Mazzeo & Lagana Bill to Help Keep Struggling Businesses from Closing, Relocating to Other States Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and Joe Lagana to better understand the reasons why businesses shutter or relocate to other states in order to keep businesses from ceasing operations in our state was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-4125) requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to conduct a survey of any employer, subject to notification requirements under P.L.2007, c.212 (C.34:21-1 et seq.) – commonly referred to as the State WARN Act – that terminates operations or transfers operations outside of this state regarding the reasons for that termination or transfer.

“While we have anecdotal information, we don’t have any concrete information that can help us help businesses that are struggling to make it in our state,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “These surveys can help us understand the issues facing our business community, and come up with solutions that will allow companies to flourish right here so they don’t have to take their business elsewhere.”

“When a business relocates, it means loss of revenue and loss of jobs, and we cannot afford that,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “There is little we can do when a business has already decided to close its doors or move to another state. But if we know why they failed or why they chose to relocate, we can put in place preventive measures to keep others from going the same route.”

The bill also requires employers that gave State WARN Act notifications between January 1, 2009 and the enactment of the bill, to respond to surveys from the commissioner who will also evaluate and report on these workplace terminations that occurred prior to enactment.

The bill directs the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to create an employer survey in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The survey must be available to employers in a written form and the employer responses to the survey must be in writing, or any other form that is conducive to obtaining results to the survey.

The bill also requires the commissioner to annually prepare a report to provide an analysis of the survey responses. For purposes of preparing the annual report, the commissioner must ensure the anonymity of any employer that provides responses to the survey. The annual report must be submitted to the governor and the Legislature and a link to a digital copy of the report must be prominently displayed on the department’s website.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee.