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Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Celeste Riley, John Burzichelli, Angel Fuentes and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson to require all future public employees to live in New Jersey was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The New Jersey First Act (A-2478/S1730) would require all newly hired public employees to live in New Jersey or move to the state within a year of taking a position.

“Public workers whose salaries and benefits are paid-for by New Jersey taxpayers should be New Jersey taxpayers themselves,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Public jobs should be reserved for residents who want to show by example that New Jersey truly is a great place to work, live and raise a family.”

“State workers in New Jersey should live where they work – and this legislation would make it the law for future workers employed by the state to also be state taxpayers and residents,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This bill would ensure that all public employees whose checks, health care, medical care and pensions are supported by New Jersey would also have the added benefit of calling New Jersey home.”

“We can no longer tolerate the exportation of millions of tax dollars when that money can stay here and boost our own economy,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “It sends the wrong message when workers charged with overseeing the operation of government don’t live among the people they serve.”

“By ensuring every new public worker is also a resident of New Jersey we are making sure that we all share a vested interest in the success of our state,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “It makes sense for our communities and could potentially reduce commuting and increase our state’s revenues.”

“It’s reasonable to ask those who earn their pay and benefits from New Jersey taxpayers to also live in this state,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Public workers should be living and paying taxes in New Jersey.”

The measure would cover all state, county and municipal employees as well as anyone working for political subdivisions of the state. Employees of public authorities, boards, agencies and commissions would also be subject to the measure. Additionally, the bill would cover all employees working within the educational system. A three-member committee, with one person each appointed by the Governor, Senate President and Assembly Speaker, would review individual applications for exemption in cases involving extreme hardship or other unique circumstances.

The bill was released by the Assembly State Government Committee.