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Turner Bill To Keep Lotteries Working During Government Shutdown Clears Senate Committee

Legislation Mandates Certain Personnel Be Deemed Essential During Shutdown

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) that would deem lottery workers and other state personnel as essential during a state government shutdown was approved Thursday by the Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

“It is important that we take the preventative measures necessary to ensure any future shutdown of state government does not mean the loss of sorely needed revenues,” said Senator Turner. “Shutting down state government is a costly measure that we hope never occurs again. But we must be prepared to deal with one if it happens, and to ensure that such action causes the people of New Jersey as little hardship as possible.”

The legislation, S-1457, would clarify the authority of the Governor under the Emergency Management Act to determine that personnel critical to preserving and protecting the state’s financial assets and resources, and state revenue generating activities that are licensed by the state, are essential employees during an emergency that occurs when the state fails to meet its constitutional obligation to enact a state budget act for a fiscal year.

The legislation would include, among others, state lottery employees, and would ensure that state lotteries still occur during a state shutdown, which would prevent the state from a costly loss of revenue. The New Jersey Lottery sold $2.6 billion in tickets during fiscal year 2010. In 2006, state government was shut down for a period of several days, preventing the state from collecting nearly $2 million a day in state lottery revenues. Additionally, the bill would ensure that all tax liabilities that arise from state licensed activities would be appropriately collected and safeguarded.

“When the lottery shuts down, the impact is not just felt at a state fiscal level. It hurts places that sell lottery tickets, like small businesses and mom & pop stores. These are the places that keep our economy moving and we need to assist them in every way we can,” said Senator Turner.

The bill was released 3-1-1 and now moves to the Senate Budget Committee.

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