Governor Chris Christie signed a number of bills impacting students and schools on his last day in office and pocket vetoed several other measures. Here is a recap of what the Governor signed, and what he didn’t, by category.
CURRICULUM & STANDARDS
P.L.2017, c.303 (S-2485/A-2873 (Diegnan, Turner / Jones, Mosquera, Mukherji) – Requires school districts to offer course in computer science and DOE to adopt changes to NJ Student Learning Standards in computer science.
The new law requires schools districts to offer computer science classes beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. This is already a requirement under New Jersey’s Learning Standards (standards). The law also mandates that the State Board of Education make any necessary changes to the standards in light of the current review process underway at the Department. The law is effective immediately (January 16, 2018).
NJPSA worked to achieve several amendments to the legislation including:
- Eliminating the original bill’s requirement that beginning with the 2022-2023 grade nine class, students complete a course in computer science in order to graduate high school;
- Require that the computer science course required to be offered by public schools be informed by the work being done by the Department of Education pursuant to P.L.2015, c.229, which provides that the department review the New Jersey Student Learning Standards to ensure that modern computer science standards are incorporated, where appropriate; and
- Provide that by the 2022-2023 school year the State Board of Education will adopt appropriate changes to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and to high school graduation requirements that reflect the work being done by the Department of Education pursuant to P.L.2015, c.229.
P.L.2017, c.374 (A-4165/S-2894 ((Chaparro, Mukherji, Chiaravalloti, McKnight, Vainieri Huttle / Gill, Oroho)) – Requires driver education course, certain new driver brochures, and driver’s license written exam to include cyclist and pedestrian safety information.
The law requires the curriculum guidelines for approved classroom driver education courses and the informational brochure distributed by the MVC to the parents and guardians of beginning drivers under the age of 18 include information concerning operating a motor vehicle in a manner that safely shares the roadway with pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, riders of motorized-scooters, and other non-motorized vehicles. The curriculum guidelines and informational brochure are to include, but not be limited to, passing a cyclist on the roadway, recognizing bicycle lanes, navigating intersections with pedestrians and cyclists, and exiting a vehicle without endangering pedestrians and cyclists.
The law further provides that the written examination, which must be passed in order to be issued a basic driver’s license, special learner’s permit, or examination permit, must include questions on cyclist and pedestrian safety, and the MVC may include these questions as part of the 20 questions that may be added to the exam on subjects to be determined by the MVC that are of particular relevance to youthful drivers. The new law is effective August 1, 2018.
NJPSA was neutral on this legislation.
P.L. 2017, c.291 (S-1163/A-501 (Corrado, Sweeney / Russo, Burzichelli, Zwicker, McKnight) – Establishes certain requirements for use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities in school districts, educational services commissions, and approved private schools for students with disabilities.
The new law requires a school district, an educational services commission, or an approved private school for students with disabilities that chooses to utilize physical restraint on students with disabilities to ensure that:
- physical restraint is used only in an emergency in which the student is exhibiting behavior that places the student or others in immediate physical danger;
- a student is not restrained in the prone position unless the student’s primary care physician authorizes, in writing, the use of this restraint technique;
- staff members who are involved in the restraint of a student receive training in safe techniques for physical restraint from an entity determined by the board of education to be qualified to provide such training. This training must be updated at least annually; and
- the parent or guardian of a student is immediately notified by telephone or through some means of electronic communication when physical restraint has been used on the student. A full written report of the incident must be provided to the parent or guardian within 48 hours of the occurrence of the incident.
The law also requires a school district, educational services commission, or private school for students with disabilities to ensure that a seclusion technique is used on a student with disabilities only in an emergency in which the student is exhibiting behavior that places the student or others in immediate physical danger.
In the event of the use of either physical restraints or seclusion techniques:
- each incident must be continuously visually monitored to ensure that it was used in accordance with established procedures set forth in a board policy developed in conjunction with the entity that provides staff training, so as to ensure the safety of the child and others;
- each incident must be documented in writing in detail so it can be used to develop or improve the behavior intervention plan at the next individualized education plan (IEP) meeting; and
- attempts must be made to minimize the use of these measures through the inclusion of positive behavior supports in the student’s behavior intervention plans developed by the IEP team.
The law additionally requires the Department of Education to establish guidelines to ensure a review process is in place for school districts, educational services commissions, and approved private schools for students with disabilities to review the use of physical restraints and seclusion techniques in emergency situations and the repeated use of these measures on a single student, within a single classroom, or by a single individual. The student’s IEP team may use this review process to revise the behavioral intervention plan or classroom supports, and the school district, educational services commission, or approved private school for students with disabilities may use the review process to determine whether to revise a staff member’s professional development plan. The new law is effective immediately (January 16, 2018).
NJPSA monitored the legislation after several integral discussions with the bill sponsors led to substantial modification of the bill.
P.L.2017, c.284 (S-293/A-493 (Vitale, Smith / Russo, McKeon, Danielsen, Mukherji, Rooney ) – Prohibits use of smokeless tobacco in public schools.
The law prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco in any area of any building of, or on the grounds of, any public school and requires the board of education of each school district to ensure the placement, in every public entrance to a public school building in its district, of a sign indicating that the use of smokeless tobacco is prohibited in the school.
The penalties for using smokeless tobacco in violation of the new law would be a fine of not less than $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. However, these fines are not applicable to a student who violates the law. In the case of a student, he or she is prohibited by the board of education of the district from participation in all extracurricular activities, including interscholastic athletics, and the revocation of any student parking permit that the student may possess. A board of education is required to adopt a policy that establishes the length of the suspension or revocation imposed on a student for an initial or subsequent violation.
Under the law, in the event that the local board of health, or a similar entity, receives a written complaint, or has reason to suspect, that a public school is in violation of the new law’s provisions, then the board of health must provide written notification to the board of education and order appropriate action be taken. The board of education is subject to a fine in the event that it fails to comply with the order. The new law takes effect April 1, 2018.
NJPSA is neutral on the legislation.
P.L.2017, c.381 (A-4467/S-3083 (Mazzeo, Conaway, Vainieri Huttle, Wimberly, Mukherji / Bell) – Clarifies that authorized persons and entities may administer a single dose of any opoid antidote, or multiple doses of any intranasal or intramuscular opioid antidote to overdose victims, with immunity under “Overdose Prevention Act.”
The new law permits an individual authorized to administer an opioid antidote to an overdose victim, pursuant to the Overdose Prevention Act (OPA), to administer, with full immunity:
- a single dose of any type of opioid antidote that has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the treatment of an opioid overdose; and
- up to three doses of an opioid antidote that is administered through intranasal application, or through an intramuscular auto-injector, as may be necessary to revive the victim.
The law specifies that prior consultation with, or approval by, a third-party physician or other medical personnel is not required for an authorized person or entity to administer up to three doses of an opioid antidote, through intranasal application, or through an intramuscular auto-injector, to the same overdose victim.
The law also clarifies certain definitions in the OPA to include reference to certain persons and entities that were not previously specified therein. Specifically, the law provides that the term ’emergency medical responder’ includes, but is not limited to, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and fire fighters; and that the term ’emergency medical response entity’ includes, but is not limited to, first aid, ambulance, and rescue squads, basic life support and advanced life support ambulance squads, air medical service providers, and fire-fighting squads. The new law is effective immediately (January 16, 2018).
NJPSA monitored the legislation during the deliberative process.
P.L.2017, c.387 (A-4906/S-3371 (Lampitt, Holley, Mosquera, Wimberly / Ruiz, Turner) – Requires public and nonpublic schools to notify students and parents of availability of summer meals programs and locations where meals are served.
This law requires school districts and nonpublic schools to notify each student enrolled in the school district or nonpublic school and the student’s parent or guardian of the availability of, and criteria of eligibility for, the summer meals program and the locations in the local school district where the summer meals are available. Notification must be made by distributing flyers provided by the Department of Agriculture, which the law directs the department to develop and distribute to each school district and nonpublic school in the State. Additionally, the school districts and schools are permitted to provide electronic notice of the information through the usual means by which the school district or school communicates with parents and students electronically. The new law is effective immediately (January 16, 2018).
Schools currently notify parents of summer feeding options, the new law merely codifies that requirement.
P.L. 2017, c.349 (A-1257/S-2638 (Caride, Jimenez, Mukherji, Holley, Benson, McKnight / Cruz-Perez, Van Drew ) – Requires school bus transporting students using wheelchairs to be equipped with four-point securement system; requires school bus operator to secure students using wheelchairs.
The new law codifies existing federal requirements as it relates to the transport of students in wheelchairs on a school bus. Specifically, it requires school bus transporting students using wheelchairs to be equipped with four-point securement system and requires school bus operator to secure students using wheelchairs. The new law will be inoperable until September 1, 2019.
NJPSA supported the legislation as it is already required under federal law. NJPSA, and fellow stakeholders successfully halted an amendment to the bill that would have required that a school bus that provides transportation for passengers using wheelchairs must have an aide to assist the passengers.
P.L. 2017, c.318 (S-3416/A-5074 (Greenstein, Diegnan / Quijano, McKnight, Houghtaling, Downey) – Directs Division of Fire Safety in Department of Community Affairs to survey fire supression systems in public and nonpublic school buildings.
The law directs the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to survey fire suppression systems in public and non-public school buildings. The division would share the results of the survey with the Department of Education. For each building, the survey would have to include the following information:
- whether a fire suppression system is installed and operational;
- the year in which an existing fire suppression system was installed and any year in which additional piping or standpipes were added to the system or an additional system was installed in the same structure;
- the cost of curing any defect if an installed fire suppression system is not fully operational; and
- the cost of a reinstallation or annual maintenance of a fire suppression system that is inadequate or not fully operational.
The new law is effective immediately (January 16, 2018).
NJPSA supported the legislation after securing an amendment that vests the review responsibility with DCA rather than the Department of Education.
P.L.2017, c.347 (A-597/S-3637 (Lagana, Gusciora, Webber, Mukherji, Holley, Benson, Danielsen, Wimberly, Downey / Turner) – Establishes crimes of operating school bus with suspended or revoked driving privileges and being involved in accident causing bodily injury; permanently prohibits passenger and school bus CDL endorsements for persons convicted of those crimes.
The new law makes knowing operation of a school bus transporting one or more students a crime of the fourth degree if an operator’s
driving privileges have been suspended or revoked. The law further provides that a person, knowingly operating a school bus while that person’s driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, who is involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to another person is guilty of a crime of the third degree. The law requires the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission to revoke for life the passenger and school bus endorsements on the commercial driver’s license of a person convicted of either offense. Finally, the law specifies that a person convicted of either offense is permanently disqualified from employment as a school bus driver. The law is effective July 1, 2018.
P.L.2017, c.345 (A-155/S-2609 (Tucker, Caputo, Giblin, Mosquera, Jimenez, Wimberly, Mukherji / Ruiz ) – Establishes public awareness campaign concerning the dangers of leaving children unattended in and around motor vehicles.
The law requires the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, to establish a public awareness campaign to inform the general public about the dangers of leaving children unattended in and around motor vehicles and the preventative measures that may be taken by parents or guardians to promote child safety and protect against injury or death. The new law is effective immediately (January 16, 2018).
P.L. 2017, c.310 (S-2978/A-4404 Beach, Cruz-Perez / Greenwald) – Permits local units and school districts to invest in local government investment pools managed in accordance with applicable Governmental Accounting Standards Board guidelines.
The new law revises prior law governing the types of securities that may be purchased by local units and school districts to provide that local government investment pools must be managed in accordance with generally accepted accounting and financial reporting principles established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Current law requires local government investment pools to be managed pursuant to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations governing money market funds (17 C.F.R. s.270.2a-7). Local government investment pools function like money market funds in the private sector. The new law is effective immediately (January 16, 2018).
P.L. 2017, c.346 (A-492/S-3577 (Russo, Coughlin, Conaway, Houghtaling / Turner) – Protects employee rights to ownership and usage of employee inventions developed entirely on employee’s own time and without using employer’s resources.
Specifically, the law prohibits an employment contract between an employee and employer that requires the assignment by the employee of any employee invention developed entirely on the employee’s own time and without using the employer’s resources. However, this prohibition does not apply to any invention that relates to the employer’s business or actual or demonstrably anticipated research or development, or results from any work performed by the employee on behalf of the employer. To the extent that any provision in an employment contract applies, or intends to apply, to any employee invention falling under the scope of the law, that provision is deemed against the public policy of this State and therefore unenforceable. The new law will be effective April 1, 2018 and will apply to collective bargaining agreements after that date.
The Governor also pocket vetoed a number of bills. As background, bills passed in the last 10 days of a 2-year session may be “pocket vetoed” which basically means if no action is taken on the legislation (aka the Governor does not sign it) the legislation dies due to non-action by the Executive branch.
- S-3447/A-5254 (Turner, Greenstein / Benson, Quijano, DeAngelo, Burzichelli) – Allows public schools to let certain students not enrolled in school participate in high school interscholastic athletics; allows public high schools in same district to enter into cooperative sports programs under certain conditions.
- S-447/A-2352 (Allen, Ruiz / Vainieri Huttle, Muoio, Singleton, Caputo, Jasey ) – Requires Commissioner of Education to include data on chronic absenteeism and disciplinary suspensions on School Report Card and requires public schools to make certain efforts to combat chronic absenteeism.
- S-2397/A-3870 (Ruiz, Diegnan / Singleton, Barclay, Jones, Caputo, Quijano, Wimberly ) – Directs State Board of Education to authorize computer science education endorsement to instructional certificate.
- S-2704/A-4318 (Diegnan, Ruiz / Benson, DeCroce, McKnight, Pintor Marin) – Establishes grant program for school districts and charter schools to develop dual language immersion programs.
- A-191/S-2313 (Caputo, Tucker, Quijano, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter, McKnight / Rice, Ruiz) – Requires school buildings to be equipped with emergency light and panic alarm linked to local law enforcement.
- A-3396/S-2885 (McKnight, Chiaravalloti, Pintor Marin, Holley, Wimberly, Quijano / Addiego, Rice) – Requires financial literacy instruction to pupils enrolled in grades kindergarten through eight.
- A-4814/S-3487 (Rooney, Johnson, Schaer, Moriarty / Allen, Beach) – Prohibits investment of pension and annuity funds by State in entities that avoid Superfund obligations to State.
- A-2220/S-1729 (Benson, Webber, Singleton, Wimberly / Oroho, Bell)) – Authorizes local units of government subject to “Local Public Contracts Law.” and “Public School Contracts Law” to use electronic procurement technologies.