Public Administration

Law to Allow 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primaries Passes Both Houses – The New Voter Empowerment Act, A3690, which would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will turn 18 by the following general election, passed both the Assembly and Senate on Dec. 21. The bill aims to get young people involved in democracy, as people who participate at a young age tend to continue to engage. It also gives young people able to vote in a general election the chance to weigh in on who the nominee should be. There are similar laws in 19 other states and Washington, D.C. The bill would not go into effect until after presidential and gubernatorial elections in 2024 and 2025. The bill now awaits Gov. Murphy’s signature. (

Newark Weighs Suffrage for Minors in School Board Elections – Newark would become the first municipality in NJ to allow voting for 16- and 17-year-olds in school board elections if the City Council approves a proposed ordinance on Jan. 10, 2024. The measure aims to boost Newark’s low voter turnout rates and empower young people who already have adult concerns. Though statewide legislation has been introduced to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in district elections if the districts approve it, the American Civil Liberties Union says this type of legislation is not necessary, as there is nothing in the state constitution to prohibit minors from voting. (

Deadline to Apply for Property Tax Relief through ANCHOR Dec. 29 – NJ property owners must apply for tax relief through the ANCHOR program by Dec. 29, either online or by mail, postmarked by the deadline. As of Dec. 7, 1.6 million NJ residents have received nearly $2 billion in payments. (

NJ Enforces Credit Card Surcharge Violations – The NJ Division of Consumer Affairs cited 30 businesses for the violation of new consumer protection laws which require disclosure when businesses charge a credit card processing fee, prohibit surcharges larger than the transaction fee, and require businesses to accept cash payments. Cited businesses face penalties ranging from $500 to $4,000. (

Senate Passes Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights – The Senate voted on Dec. 21 to approve S723, which establishes in NJ a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights to extend rights to privacy, wages, and working conditions to domestic workers. The bill would end loopholes excluding domestic workers from minimum wage and anti-discrimination protections, prohibit non-compete agreements which bar workers from seeking similar work from a different employer for a period of time, mandate breaks and days off, increase penalties for unsafe working conditions, and prevent employers from keeping copies of workers’ documents and filming them in private spaces and situations. The Assembly approved an earlier version of the bill last October, but it is not clear whether the body will pass this bill before the end of the lame-duck session. (NJ Monitor)



Bill Advances to Require 50 Practice Hours for Young Potential Drivers – A new bill would require learner’s permit holders under 21 to log 50 hours of driving practice – including 10 hours of nighttime driving – before becoming eligible for a license. The Senate Community Development and Affairs Committee unanimously supported the bill, and it passed the Senate on Dec. 21. Currently, NJ only requires 16-year-olds seeking a special learner’s permit to complete six hours of behind-the-wheel training; it does not require practice hours for any others who plan to take a road test. Forty-seven other U.S. states already have similar laws, and Partners for Practice Hours, led by the AAA Clubs of New Jersey and other organizations advocating for traffic safety, support this legislation. A3793 must now pass the Assembly and garner Gov. Murphy’s signature before the legislative session ends on Jan. 9, 2024. (NJ Monitor;


Critics Say Legislation to Overhaul NJ Affordable Housing System Rushed – Legislators unveiled a new plan to overhaul the NJ affordable housing system and address a 200,000-unit affordable housing shortage on Dec. 18, just two days before a committee hearing in the Assembly to discuss the bill. The legislation would eliminate the state’s Council on Affordable Housing, an agency declared “moribund” in 2015, and give further regulatory powers to the Department of Community Affairs, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and the courts, which have held regulatory power since the 2015 declaration. New regional special masters would determine affordable housing needs in north, central, and south Jersey, and municipalities – still able to determine their own affordable housing needs – would be required to consider the special masters’ findings. The bill would also create an Affordable Housing Dispute Resolution Program to allow residents to challenge their municipality’s affordable housing plan if they believe it does not meet requirements. 

Some have expressed frustration with the last-minute release of the legislation, days before the committee meeting and a few weeks ahead of the end of the legislative session, which will prevent public hearings on an important issue. The release also comes just a few months before municipalities’ deadline to fulfill fourth-quarter affordable housing obligations. Other critics expressed concern that the plan might produce unintended consequences, such as a strain on existing transportation and energy infrastructure. The bill passed the Assembly housing committee on Wednesday but must still gain approval from a Senate committee and both full legislative bodies. Gov. Murphy is expected to sign the bill if it reaches his desk before Jan. 9. (NJ Monitor; NJ Monitor)


Strike Concludes at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – After ratifying a new three-year contract, nurses at the Robert Wood Johnson University in New Brunswick ended their strike, which started on Aug. 4. The agreement offers nurses salary increases, a cap on insurance costs, and solutions to low nurse-to-patient ratios, including staffing standards and a collaborative process to address staffing issues. The strike cost the hospital $120 million in hiring replacement nurses and brought attention to the issue of safe staffing standards in NJ. (NJ Spotlight News)



New Rules to Require Disclosure of Property Flood Risks – The Department of Environmental Protection published new rules on Dec. 21 which require landlords and property owners to notify potential buyers and tenants of flood risks to their properties. The DEP also published an online tool to help NJ residents assess whether a property is in a floodplain. This rule comes out of flood-risk disclosure legislation signed by Gov. Murphy in June, which seeks to address the high levels of flood risk to many properties in the state: nearly 100,000 properties are estimated to be at substantial risk of flooding by 2030, according to a DEP report. The new disclosure forms will be effective starting March 20, 2024. (NJ Spotlight News)


Advocates Push to End Neighborhood Schools Mandate – Representatives of a coalition which has sued the state of NJ over high rates of school segregation met with lawmakers in a Dec. 15 mediation session, a convening of the Joint Committee on Public Schools. The representatives asked for the end of a requirement that students attend public schools in their neighborhoods. This mandate has meant that school segregation reproduces residential segregation. Possible solutions include school choice and magnet schools across district lines, merging school districts, funding a school-funding formula, producing more mixed-income housing, universal preschool, and ending zero-tolerance disciplinary policies. (NJ Spotlight News)

Grief Education Bill Sent to Gov. Murphy – The Assembly passed S3330, already approved by the Senate in May, on Dec. 21. If signed by Gov. Murphy, the legislation would include grief instruction for students in health education in eighth grade or later, addressing a youth mental health crisis and the prevalence of young people who have lost immediate family members, particularly from the Covid-19 pandemic. The legislation also seeks to provide NJ students with a more holistic education, and sponsors believe this law would be the first of its kind in the nation. (


Final Legislative Actions


Bill No. Bill Title


Pass A4752 Promotes small business Internet presence. 12/21/23
Pass A5179 “Fire Life Safety Damper and Smoke Control System Inspection Verification Act”; Requires routine maintenance and periodic testing of smoke dampers, fire dampers, and smoke control systems in certain buildings by qualified personnel. 12/21/23
Pass A5225 Provides for coverage of community-based palliative care benefits under Medicaid. 12/21/23
Enroll S539 Permits online purchase of eligible foods using WIC funds and use of WIC funds for grocery delivery charges. 12/21/23
Enroll A1704 Requires domestic violence orders to be issued in other languages in addition to English under certain circumstances. 12/21/23
Enroll A1581 Requires the Motor Vehicle Commission to provide customer service telephone number at motor vehicle inspection facilities. 12/21/23
Enroll S762 Concerns certification of tax collectors. 12/21/23
Enroll S652 Permits the governing body of municipalities having a population of 30,000 or less to serve as local board of health; validates certain actions. 12/21/23
Enroll A1570 Authorizes the issuance of special license plates for alumni of four-year public institutions of higher education. 12/21/23
Enroll A2040 Requires the Commissioner of Human Services to request authorization for SNAP benefits to be used to pay delivery charges for online grocery purchases. 12/21/23
Enroll S530 Requires certain school meal information be provided to public school students’ parents and requires school districts to request that families apply for school meals under certain circumstances. 12/21/23
Enroll S765 Prohibits a carrier from precluding a dentist from billing a covered person under certain circumstances. 12/21/23
Enroll A831 Provides for reciprocity of certain out-of-State Emergency Medical Technician certifications; establishes a criminal history record background check process. 12/21/23
Enroll A1507 Permits chair or booth rentals for the purpose of providing cosmetology and hairstyling services or ancillary services. 12/21/23
Enroll A111 Provides that farm, farmstand, or other agricultural operation selling firewood obtained from property other than the seller’s shall not be considered a lumber yard; prohibits sale of untreated firewood from outside of State. 12/21/23
Enroll A2146 Creates a State business assistance program to establish contracting agency procurement goals for socially and economically disadvantaged business enterprises. 12/21/23
Enroll A2138 Establishes a professional board to regulate home improvement and home elevation contractors and requires licensure for each type of contractor. 12/21/23
Enroll A2351 Permits the court to effectuate equitable distribution when a complaint for divorce or dissolution of civil union has been filed and either party has died prior to final judgment; provides that the surviving party would not receive intestate or elective share. 12/21/23
Enroll S1892 Authorizes certain boards of education to issue bonds to repair damages caused by natural disasters in certain circumstances. 12/21/23
Enroll A3677 Prohibits the sale, distribution, import, export or propagation of certain invasive species without a permit from the Department of Agriculture; establishes NJ Invasive Species Council. 12/21/23
Enroll A3690 “New Voter Empowerment Act”; permits 17-year-olds to vote in primary election if they turn 18 years old before the next succeeding general election. 12/21/23
Enroll A3737 Establishes a menstrual health public awareness campaign. 12/21/23
Enroll A3892 Requires an online option for the cancellation of automatic renewal of health club services subscriptions entered into online; provides additional options for canceling health club services contracts under certain circumstances. 12/21/23
Enroll S2535 Requires health benefits coverage of hearing aids and cochlear implants for insured people aged 21 or younger. 12/21/23
Enroll A4052 Establishes a three-year sickle cell disease pilot program; appropriates $10,200,000. 12/21/23
Enroll S2716 Requires NJ FamilyCare to reimburse claims for covered services submitted by clinical social workers, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists under certain circumstances. 12/21/23
Enroll S2764 Establishes the “VETeach Pilot Program” in the Department of Education to facilitate teacher certification of veterans. 12/21/23
Enroll S2760 Concerns structural integrity regulations for certain residential buildings. 12/21/23
Enroll A4125 Prohibits the sale, manufacture, distribution, and use of firefighting foam containing intentionally added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances; requires the Department of Environmental Protection to establish collection and disposal program; appropriates $250,000. 12/21/23
Enroll S2789 Requires certain permit holders to complete practice driving hours to obtain probationary driver’s license. 12/21/23
Enroll S3011 Concerns the use of ignition interlock devices for drunk driving offenses. 12/21/23
Enroll A4614 Modifies the Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program. 12/21/23
Enroll S3123 Revises the goal for annual capacity of solar energy projects to be approved under the Community Solar Energy Program; allows certain customers to self-attest their income for program participation; allows information disclosure of customers participating in the program. 12/21/23
Enroll A4757 Requires the Department of Community Affairs to conduct surveys and report data related to homelessness in administering the Rental Assistance Navigation Program. 12/21/23
Enroll A4729 Revises the method for appraisals of farmland to be acquired for farmland preservation purposes. 12/21/23
Enroll A4821 Directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to take certain actions concerning the identification and testing of microplastics in drinking water and requires the DEP and Board of Public Utilities to study and promote the use of microplastics removal technologies. 12/21/23
Enroll S3330 Requires school districts to provide instruction on grief as part of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. 12/21/23
Enroll A4913 Requires carriers to offer health care providers more than one method of payment for reimbursement. 12/21/23
Enroll S3490 Amends certain requirements for the installation of electric vehicle supply equipment and Make-Ready parking spaces. 12/21/23
Enroll S3604 Authorizes the use of healthcare platforms providing discounted prices for payment of prescription and non-prescription drugs or devices and for telehealth and telemedicine services. 12/21/23
Enroll S3632 Requires the labeling of non-flushable disposable wipes. 12/21/23
Enroll A5283 Requires the calculation of the national average time needed to approve applications for initial credentials in a profession or occupation and the use of average time as standard in New Jersey. 12/21/23
Enroll S3723 “Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Battery Management Act.” 12/21/23
Enroll A5417 Prohibits limiting the number of county college credits that may be applied towards an educator preparation program and teacher certification requirements. 12/21/23
Enroll A5416 Requires the State Board of Education to authorize an alternate route to expedite teacher certification of persons employed as paraprofessionals in school districts. 12/21/23
Enroll A5501 Adjusts the bid threshold amounts for certain public research universities; permits certain contracts for school districts, municipalities, and counties to be awarded by a qualified purchasing agent. 12/21/23
Enroll A5549 Extends eligibility for certain individuals for emergency assistance. 12/21/23
Enroll S3916 Expands eligibility for wildlife fencing programs to farmers leasing farmland; clarifies eligibility and provides for uniform funding levels for grant recipients. 12/21/23
Enroll AJR230 Recognizes the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. 12/21/23
Enroll A5610 Revises penalties for possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by underage persons. 12/21/23
Enroll S3957 Expands exemptions from drug paraphernalia laws to also exempt certain harm reduction supplies. 12/21/23
Enroll S3969 Allows for credit against contract cost for primary care services managed by health care providers for public employees and their dependents; allows referrals to other providers that have a contractual relationship with such health care providers. 12/21/23
Enroll A5757 Extends certain pay parity regarding telemedicine and telehealth for one year. 12/21/23
Enroll S4081 Allows the board of county commissioners to hold an annual meeting at certain additional locations other than the Superior Court. 12/21/23
Enroll A5813 Exempts electricity sold to certain recovered materials manufacturing facilities from renewable energy portfolio standards. 12/21/23

Enroll = passed by both houses, sent to the governor for signature.