16 Dec: Norcross Bill To Create Pilot Program To Streamline County Elections Positions Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to create a pilot program in Camden and Morris counties designed to cut costs by allowing their governing bodies to streamline county elections positions has been approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

The bill (S-2455) would permit county freeholder boards in the pilot counties to suspend, by ordinance or resolution, the offices of superintendent and deputy superintendent of elections. If a freeholder board chooses to exercise this option, which would be available for three years following the bill’s enactment, the functions of both offices would be transferred to the county Board of Elections.

“This bill will give the freeholder boards the flexibility to streamline positions within county government while maintaining the integrity and oversight of the election process,” said Senator Norcross. “Moreover, it will help establish best practices for this type of consolidation going forward, as state and local governments continue to seek new and innovative ways to relieve the property-tax burden on our residents.”

26 Feb: Lesniak Bill Would Make Changes In Affordable Housing Laws

TRENTON – A bill (S-2485) sponsored by Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) that would exempt certain non-residential development projects from a 2.5 percent fee to fund affordable housing was approved 12-0 today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Current law imposes a 2.5 percent non-residential development fee on certain projects to provide funding for the construction of affordable housing. The bill would exempt projects from the fee through July 2010.

26 Jan: Lesniak Statement On Need To Reform COAH

TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, and Chairman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, issued the following statement before the Committee’s consideration of his bill, S-2485, which makes various reforms to the rules and mandates imposed by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). The bill was approved by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention:

“Our President Barack Obama, in his Inaugural address, said ‘What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.’

13 Jan: Lesniak Moratorium On Developers’ Fees Supported By Governor

TRENTON – In his State of the State message today, Gov. Jon S. Corzine called for changes in New Jersey’s affordable housing laws that are embodied in legislation proposed by Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), chairman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

“The Governor’s embrace of this critical first step in fixing our affordable housing initiative sends the right message to the business community,” Lesniak said. “We are looking to the private sector to come as good-faith partners in helping with the state’s economic recovery.”

23 Dec: Senator Lesniak’s Statement On COAH Reform Legislation

UNION — Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, chair of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, released the following statement regarding the current Council on Affordable Housing’s (COAH) mandates, and his legislation to address the short-comings in the current affordable housing law and regulations:

“I have proposed a bill (S 2485) which would fix the faults in the current COAH guidelines that are stifling job growth and economic development in New Jersey. The bill would suspend the 2.5% development fee strangling our economic recovery as well as direct the State Housing Commission to recommend sound planning and economic principles sorely lacking in the current COAH mandates and regulations.