Legislation requiring all future public employees to live in New Jersey has been signed into law. The New Jersey First Act, sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Celeste Riley, John Burzichelli, Angel Fuentes and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, was originally approved 70-5-1 by the Assembly in December, but the governor conditionally vetoed it for two slight changes. The legislature recently approved the amended version and sent it back to the Governor.
The new law requires all newly hired public employees to live in New Jersey or move to the state within a year of taking a position.
“This is a great step forward,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “After all, public workers whose salaries and benefits are paid-for by New Jersey taxpayers should be New Jersey taxpayers themselves.”
“This law will ensure that public workers in New Jersey live where they work,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “All public employees whose checks, health care, medical care and pensions are supported by New Jersey will have to call New Jersey home.”
“This law will help end the exportation of millions of tax dollars when that money can stay here and boost our own economy,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “It has sent the wrong message when government workers don’t live among the people they serve, but we are changing that image.”
“Ensuring every new public worker is also a resident of New Jersey ensures that we all have a vested interest in the success of our state,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “It makes sense for our communities and could potentially reduce commuting and increase our state’s revenues.”
“It’s reasonable to ask those who earn their pay and benefits from New Jersey taxpayers to also live in this state,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Public workers should be living and paying taxes in New Jersey.”
The law will cover all state, county and municipal employees as well as anyone working for political subdivisions of the state.
Employees of public authorities, boards, agencies and commissions will also be subject to the measure.
Additionally, the law covers all employees working within the educational system.
A five-member committee – rather than 3-member panel in the original bill – will review individual applications for exemption in cases involving extreme hardship or other unique circumstances.
Under the law, a person may request an exemption on the basis of critical need or hardship from the three-member committee established by the bill, and the committee would not have to meet monthly. A hardship, for example, includes someone who needs to move elsewhere for protection against an abusive spouse.
The law will take effect within four months, rather than immediately as was stated in the original bill. TLS.