Assembly session: Business incentives, college scholarship programs, more

TRENTON – From the use of tanning beds by minors, to revising a college scholarship program, to criminalizing a failure to report a child’s disappearance promptly, to limiting fee increases under shared services agreements, the Assembly has a lot on its plate for its year-end voting session.

Here is a rundown of some of the highlights of what promises to be a busy and lengthy day in the Statehouse:

A3625/S441 – In the case of a shared service agreement, any annual increase in fees shall be limited to 2 percent.  An increase can exceed the 2 percent cap only if it has been approved by the voters of each municipality that is a party to the agreement.

A2933/S2119 – This revises the law governing the use of tanning facilities by minors.    A tanning facility operator is to prohibit a person who is under 14 from using a tanning facility and a person between 14 and 18 from using a tanning bed in a tanning facility.  A tanning facility operator is to permit a person who is at least 14 but less than 18 to use spray tanning in a tanning facility with the written authorization of the person’s parent or legal guardian.

A4297 – The so-called “Caylee’s Law” increases the penalties for failing to report a death – and makes it a crime for failing to report a missing child – from a disorderly person’s offense to a fourth-degree crime.  The former is punishable by six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.   The latter will be punishable by 18 months in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both. 

The bill is named for Caylee Anthony, a Florida child who was missing for 31 days before her disappearance was reported by her grandmother.  Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, was found not guilty of her daughter’s murder.

A4283 – The NJ STARS and NJ STARS II programs are revised. The bill limits the costs covered by the NJ STARS scholarship to tuition, as opposed to tuition and fees.

For NJ STARS II, the bill allows recipients to use the scholarship to attend a New Jersey independent four-year institution of higher education.  Under current statute the scholarships can only be used to attend four-year public institutions. The bill eliminates the provision in NJ STARS II that calculates the amount of the scholarship based on the student’s grade point average (GPA).  Currently, a student with a GPA equal to or greater than 3.25 and less than 3.50 may receive a scholarship in an amount up to $3,000 per semester and a student with a GPA equal to or greater than 3.50 may receive a scholarship in an amount up to $3,500 per semester.  The bill maintains the minimum GPA threshold at 3.25 and limits scholarships for all NJ STARS II students to $1,250 per semester.

A676 – The so-called “Jessica Rogers’ Law’’ increases the degree of offense in certain cases for assault by auto, or road rage. The law is named for a Hamilton Township, Mercer County woman who as a 16-year-old in 2005 was left severely injured as a victim of road rage.

A4306 – This establishes the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program to encourage businesses to engage in economic development, job creation and preservation by creating a $200 million tax credit incentive that emphasizes growth of New Jersey-based companies through capital investment, creation of new jobs and retention of existing jobs.

The bill requires a business to make capital investments of at least $20 million , retain at least 100 full-time employees or create at least 100 new full-time jobs in an industry deemed desirable by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

In a fiscal estimate, the Office of Legislative Services said there were too many unknowns to make a definitive assessment, but in one case, OLS said there could potentially be revenue losses to state coffers of over $1 billion. Assembly session: Business incentives, college scholarship programs, more