November 8, 2019

I.   State Issues
II.  Federal Issues
III. Annual League Conference
IV. Also of Interest
Municipal Clerks: Please forward to your Mayor, Governing Body and Department Heads.

I. State Issues

a. League to Provide Testimony to Legislative Committee Regarding Small Cell Wireless Bill

For Thursday, November 14, the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee has scheduled a discussion only hearing on A-5560, which seeks to provide uniform regulation of small wireless facility development across New Jersey. The League has been invited by the sponsors to provide testimony on this bill because of the considerable impact it would have on municipalities’ authority to manage their rights-of-way.
The League opposes A-5560 in its current form, but has been working with other stakeholders and we hope to work with the sponsors to address our concerns. 
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney,, 609-695-3481 x137.

b. No Municipal Court Proceedings as Judges Required to Attend Daylong Training

No Municipal Court proceedings will take place on Monday, December 9, 2019, as all Municipal Court Judges will be required to attend an all-day mandatory educational program. The Notice issued last week by Acting Administrative Director of the Courts, Hon. Glenn Grant, announced the date of the mandatory training and that all municipal court proceedings for both evening and daytime court sessions would not be held that day. Municipal Courts, however, will remain open that day on their regular schedules for all other purposes. 
The mandatory training is part of Directive #14-19 issued in July which, under the direction of New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice, established the ‘Judiciary Enhanced Education and Training Initiative.’ The program focuses on enhancing the existing training for judges in the areas of sexual assault, domestic violence, implicit bias, and diversity.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney,, 609-695-3481 x137.

c. DCA Takes Action on League’s Rulemaking Petition

Earlier this summer, the League, along with New Jersey’s six professional code official associations submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Our Petition sought changes to the Uniform Construction Codes’ (UCC) minor work and ordinary maintenance provisions, largely seeking to overturn or clarify the changes made to these provisions by the DCA in the prior year. 
On Monday, the DCA issued a Notice of Action approving in part and denying in part, our petition. The League’s Petition sought 26 rule changes and clarifications. The DCA rejected roughly 13 of these but agreed with the remaining changes and has begun the formal rulemaking process to adopt these suggestions. The League, along with the six professional code official associations is still working to secure changes to the UCC to bring it back up to a state where it will effectively and efficiently protect the health and safety of our residents and communities.
We want to thank all of those who submitted resolutions of support for the Petition to the DCA.  Your efforts have helped bring attention to this important issue. The League will provide updates on the progress of the rulemaking and our continued efforts on this matter as they occur.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney,, 609-695-3481 x137.

d. Governor Signs Bill Mandating New Requirements for Municipal Master Plans

Governor Murphy, on Wednesday, signed S-606 into law, a bill which the League opposed.  While the League appreciates the underlying intent of the legislation, the law places new, unnecessary and unfunded requirements on municipalities.
The intent of P.L. 2019, c.267, is to encourage municipalities to plan for electric vehicle infrastructure. The law amends the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) to include as a required land use element of the municipal master plan, “showing the existing and proposed location of public electric vehicle charging infrastructure.” 
The new law also requires a municipal master plan with a circulation plan element – an optional element of the municipal master plan – to identify existing and proposed locations for public electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In addition, the green buildings and environmental plan element – another optional element – must now “consider, encourage, and promote the development of public electric charging infrastructure in locations appropriate for their development…” Similar additional requirements must now also be provided for as part of the municipal plan reexamination report, and any redevelopment plan.
This bill took effect immediately on November 6, 2019.  You should review this new law with your municipal land use attorney for further information and guidance.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney,, 609-695-3481 x137.

e. PFRS Board Meeting Recap with Noteworthy Decisions

At their November 4 meeting the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) Board of Trustees appointed their in-house counsel as regulatory officer; entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Division of Law and Public Safety to transition cases to their in-house counsel; authorized a RFQ for Outside Counsel for investments and tax as part of the MOU with the Division of Law and Public Safety; and discussed the HMFA PFRS Mortgage Program, specifically the monthly service fee.
In addition to the above, there are three noteworthy decisions we would like to bring to your attention. The first two cases involved PFRS members criminally charged requesting honorable service retirement. In both cases the board, by a vote of 9-2 in one case and 8-3 in another case, voted for a total forfeiture of the pension.
The third case involved a PFRS member, currently enrolled in the pension system at a Tier 3 level, requesting to be enrolled as a Tier 2 level. N.J.A.C. 17:4-2.6 provides that PFRS members are classified by enrollment date, not hire date. The enrollment date is based on the employers reporting schedule. For those reporting on a monthly basis, the compulsory enrollment date is the first day of the following month after successful completion of the police or firefighting training. For those reporting on a bi-weekly basis the compulsory enrollment date is the first day of the following pay period after successful completion of the police or firefighting training. In the PFRS system, Tier 1 Membership is for members enrolled on or before May 21, 2010; Tier 2 Membership is for members enrolled after May 21, 2010, and on or before June 28, 2011; and Tier 3 Membership is for members enrolled after June 28, 2011. The PFRS member was hired just prior to the Tier 2 cutoff date but in compliance with the law was appropriately enrolled in Tier 3. The Board agreed to enroll the PFRS member as Tier 2 member instead of a Tier 3 member by a vote of 9-2, with two of the Governor’s appointed Trustees, Megariotis and Jacobucci, voting in the negative.
We would note that at the meeting, the Board stated that it conducted an audit and found that there are 35 such members in the same position as this PFRS member. However, the board will require each member to appear before the board to determine their Tier level as each case is fact sensitive.
The next meeting of the PFRS Board of Trustees is December 9.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x112.

f. Look Ahead to Lame Duck: OPRA/OPMA Blog Posts and Sample Resolution

A new blog has been posted, the fourth in a series of blog posts to detail the amendments proposed in S-106, which amends the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and S-107, which amends the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). This blog post, which primarily focuses on the proposed amendments in OPMA, details the current law and the proposed changes related to adequate notice, agenda items, and meeting requirements.  The other blog post series addressed prevailing attorney fees, subcommittees, and definition of government records.

As we previously reported, Senator Weinberg recently noted that she has been working for more than two years to update the outdated Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and will continue to address them during lame duck, presumably through her bills S-106 (OPMA) and S-107 (OPRA). In response to this, the League and Municipal Clerks Association of New Jersey has prepared a sample resolution calling for a study commission to review the almost 20-year-old law. The sample resolution also asks for information on your municipal experience with OPRA, including the number of requests, approximate staff hours staff and attorney fees your municipality has incurred responding to OPRA requests.
We thank the municipalities that have already adopted the sample resolution. If you have not done so already, we respectfully request that you consider adopting the sample resolution and forward a copy to your State Senator, Assembly Representatives, as well as Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, Senator Weinberg, and Governor Murphy.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x112.

II. Federal Issues

a. NJ Senators Booker and Menendez Seek Reasons for Gateway Delays

In a Wednesday letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Senators Booker and Menendez reiterated the need for timely federal action to advance the vital Gateway Project, and, again, offered their assistance. The letter highlights the crucial nature of the matter, reading, in part:

There is a pressing need to quickly advance the Gateway Project to avoid having to shut down one or both of the Hudson River tunnels for repair, which would quickly cause a dangerous and unprecedented transportation nightmare for millions of Americans … The lynchpin of the Northeast Corridor, this trans-Hudson crossing, moves a workforce that contributes 20 percent of the national GDP. Each day the project is delayed, costs rise, and the economic cost of inaction grows.

The letter asks Secretary Chao to answer a series of questions regarding the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) failure to prioritize the Project, the reasons for repeated delays, and the justification for DOT’s ongoing reluctance to provide essential support. The letter concludes, ‘Given that the Gateway Program is absolutely critical to public safety, the nation’s economy, and the quality of life for regional commuters, we look forward to prompt responses to the above questions and welcome a commitment to working together to avert this looming transportation crisis.’
We will let you know, should Secretary Chao respond.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x121.

b. FEMA To Delay New Flood Insurance Rates

On Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it would delay the implementation of new National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rates, which had been scheduled to become effective October 1, 2020 - just before next year’s general elections. Instead, the new rates are now set to take effect on October 1, 2021.

The new rates will be calculated based on FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 initiative, which is intended to modernize the system by which the NFIP assesses risks and sets rates for millions of flood insurance policyholders across the country. Risk Rating 2.0 is meant to provide a more accurate picture of exposures facing individual properties. It will, most likely, lead to higher flood insurance rates for some homeowners and lower rates for others.

Legislation pending in Congress, sponsored by New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone and our U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, would cap any rate increase to less than 10 percent.

The NFIP has, for over a year now, been kept alive by a series of temporary reauthorizations. The latest installment is set to expire on November 21, 2019 – the same date on which the Continuing Resolution, currently keeping the Federal government in operation, is set to expire. Absent action on the NFIP, current coverage would remain in place, but no new policies could be written.
We will continue to follow developments and strive to keep you posted.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x121.

III. Annual League Conference

a. View the NJLM Annual Conference List of Exhibitors

The exhibit hall at the conference is sold out with 700 exhibitors displaying their products and services in over 1,000 booths. Review the full list on the Interactive Floor Plan and on the conference app to make your schedule and save a list of the exhibitors you would like to visit.
The exhibitors are eager to provide education and solutions to your challenges!
Contact: Kristin Lawrence, Director of Exhibition and Sponsorships, 609-695-3481 x125,

b. Unauthorized Hotel Reservation Services

Every year unauthorized firms solicit housing and hotel reservations from attendees at the Annual League Conference. We assure you that the only firm authorized to handle our conference housing reservations is AC Central Reservations. This information is on the top of the official conference housing form sent to all municipal clerks and posted on the League website.
Using unauthorized reservation services creates real problems for you and the conference as a whole. You cannot be assured your credit card information is secure and your room reservation may not actually be made. Using unauthorized services means your room will not be part of the official conference housing block and you will not get emergency housing information (which happened in both 2011 and 2012), nor will there be adequate shuttle bus services to your hotel.
As always, the League is available to answer your questions on any aspect of the annual conference and we strive to make your participation both enjoyable and highly productive.
Contact: Michael J. Darcy, CAE, Executive Director,, 609-695-3481 x116.

IV. Also of Interest

a. Free Complete Streets Assistance

Sustainable Jersey, NJTPA and Rutgers are teaming up to provide free technical assistance for complete streets projects located in the NJTPA region. See full details.
Deadline for application is December 20.  For questions contact Sustainable Jersey 609-771-2938.

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