Motor-fleet reduction bill faces committee hearing

TRENTON – A Senate panel is poised to take up proposed legislation that would require certain state agencies with state-owned vehicles to reduce their motor fleet by 10 percent each year for five years.

The legislation, S1983, would reduce the number of state vehicles in the Garden State’s executive branch over the next five years. The Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee is slated to discuss the bill Thursday.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew, (D-1), Dennis, would exempt the divisions of State Police and Gaming enforcement, as well as the Department of Law and Public Safety, from the proposed rules.

If the bill were adopted, the State Treasurer would be required to prepare a cost analysis of New Jersey’s vehicle fleet within six months of the legislation’s effective date, according to the bill. Following the treasurer’s report, a panel would be formed to review and approve or modify the cost analysis report.

The panel would be comprised of the State Treasurer, a member of the governor’s staff, and representatives from three state agencies with the most state vehicles, according to the bill.

Additionally, any requests for new state vehicles, not including replacement vehicles, would need to be approved by the panel, which would have final say over whether to approve or deny new vehicle requests.

Another item on the agenda, A720/S2090, would require state employees to receive their paychecks by direct deposit.

The measure would also require state workers to obtain their federal W-2 forms from the Internet.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bob Gordon, (D-38), Fair Lawn, and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr., (D-33), Hoboken, would require state workers to be paid by direct deposit beginning July 1, 2014. The bill also allows counties, municipalities and local school districts to opt for mandatory direct deposit for all employees.

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 an Office of Legislative Services fiscal note.

The bill was held last month during a committee hearing after opponents said the measure would unfairly harm state workers who don’t maintain bank accounts. They argued some people don’t open bank accounts for various reasons, including the cost of certain bank fees, for example.

Opponents also raised concerns about requiring workers to access their federal tax forms from the Internet.

The same panel will also discuss S2167, which would permanently bar anyone convicted of certain crimes involving government contracts from bidding for any future state contracts.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Shirley Turner, (D-15), Lawrence, would require the state’s Attorney General to maintain and publish a public list of “permanently debarred persons” and prohibit those individuals from doing business with the state in the future.

Any company seeking to contract with a government entity would be required to file written certification affirming that neither they nor their subcontractors are permanently debarred.

Motor-fleet reduction bill faces committee hearing