I. State Issues
a. COVID-19 Weekly Update
Earlier this week, Governor Murphy announced that New Jersey will be easing restrictions on outdoor gatherings and indoor catered events. Earlier this week, Governor Murphy announced that New Jersey will be easing restrictions on outdoor gatherings and indoor catered events. Easing restrictions on outdoor gathering and large indoor catering venue capacity limits will enable schools and universities to hold graduation ceremonies and proms. In addition, beginning May 10, carnivals and fairs are permitted to operate at outdoor amusement businesses’ capacity limits, currently 50% capacity. The Governor also issued an Executive Order permitting summer youth overnight, day camps, and youth programs operated by municipalities.
COVID Data for April 29, 2021:
2,175 new positive cases for a total of 871,333 confirmed cases
208 new confirmed deaths for a total of 22,904 confirmed deaths
The rate of transmission is at 0.72
1,157 cases linked to 263 school outbreaks since August 2020
6,905,696 vaccine doses have been administered, including 4,196,179 first doses and 2,959,204 second doses.
The Governor noted that the state has reached 62% of its goal of having 4.7 million residents fully vaccinated by the end of June. To encourage vaccinations, the Governor also announced the “Your Voice Your Shot” video contest (see writeup below).
The Department of Health announced that all six of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine mega-sites are now offering walk-in vaccinations. Appointments are not required to get vaccinated. In addition, there is no county residency requirement to get vaccinated at the mega-sites.
As a reminder, anyone 16 and older living, working, or studying in New Jersey is eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. The State hotline, 855-568-0545, continues to assist residents with their COVID vaccination questions, with live agents from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The agents remind residents that there is no out-of-pocket expense to get vaccinated and that the two vaccines are not interchangeable.
As previously reported, New Jersey has launched a COVID-19 vaccine appointment finder to assist in scheduling vaccinations.
Executive Order 237: Permitting summer youth overnight, day camps, and youth programs operated by municipalities for the 2021 season. The Executive Order requires all overnight and day camps to follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols outlined in guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Health.
Your Voice Your Shot Video Contest
Earlier this week the Governor announced the “Your Voice, Your Shot” video contest that urges New Jersey residents to share why they and others are getting vaccinated. The winning video will be used in the State of New Jersey's COVID-19 public health campaign. Contest participant’s videos must be original, consistent with NJ Department of Health guidelines, and explain why they or others are getting or have been vaccinated. While videos may be in any language, the content must not be more than 30 seconds long and is subject to other limitations. To enter the contest, participants must share their video on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok), tag @NJGov, and include the hashtag #YourVoiceYourShotNJ. The deadline for submissions is May 11, 2021.
The Department of Labor announced the initial weekly unemployment claims were 12,322 for the week ending April 24. This is a 17% increase from the week prior.
b. New Jersey SFY 2022 Budget Update
Over the past month State Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget hearings have continued to be held by the Legislature. The Governor’s proposed FY 2022 budget includes a full payment to the pension system, a flat increase from the FY 2021 budget to the State, and different funding initiatives for public education and workforce training.
On April 22, Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver testified before the Assembly Budget Committee. Regarding housing the Lt. Governor stated that on March 22, the Murphy Administration had released the second round of rental assistance, stating, “you know what we have to do is operate a lottery. There is no fair way they could develop, devise, or think about that would be fair to everyone who would need rental assistance.”
Senator Steven Oroho (R-23) brought up the issue of how the American Rescue Plan funds will be allocated for New Jersey municipalities. Lt. Gov. Oliver responded that the Murphy Administration is still waiting for guidance from the U.S Treasury, which is expected by early May. To be ready for the allocations of these funds, municipalities should have created a DUNS number and registered with the SAMS database. Please see the Federal item below for more information.
We will continue to monitor the legislative hearings as the budgeting process moves forward.
Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x116.
c. Division Issues Information on 2021 Financial Disclosure Statement Filing
The Division of Local Government Services has issued Local Finance Notice 2021-08 providing guidance on filing the 2021 Financial Disclosure Statements. The Local Finance Notice outlines the filing procedures and contains specific step-by-step instructions for successfully filing the financial disclosure statement using the online process.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Assistant Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x112.