By Jennie Lamon, NJPSA Assistant Director of Government Relations
The NJ State Legislature concluded their calendar on June 29th and have gone into recess, for now. There is some talk that they could be called back in over the summer to address gun control measures among other pertinent issues. However, there are a number of bills that, in all likelihood, have to wait until the fall for further action. There are also several key measures that are on the Governor Murphy’s desk, awaiting his consideration. Within the last week, the Governor has acted upon five education related bills, including a bill that will waive the NJGPA exam as a prerequisite for the 2023 graduating class and will instead treat it as a field test only.
Signed into Law
The following bills have been signed by Governor Murphy, and are now state law:
NJGPA as Field Test for Class of 2023
P.L.2022, c.60 (ACS for A-3196 / S-2349 Caputo, Lampitt, Jasey, Jaffer / Turner, Diegnan) – Signed into law by the Governor on 7/5/2022, this new law requires the State Board of Education to administer the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment as a “field test” for the class of 2023. Under no circumstances would results of the field test, a substitute competency test (e.g., SAT, ACT, other substitute competency assessments approved by the Department of Education), or any other demonstration of proficiency through techniques and instruments other than a standardized test (i.e., the portfolio appeals process) be used as a prerequisite for graduation for students expected to graduate as part of the class of 2023. NJPSA supported the bill.
Extends Life of School Buses for One Year
P.L. 2022, c.41 (S-2593/A-3990 Diegnan / Corrado/Stanley/Tully) – Signed into law by the Governor on 6/30/2022, this new law extends, for the 2022-2023 school year only, the statutorily permitted service of school buses by one year. The owner of the school bus must make a request for this extension to the chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. For the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years, the law allows the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, in consultation with the NJDOE and upon request by the owner of the school bus, to permit an additional year of service for any school bus used in the prior year that would otherwise be retired, provided any inspections of the school bus determine that it is safe. A school bus may only receive one extension under this law. NJPSA supported this bill.
Supplemental Appropriation of Military Impact Aid
P.L. 2022, c.22 (S-1929 Gopal/Pennacchio) Signed into law by the Governor on 6/30/2022, this new law makes a supplemental appropriation of $1,135,749 to the fiscal year 2022 stabilization aid line item to provide state military impact aid to certain districts and in certain amounts as defined by the bill. It is estimated that this supplemental appropriation would provide the Rockaway Township School District and the Tinton Falls School District with military impact aid in the amounts of $320,582 and $815,167, respectively. NJPSA supported this bill.
CTE Project Grants for County Vocational Schools
P.L.2022, c.64 (A-4225 / S-2831 Jaffer / Conaway / Calabrese / Gopal / Greenstein) – Signed into law by the Governor on 7/5/2022, this new law appropriates a total of $36,960,028 from the “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund.” Under the bill, project grants will be awarded for career and technical education expansion in the State’s county vocational school districts. Project grants are to be awarded in the amounts as follows: (1) $5,895,488 to the Burlington County Institute of Technology for a project at the district’s campus in Medford, Burlington County; (2) $10,416,657 to the Burlington County Institute of Technology for a project at the district’s campus in Westampton, Burlington County; (3) $14,450,859 to the Cape May County Technical High School District in Cape May County; (4) $3,750,000 to the Hunterdon County Vocational School District in Hunterdon County; (5) $197,024 to the Passaic County Vocational School District in Passaic County; and (6) $2,250,000 to the Salem County Vocational Technical School District in Salem County. NJPSA was Neutral on this bill.
Sales Tax Holiday for “Back to School” Supplies
P.L. 2022, c.21 (S-2914 Madden / Gopal) – Signed into law by the Governor on 6/30/2022, this new law establishes an annual “back-to-school” sales tax holiday during the ten-day period up to and including Labor Day. During this ten-day period, certain retail sales of school supplies and equipment and sport or recreational equipment sold to an individual purchaser for non-business use are exempt from the sales and use tax. In 2022, the proposed sales tax holiday will run from Saturday, August 27 through Monday, September 5. Under the new law, tax exempt school supplies and equipment during the holiday include: (1) school supplies, such as pens and pencils, notebooks, and binders; (2) school art supplies, such as paints and paintbrushes, clay, and glazes; (3) school instructional materials, such as maps, globes, reference books, and workbooks; (4) computers (with a sales price of less than $3,000 per item); and (5) school computer supplies, such as computer storage equipment, printers, and personal digital assistants, with a sales price of less than $1,000 per item. Retail sales of computers and school computer supplies with a sales price greater than or equal to $3,000 remain subject to tax during the holiday. The new law also exempts sport or recreational equipment from the sale and use tax during the holiday. These products include, but are not limited to, ballet and tap shoes, baseball and hockey gloves, cleated or spiked athletic shoes, mouth guards, roller and ice skates, and sports and motorcycle helmets. NJPSA was Neutral on this bill.
Makes Certain Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund Appropriations
P.L.2022, c.18 (S-2944/A-4162 Sarlo / Ruiz / Freiman / Mosquera / Jaffer) – Signed into law by the Governor on 6/30/2022, this new law adds $5.150 billion from the General Fund to the “New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund,” and appropriates a total of $2.9 billion from the fund to the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA), $814 million to the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJT) and $230 million to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The fund was established in 2021 for the purpose of: retiring and defeasing State debt, including general obligation bonds and appropriations-backed bonds, and the costs thereof; and funding capital projects on a pay-as-you-go basis, rather than issuing additional State debt.
Specific Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund Appropriations
The specific appropriations in the bill are intended to support various school and transportation capital projects. Of the $1.9 billion appropriated to the SDA, $1.550 billion is appropriated for school facilities projects, emergent needs, and capital maintenance in SDA districts and $350 million is allocated for such projects in non-SDA school districts. The $814 million appropriated to NJT is allocated for capital improvements and maintenance at various NJT facilities. The $230 million appropriated to the DOT allocated to support the design and construction of multiple projects supported by the Lincoln Tunnel Access Program, the reconstruction of the I-295 Direct Connect Wall, and the engineering design of capital projects identified by the DOT Commissioner that are subject to the multi-project solicitation initiated by the DOT and the Federal Highway Administration.
Future Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund Appropriations
The bill authorizes balances remaining the fund, including amounts previously credited to the fund by P.L.2021, c.125, to be appropriated for the purpose of retiring and defeasing State debt and funding capital projects on a pay-as-you-go basis rather than issuing additional State debt.
The bill also establishes a process by which the Executive and Legislative branches of State government will determine future appropriations from the fund for capital projects. The bill requires the Joint Budget Oversight Committee (JBOC) to meet at least once each calendar quarter to consider appropriations for capital projects on lists provided by the State Treasurer. JBOC may appropriate funding for all, some, or none of the projects recommended by the State Treasurer. If JBOC fails to meet during a given calendar quarter, any recommendation submitted to JBOC more than 45 days prior to the last day of the calendar quarter is deemed approved. NJPSA was Neutral on this bill.
Bills that are on Governor Murphy’s Desk, Awaiting his Action
The following bills were passed by both houses and sent to Governor Murphy for his consideration. NJPSA will closely monitor the track of these bills and will keep you updated as they become law. These bills are “on the Governor’s desk”, and awaiting his action:
S2765/A-4075/A-3229 (Beach / Ruiz/ Moen/ Lampitt) – Requires public schools to develop threat assessment teams. Passed by the Assembly (78-0-0), Passed Senate (40-0) on 6/29/22. Currently awaiting Governor’s Action.
A2365 / S-1928 (Danielsen / Giblin / Jaffer / Gopal / Ruiz) – Requires school food authorities to engage in public education campaigns and develop promotional materials to educate parents and guardians of students about existing and expanding school meals program options. Passed by the Senate (40-0), Passed Assembly (76-2-0) on 6/29/2022. Currently awaiting Governor’s Action.
A-2368 / S-1677 (Coughlin / Lampitt / Jasey / Ruiz / Vitale) – Requires schools to provide free school breakfasts and lunches to students from working class, middle-income families; designated as “Working Class Families’ Anti-Hunger Act.” Passed by the Senate (39-0), Passed Assembly (73-5-0) on 6/29/22. Currently awaiting Governor’s Action.
A-3149 / S-438 (McKeon / Dancer / Benson / Smith / Codey) – Changes entity responsible for management of NJ School of Conservation to nonprofit organization, and directs DOE to request funding for center annually. Passed by the Assembly (79-0-0) on 5/26/22, Passed Senate (Passed Both Houses) (40-0) on 6/29/22. Currently awaiting Governor’s Action.
A-4224 / S-2830 (Mosquera / Freiman / Jasey / Greenstein / Beach) – Provides project grants under “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical education at county colleges; appropriates $19,993,837. Passed by the Assembly (76-0-1) 0n 6/16/22, Passed Senate (Passed Both Houses) (40-0) on 6/29/22. Currently awaiting Governor’s Action.
S-896 / A-677 / A-3562 (Turner / Greenstein / Verrelli / Jasey / Benson / Caputo) – Prohibits State Board of Education from requiring completion of performance-based assessment as condition of eligibility for certificate of eligibility with advanced standing or certificate of eligibility. Passed by the Assembly (78-0-0), Passed Senate (40-0) on 6/29/22.Currently awaiting Governor’s Action.
If you have questions about these, or any other legislative matters, please contact Director of Government Relations Debbie Bradley firstname.lastname@example.org or Assistant Director of Government Relations Jennie Lamon at email@example.com at any time. To view the full text of any of the bills listed above, please visit the New Jersey Legislature’s website. Thank you for your continued support and advocacy, and for all that you do.