Elections bill continues to advance

TRENTON – Assembly Democrats released legislation from committee Monday that would change the date of the upcoming general election to coincide with the state’s October special election.

The Assembly Budget Committee released A4237 along party lines following no discussion. The proposal would change the date of the general election to coincide with the Oct. 16 special election – which Gov. Chris Christie called for following the death of former U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

The vote came after Democrats hammered the governor for calling for a special election, at the cost of $12 million, less than a month before the November election.

The same committee also released A4249, dubbed the Elections Integrity Act, which would provide residents the opportunity to vote early on Oct. 16 for both general election and the U.S. Senate vacancy candidates.

The second bill that was borne out of the governor’s timeline for the Senate race election was also released from the committee along party lines and following no discussion.

The Assembly Budget Committee also released the following bills:

A3690/S2430, would declare violence a public health crisis and recommend the expansion of mental health programs, as well as the adoption of gun control measures. The bill would also establish the Study Commission on Violence.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A3930, would establish a pilot program with the Office of Emergency Management to provide zero-interest loans to certain gas stations that install appropriate wiring for generators.

It cleared the committee with unanimous support.

A4082, dubbed the Governmental Energy Reliability and Savings Public-Private Partnership Act, would permit private entities to propose to government entities a broad spectrum of energy-related projects at governmental facilities through a public-private partnership agreement.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A4094/S2715, would require the Department of Education to prepare and distribute informational pamphlets on how parents can limit a child’s exposure to media violence.

The bill cleared the committee following unanimous support from lawmakers.

A4149, would authorize the New Jersey Racing Commission to grant a special running race on the Atlantic City beach this October.

The bill cleared the committee following unanimous support from lawmakers.

A2993, would provide unemployment benefits for certain former service members.

The bill cleared the committee following unanimous support from lawmakers.

A4171, would provide Medicaid coverage for family planning services to individuals with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A4172, would make a Fiscal Year 2013 supplemental appropriation of nearly $7.5 million to the Department of Health for family planning services. The bill specifies that the money cannot be used for abortion procedures.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A4186, would require the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to immediately deposit any amount recovered from the assessment of penalties related to the payment of unemployment benefits obtained fraudulently by an individual under the state’s unemployment compensation program.

The bill cleared the committee following unanimous support from lawmakers.

A4187/S2739, would prohibit relieving certain charges of employer unemployment insurance accounts.

The bill cleared the committee following unanimous support from lawmakers.

A4188, would require all information reported by employers to the Department of Human Services about newly hired employees to be shared by the department within other state agencies that operate employment security and workers’ compensation programs.

The bill cleared the committee following unanimous support from lawmakers.

A4232, would permit county utilities authorities to fund certain local infrastructure projects.

The bill cleared the committee largely along party lines. Assemblyman Christopher Brown (R-8) was the only Republican lawmaker who voted to release the bill.

A4233, expands Medicaid eligibility pursuant to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A4182/S2723, would revise statutes concerning firearms purchaser identification cards and handgun purchase permits, as well as making handgun purchase permits valid for four years.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A3308, would authorize Judiciary to revise or supplement fees, subject to limitations, to fund an e-court information system and Legal Services of New Jersey. The bill would require review and reporting on fees and expenditures of such fees.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A4165, would eliminate the requirement that every full-time student at a four-year or county college institution of higher education in the state maintain health insurance coverage.

The bill cleared the committee following unanimous support from lawmakers.

A4092, would permit local governments to levy a fee on hospital revenues in five cities and two counties, as part of a five-year “local hospital fee” pilot program

The cities would keep a portion of the revenues and the other portion would be given to the state in the form of intergovernmental transfers (IGTs) to the state Department of Human Services, which runs the Medicaid program. A greater share of state Medicaid funds means a larger chunk of federal dollars, given the fixed ratio, according to the bill.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

A2837/S1085, would establish the forest stewardship program for state-owned lands.

A2974/S1191, would permit the establishment of a countywide purchasing system by a county and requires participation by all school districts within the county.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines.

Elections bill continues to advance