Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Celeste Riley, John Burzichelli, Angel Fuentes and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson sponsored to require all future public employees to live in New Jersey was again approved Monday by the Assembly.
The New Jersey First Act (S-1730/A-2478) was approved 70-5-1 by the Assembly in December, but the governor conditionally vetoed it for two slight changes. The Senate approved the amended version incorporating the Governor’s recommendations in February. With the Assembly approving the amended version today, the bill now heads back to the Governor.
The bill requires all newly hired public employees to live in New Jersey or move to the state within a year of taking a position.
“This is a great step forward,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “After all, public workers whose salaries and benefits are paid-for by New Jersey taxpayers should be New Jersey taxpayers themselves.”
“We are a step closer to ensuring public workers in New Jersey live where they work,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “All public employees whose checks, health care, medical care and pensions are supported by New Jersey would have to call New Jersey home.”
“We are closer to ending 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 has sent the wrong message when government workers don’t live among the people they serve, but we are close to changing that image.”
“Ensuring every new public worker is also a resident of New Jersey ensures that we all have 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 five-member committee – rather than 3-member panel in the original bill – would review individual applications for exemption in cases involving extreme hardship or other unique circumstances.
Under the bill, a person may request an exemption on the basis of critical need or hardship from the three-member committee established by the bill, and the committee would not have to meet monthly. A hardship, for example, would include someone who needs to move elsewhere for protection against an abusive spouse.
The bill would take effect within four months, rather than immediately as was stated in the original bill.