Assembly passes numerous bills: Solar panels, archaeological sites, suicide prevention plans

TRENTON – The Assembly passed a number of bills and resolutions Monday, from solar panels to suicide prevention plans to archaeological sites.

Employment

Opposed by the Republicans in committee, S2609 provides annual adjustments for worker disability taxes. Business lobbies and the GOP argued for employers to benefit, as well as employees. The measure passed, 51-23-2.

Elections

Sponsored by state Democratic Chairman John Wisniewski (D-19), of Sayreville, A3777 eliminates New Jersey’s separate presidential primary election and merges the vote with the June primary election. Facing the risk of losing delegates, both parties have agreed to move back the presidential primary, which could also net $8 million, according to the sponsor. The measure passed, 75-0.

 Facing an almost certain veto once it gets to the governor’s desk, S2756 permits registered voters to receive mail-in ballots automatically for all future elections. Still, it passed the house, 44-32.

Education

 A bill requiring school board members or charter school trustees to undergo criminal background checks, A444, passed the Assembly today, 76-0. The bill also disqualifies the elected school officials from office for certain crimes.

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27), of West Orange, A3344 permits high performing school districts to be monitored by the Department of education under the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) every seven years rather than every three years. The bill passed, 76-0.

Rules and regulations

Sponsored by Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14), of Hamilton, A3770 establishes notification standards for automatic-renewal service contracts. Still early in the process, the bill exited the Assembly on first reading, 69-5-2.

 In the green tech sector, S2006 prohibits municipal zoning ordinances from regulating solar panels under certain circumstances, and limits fees for certain renewable energy installations. It was approved, 64-10-2.

Opening the possibility of ads on state vehicles, A3944 authorizes the DOT commissioner to procure revenue-generating sponsors for, and permit sponsorship acknowledgment and advertising on, safety and emergency service patrol vehicles and equipment. The bill was given the nod today, 75-0.

Business, finance, and law

A Democratic caucus favorite that may be headed for a veto, A920 requires development of uniform fee schedule by Department of Treasury for registration and certification of small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses, and requires collaboration to streamline the procurement application process. Against a tide of GOP opposition, it passed, 46-30.

 Amending tax law, A3723 clarifies a trustee’s discretionary authority concerning income tax liability, particularly that tax payment on a trust wouldn’t make the assets of the trust subject to creditor claims for the creator of the trust. It was approved, 76-0.

Museums

A hot-button topic of sponsor Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, (D-XX), of Ewing, A3699 prohibits “burial” of Petty’s Run archaeological excavation site next to the statehouse in Trenton. The administration is calling the planned park at the site a money pit and wants to cover the hole in the Trenton landscape until an alternate usage is determined. The measure passed, 45-29-2.

 Transparency, etc.

Passed 74-2, A3537 requires owner of foreclosed property to file contact information with municipality.

 Coming off a conditional veto, the Democrats are trying again with S2065, which creates a searchable “Bulletin NJ” local public bidding and employment database. It was approved with amendments, 75-0-1.

 Creating another online depository, A2173 requires Department of State to establish and maintain a website to provide a clearinghouse of information for nonprofits. It was affirmed, 76-0.

 Toothless toolkit-ian bill

 Not having much of a measurable effect, AR82 is a resolution urging municipalities, counties, and boards of education to meet regularly to discuss shared services and efficiencies. It was approved, 74-0.

 Odds and ends

 In the medical/health section, A861 requires license suspension of certain health care professionals and medical waste facilities, generators, and transporters for willful illegal or improper medical waste disposal. It was approved, 76-0.

 In the court room, A1436 addressed some issues with the regulation of court reporting firms. It also passed, 70-4-1.

Health and wellness

The Assembly unanimously approved A322, which establishes a N.J. Alzheimer’s Disease Study Commission.

A3659, which requires the Department of Children and Families to develop and adopt a statewide youth suicide prevention plan, was approved, 76-0.

  Assembly passes numerous bills: Solar panels, archaeological sites, suicide prevention plans