On July 1, two days after the legislature passed Chapter 78 relief, the governor signed it.  While the binding arbitration bill has passed both houses of the legislature, we are still waiting for the subcontracting bill to be reconciled between the houses and expect that to happen soon.  (One house includes four-year colleges, while the other doesn’t.). If you haven’t already, please thank the legislature for voting on the bills, and remind the Senate that they still have one more bill to pass: https://actioncenter.njea.org/thank-the-legislature/<https://webmail.njea.org/owa/redir.aspx?C=JdZeKB6uHZNHD9ydCYFZod7-P-Ur09vqSlVK8mi8gfMQb1Ks-CfYCA..&URL=https%3a%2f%2factioncenter.njea.org%2fthank-the-legislature%2f>

On the budget front, while the legislature passed a three-month extension to the budget, the state still faces unprecedented budget shortfalls.  The governor proposed a combination of bonding and borrowing from the federal government to the tune of almost $15 billion.  While the Assembly passed this bill at the start of June, the Senate wasn’t on board.  Senate President Sweeney and the administration finally reached a compromise of $9.9 billion, and today, the Senate Budget Committee released the agreed-to version of the bill from committee, which both houses will approve on Thursday.  You can read about it here: https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/07/first-detailed-look-at-murphys-revamped-10b-emergency-borrowing-bill/.  As the state faces uncertainty about revenue, this bill will help the state meet its obligations.

In other news, school re-opening is the topic as districts face decisions about the fall.  President Trump’s call to re-open schools is being rejected by some districts in the country: https://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2020/07/13/trumps-demand-that-schools-fully-reopen-spurned-by-big-districts-1300426.  Here in New Jersey, districts are supposed to have their plans ready a month before schools open.  But it is unclear what schools will look like, as John Mooney writes: https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/07/new-covid-19-concern-for-nj-schools-will-teachers-return-to-classrooms/.  And the governor’s recent comments seem to reveal that the DOE may be looking more closely at its dictate that schools should have some in-person instruction in the fall, as this comment from Friday’s briefing: https://twitter.com/CarlySitrin/status/1281648985699045376

Higher Education is facing the same dilemmas about reopening, and NJEA members Paul Belmonte (Union County College) and Michael Ferlise, (Hudson County College) testified about the issues facing our community colleges to the Assembly Higher Education Committee last week.  You can listen to them here, although they are close to the end of the hearing:  https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/mp.asp?M=V/2020/AHI/0709-0100PM-M0-1.mp4&S=2020

BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW

  *   A4132 – Concerns benefits provided to workers. (Monitor) (This was the furlough bill which, as amended by the legislature, applies to state employees, and no longer includes school employees.)

RESULTS FROM THURSDAY, JULY 9

  *   A3548 Requires health benefits coverage for adolescent depression screenings. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  *   A3605 Prohibits insurers, SHBP, and SEHBP from charging fee for paper bills and notices. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)

  *   A4295/S2518 – Delays physical examination requirement for certain student-athletes who participate in school-sponsored athletic activities during fall athletic season of 2020-2021 school year. (Monitor) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Assembly)
  *   AR149 – Urges President and Congress of United States to continue federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. (Support) (Reported out of committee, 2nd reading in Assembly)

RESULTS FROM TUESDAY, JULY 14

  *   A4175/S2697 – “New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act,” authorizes issuance of State bonds totaling up to $9.9 billion. (Support) (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate)

BILLS TO BE CONSIDERED THURSDAY, JULY 16

  *   A4175/S2697 – “New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act,” authorizes issuance of State bonds totaling up to $9.9 billion. (Reported out of committee with committee amendments, 2nd reading in Senate) (Support)

WHEN IS THE LEGISLATURE MEETING AGAIN?

  *   Wednesday, July 15 – Senate Law and Public Safety
  *   Thursday, July 16 – Assembly and Senate voting sessions; Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee
  *   Monday, July 20 – Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens and Environment and Energy Committees; Assembly Environment and Solid Waste and Judiciary Committees
  *   Wednesday, July 22 – Assembly Education Committee
  *   Thursday, July 23 – Assembly Quorum; Committees at the Call of the Speaker
  *   Thursday, July 30 – Assembly and Senate Voting Sessions
  *   Monday, August 10 Assembly Quorum; Committees at the Call of the Speaker
  *   Thursday, August 13 – Assembly Quorum; Committees at the Call of the Speaker
  *   Monday, August 24 – Assembly Quorum; Committees at the Call of the Speaker
  *   Monday, August 31 – Assembly Voting Session