Friday, February 5th
NJ Weekly Newsletter
New Jersey Update
This afternoon, Governor Murphy held a press conference and reported an additional 3,723 positive PCR tests, increasing the statewide total to 637,367. An additional 93 deaths were announced, increasing the statewide total to 19,699. The positivity rate is at 6.83 - likely lower due to this week's snowstorm. The rate of transmission is 0.92. There have been 925,579 total vaccinations in NJ, with 745,552 being 1st doses and 179,956 being 2nd doses. Governor Murphy emphasized that the growth rate of the amount of vaccines administered is increasing each week.

Effective this morning, capacity limits for indoor activities has increased from 25% to 35%. All restaurants are able to expand their indoor service capacity, performance facilities, religious ceremonies, weddings, political events, memorials/funerals are permitted to increase their capacity to 35%, with no more than 150 individuals. The prohibition for seating at indoor bars remains in effect. Additionally, indoor casinos, gyms, barber shops and salons, and other personal care facilities may accommodate at 35% capacity. The statewide 10pm closure requirement has also been lifted, but municipalities and counties reserve the right to alter closure guidelines beginning after 8pm.

Governor Murphy provided an update on unemployment benefits in New Jersey. Last week there was a total of 14,606 initial unemployment benefits claims, dropping over 2,000 from the previous week's claims. Throughout the pandemic there has been 1,985,000 claims, including over 200,000 residents who have had to re-open claims because they were out of work for a second time. Many claimants are transitioning into the 11 week extension program authorized under the Continued Assistance Act, but there are 75,000 residents who's benefits ended and are experiencing a lapse in benefits while they wait for additional benefits to start.

The Legislature and the Governor’s Office have not yet reached an agreement to move forward on recreational marijuana legislation which passed in the Assembly and Senate in December. Both bodies have been hearing from advocates that the bill, S21/A21 did not adequately address underage use and possession of marijuana, reserved for those over 21. On Friday, the Assembly held a hearing following the Governor’s signal that he wanted movement on a clean up bill before signing the recreational bill into law. That clean up bill, A5342 was passed in committee and is awaiting further action in the Assembly but a Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced. We wil continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. 
Vaccine Distribution Information and Notices from NJ DOH

General Information

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

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Department of Human Services
Legislative Update

This week, Governor Phil Murphy signed the following bills into law:

S-3340/A5246 (Sarlo/Gopal/ Pou/Cruz-Perez/Freiman/Mazzeo/Verrelli/Houghtaling) Expands opportunities for restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to provide outdoor dining and permits certain sales at seasonal farm markets in response to COVID-19 public health emergency.

S-2384/A-4129 (Greenstein, Gill/Spearman, Vainieri Huttle, Mukherji) – Requires health care facilities to report certain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) data related to health care workers and certain first responders

S-2607/A-2785 (Smith, Greenstein/Benson, McKeon) – Requires land use plan element of municipal master plan to include climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment

S-3220/A-5122 (Sweeney, Turner, Cruz-Perez/Spearman, Dancer, Johnson) – Permits exemption from civil service law enforcement examination requirement for entry level-law enforcement officers

S-3230/A-5115 (Greenstein, Corrado/Moriarty, Conaway, Calabrese, Chiaravalloti) – Appropriates $30.387 million from constitutionally dedicated CBT revenues to DEP for State acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including Blue Acres projects

S-3256/A-5084 (Scutari, Ruiz/Kennedy, Calabrese) – Reclassifies possession of psilocybin as disorderly persons offense

A-4941/S-3122 (Mejia/Sacco) – Authorizes State Treasurer to sell and convey certain surplus real property located in Town of Secaucus, Hudson County

A-4943/S-3092 (Wirths, Space, Bergen/Oroho) – Authorizes State Treasurer to sell and convey certain surplus real property located in Borough of Franklin, Sussex County

A-5113/S-3235 (Timberlake, Sumter, Caputo/Beach, Pou) – Appropriates $11,777,499 from constitutionally dedicated CBT revenues to NJ Historic Trust for grants for certain historic preservation projects and associated administrative expenses

A-5114/S-3229 (DeAngelo, Speight, Swain/Codey, Corrado) – Appropriates $37.16 million from constitutionally dedicated CBT revenues for recreation and conservation purposes to DEP for State capital and park development projects 

A-5116/S-3196 (Johnson, Auth, Schepisi/Cardinale, Smith) – Authorizes State Treasurer to sell and convey certain surplus real property located in the Township of Mahwah, County of Bergen 

Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed the following bills:

S-3252/A-5089 (Vitale) – CONDITIONAL – Clarifies that County Option Hospital Fee Pilot Program expires five years after each participating county has collected fee and that participating counties in program are not liable for fee imposed on hospitals

Governor Murphy absolute vetoed the following bill:

S-3283/A-5151 (Addiego, Lagana, Gopal/Egan, Armato, Downey, Bramnick) – ABSOLUTE – Concerns emergency unemployment benefits and shared work benefits
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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