Lame Duck Session Round Up – What Education Legislation Was Passed , Vetoed, or Pocket Vetoed at the Close of the 218 Legislative Session

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The time period following Election Day until the closing day of a two-year legislative session (January 14, 2020) is generally known as the Lame Duck session, or as we in Government Relations fondly refer to it as “the silly season.”  During this two-and-a-half-month time period, the State Legislature and ultimately, the Governor’s Office, consider hundreds of bills in a final effort to enact them before the new two-year legislative begins at noon, on January 14, 2020.  This year for example, 350 bills were considered by the Legislature during the last voting sessions on January 13!  

All bills that are not passed by the Legislature must begin all over in the new session.  Bills that have been passed by both houses of the Legislature proceed to the Governor’s office where, depending upon the date of final passage, the Governor can either sign them into law, veto them in their entirely, conditionally veto them and return them to the Legislature with his conditions (only if passed within a certain date before the close of the session) or simply not act upon them within 7 days of passage at the close of the session whereupon they are considered “pocket vetoed.”  As of the start of the 219th legislative session, Governor Phil Murphy has approximately 209 bills to consider and act upon by January 20, 2020. 

In addition to the sheer volume of legislation, this Lame duck session was particularly contentious as the Legislature considered legislation considered highly controversial by some.  Individuals and groups opposed to vaccinations occupied the State House for weeks to oppose bills that would have eliminated the religious exemption to vaccination in order to attend public school.  These bills, which NJPSA supported as a public health measure to protect our students and staff, failed to pass on the final voting day of the session.  

The following is a current update of the status of legislation from the 218th Legislature as of January 17, 2020; NJPSA will update you following action by Governor Murphy.

Bills Signed into Law During the Lame duck Session

Student Health Issues

S4141, Signed 1/9/2020  Approved P.L.2019, c.290,   Paul’s Law

Beach (D6) — “Paul’s Law”; authorizes parent or guardian to request use of individualized health care plan (IHP) for student with epilepsy or seizure disorder.  The bill requires the school nurse to annually develop an IHP for these students upon parental request based upon the student’s physician’s” seizure action plan.”  The IHP will provide specific action for both medical and non-medical school staff to do in an emergency situation, address training of school staff, including bus drivers if relevant, and address student issues including participation in physical exercise and sports, accommodations for school trips, after-school activities and sports, educational impacts of treatment plan and a communication plan.  School staff shall receive be trained through a Department of Health approved on-line or in-person course of instruction. The statute contains language indemnifies school employees from liability. NJPSA sought amendments to this legislation and ultimately supported this legislation which takes effect immediately.  

S2443 Signed 1/9/2020 Approved P.L.2019, c.293, NJSIAA Heat Participation Policy

Diegnan (D18) — Requires school districts which participate in Statewide interscholastic sports programs to adopt New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association heat participation policy for conducting practice or games in all sports during times of high heat or humidity.  The policy must address scheduling, the ratio of time for workouts to rest and hydration, cancellation and the use of a WetBulb Globe Temperature tool to measure heat stress and sunlight at the practice or game site. This law takes effect in the first full school year following enactment (2020-2021).  NJPSA supported this bill. 

S2494 Signed 1/9/2020 Approved P.L.2019, c.292, Emergency Action Plans- Sports Injuries

Diegnan (D18) — Requires certain schools to establish emergency action plans for responding to serious or potentially life-threatening sports-related injuries.  NJPSA supported this legislation which requires schools that include any of grades 6-12 to establish and implement an emergency action plan for responding to a serious or potentially life-threatening sport-related injury.  The plan must document the procedures to be followed, be specific to the activity site, and be developed in consultation with local emergency medical services personnel. Mandatory components of the plan include a list of the employees, team coaches and licensed athletic trainers that are trained in first aid or CPR; identification of those responsible for implementing the plan with respective responsibilities described, a description of the activity venue, identification of the equipment and supplies that may e needed to respond and the location of such; and a description of the procedures to be followed . The emergency action plan must be annually reviewed and updated.  This law goes into effect in the 2020-2021 school year.

Education Legislation

A4710 Signed 1/13/2020 Approved P.L.2019, c.338, Gifted and Talented Education Act

Lampitt (D6) — “Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act”; establishes school district responsibilities in educating gifted and talented students.  NJPSA sought and successfully achieved significant amendments to this legislation. The bill requires boards of education to ensure that appropriate instructional adaptions and education services are provided to gifted and talented students in kindergarten through grade 12 to enable them to benefit from New Jersey’s Student Learning Standards at the instructional level of the student.  The bill addresses instructional adaptions, the use of multiple measures for identification, the development and documentation of appropriate curricular and instructional modifications for gifted students, a consideration of Gifted Programming Standards of the National Association for Gifted Children and professional development for teachers and school leaders in gifted and talented instruction. 

The Commissioner of Education shall appoint a coordinator for gifted and talented services who shall support this work in the districts.  By October 1, 2020, all school districts must file a report with the coordinator detailing the gifted and talented continuum of services, policies and procedures implemented in the district, the number of gifted and talented students in each grade level K-12, disaggregate by race, gender, special education designation and ELL designation, staffing levels and the professional development opportunities provided for educators.  After the initial report, a gifted and talented report shall become part of the regular monitoring cycle. 

An individual who believes that a district has not complied with this law may file a complaint with the board of education as part of the board’s gifted policy which must be linked to the homepage of the board’s website.  The board must issue a written decision on the matter which may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education through the Office of Controversies and Disputes according to State Board of Education regulations.

Boards must also post the eligibility criteria used to identify gifted and talented students including the multiple measures used to match a student’s needs with services.  The bill will take effect in the 2020-21 school year.

Student Meals

S2527 Signed 1/13/2020 Approved P.L.2019, c.307, DOA Promotional Materials

Ruiz (D29) — Requires Department of Agriculture to promote school meal programs in conjunction with the Department of Education.  These materials for the “School Meal Program” will be provided to every school district free of charge to highlight the importance of the National l School Lunch Program, the federal School Breakfast Program and the federal Summer Food Service program.  NJPSA supported this legislation.

Enrollment Legislation

S2980 Signed 1/13/2020   Approved P.L.2019, c.310

Ruiz (D29) — Provides that school district may not condition student enrollment in district on fact that MVC does not have name or address of parent or guardian on file in disputes over the parent’s residency or domicile.  This bill takes effect immediately.  NJPSA supported this bill as an extension of the current law prohibiting exclusion from school based upon immigration status.

S2982 Signed 1/13/2020 Approved P.L.2019, c.311 

Ruiz (D29) — Clarifies that child may not be excluded from public school based on membership in protected category under “Law Against Discrimination” or immigration status.  Protected categories include race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, sex, or gender identify or expression.  

This act takes effect immediately.  NJPSA supported both enrollment bills.

Absolute Vetoes by Governor

S4289 Absolute Veto 1/13/2020 -Tax Levy Cap Exemption for Certain Districts 

Sweeney (D3) — Provides tax levy cap adjustment in 2020-2021 through 2024-2025 school years for school districts that are spending below adequacy and losing State aid under legislation that modified the School Funding Reform Act (S-2) without the need for voter approval. The adjustment amount will equal the different between the amount of State aid received by the district in the prebudget year and the amount of State Aid received by the school district in the budget year with the caveat that the amount cannot exceed the amount that brings the district’s spending to adequacy.  The Governor vetoed this legislation citing the need to fairly share the tax burden through a millionaire’s tax rather than having some families shoulder the burden of higher property taxes without a vote through this legislation.  


**must be signed by January 20th, 2020 or considered pocket vetoed **

S2835/A3926 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Mandatory Depression Screening 

Requires public schools to administer annual, written, computerized screenings for depression for students in grades 7-12.  NJPSA raised concerns and sought amendments to this legislation. The Commissioner of Children and Families shall select one electronic screening tool to be utilized by all school districts. The screenings must be conducted in a manner that ensures student privacy and provides appropriate accommodations.  The superintendent shall notify parents that the screening is not a diagnosis and shall encourage parents to seek the care of a health care professional in order to obtain further evaluation and diagnosis in the case of an “abnormality.” Aggregated data, with no identifying information can be collected by NJDOE and NJDCF to study teenage depression trends.  Annual reports and recommendations shall be published by these departments. School districts must obtain written consent from parents/guardians upon enrollment or at the beginning of each school year prior to screening students for depression. If signed into law, the legislation will take effect in the first full school year following the date of enactment.  

S3330 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Concurrence with Governor’s C.V, Child Care Pilot 

Addiego (D8) — Establishes 3-year School District Child Care Services pilot program in DCF, in partnership with DOE, to study impact of child care services provided by community providers operating in public school facilities; requires community providers to meet certain criteria.  First preference for child care services is to be given to residents of the district. School nurses are not responsible for the health care needs of students in child care. Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed the bill with minor changes, the Legislature concurred and now the bill is pending Murphy’s final signature. 

S3685 1/9/2020 Passed Both Houses, STEM Pilot for Underrepresented Students

Sarlo (D36) — Establishes a residential pre-college, summer program in research universities for selected underrepresented high school students to increase participation of underrepresented students in New Jersey’s science and engineering workforce.  During each school year, teachers and school counselors at partner high schools shall identify and nominate talented underrepresented students for participation in this program for the upcoming summer through a tuition-free scholarship, including travel stipends. The summer program shall consist of a one or two-week immersive, residential program introducing high school students to a range of STEM topics in a hands-on learning environment.  Funding for the program shall come from the State of New Jersey, the private sector and participating universities. If signed, the law will take effect immediately. 

S2564 1/9/2020 Passed Both Houses, Restorative Justice in Education Pilot

Turner (D15) — Establishes a 3 year “Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Program” in Department of Education to implement restorative justice practices addressing school discipline issues in the public schools.  These practices shall include a trauma-informed approach. The Commissioner shall select 5 districts in the north, central and southern parts of the state, provide supportive grants and training. The school principal of a selected school is required to limit the number and duration of student expulsions and suspensions to the greatest extent practicable and must demonstrate a commitment to exhausting other forms of non-exclusionary discipline first.  A Restorative Justice Education Fund will be established within the NJDOE to fund the grant program. If signed, the act goes into effect immediately. 

S3065 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses  

Ruiz (D29) — Establishes youth apprenticeship pilot program in Department of Education.

S4200 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses

Ruiz (D29) — Requires State to pay difference between federal allocation and total cost of reduced-price breakfast or lunch; appropriates $4.5 million.

S1832 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses  

Ruiz (D29) — Establishes loan redemption program and tuition reimbursement program for certain teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

A4147/S-2744 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses

Lampitt (D6) — Requires school districts to conduct audit of security features of district buildings, grounds, and communication systems using standardized checklist and to submit audit to NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and DOE.

A4150/S-2742 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses

Lampitt (D6) — Requires meeting between student and appropriate school personnel after multiple suspensions or proposed expulsion from public school to identify behavior or health difficulties.

A4151, 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Security Training Substitutes and Youth Programs Using School Building  

Swain (D38) — Requires school security training for persons employed by public and nonpublic schools in substitute capacity and for employees and volunteers of youth programs operated in school buildings.

S691 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, State Monitoring Law Change  

Ruiz (D29) — Requires that if a school district under partial or full State intervention, satisfies 80% or more of the required NJ Quality Single Accountability Continuum standards in an area of district effectiveness under State intervention, the State must return that area to local control.  NJPSA supports this bill which, if signed, goes into effect immediately.  

A2183/S-1687 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Music Therapists Licensing Act

“Music Therapist Licensing Act.” If signed, this act becomes effective on the 180th day following enactment.

S1647 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Vaping – No Coupons or Discounts

Prohibits use of coupons, price rebates, and price reduction promotions in sales of tobacco and vapor products.  

S2897/A1433 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses – Mold Remediation Procedures 

Requires DCA to establish procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities, and certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers.  The bill establishes a regulatory framework for this process. It excludes school district employees engaged in routine maintenance of school facilities from completing the mold remediation certification programs established by this act.  If signed the bill takes effect immediately but the regulatory development process will take over a year.

S3265/A3178 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Bans Sale of Flavoring Vaping Products

Prohibits sale or distribution of flavored vapor products.  NJPSA supported this legislation which establishes a retailer ban including vending machines.  The bill contains a civil penalty structure. The ban does not apply to medical cannabis or tobacco.  The act will take effect 90 days after enactment (signing).

S3756/A6115, 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses- Curriculum coordination – Limited Purpose Regionals

Requires limited purpose regional school districts to annually coordinate with constituent districts regarding school calendar and curriculum to ensure consistency across districts.  If signed, the bill takes effect immediately.  

S3770/A6118, 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, NJ Economic & Fiscal Policy Review Commission

Establishes “New Jersey Economic and Fiscal Policy Review Commission” to provide ongoing review of State and local tax structure, economic conditions, and related fiscal issues.  This bill was first considered in the final days of the 218th Legislature to continue the Pathways to Progress conversations initiated by Senate President Steve Sweeney concerning cost savings to the state through pension and health benefits reforms in the public sector, regionalization and shared services, and state tax structure.  The Commission will be comprised of government and business officials and fiscal experts. The act takes effect immediately if signed into law. Governor Murphy announced the creation of a similar working group within his administration during his State of the State Address on January 14, 2020.

A5922/5923 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Vaping and Tobacco Rules – 21 Legal Age

Revises requirements for sale of tobacco and vapor products; increases penalties for prohibited sales; increases fees for cigarette and vapor business licensure.  This act shall take effect on July 1, 2020 if signed by Governor Murphy.

A4978, 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Student Data Privacy – Education Services

Prohibits online education services from using and disclosing certain information, engaging in targeted advertising, and requires deletion of certain information in certain circumstances.  NJPSA supports this legislation which was conditionally vetoed by Governor Murphy on January 14, 2020. Both houses have voted to concur with the Governor’s recommendations to limit consent requirements for the sharing of student test data to the student only with higher education institutions, eliminating the bill’s requirement that parental consent be an additional requirement.  The bill prohibits operators of Internet websites, online services, online computer applications or mobile application designed and marketed for K-12 school purposes from using personally identifiable information of public-school students that is not publicly available for:

  • Developing a student profile
  • Selling or renting a student’s information;
  • Disclosing certain information; or 
  • Engaging in targeted advertising.

The bill also establishes requirements for reasonable security procedures and practices.  If signed the bill shall take effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative for 180 days following the date of enactment.

AJR118/SJR-157 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, Financial Literacy Month  

McKnight (D31) — Designates April of each year as “Financial Literacy Month” in New Jersey.

AJR180 1/13/2020 Passed Both Houses, CTE Month

DeAngelo (D14) — Designates February in each year as “Career and Technical Education Month” in New Jersey.


S1176 1/1/2020 Passed by the Senate, Received in Assembly Ed Committee, Eliminates Principals Right of Editorial Control over School Sponsored Journalism

Concerns speech rights of student journalists at public schools and public institutions of higher education.  Overturns US Supreme Court Hazelwood case that recognized principals right to exercise editorial control in certain circumstances.

S3150/3628, Passed by the Senate, Received in Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee

“Timothy J. Piazza’s Law”; expands scope of activities constituting hazing; increases penalties for hazing resulting in injury; requires institutions of higher education and public and nonpublic high schools and middle schools to adopt anti-hazing policies. 

S-3433/A5270, Passed by Senate, no movement in Assembly, Mallory’s Law

The original version of the bill would modify investigations under the Anti-bullying Bill of Rights to have School Resource Officers conduct bullying investigations, have the Executive County Superintendent of schools’ discipline students, and otherwise modify existing procedures for HIB investigations. NJPSA worked with the bill sponsors, legislative staff and other statewide education organizations to develop amendments to the legislation.  The legislation is likely to be reconsidered in the 219th legislative session. 

S2804 08/23/2019, Governor’s conditional veto Received in Senate, Comprehensive Eye Exams

Ruiz (D29) — Requires young children entering public schools or Head Start Programs for first time to have comprehensive eye examination completed.

S-4033/A-5007, Favorably Released by Assembly Ed Committee, Coaches Mandatory 3 year Employment Contracts

This bill provided that head athletic coaches at public schools must receive 3 year employment contracts and assistant coaches 2 year employment contracts which automatically roll-over unless written notice of nonrenewal is given.  The bill also provides enhanced due process rights for this subset of school employees. NJPSA opposed this legislation. 

A557 03/04/2019, 2nd reading in Senate to concur with Governor’s recommendations, Anti-Nepotism Policies

Moriarty (D4) — Requires adoption of anti-nepotism policies by school districts and charter schools.

S1697 12/17/2018, Governor’s conditional veto rcvd in Senate, School bus  

Sarlo (D36) — Exempts fuel used for operation of certain school buses from petroleum products gross receipts tax and motor fuel tax; clarifies tax treatment of certain dyed fuel thereunder; clarifies determination of taxable estates of certain decedents.

S2851 07/23/2018, House2: Passed 2nd reading in Senate to concur with Assembly amendment, School bus Safety Personnel  

Lagana (D38) — Requires boards of education and school bus contractors to designate individuals as certain school bus safety personnel.

S371 01/06/2020 House 2nd Reading, Workforce Development Pilot 

Rice (D28) — Establishes two-generational school readiness and workforce development pilot program for certain low-income households.

A3818/S-2173, 1/9/2020 Senate Amendment), Immunizations  

Conaway (D7) — Clarifies statutory exemptions from mandatory immunizations for students.

S1831 02/08/2018 12/12/2019 House2: 2nd Reading, Loan Redemption Programs

Ruiz (D29) — 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 failing schools.

SJR53 02/15/2018 12/09/2019 House2: 2nd Reading, Paraprofessional Day  

Ruiz (D29) — Designates the second Friday of December of each year as “Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel (PSRPs) in Our Schools Day” in New Jersey to recognize the contributions of paraprofessionals and school-related personnel.

S763 01/09/2018 12/05/2019 House2: 2nd Reading, NJ STARS revisions  

Cunningham (D31) — Revises and renames NJSTARS; repeals NJSTARS II; establishes NJ Honor Scholars Program.

AJR29 01/09/2018 11/14/2019 House2: 2nd Reading  

Wimberly (D35) — Designates May of each year as “Youth Smoking Prevention and Awareness Month.”

AJR36 01/09/2018 11/14/2019 House2: 2nd Reading 2RS  

McKnight (D31) — Designates second week of June of each year as “Kids Entrepreneurship Awareness Week.”

A665 01/09/2018 06/17/2019 House2: 2nd Temperature Control Standards PolicyJasey (D27) — Requires each board of education to adopt policy establishing temperature control standards and guidelines for school district facilities.

S3288 12/17/2018 06/10/2019 House2: 2nd Reading, Private Schools – Behavior Modification Instructional Costs  

Singleton (D7) — Requires DOE to define expenditures for behavior modification at approved private schools for students with disabilities as allowable instructional cost for purposes of tuition rate setting.

S1960 02/22/2018 03/18/2019 House2: 2nd Reading, 2RA  

Diegnan (D18) — Permits school bus driver to administer epinephrine to student in emergency under certain circumstances.

S3381 01/24/2019 02/25/2019 House2: 2nd Reading, Eliminate 11th Grade Assessment Requirement  

Ruiz (D29) — Revises provisions of law concerning graduation proficiency test and eliminates requirement that graduation proficiency test be administered in eleventh grade.

S2713 06/14/2018 11/26/2018 House2: 2nd Reading, Teacher Misconduct Data  

Madden (D4) — Requires DOE to collect information on certain teacher misconduct and report to Legislature.

A1888 01/09/2018 07/26/2018 House2: 2nd Reading, School Bus Aide Minimums  

Muoio (D15) — Requires minimum of one school bus aide for every 15 special needs students on school bus.

S762 01/09/2018 05/10/2018 House2: 2nd Reading, New Graduation Requirement

Cunningham (D31) — Requires State Board of Education high school graduation requirements include instruction on tuition assistance programs and student loan debt; requires high school students to meet with guidance counselor to discuss tuition assistance and dual enrollment.


NJPSA’s Government Relations team, Debbie Bradley and Jennie Lamon are happy to entertain any questions about legislation.  The NJPSA Legislative Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at the NJPSA office. Please join us! We have a lively discussion about proposed legislation and develop NJPSA positions on proposed bills and policy.