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Moriarty to Introduce Legislation to Prohibit Lobbyists from Eligibility for State Pensions & Benefits

Participation of Non-Government Employees Puts Additional Strain on Broken Pension System

Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty on Thursday announced that he plans to introduce legislation to bar lobbyists from eligibility for taxpayer-funded pension and health benefits.

Because of a decades-old New Jersey law, lobbyists and other non-government employees have long been eligible for taxpayer-paid pensions and health benefits. In making workers in the private sector eligible for benefits at the taxpayers’ expense, the law allows for unwarranted strain on an already weak public pension system, Moriarty noted.

“The purpose of the pension system is to ensure a secure retirement for hard-working public employees – not line the pockets of lobbyists and union representatives,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Amending the law so that the public pension and benefits system aligns with its original intent is the right thing to do to restore the system’s integrity.”

The bill would prohibit officers and employees of several non-governmental agencies including the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Association of Counties and the New Jersey School Boards Association from being eligible for state pension or health care benefits. The measure also would apply to officers and employees of any school board insurance group, any county college joint insurance group, any county or municipal joint insurance fund and any corporation designated to manage a special improvement district established by municipal ordinance.

“New Jersey’s pension system is broken, and putting money in the hands of non-government employees who should have never been eligible to begin with isn’t the way to fix it,” said Moriarty. “None of the employees of these organizations actually work for the state of New Jersey.”

Additionally, the measure would prohibit any state employee from accruing pension credits while on unpaid leave working for a non-governmental organization. Through the years, there have been many examples of state or local employees that have gone on unpaid leave to work as full-time union officials while still receiving state pension credits. This bill would end that practice.