New State Laws Go into Effect Jan. 1, 2024 – Various new laws signed by Gov. Murphy take effect Jan. 1:
- The temporary corporate business tax surcharge will expire, which will result in the loss of $300 million in revenue this fiscal year and up to $1 billion the following.
- Twenty-six thousand more low-income seniors will become eligible for Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled and Senior Gold programs, which help seniors and disabled people pay for prescriptions. The law expands income eligibility to include those who make 400% of the federal poverty line.
- New Jersey will institute a licensing process for police officers, which includes a psychological examination and continued training throughout the officer’s career, making it the 47th state to do so.
- Survivors of stalking and cyber-bullying by people who are not the survivor’s spouse, family member, or dating partner may now request a court-ordered restraining order.
- State-regulated medical insurance carriers and public employee plans must limit out-of-pocket costs of epinephrine auto-injector devices, insulin, and asthma inhalers.
- Drivers with autism may request a sticker to be placed on their Driver’s Licenses to inform a police officer of their disability if they are pulled over to mitigate misunderstandings. (NJ.com)
NJ Minimum Wage Increases to $15.13 Jan. 1, 2024 – Gov. Murphy signed a law in 2019 which has incrementally raised the state’s minimum wage from $8.60/hour in 2018 to $15/hour. Gov. Murphy campaigned on a platform to raise the minimum wage, finding support in union workers. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, the new minimum wage will be $15.13, slightly above $15 due to inflation, placing NJ among a handful of states which have reached this milestone. The wage will continue to increase based on the Consumer Price Index, though Gov. Murphy has stated he is open to further increases. The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25/hour. Some workers are exempt from the general minimum wage requirements, but each group experienced an increase from the prior year. (NJ.com)
|Exceptional worker type
|Hourly minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2024
|Seasonal and small business employees
|$13.73; must reach $15 by 2026
|Hourly or piece-rate agricultural employees
|$12.81; must reach $15 by 2027
|Direct staff at long-term care facilities
|$5.26; must meet minimum wage with tips
Buses Leave Asylum Seekers at NJ Train Stations to Thwart NYC Restrictions – In response to a large influx of immigrants arriving by bus from the U.S.-Mexico border to New York City shelters, NYC Mayor Eric Adams has imposed restrictions on the number of and hours buses may arrive to the city. Some buses have delivered immigrants to NJ transit centers to thwart these restrictions. The Jersey City X, formerly known as Twitter, account reported ten buses arriving from Texas and Louisiana which left a total of 397 migrants at NJ Transit stations so they may continue their journey to NYC. Municipal leaders have criticized Mayor Adams for his stringent requirements; the mayor’s office stated they coordinated with nearby municipalities before imposing the restrictions. (Source: NJ.com)
Uncertainty Around New Brewery Restrictions – A new law which would restrict brewery activity should go into effect on Jan. 1, but potential delays have caused uncertainty for brewery owners. The new rules were set to start in July 2022, but Gov. Murphy and the legislature have remained at an impasse on how to implement the law, causing delays. The restrictions would cap private and public events, prevent coordination with food trucks, restrict brewery food and coffee sales, and require breweries to provide a tour before serving alcohol. Brewery owners have been demanding relief from the new regulations which they say will hamper business growth, but Gov. Murphy recently conditionally vetoed legislation that would ease restrictions on Nov. 27. Now, breweries demand clarity on whether the new rules will go into effect so that they may plan for the upcoming year. (NJ Spotlight News; NJBiz)
Bill to Count Potholes Passes Senate and Prompts Data Release – S2491, which would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to count potholes and publish the results in its annual online pavement conditions report, passed the Senate on Dec. 21 and awaits review in the Assembly. The current reports only cover highways, which account for 10% of roads and 40% of traffic, but not roads managed by municipalities. NJ’s ranking as the ninth-worst state for potholes in a May 2023 study motivated the legislation. Though the bill remains pending, its proposal prompted the DOT to release on Dec. 5, 2023 three years of backlogged pavement conditions reports which show improved conditions on highways. (NJ.com)
Highway Tolls Rise Statewide in 2024 – Drivers across the state should see toll increases on roadways starting in the new year, with the exception of a 3% NJ Turnpike hike vetoed by Gov. Murphy on Oct. 26, 2023 and the 13th year of toll hike delays by the Delaware River Turnpike Authority. Tolls will rise on the Atlantic City Expressway by 3% on Jan. 1, 2024. Changes on toll bridges operated by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission include a Jan. 1 phasing out of a discount for commuters who cross bridges at least 16 times a month, first instituted in 2002, as well as Jan. 7 toll hikes of 25 cents for E-ZPass users and trailer vehicles. The approved $9.3 billion budget for the Port Authority of NY and NJ allows for inflationary toll hikes starting on Jan. 7, including a 63-cent bridge-and-tunnel toll hike and a 25-cent air train fare hike. (NJ.com)
Comments Open for Congestion Pricing to Manhattan – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority opened a form on Dec. 28, 2023 for public comment on the controversial congestion pricing policy which would charge drivers for entering Manhattan below 60th Street. The public must submit comments by March 11 and may also attend any of four public hearings on the issue scheduled for Feb. 29 at 6 p.m., March 1 at 10 a.m., and March 4 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The MTA board voted on Dec. 6 to preliminarily approve the policy, which would charge E-ZPass users $15 and other drivers $22.50 once a day, provide a $5 credit to those entering by the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, offer a 75% discount on weekday nights between 9 p.m. and 5 p.m. and on weekends, and exempt commuter buses. The revenue should raise $1 billion annually for capital improvements for MTA systems. (NJ.com)