Direct deposit bill held

TRENTON – State employees would be required to be paid by direct deposit under a proposal discussed by a Senate panel today.

The Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee held legislation that would make direct deposit mandatory – not optional – for state workers.

The legislation, A720/S2090, requires direct deposit for all state employee compensation beginning July 1, 2014. The bill also allows counties, municipalities and local school districts to opt for mandatory direct deposit for all employee compensation.

This bill is sponsored by Sen. Bob Gordon (D-38).

The Office of Legislative Services expects the measure would save the state nearly $62,000 in Fiscal Year 2012, nearly $233,000 in FY 2013 and more than $248,000 in FY 2014. The savings are net of personnel and programming costs necessary to implement the requirements of the bill and to administer the program on an ongoing basis, according to the OLS fiscal note.

Opponents of the bill expressed dissatisfaction over the bill not taking into account public employees who don’t maintain bank accounts. They argued state employees should have the same rights as workers employed at private companies.

Opponents said they weren’t against direct deposit or the bill, however they stressed it should be amended accordingly to allow certain workers to opt out.

They said some people don’t open bank accounts for various reasons, whether it’s because of bank fees or other costs associated with opening and maintaining an account.

Sen. Sam Thompson (R-12) questioned whether adopting the amendment would render the legislation useless. Opponents said if the program was mandatory first and then had an option to opt out second, then more people would naturally lean toward direct deposit.

The bill would also require workers to obtain their federal W-2 forms from the Internet prior to filing taxes.

The latter concern was also brought forward by Thompson.

Committee chairman, Sen. Jim Whelan (D-2) said the concerns will be addressed with the bill’s sponsor before returning to committee.

The panel took action on other legislation:

S2075: Authorizes the State Treasurer to sell the site of former Riverfront State Prison in the city of Camden as state surplus property to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for public auction to a prequalified developer. The bill is sponsored Sen. Donald Norcross (D-5).

The prison would be sold for $1 to the NJEDA, which will handle the sale of the structure.

Net proceeds of the sale will be allocated to the state and the Delaware River Port Authority.

The bill was released from committee.

SJR54/AJR26: The joint resolution designates May each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage month.

The resolution passed unanimously.

A1351/S2023: Removes licensing requirement for recreational bingo games. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-1).

The bill was released unanimously.


Direct deposit bill held