TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) that would require all future public employees to live in New Jersey has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
“With this law we are simply saying that as matter of policy, when it comes to providing public employment opportunities in New Jersey, we are looking to put our own residents first,” said Senator Norcross. “This will help to support our workforce, while at the same time keeping our tax dollars in the state. This is not only sound public policy, but it makes good economic sense.”
The New Jersey First Act requires all newly hired public employees to live in New Jersey or to move to the state within one year of taking a position. This means employees must establish their principal residence in the state. Current employees living over state lines would be exempt from the residency requirement.
“By exempting current employees, we’ve ensured that no one will be unduly burdened by this residency requirement,” said Senator Norcross. “We’re merely saying that, going forward, if you want a taxpayer-funded job in New Jersey, you’ll have to live here, too. Given the level of talent that is right here in New Jersey, we should have no problem finding well-qualified workers to fill our public jobs.”
The law (S-1730) covers 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 are also subject to the law. Additionally, the law applies to employees working within the educational system. However, it provides some flexibility to institutions of higher education to ensure they are able to compete with similarly situated colleges and universities in other states. It also does not apply to individuals whose position requires them to spend the majority of their working hours out of state.
Under the law, public employees can apply to a five-member committee for an exemption from the residency requirement in cases involving extreme hardship or other unique circumstances.
The Senate gave final approval to the Legislation in March, by a vote of 29-6. The Assembly gave final approval to the bill earlier this month by a vote of 70-5-1. The law will take effect Sept. 1.