On November 8, 2021 Governor Murphy took action on various pieces of legislation. Below are the bills that the Governor vetoed that have a municipal interest.
S2525 / A4274 expands the powers and duties of State Chief Diversity Officer to promote diversity in State government and public contracting. The Governor conditionally vetoed the bill due to his concern that “an influx of additional responsibilities such as set forth in this bill could serve to undermine the progress that the Chief Diversity Officers has made with regard to diversity and inclusivity in procurement.” The conditional veto will “strengthen the role of the Chief Diversity Officer; rename the newly created State Office of Diversity and Inclusion as the State Office of Diversity and Inclusion in Public Contracting to more appropriately reflect its mission and distinguish it from the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Governor’s Office; and place the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in Public Contracting on equal footing with the Division of Purchase and Property.
A4630 / S577 concerns labor harmony agreements in retail and distribution center projects. The Governor conditionally vetoed the bill to increase the minimum employee threshold for retail establishments from 10 employees to 20 employees mirroring the requirements for distribution centers.
S3868 / A5895 (Sarlo / Giblin) which would amend existing law to require the transfer of excess municipal code enforcing agency fees from the municipal enforcing agency to the municipality’s surplus. The bill would also require the utilization of funds from the municipal general fund or current fund balance to satisfy any revenue or appropriation shortfall necessary to operate the enforcing agency. The Governor absolute veto the bill expressing concern that the bill would lead to unintended consequences that “would harm both municipal government and their residents.” The Governor noted that “allowing surpluses — even if only surpluses caused by certain kinds of projects — to be used for purposes other than enforcing the UCC may incentivize municipalities to raise fees incrementally over time in order to use construction code enforcement fees as a supplemental revenue source.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Assistant Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x112.
A5864 / S3939 would allow law enforcement officers to review body-worn camera recordings prior to creating initial report. This legislation was conditionally vetoed by Governor Murphy to remove correctional police officers from the definition of law enforcement. In addition, the Governor’s amendments would not permit a law enforcement officer to review and receive an accounting of a body worn camera recording prior to creating any required initial reports, statements, and interviews regarding the recorded event if the body worn camera recording contains images involving an encounter which a complaint has been verbally expressed or formally registered by an individual who was recorded by the body warn camera footage, if there was force used by the officer that resulted in serious bodily injury or death, the death of an of individual while in police custody, or the use of a firearm or deadly use of force.
A5231 / S3806 would allow county or municipal governing body to enter into revenue-sharing agreement for alcoholic beverage sales by concessionaire permit holder. Governor Murphy's absolute veto of this legislation due to sharing the concerns of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control that a municipality or county governing body would become an active participant in the market of alcoholic beverage sales.
Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x116.
Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed (S-3867 / A-5868) which establishes the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund and Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund Advisory Council, as well as provides funds received from opioid settlements to support substance use disorder prevention and treatment programs. The conditional veto message makes various suggestions, including designating the Department of Human Services as the primary agency to oversee the program, requires municipalities to report the usage of funds received, and provides guidance to avoid overprescribing.
Governor Murphy vetoed (A-4297 / S-2631) this bill that would have permitted conduct of bingos and raffles remotely and permit online sale of tickets for all bingos and raffles. In the veto message, Governor Murphy stated “the legislation fails to address the myriad practical regulatory and resource concerns attendant to the expansion of the conduct of charitable bingo, lotto, and raffle games using remote communication technology” and “does not provide solutions to these difficult practical issues, and thus further consideration of these concerns is necessitated before we can responsibly entertain the prospect of such a significant expansion of charitable gaming activities.” The League supports this legislation and is disappointed with the decision.
Contact: Paul Penna, Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481, x110.
A-4850/S-3095 sought to establish an expedited construction inspection program, which would have permitted local code enforcement agencies to charge an additional fee for expedited inspection required under the Uniform Construction Code (UCC). The bill would also codify into statute an existing regulation that inspection occur within three business days of a requested inspection date, as long as the owner makes the request 24 hours prior to the desired date. If the local enforcement agency failed to meet this timeframe the owner would be able to hire a private inspector to perform the remaining inspections.
The League opposed this legislation as it would be a complete shift in how inspections are performed within the state, creating an opportunity where private inspectors would be in conflict of interest, jeopardizing the health and safety of our residents.
Fortunately, the Governor conditionally vetoed this measure. In his conditional veto, Governor Murphy offered changes that would eliminate expedited inspections as well as third-party inspectors. Changes offered in the conditional veto would require the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to perform a study regarding inspection efficiencies, with a focus on whether or not consolidation of local inspection agencies and shared services would provide relief for a backlog or delay of inspections.
The Governor also offered changes that would require local enforcement agencies notify the DCA immediately upon the determination that an inspection could not be performed within the required three-day timeframe. The DCA would also be permitted to take remedial action against local enforcement agency that continually fail to comply with the DCA’s laws or regulations.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, FMarshall@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x 137.