2021 NEW JERSEY LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR

SENATE SCHEDULE FOR MARCH 2021:

THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2021:

10:00 a.m. – Committees at the Call of the Senate President

12:00 p.m. – Quorum Call

 

MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2021:

10:00 a.m. – Committees at the Call of the Senate President

12:00 p.m. – Quorum Call

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 25, 2021:

*1:00 p.m. – Voting Session

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE FOR MAY 2021 THROUGH JUNE 2021:

May 5 – Committees: Group A / Quorum / Group B

May 12 – Committees: Group C / Quorum / Group D

May 17 – Committees at the Call of the Speaker / Quorum

May 20 – Voting Session

June 2 – Committees: Group A / Quorum / Group B

June 9 – Committees: Group C / Quorum / Group D

June 14 – Committees at the Call of the Speaker / Quorum

June 16 – Committees at the Call of the Speaker / Quorum

June 21 – Voting Session

June 24 – Voting Session

June 28 – Voting Session

June 29 – Voting Session

June 30 – Voting Session

FISCAL YEAR 2022 BUDGET ADDRESS

On February 22, 2021, Governor Murphy presented his budget for Fiscal Year 2022 to the Legislature. The Governor proposed a $44.8 billion dollar budget with no increase in taxes. The spending proposal assumes 2.4 percent growth in total revenue and includes a surplus of $2.19 billion, just under five percent of budgeted appropriations. It calls for a $6.4 billion payment to the public employee pension fund, the first full payment into the fund since 1996.The Legislature will begin its review of the Governor’s proposed budget in March. Both houses must pass the budget and the Governor must sign it by July 1, 2021.

DIRECT RELIEF

The proposed FY2022 budget includes $319 million in direct tax relief for middle-class families, which will provide up to a $500 rebate to over 760,000 couples and individuals with qualified dependents. The budget also includes $1.25 billion in funding to support various property tax relief programs. Additionally, it includes funding to expand the Veterans’ Property Tax Deduction to those who served in peacetime; to make the Child and Dependent Care Credit refundable and expand eligibility to families making up to $150,000 and expands eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit to roughly 70,000 senior citizens without dependents.

HEALTHCARE

The proposed budget contains several healthcare related initiatives including an additional $25 million in NJ Health Plan Savings subsidies; launching the “Cover All Kids” initiative with the ultimate goal of ensuring affordable, accessible health coverage is available to nearly 88,000 children without coverage; raising the income threshold by $10,000 for the Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled and Senior Gold programs; $19 million to support the new Reproductive Health Care Fund, which will cover costs for contraceptive, prenatal, labor, and delivery care for those without access to medical assistance; $19.5 million for Family Planning Services, $8.5 million to expand Medicaid coverage for 365 days postpartum and $2 million to create a new pilot program to support rental assistance for expecting mothers.

 EDUCATION

The proposed budget includes an increase of over $700 in education aid for New Jersey’s school districts, including an increase in funding for Pre-K programs. It allocates $50 million to fund The Garden State Guarantee, which provides two years of free tuition at four-year institutions for students with household incomes of less than $65,000, invests $27 million in the Community College Opportunity Grant program, which provides tuition-free community college for eligible students, an increase in funding for the Educational Opportunity Fund of $2.8 million and an increase in aid to community colleges of $5 million.

GROWING THE ECONOMY

The proposed budget also includes a new multi-departmental economic growth initiative, a roughly $200 million investment, that will boost economic recovery in New Jersey communities, provide access to capital for minority-owned businesses, and help government support sustainable economic growth.

It includes $20 million for the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Down Payment Assistance program, providing nearly 2,000 mortgages for first time homebuyers.

 

 

2021 New Jersey Legislative Calendar

The legislative branch in New Jersey consists of two houses: the Senate and the General Assembly. It is the job of these legislators to enact laws by passing bills through both houses and obtaining approval by the governor. The legislature may also propose amendments to the New Jersey Constitution to be voted on by each house and appear on the ballot in November for public vote. The legislature typically meets every Monday and Thursday. During these sessions, bills are introduced and the president of the Senate or the speaker of the General Assembly refers the bill to a committee for review. Throughout the rest of the week, committee meetings and public hearings are held to consider the bill or report the bill with amendments. The bill is eventually read a second and third time before going through both house votes and governor approval before becoming law.

In the upcoming legislative sessions, there are designated days for voting sessions (see below). These voting sessions and any committee meetings are open to the public with no advance arrangements necessary to gain admission. If you are passionate about an issue, plan your visit to a voting session. Every house committee has a schedule for when their bills will be up for vote. Find the committee schedules here. While a member of the public is unable to contribute their opinion at this time, it’s still a great opportunity to see New Jersey legislation in action and stay up-to-date on the issues you’re passionate about.

UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS:

Monday, February 22, 2021       

Assembly Group C and D Committees; Quorum

 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021       

Senate Voting Session

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 

Assembly, Committees at Call of the Speaker; Quorum

 

Monday, March 1, 2021              

Assembly, Voting Session

 

Thursday, March 4, 2021            

Senate Committees at Call of Senate President; Quorum

 

Monday, March 8, 2021              

Assembly Group A and B Committees; Quorum

 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021              

Senate Committees at Call of Senate President; Quorum

 

Thursday, March 11, 2021          

Senate Committees at Call of Senate President; Quorum

 

Monday, March 15, 2021            

Assembly Group C and D Committees; Quorum

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021     

Assembly, Committees at Call of the Speaker; Quorum

 

Thursday, March 18, 2021          

Senate Voting Session

 

Thursday, March 25, 2021          

Assembly Voting Session

Team Member Spotlight: Matt Halpin

PSI Partner Matt Halpin was named Outstanding Executive Director-Organizational Development of the NJ Academy of Ophthalmology by the National Academy of Ophthalmology. Congratulations Matt!

New Jersey Lobbyist and Marijuana Industry Spending Breaks Record

New Jersey’s largest teacher union, an issue advocacy group, and a health insurance firm has helped break the record of lobbyist spending above $100 million in 2019. According to the annual report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), overall lobbying expenditures grew $8.4 million from the previous year (a 9.1 percent jump). The top three spending groups consisted of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), New Direction NJ Corporation, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey – combined these three spent $10.2 million more in 2019 than the previous year. 

NJEA represents about 200,000 teachers and other school works and it increased it’s spending in 2019 by 1,187 percent. In 2018, they spent $484,740 and in 2019, they spend $6.2 million. During the last legislative session, they showed an interest in 350 different bills, which included school funding, pension and health benefits, arbitration, school meals, sick leave, and programs to help deaf students.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey spent $1.4 million in 2019, a 234 percent jump from the previous year. Part of these funds supported Move Health Care Forward NJ Inc.’s campaign seeking support for legislation that would let the state’s largest health insurer modernize its corporate structure. 

Another player among the top spenders was the marijuana industry. 2019 was a big year for cannabis legislation in New Jersey. Several marijuana issues were pending before the Legislature last year, resulting in lobbying expenses shooting up 32 percent from $1.4 million to $1.9 million. Since marijuana interests have come to fruition in New Jersey over the past few years, about $3.8 million has been spent on issues including medical marijuana expansion, decriminalization of marijuana use, and legalization of recreational marijuana use. Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director, predicts even higher spending this year due to the referendum – lawmaker’s decision to allow voters to decide on the issue of recreational marijuana legalization this fall. Brindle projects upwards of $10 million in spending.

A big reason why overall expenditures grew so much in 2019 was due to $13.6 million spent on communications – the third biggest total ever for this category. Lobbyists today are allotting more resources on the airwaves and the Internet to spread their message and mobilize grassroots support.

Find out how New Jersey lobbyists can benefit your organization. See what Public Strategies Impact in Trenton, New Jersey has to offer.

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Address Recap

On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy delivered his third budget address at the statehouse in Trenton. Fiscal year 2021’s budget was built around the slogan: “Building On Our Progress”, to highlight the plans for continuing the progress that the Administration has made for the past two years. The budget features plans for maintaining fiscal responsibility, improving affordability and stabilizing property taxes, growing the economy, and investing in New Jersey’s future. Here’s a recap of what you need to know about Governor Murphy’s budget for each of these subjects:

Maintaining fiscal responsibility

In 2021’s budget plan, maintaining fiscal responsibility involves building up New Jersey’s surplus, doing more for the pension system, pursuing savings opportunities, and reducing non-recurring revenues. 

  • The budget includes a deposit into the Surplus Revenue Fund, with projected surplus totaling $1.6 billion. 
  • Governor Murphy also proposed making a $4.6 billion pension payment, a nearly 13 percent increase over 2020’s budget. 
  • Murphy included nearly $400 million in departmental savings and $174 million in health benefits savings.
  • The plan reduces non-recurring resources to 0.8 percent of the budget.

Improving affordability and stabilizing property taxes

The new budget plans to continue to tackle New Jersey’s property taxes by providing additional funding for public education, lowering the cost of health care, and applying the millionaire’s tax.

  • Strengthening public education, expanding pre-K education, and transforming higher education are all featured in 2021’s budget. It includes an additional $336.5 million for K-12 education formula aid and $50 million in Stabilization Aid. Murphy proposes an additional $83 million in new spending to expand pre-K education. As for higher education, the Garden State Guarantee is introduced in this budget. This would add over $50 million of new funds to the outcomes-based funding formula so that four-year public colleges and universities can provide two years of free tuition to students with household incomes of less than $65,000
  • The budget funds the Governor’s new Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency, which is aimed to help consumers and create health care savings. Murphy also proposed creating a state-level health insurer assessment to reclaim revenue previously sent to the federal government. 
  • The Governor proposes applying the millionaire’s tax enacted in FY2019 to all income above $1 million, not just income over $5 million.

Growing the economy

The Governor’s budget makes new investments in workforce development, NJ TRANSIT, and water infrastructure.

  • The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will allocate over $20 million to advance Murphy’s Jobs NJ plan. This plan is aimed at both expanding opportunities for career seekers and ensuring that employers have access to the talent they require.
  • The plan will fast track NJ TRANSIT improvements with a General Fund subsidy of approximately $600 million. This will support the agency’s daily operations and allow for enhancements, new hiring, and a Battery Electric Bus program to advance clean energy goals. 
  • The budget proposes an $80 million appropriation to the Drinking Water Program to ensure safe and modern water infrastructure.

Investing in New Jersey’s future

The budget plans to invest in New Jersey’s future by supporting working families, continuing to fight the opioid epidemic, and criminal justice reform.

  • The budget proposes nearly $20 million for family planning services and advances the First Lady’s Nurture NJ program to reduce maternal mortality rate and ensure equitable maternal and infant care.
  • The Governor is staying consistent with a $100 million commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic through carefully designed programs and data-driven analysis.
  • The budget aims to reform New Jersey’s criminal justice system. It includes almost $30 million in implementation funds for Earn Your Way Out and Hepatitis C treatment. It also includes funds for transitional housing and job training 

Stay up-to-date with important New Jersey legislation and government news by signing up for our email alerts!

Team Member Spotlight: Roger Bodman

Roger Bodman

Roger Bodman

Roger Bodman is the founder and managing partner at Public Strategies Impact. With over 35 years of experience and knowledge in politics and government, Roger is widely respected in New Jersey. Throughout his career, Roger has been a frequent political commentator for NJTV and News 12 NJ.

Roger grew up in Bernardsville, New Jersey and graduated cum laude from Ohio University in 1974 with a degree in political science.

After graduation, Roger first got involved in New Jersey politics when he was hired as a driver for Millicent Fenwick’s campaign for Congress. He then went on to serve as district office manager for Fenwick and as chief of staff for former New Jersey Congressman James Courter. 

In 1981, Roger was selected as manager of Tom Kean’s campaign for governor. After Governor Kean’s victory, Roger was named to two cabinet posts. As the State Commissioner of Labor, he implemented extensive legislative reforms of the unemployment insurance program. At 29 years old, he was the youngest New Jersey Department of Labor Commissioner. As Commissioner, Roger was responsible for, among other things, maintaining safety standards at working places and administering unemployment insurance and vocational training programs. Later, as the State Commissioner of Transportation, he was the chief advisor to the governor on transportation matters. 

In 1987, Roger was appointed by Governor Tom Kean to chair the Study Commission on Regulatory Efficiency, where he received an Eagle Award from the Alliance for Action. Roger is also a visiting professor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. He co-taught an undergraduate political campaigning course for 20 years. 

Most recently, Roger has co-chaired a super PAC to help Tom Kean, Jr. win a congressional seat in New Jersey’s 7th district. He formed the Perfect Together PAC based on Kean’s catchphrase “New Jersey and You: Perfect Together” to promote tourism in the state.

In his free time, Roger enjoys golf, boating, and restoring old vehicles. 

Learn more about Roger Bodman and the Public Strategies Impact team here.

2020 New Jersey Legislative Calendar

The legislative branch in New Jersey consists of two houses: the Senate and the General Assembly. It is the job of these legislators to enact laws by passing bills through both houses and obtaining approval by the governor. The legislature may also propose amendments to the New Jersey Constitution to be voted on by each house and appear on the ballot in November for public vote. The legislature typically meets every Monday and Thursday. During these sessions, bills are introduced and the president of the Senate or the speaker of the General Assembly refers the bill to a committee for review. Throughout the rest of the week, committee meetings and public hearings are held to consider the bill or report the bill with amendments. The bill is eventually read a second and third time before going through both house votes and governor approval before becoming law. 

In the upcoming legislative sessions, there are designated days for voting sessions (see below). These voting sessions and any committee meetings are open to the public with no advance arrangements necessary to gain admission. If you are passionate about an issue, plan your visit to a voting session. Every house committee has a schedule for when their bills will be up for vote. Find the committee schedules here. While a member of the public is unable to contribute their opinion at this time, it’s still a great opportunity to see New Jersey legislation in action and stay up-to-date on the issues you’re passionate about.

Upcoming legislative sessions

January 23, 2020
New Jersey Law Revision Commission Meeting 10:00 a.m.
Commission Offices, 153 Halsey St., 7th Floor, Newark, NJ

January 27, 2020
Senate Quorum 12:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Assembly Quorum Assembly Chambers

January 30, 2020
Senate Quorum 12:00 p.m. Senate Chambers

February 3, 2020
Senate Quorum Senate Chambers
Assembly Quorum Assembly Chambers

February 10, 2020
Senate Session 2:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Voting Session

February 13, 2020
Senate Quorum 12:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Assembly Quorum Assembly Chambers

February 24, 2020
Senate Quorum 12:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Assembly Session Assembly Chambers
Voting Session

March 5, 2020
Senate Session 2:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Voting Session
Assembly Quorum Assembly Chambers

March 16, 2020
Senate Quorum 12:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Assembly Quorum Assembly Chambers

March 19, 2020
Senate Quorum 12:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Assembly Quorum Assembly Chambers

March 26, 2020
Senate Session 2:00 p.m. Senate Chambers
Voting Session
Assembly Session Assembly Chambers
Voting Session

At Public Strategies Impact, we offer legislative advocacy services to help our clients reach their objectives and goals, whether that’s seeking new legislation, stopping harmful legislation, or amending existing legislation. We develop the best possible strategy to raise awareness of our client’s agenda in the government. Learn more about how Public Strategies Impact can help you here.

2020 Laws Impacting New Jersey Families

With 2020 being an election year, the New Jersey legislature has a busy year ahead. Many of the issues they will be voting on this year won’t take effect until 2021 or later. During that time, it is easy to forget what our lawmakers have decided and how it will impact us and our communities. Here are a few of the laws taking effect in 2020. 

Paid Family Leave

One of the laws passed that will take effect in 2020 is an expansion of paid family leave for everyone in the state. This law will increase the length of consecutive weeks of leave from six to 12, as well as increase the benefits individuals can receive, increase the total amount of days for intermittent leave, protect employees from retaliation, and expand leave to cover the fallout of domestic or sexual violence. The aim of the law is to strengthen and support working families, and it works in partnership with increasing the earned sick leave and minimum wage. 

Marijuana

Medical marijuana also became more accessible for patients across the state. The A-20 bill expands the list of medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana, raises the monthly limit to three ounces, protects patients from employer retaliation, introduces reciprocity with other states, eliminates sales tax over three years, as well as other enhancements.

The legalization of recreational marijana was one of Murphy’s campaign promises, but iti struggled to make it to the floor in 2019. The legislature did come to an agreement to include the issue on the ballot in November of 2020. This will allow the public to weigh in on the decision and allow the legislature to make a decision they know is backed by their constituency. 

Right-to-die Law

The “right-to-die” law allows patients who have a terminal illness that will result in their death within six months to petition their doctor for medication that will end their life peacefully. Patients will need to meet specific requirements, including proving they are making the decision of sound mind, and must be able to administer the drugs to themselves if permitted. This law aims to give dignity and the choice to avoid the often painful palliative or hospice care. 

Supporting Diversity

There are a number of laws going into effect in 2020 that help support minorities and marginalized individuals. This includes expanding discrimination laws to include natural hair or protective hairstyles, including the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals in history curriculums, and allowing transgener individuals to change their gender on their birth certificate. 

Many of these laws mentioned are going to directly impact your life or the life of someone you may know. To learn more about the laws passed in 2019, read our breakdown of the election results

PSI Team Featured in Top 100 Power Lists

This year has been a productive one for the team at Public Strategies Impact. We are proud to announce multiple members have been selected to be featured in New Jersey’s top 100 power lists including: the New Jersey Globe Power List, Insider NJ’s Insider 100, Senator Weinberg’s Women Power List, and Insider NJ’s Insider 100 LGBT Power List. See our featured team members below.

Roger Bodman
Roger Bodman
Roger Bodman, managing partner at PSI, was selected for the New Jersey Globe Power List. He has served in gubernatorial cabinet posts, guided presidential campaigns in New Jersey, and appeared as a political commentator on NJTV for more than 35 years. Early in his career, Roger was named to two cabinet posts: State Commissioner of Labor and later State Commissioner of Transportation. Roger is widely respected in the State of New Jersey for his depth of knowledge of state government and politics.

 

bill maer
Bill Maer
Bill Maer, senior partner, was selected for the New Jersey Globe Power List and Insider NJ’s Insider 100. As a top democratic strategist, he is a well-respected lobbyist and political operative with a career spanning more than 25 years. Over the years, he has served in several government positions and been a leading Democratic political consultant, having worked on dozens of campaigns at virtually every level of New Jersey politics.

 

joe simonetta
Joe Simonetta
Joe Simonetta was selected for Insider NJ’s Insider 100 LGBT. As a senior partner at PSI, Joe has specialized in association management, healthcare, professional services, arts, hospitality, and tourism for nearly 40 years. He is considered an expert in public policy and legislation and has earned the designation of Certified Association Executive, the highest certification in the association management field. Joe is well regarded and respected throughout Trenton and Washington, D.C.

 

brendan gill
Brendan Gill
Brendan Gill, PSI affiliate and president of the BGill Group, was selected for the New Jersey Globe Power List. Gill has more than 20 years of experience in campaign management, government, and public affairs. Most notably, he served as campaign manager for Governor Phil Murphy. He also ran two successful U.S. Senate campaigns for Senator Frank Lautenberg and Cory Booker.

 

tracie desarno
Tracie DeSarno
Tracie DeSarno was selected for Senator Weinberg’s Women Power List. As a partner at Public Strategies Impact, Tracie has spent more than 25 years specializing in healthcare, hospitals, utilities, and banking. She has more than 30 years of experience representing major corporations, institutions, associations, and multiple levels of government in Trenton and Washington.

Congratulations to our team! In the new year, we will continue to use our skills and knowledge spanning government, public and community relations, media, business, and more to serve our clients in the best possible way. Learn more about what our team has to offer.

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