Volume 9 Issue 10

  • Gov. Conditionally Vetoes Dark Money Bill
  • Good News - State Revenue Projections are Up
  • Murphy Administration Boosts State’s Rainy Day Fund
  • Gov. Signs Bill Expanding Rights of Sexual Abuse Victims
  • Gov. Signs Legislation on E-Scooters & Bikes

Gov. Conditionally Vetoes Dark Money Bill

Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed a much anticipated bill aimed at tackling the issue of dark money in politics. The Governor believed the bill fell short of its transparency goals and remained full of significant loopholes. The legislation would have required independent expenditure groups, including 501(c)4 organizations, to disclose their donors and would bar elected officials from running such entities. As part of the conditional veto, Governor Murphy proposed changes that would extend pay-to-play and disclosure requirements to recipients of tax incentives and to limit disclosure only to 501(c)4 organizations that were engaged in electioneering activity.

 

Good News - State Revenue Projections are Up

Both the Treasurer and Legislature reported that tax collections for Fiscal Year 2019 will significantly exceed previous estimates, though they differ on the exact amount. The nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) expects the state’s tax collections to exceed projections by $533 million, while the Treasurer’s office is estimating the revenue will beat projects by $705 million. Both OLS and the Treasury Department attribute this increase to late-in-the-year income tax collections. The better than expected revenue is coming from increases in the collection of corporate business taxes, inheritance taxes, and sales tax.

 

Murphy Administration Boosts State’s Rainy Day Fund

Thanks to strong tax returns in April, Governor Murphy Announced plans to deposit more than $250 million into the Surplus Revenue Fund this year. The rainy day fund is available for state officials to utilize under certain circumstances, such as a recession. The Rainy Day Fund has been empty since 2008 when the State used over $737 million during the 2007-08 recession. “… it has been far too long since New Jersey’s rainy day fund has seen any deposits,” State Treasurer Liz Muoio said in a statement. “Now for the first time in over a decade, we are going to be making a deposit in our rainy day fund, which as sat completely dry since the Great Recession.”

 

Gov. Signs Bill Expanding Rights of Sexual Abuse Victims

This week, Governor Murphy signed historic legislation extending the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse.  Under current law, survivors have two years to sue from the time they realize the abuse has damaged them.  The new law will allow victims of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit against their perpetrators and the institutions that protected them through the age of 55. Once 55, victims would have seven years from the time they realize the abuse has damaged them to file suit.  The legislation also makes it easier for victims to prove negligence against charitable organizations and ends immunity for government officials overseeing those accused of abuse. “We know entirely too much today about the suppression of childhood trauma to be able to morally hold their justice to the same legal limitations as a victim of robbery,” said Senator Joe Vitale, the bill’s primary sponsor. “The standard statute of limitations, is simply, painfully inadequate.”

 

Gov. Signs Legislation on E-Scooters & Bikes

Governor Murphy signed legislation authorizing the use of low speed electric scooters and e-bikes this week. The bill, S-731, requires motorized scooters and e-bikes capable of traveling up to 20 miles per hour be regulated similarly to regular bicycles. This allows e-bikes and motorized scooters to operate on streets, highways, and bicycle paths throughout the state, and does not require operators to have a driver’s license, provide proof of insurance, or register the bike or scooter. The law is aimed at encouraging the use and expansion of e-bike and motorized scooter sharing platforms that have become popular over the last year or two in cities across the country.  Senators Linda Greenstein and Shirley Turner and Assemblymen Raj Mukherji and Jamel Holley sponsored the legislation.