TRENTON – The Assembly will be in full swing with committee action Thursday as the new year begins.
Here are some highlights of numerous bills that will be under consideration.
A4371 – Sponsored by Joseph Cryan, (D-20), Union, this is a bill to restore eligibility in the NJ FamilyCare health coverage program for those who lost it under the state budget enacted over the summer.
The bill, being heard along with many others in the Budget Committee, would retroactively cover health expenses for these people.
The Senate previously passed its version of the bill, which sets income eligibility at 200 percent of the federal poverty level, in September.
In a fiscal note with the Senate bill, the Office of Legislative Services estimated at that time that approximately 81 people would be affected at an average per-enrollee cost of $240 to $300 a month, for a total increased expenditure of $225,000 to $300,000 a year.
OLS pointed out that the fiscal year 2012 budget included $4 million to cover such individuals.
The Human Services Committee will take testimony from a federal monitor and others on progress being made by the state in investigating cases of child abuse or neglect, including how the Department of Children and Families has been complying with the settlement agreement in the wake of past problems.
The committee will also consider A4109, whose sponsors include Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-37), Bergen, which would define categories of reported cases of suspected abuse to better ensure that the state does not have cases falling through the cracks and going uninvestigated.
A3731, sponsored by Annette Quijano, (D-20), Union, and Reed Gusciora, (D-15), Trenton, would have the Board of Public Utilities adopt regulations that would set long-term solar renewable energy certificate contracts at 15 years or even longer.
The lower price of SRECs has been a source of controversy within the energy community, prompting discussions of state subsidies vs. free market approaches to alternative energy in New Jersey, which has become something of a victim of its own success in establishing so many solar energy systems.
The bill will be in the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.
A4285, sponsored by – among others – John Burzichelli, (D-3), West Deptford, is a companion to S3115 that is also being heard in the Senate that day, which would establish a pilot program in a select number of bars to permit customers to bet on horse races electronically.