They’re baaaaack! The legislature, that is, and thus legislative updates! Monday was the first legislative session day of the lame duck session. While I know we have all been focusing on election results, state elections also mean it’s time for the legislature to reconvene and finish their work by January 10, the last day of this legislative session.
Before we talk about bills, let’s go back to those election day results. Governor Murphy declared victory over Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli, who has not yet conceded as of this writing. When I first started writing this, Senate President Steve Sweeney had not yet conceded, but by the time you read this, he may have to his Republican opponent Ed Durr.
With Senator President Steve Sweeney’s unexpected election day loss, Trenton held its breath waiting to see how legislative leadership would shake out. It appears there is an agreement, and the vote will take place on Friday, with Senator Nicholas Scutari, from the 22nd district in Union County, poised to become the next Senate President. The retirement of Majority Leader Senator Weinberg also leaves her leadership position vacant. Senator Teresa Ruiz, from the 29th district in Essex County, was in line to be Majority Leader under Sweeney; rumor has it she may still get that post.
Assembly leadership did not change, with Craig Coughlin re-elected as Speaker and Lou Greenwald re-elected as Majority Leader. However, eight committee chairpersons will not be returning to the Assembly, due to election losses and movement to the upper house. At the same time, with a change in the Senate Presidency, expect changes to committee chairs there as well.
Republican leadership will also see changes, as Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean did not seek reelection and Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick won a senate seat. In the upper house, Senator Steve Oroho, from the 24th district in Sussex County, will become the new minority leader, while Assemblyman John DiMaio from the 23rd district in Warren County will become the new minority leader in his house. While the Senate contest seemed peaceful, the Assembly minority leadership was contested. Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz appeared to have clinched the position until Assemblyman Brian Bergen entered the race as well, resulting in DiMaio emerging as a consensus candidate.
Assembly Speaker Coughlin has announced his priorities for the next legislative session: hunger, homelessness, mental health, child care issues and providing more aid to small business owners. With new leadership and smaller majorities in both houses, dynamics between the houses, legislative leadership and the governor may look entirely different in the new session. We will have to see what priorities emerge from the Senate, and see what Sweeney prioritizes in lame duck.
John Mooney does a nice job looking at what will happen from an education perspective here: https://www.
njspotlightnews.org/2021/11/ nj-legislature-education- issues-murphy-conditional- veto-ruiz-leadership-change/
With all the hubbub, it was unclear whether there would be a session day on Monday, but there was. The legislature coming back into session also meant the governor had to sign bills that had been waiting on his desk.
RESULTS FROM MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8
* A1626/S228 – Requires EDA to establish loan program for certain costs of electric-powered school bus purchases by local school districts and school bus contractors. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee, referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee)
* A2300/S3129 – Requires apportionment of membership on certain regional district boards of education to be based on amount of district costs apportioned to each constituent municipality. (Monitor)
* A3392/S1219 – Requires student representative be appointed to each board of education of school district and board of trustees of charter school that includes grades nine through 12. (Support)
* A4856/S3094 – Requires Internet websites and web services of school districts, charter schools, and renaissance schools to be accessible to persons with disabilities. (Support) (Reported out of committee; Referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee)
* A5694 – Permits dependents of military member to enroll in school district in advance of military member’s relocation to district. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
* S1066 – Establishes Prescription Drug Affordability Board; appropriates $1 million. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee; Referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee)
* S1530 – Establishes a joint legislative and executive branch New Jersey Revenue Advisory Board to provide consensus revenue forecasting advice for State budget purposes. (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
* S2835 – Requires compilation of data and issuance of annual reports on New Jersey teacher workforce. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
* S3464 – Requires instruction on information literacy in curriculum of students in grades kindergarten through 12. (Seek Amendments) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
* S3726 – Ensures student well-being during school security drills. (Monitor)
* S4021 – Requires school districts to provide instruction on history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as part of implementation of New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Social Studies. (Support)
* S4073 – Provides supplemental appropriations of $20 million for loan redemption program and tuition reimbursement program for certain teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. (Support) (Reported out of committee; Referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee)
* S4074 – Allows alternative evaluation in place of basic skills testing requirements for certain teacher certification. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
* S4075 – Eliminates requirement for three years that school districts receive DOE approval for non-instructional or non-educational school facilities or capital maintenance projects. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Senate)
* S991 – Requires owner or operator of certain trains to have discharge response, cleanup, and contingency plans to transport certain hazardous materials by rail; requires DEP to request bridge inspection reports from US DOT. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW
* A1616/S550 – Requires certain student identification cards to contain telephone number for suicide prevention hotline. (Monitor)
* A2311/S356 – Establishes study commission to examine development of mutually beneficial relationships between institutions of higher education and municipalities. (Support)
* A2619/S3253 – Establishes alternate route to expedite certification of teachers at early college high school programs. (Oppose)
* A3027/S793 – Commits $3 million from Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skill to NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development. (Support)
* A4544/S3150 – Permits school nurse who is retired from TPAF to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF. (Oppose)
* A4836/S3313 – Establishes task force to evaluate quality, efficacy, costs, and educational outcomes of online courses offered by public and independent institutions of higher education and degree-granting proprietary institutions during COVID-19 pandemic. (Support)
* A5817/S3852 – Revises violation and fines for approving or assigning unauthorized individuals as school bus drivers. (Support)
* A5818/S3849 – Provides for debarment of school bus contractors for certain violations; requires certain information in pupil transportation contract bid. (Support)
* A5896/S3948 – Authorizes supplemental State aid to school districts receiving certain federal Impact Aid; makes appropriation. (Monitor)
* AJR208/ SJR109 – Condemns hate and violent extremism and commits to defense of safe and just democracy. (Support)
BILLS CONDITIONALLY VETOED
* A169/S108 – Concerns speech rights of student journalists at public schools and public institutions of higher education. (Support)
* A5701/S2160 – Creates special education unit within the Office of Administrative Law; requires annual report. (Support)
* A4179/S2559 – Revises requirements for health insurance providers and Medicaid to cover services provided using telemedicine and telehealth; appropriates $5 million. (Monitor)
* A5312/S2834 – Mandates training on culturally responsive teaching for all candidates for teaching certification. (Support)
* A5537/S3488 – Modifies certain procedures pertaining to school district regionalization; establishes grant program for cost reimbursement of conducting regionalization feasibility studies; and provides financial incentives for regionalization. (Support)
* A2455/S2204 – Establishes pilot program in DOE to support FIRST Robotics Programs in school districts. (Support)
* A4433/S2715 – Creates grant program to encourage school districts to partner with institutions of higher education in training school-based mental health services providers. (Support)
* A4435/S2717 – Requires DCF to give priority to certain school districts with student mental health counseling centers in awarding grants under School Based Youth Services Program. (Monitor)
* A2687/S969 – Establishes loan redemption program for teachers in certain fields to redeem loan amounts received under New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students Loan Program through employment in certain low performing schools. (Support)
WHEN WILL THE LEGISLATURE MEET AGAIN?
* Monday, November 15, Assembly Committees at Call of the Speaker; Senate Committees
* Thursday, December 2, Assembly and Senate Voting Sessions
* Monday, December 6, Assembly and Senate Committees
* Thursday, December 9, Assembly and Senate Committees
* Monday, December 13, Assembly Committees at Call of the Speaker; Senate Committees
* Thursday, December 16, Assembly Voting Session
* Monday, December 20, Senate Voting Session
* Monday, January 3, Assembly Committees at Call of the Speaker
* Thursday, January 6, Assembly Committees at Call of the Speaker; Senate Committees
* Monday, January 10, Assembly and Senate Voting Sessions
[New Jersey Education Association]<https://www.njea.
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