Farmland preservation, tax credit bills passed

TRENTON – The Senate passed numerous bills, including farmland preservation measures and tax credits under neighborhood revitalization.

S2202: Passed 31-7. This bill would require that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency must expend the entire amount of funds – approximately $300 million – provided to the state by the federal government from the Hardest Hit Fund established pursuant to the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” no later than Dec. 31, 2017.  The bill requires that those federal funds must  be used exclusively to provide financial aid to financially struggling homeowners through the New Jersey HomeKeeper program, to help those homeowners avoid foreclosure and maintain ownership of their homes. The Assembly passed the bill Monday.

S2245/A3206: Passed 23-12. This bill expands the availability of the neighborhood revitalization state tax credit to include gross income taxpayers and increases the annual total amount of tax credits allowable from $10 million to $15 million. The Assembly passed the bill earlier this year.

S2291: Passed 32-2. This bill eliminates the requirement that every college student in New Jersey maintain health insurance coverage which provides basic hospital benefits.  The bill also eliminates the requirement that every full-time student annually present evidence of health insurance coverage and other provisions related to the health insurance coverage requirement.

S2303/A1688: Passed 37-0. This bill prohibits a public college or university from entering into an agreement for the purposes of the direct merchandising of credit cards to students. The Assembly version was approved earlier.

S2305/A2577: Passed 33-2. This bill revises the agreement between the Casino Reinvestment and Development Authority and the not-for-profit corporation designated to develop a marketing plan for Atlantic City and the Atlantic City Tourism District.

Among other things, the bill eliminates the requirement that the casino licensees comprising the corporation be limited to those whose investors have invested a minimum of $1 billion in Atlantic City.

Also, it provides that casino licensees, rather than contribute $5 million for the formation of the corporation and the marketing plan, be allowed instead to directly spend funds for those purposes. 

S2350/A3027: Passed 38-0.  This bill authorizes the use of contractors by the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury to supply fraud prevention services for the purpose of assisting the division. The Assembly passed its version.

S2353: Passed 36-0. This bill adds to the New Jersey Epilepsy Task Force one member of the New Jersey State School Nurses Association, and authorizes the task force to continue its work for one year. 

S2394/A3591: Passed 38-0. This appropriates $24.29 million from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund” and “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” to State Agriculture Development Committee for farmland preservation purposes.

S2395/A3594: Passed 38-0.  This appropriates $4.08 million from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund,” “2007 Farmland Preservation Fund,” and “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” for grants to certain nonprofit organizations for farmland preservation purposes.

S2396/A3593: Passed 37-0. This appropriates $16.25 million from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund” for planning incentive grants to municipalities for farmland preservation purposes.

S2397/A3592: Passed 38-0. This appropriates $38.5 million from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund” and “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” to State Agriculture Development Committee for county planning incentive grants.

SCR113: Passed 37-0. This resolution  asks Congress and the President to enact legislation authorizing and encouraging lending institutions to lease back foreclosed residential properties to their prior homeowners.

SJR38: Passed 37-0. This resolution designates Jan. 11 of each year as “Clarence Clemons Day” in memory of the E Street Band saxophone player who passed away on June 18, 2011.

SR85: Passed by voice vote.  This Senate resolution urges New Jersey’s financial institutions to make financial assistance readily available to property owners, businesses and local governmental units affected by Hurricane Sandy.  This assistance could include, where appropriate, short term, low- or zero- interest loans or such other forms of financial assistance as may quickly and efficiently facilitate the rebuilding of the homes, businesses, and governmental infrastructure of this state.

A1459: Passed 30-5.  This bill, conditionally vetoed earlier this year, incorporates the governor’s recommendations in making revisions to the Electronic Waste Management Act.

Gov. Chris Christie urged that a television manufacturer’s recycling responsibility should be measured in terms of the weight of televisions manufactured, not units.

Also, he recommended that violators face a civil fine of $25,000, not the $50,000 originally in the bill.

A3164:  Passed 37-0. This bill would require that the state assume the educational costs of any student who resides for more than one year in a domestic violence shelter or transitional living facility outside the student’s district of residence. It drew a conditional veto earlier this year.

This incorporates the governor’s recommendation that the Commissioner of Education come up with rules that would identify what is a “transitional living facility,” a term that the governor said was ambiguous.

Farmland preservation, tax credit bills passed