Governor Signs Dyslexia Screening, Social Media and Contract Extension Bills, Pocket Vetoes School Security, Drop-Out Prevention and Health Care Savings Legislation

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On the last day that the Governor could sign, or not sign, legislation of the 215th legislative session, Governor Chris Christie approved several measures, and pocket vetoed a couple others.  The table below outlines gubernatorial action on legislation from the last legislative session.

Legislation Signed by Governor January 22

Bill Number



NJPSA Position

A-735 / S1438

Eustace (D38) / Ruiz (D29)

Permits a child who moves out of a school district due to a family crisis to remain enrolled in that district until the end of the school year.

NJPSA supports this legislation and worked to get state funding incorporated


A-3019 / S-2561

Wilson (D5) / Ruiz (D29)

Authorizes public schools to serve to students certain produce grown in community garden.

NJPSA successfully sought an amendment that affords a school district and its employees immunity from civil liability arising from good faith actions in the serving of produce from a community garden


A-3270 / S-2413

Riley (D3) /
Beach (D6)

Requires Commissioners of Education and Labor and Workforce Development to study and report on departments' efforts in providing students with information on employment in high-demand industries.


NJPSA monitors this legislation

A-3292 /   S-2886

Fuentes (D5) / Beach (D6)

Requires school districts to provide instruction on responsible use of social media for middle school students (6-8) as part of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Technology.  Instruction to include information on: the purpose and acceptable use of various social media platforms; social media behavior that ensures cyber safety, cyber security, and cyber ethics; and potential negative consequences, including cyber bullying, of failing to use various social media platforms responsibly.  NJDOE responsible for developing sample learning activities and resources designed to promote the responsible use of social media.


While remaining neutral on the legislation sought effective date not before 2014-15 school year.

A-4072 / S-3078

Sumter (D) / Beach (D6)

Establishes pilot program in DOE to recruit, select, and train veterans for school security positions in school districts.

NJPSA successfully sought a floor amendment, after unsuccessfully halting the legislation, that would ensure that vets  receive school security training consistent with school liaisons to law enforcement



Greenstein (D14) / Diegnan (D18)


Permits a board of education to adopt a salary policy of up to five years.

NJPSA advocated in support of this legislation

S-1479 / A-2114

Sacco (D32) / Munoz (R21)

Upgrades crime of soliciting or recruiting for criminal street gang from a 4th to a 3rd degree offense if the act occurs on school property. 


NJPSA is monitoring this legislation

S-2367 / A-4415

Codey (D27) / Eustace (D38)

"Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act"; provides student-athletes, parents, and coaches with information on sudden cardiac arrest and establishes protocol concerning removal-from-play for athletes exhibiting symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest.


Successfully sought language in prior to legislative session that limits liability to a “knowing” violation

S-2442 / A-3605

Van Drew (D1) / Albano (D1)

Requires certain public school students to be screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities.


Requires that the Commissioner of Education identify and provide information on screening instruments that are available to identify students who possess one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities.  The commissioner would also distribute information regarding appropriate intervention strategies. 


School districts would be required to select age-appropriate screening instruments, and to screen students for dyslexia or other reading disabilities no later than the students’ completion of the first semester of the second grade in cases in which students exhibited one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities.  If the required screening suggests that a student possesses one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities, the school district must ensure that the student receives a comprehensive assessment for the learning disorder.  If the comprehensive assessment confirms that a student has dyslexia or other reading disabilities, then the school district would be required to provide appropriate evidence-based intervention strategies to the student


Worked in coalition with NJSBA & NJEA to limit screening ton only students exhibiting “indicators of a reading disability” – the bill also extends the screening period to second grade

Legislation Pocket Vetoed by Governor

Bill Number



NJPSA Position

A-1588 /  S-2081

Benson (D14) / Singer (R30)

Requires Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to establish procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities, certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers.


NJPSA is tracking this legislation.

A-2527 / S-134

Rice (D28) / Caputo (D28)

Establishes the Office of Dropout Prevention and Reengagement of Out-of-School Youth in DOE, and the Student Dropout Prevention Task Force


Requires the Office of Dropout Prevention and Reengagement of Out-of-School Youth: to collaborate with school districts in the development of a Statewide strategic plan to address the problem of student dropouts; recommend and develop programs to prevent students from dropping out of school; and address issues associated with the reenrollment of students who have left school prior to graduation.


This bill also establishes the Student Dropout Prevention Task Force to analyze the causes of students leaving school prior to graduation, recommend to school districts best practices for reducing the student dropout rate, and develop strategies to increase the reenrollment of students who have left school.


NJPSA supports this legislation as it includes school leader representation


A-3559 / S-2418

Benson (D14)/ Greentstein (D14)

Requires NJDOE develop a training program for school bus drivers and aides on interacting with students with special needs.  The training program would include appropriate behavior management, effective communication, the use and operation of adaptive equipment, and understanding behavior that may be related to specific disabilities.  Once the training program is made available, boards of education and school bus contractors that provide student transportation services under contract with boards of education would be required to administer the training program to all school bus drivers and school bus aides that they employ.


NJPSA is monitoring this legislation.

A-3691/ S-3098

Caputo (D28 ) / Rice (D28)

Requires school buildings to be equipped with emergency light and panic alarm linked to local law enforcement.


The panic alarm would be linked to law enforcement authorities and must immediately transmit a signal or message to the authorities upon activation.  The bill defines “panic alarm” as a silent security system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation that requires a response from law enforcement.  The bill also requires that all public elementary and secondary schools be equipped with a red emergency light


The bill directs that the proceeds of bonds authorized to be issued to fund the State share of the costs of Schools Development Authority district school facilities projects or the State share of the costs of school facilities projects in all other districts, including county vocational school districts, be used to fund costs.


NJSBA and NJPSA worked to secure funding for the equipment.  In addition, amendments NJPSA sought clarify that in the case of a school building which is not clearly visible from the nearest public highway, the emergency light shall be located on that public highway; in cases where a school building is located in a municipality in which there is no municipal police department the panic alarm will be linked to a location designated by the Superintendent of State Police.


S-64 /  A-2574

Codey (D27)

Establishes measures to deter steroid use among students.


Requires the Department of Education (NJDOE) and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) to work jointly to develop a program of random steroid testing of student-athletes who qualify to compete in championship tournaments sanctioned by the association.


Coaches would be required incorporate into the training activities a gender-specific program designed to reduce the use of steroids and performance enhancing supplements, alcohol, and drugs, and to promote healthy nutrition and exercise.  The program must be approved by the school’s athletic director.


Also requires the NJSIAA to develop a steroid and performance enhancing supplement prevention information program for all public and nonpublic high school coaches and athletic directors. The program would establish procedures and protocols designed to: provide coaches and athletic directors with information on the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing supplements; identify the use of steroids and performance enhancing supplements in student athletes; and effectively incorporate healthy alternatives for strength building into coaches’ training programs.


The bill also establishes the third week in September as “Steroid Awareness Week” in New Jersey and requires school districts to observe this week by organizing activities to raise awareness of the hazards of using steroids and performance enhancing supplements.


NJPSA supports this legislation

S-3086 / A-3783

Sarlo (D36 ) / Stender (D22)

Concerns disclosure and reimbursement procedures of board of education and municipal employee health care benefit contracts.


Requires districts disclose the total cost of premiums paid, and the total amount of any reimbursements, rebates, or other return of the cost of premiums paid in that fiscal year for prescription drug or other health care benefit contracts.  Under the bill, local boards of education and municipal employers would also be required to make public disclosures within 30 days of execution of any new or altered contract for prescription drug or other health care benefits, and within 30 days of receipt of any reimbursement, rebate, or other return of a part of the premiums paid.


In the event of a reimbursement, rebate, or other return of any part of the premiums to a local board of education or municipal employer, the returned funds would be required to be used exclusively to reduce health care premiums during the subsequent year.


NJPSA supports this legislation