVID-19 pandemic. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4473 / S2725 (Houghtaling / Downey / Gopal) - Concerns assessment of real property in counties operating under "Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program." Passed with Committee Amendments

*A4623 / *S2815 (Downey / Danielsen / Houghtaling / Gopal / Gill) - Requires DMVA assist service members discharged solely due to LGBTQ status with petitions to change discharge designation. Passed

A4632 (Giblin / Benson / Dunn) - Requires MVC to provide written knowledge examination online during COVID-19 public health emergency and state of emergency. Passed

A4830 / *S3203 (Zwicker / Danielsen / Reynolds-Jackson / Gill / Greenstein / Turner) - Requires in person early voting period for certain elections; makes appropriation. Passed with Committee Amendments

A5016 (Verrelli / McKnight / Egan) - Establishes Water Apprenticeship, Training, and Resources Pilot Program in DOLWD. Passed with Committee Amendments

A5059 (Conaway / Vainieri Huttle / Benson) - Requires DOH to establish certain nursing education and professional advancement programs. Passed with Committee Amendments

*A5075 (Burzichelli / Dancer / Johnson) - Establishes New Jersey Fire museum and Fallen Firefighter Memorial Commission. Passed through Senate and Assembly

A5147 (Lampitt / Freiman / Speight) - Establishes Alleviating Learning Loss in New Jersey Grant Program in DOE to assist public schools in establishing or expanding certain educational programs to address learning loss in students. Passed

A5149 / S3234 (Greenwald / Benson / Johnson / Singleton / Bucco) - Allows deduction from tax of certain expenses when taxpayer's federal paycheck protection program loan is forgiven and excludes those forgiven loans from gross income tax. Passed with Committee Amendments

*A5385 / *S3456 (Chiaravalloti / Mukherji / Carter / Cunningham / Scutari) - Eliminates mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment determined by Legislature to be of non-violent nature. Passed

*A5405 (Coughlin / Speight / Armato) - Appropriates $10 million in federal funding to DHS to support Emergency Feeding Organizations and for direct food assistance. (pending intro and referral) Passed

S526 (Vitale / Pou / Sweeney) - Provides that purchase of insulin is not subject to deductible and requires health insurers to limit copayments and coinsurance for insulin. Passed with Committee Amendments through Assembly

S1017 (Gopal / Lagana) - Provides retirement allowance after 20 years of service regardless of age for current members of PFRS who retire within two years. Passed through Senate

*S2691 (Greenstein / Pou / Turner) - Authorizes school districts to maintain surplus at four percent for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. Passed through Senate and Assembly

Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee

A2448 (Benson) - Requires certain CATV companies to make CATV service available throughout residential areas of municipality within specified number of years after CATV company first provides service to municipality. Passed

A4569 (Reynolds-Jackson / Benson) - Requires electric power suppliers and gas suppliers to receive written signature from person prior to switching provision of electric generation service or gas supply service. Passed with Committee Amendments

A4819 / S3033 (Lampitt / DeAngelo / Giblin / Sweeney / Singleton) - Establishes School and Small Business Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program in BPU. (S3033 is pending referral) Passed with Committee Amendments

A5131 (McKeon / Danielsen / Jasey) - Authorizes imposition of fee for connection to municipal electric distribution system. (pending referral) Passed

A5160 (DeAngelo / Conaway / Zwicker) - Establishes minimum energy and water efficiency standards for certain products sold, offered for sale, or leased in the State. (pending referral) Passed with Committee Amendments

Assembly Education Committee

A1662 / S1790 (Quijano / Jimenez / Danielsen / Pennacchio / Diegnan) - "Mallory's Law"; revises provisions required in school district's anti-bullying policy; provides for civil liability of parent of minor adjudicated delinquent for cyber-harassment or harassment; and increases certain fines against parents. Passed with Committee Substitute

A4859 (Jasey / Vainieri Huttle / Caputo) - Mandates training on remote teaching for all candidates for teaching certification. Passed

A5007 (Lampitt / Vainieri Huttle) - Requires DOE to compile list of professional development programs on virtual and remote instruction; requires public school teachers and school leaders to complete professional development program on virtual and remote instruction. Passed with Committee Amendments

Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness

A1663 (Quijano / Vainieri Huttle / Karabinchak) - Establishes "New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Program." Passed with Committee Amendments

A2427 (Benson / Pinkin) - "The Reliability, Preparedness, and Storm Response Act; requires public utilities to file certain information concerning emergency preparedness with BPU and increases certain penalties. Passed

AJR208 (McKnight / Benson) - Condemns hate and violent extremism and commits to defense of safe and just democracy. Passed
Federal and National Update
Administration and Department Information
The New Jersey Governor's Office
The Governor's Office has been updating their website with the latest information on the COVID-19 response.

The New Jersey Legislature
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