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Norcross Bill Requiring Future Public Employees To Live In NJ Moves Closer To Becoming Law

Measure Creating Searchable Database for Public Bidding Opportunities Also Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to require future public employees to live in New Jersey moved closer today to becoming law.

The full Senate gave final approval to the legislation, following technical changes recommended by the Governor and passed by the upper house last month. The bill (S-1730) needs a final vote in the Assembly before it is signed into law.

“While I believe all public workers should live and pay taxes in New Jersey, this legislation was carefully crafted to ensure that no one experiences undue hardship,” said Senator Norcross. “This bill simply requires us, going forward, to make a concerted effort to support our own residents in their attempt to obtain employment. Given the talented pool of workers living here in New Jersey, we should have no problem finding qualified applicants for our public positions.”

The “New Jersey First Act,” approved in the Senate today by a vote of 29-6, would require all newly hired public employees to live in New Jersey or to move to the state within one year of taking a position. Employees living over state lines prior to the effective date of the legislation would be exempt from the residency requirement. New employees who are unable to comply could appeal their cases to a panel created to decide on exemptions on the basis of critical need or hardship. The bill would also provide flexibility to institutions of higher education to ensure they are able to compete with similarly situated colleges and universities in other states.

The measure cleared both houses in December. The Senate last month approved technical changes sought by the Governor to make the effective date the first day of the fourth month after enactment and to add two members to the hardship panel, making it a five-member committee.

The Senate also approved the Governor’s recommended changes to a bill (S-2065) sponsored by Senator Norcross that would create “Bulletin NJ,” a one-stop source for contractors looking for public bidding opportunities. The measure would create a searchable Internet database providing up-to-date information on requests for proposals or other government procurement opportunities. The changes approved today included provisions adding school bidding opportunities to the database, and moving the effective date of the bill to March 1, 2012.

The legislation passed the Legislature unanimously in January. It needs a final vote in each house before heading back to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

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