In Our Community

Assemblywoman Mosquera “Jake’s Law” Bill to Create Inclusive Playgrounds to Better Serve NJ Families with Disabilities Clears Senate

Bill A-2187 will make playgrounds in New Jersey
inclusive and capable of catering to children and
parents with different types of disabilities was
approved Thursday by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee.

These parks provide a fun and safe place for children with special needs to play and engage socially.
Building more of these parks not only provides these children with this wonderful opportunity, but can also help educate other children about acceptance and inclusion.

This bill would require the DCA to:

  • to propose rules and regulations within 180 days of the effective date of the bill and adopt rules and regulations within one year of the effective date of the bill.
  • commissioner would have to invite and receive recommendations for the adoption of rules and regulations from nonprofit organizations with a demonstrated expertise in the design and construction of inclusive playgrounds.

The bill would require that the DEP prioritize any application submitted by a county seeking to acquire or develop lands for recreational and conservation purposes using Green Acres funds. Additional prioritization would be given to applications submitted by counties that do not currently operate and maintain an inclusive playground, to ensure at least one such playground is operated and maintained.

The bill would take effect immediately and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill to Prevent Discrimination Against Cash Paying Consumers Passes the Assembly

Assemblyman Moriarty’s sponsored legislation, to protect cash-paying consumers from discrimination, passed the General Assembly with overwhelming support. This bill would make it illegal for stores in New Jersey to refuse cash payments for goods and services.

Across the country, there have been various efforts by businesses to convert to cashless storefronts. Visa has attempted to incentivize small business with $10,000 payments to persuade them to only accept credit cards. While food chains, including Starbucks and Shake Shack, have experimented with going cashless.

Assemblyman Moriarty believes that the move towards cashless retail would marginalize people that are poor, people that don’t have access to credit and young people that have not established credit yet. This measure is meant to keep New Jersey storefronts open to all consumers.

In this spirit, the bill (A-591) would require cash to be accepted for any in-person retail transaction conducted in New Jersey. This legislation would not apply to sales made over telephone, mail or the internet.

The bill is now heading to the Senate Commerce Committee and the full Senate for approval.   If passed, the legislation would take effect immediately upon being signed into law by the Governor.

Assemblyman Moriarty has been a tireless champion of consumers rights in the marketplace. This legislation joins other measures such as those to prevent energy slamming and the Fair Repair Act in this effort. By preventing storefronts from going cashless the Assemblyman’s bill will help to ensure fair treatment for cash using consumers.

 

Two of Senator Madden’s Child Safety Bills Clear the Senate

Two of Senator Madden’s bills drafted to protect our students in schools passed the full Senate on June 21.

S2713 would direct the Commissioner of Education to collect data on certain employee misconduct including the annual collection of data from each school district on the number of school employees who were disciplined, discharged, nonrenewed, asked to resign from employment, resigned from or otherwise separated from any employment while allegations of child abuse, sexual misconduct, or sexual or other harassment were pending or under investigation, or due to an adjudication or finding of child abuse, sexual misconduct, or sexual or other harassment. The bill also requires both public and private schools to review the employment history of prospective employees who will have regular contact with students.

S2715 would require the Attorney General, in consultation with the Commissioner of Education, to develop a protocol regarding the retention of video footage from school surveillance systems.

These bills were introduced after the Senate Education and Labor Committees met jointly in response to an undercover video that was released which depicted officials indicating that they would try to hide or bend the truth about a teacher abusing a student.

If passed by the Assembly and signed into law, these bills would be a big step forward in ensuring the safety of our children while they are at school. By requiring the Department of Education to collect data that would be used to assess potential employees and by retaining school surveillance footage, there will be an extra layer of protection and accountability in our schools.

S2713 and S2715 now head to the Assembly to be heard in committee.

 

 

 

 

Assemblyman Moriarty Bill Aimed at Incentivizing Media Production in New Jersey Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty entitled the ‘Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act’ was signed into law Tuesday.

The new law (A-1038) provides a credit against the corporation business tax and gross income tax for certain expenses incurred for the production of certain films and digital media content in New Jersey commencing on or after July 1, 2018 but before July 1, 2023.

A two percent tax credit also will be offered for qualified film production expenses and digital media content production expenses to productions that make significant efforts to increase diversity in hiring.

After the approval of an application sent to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury, taxpayers would be allowed a credit amount equal to 30 percent of the qualified film production expenses and 20 percent of the qualified digital media content production expenses.

“There are so many parts of our beautiful state which could be utilized for film, and so many of our residents who could contribute to these films,” said Moriarty. “This new law will put the infrastructure in place to realize these possibilities.”

If the expenses are incurred for services performed and/or personal property used or consumed in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, or Salem County, the allowable credit would increase to 35 percent and 25 percent respectively.

In order to claim the tax credit for qualified film production expenses, the following conditions must be met:

· at least 60 percent of the total film production expenses, exclusive of post-production costs are incurred in New Jersey, or the qualified production expenses exceed $1,000,000

· the film includes marketing materials promoting the state of New Jersey in the film and include an appropriate logo at the end of the credits denoting that the piece was filmed in New Jersey

· principal photography of the film commences within 180 days from the date of the application for the tax credit, or 150 days from the approval of the application

In order to claim the tax credit for qualified digital media content production expenses, the following conditions must be met:

· at least $2,000,000 of the total digital media content production expenses are incurred in New Jersey

· at least 50 percent of the qualified digital media content production expenses are for wages and salaries paid to full-time or full-time equivalent employees in New Jersey

Both applicants for the film production and digital media content tax credits must submit a tax credit verification report prepared by an independent certified public accountant licensed in New Jersey and comply with the withholding requirements provided for payments to loan out companies and independent contractors.

There is a limit of $75 million in tax credits that may be accumulated during each year of the five-year duration for film production expenses and $10 million for qualified digital media content.

The bill received final legislative approval by the full Assembly, 59-18, June 25.

Assemblyman Moriarty Bill to Create New Jersey Civic Information Consortium Approved by Assembly, Heads to Governor’s Desk

Legislation Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty sponsored to establish a New Jersey Civic Information Consortium was approved 52-22 Saturday by the full Assembly. The bill will now go to the Governor for further consideration.

The bill (A-3628) would establish the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium to advance research and innovation in media and technology to benefit the state’s civic life and evolving information needs. The consortium – comprised of Montclair State University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Rutgers University – would be established as an educational, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and would provide grants that support news and information in New Jersey.

“Sometimes all it takes for someone to become an active participant in improving his or her community is a news package that identifies a problem and sparks a passion for finding the solution, but if people don’t know what’s wrong, they can’t make it right,” said Moriarty. “Bolstering public-interest journalism, civic information and media innovation is about giving New Jersey residents the tools they need to get involved and change their communities for the better.”

The bill would require the consortium to report annually to the governor and the legislature on its activities and make the report available on its website. The report is to include, but not be limited to:
– a list of all grant applicants and approved grant applicants
– the grant amounts of approved grant applicants
– the amount of matching funds and types of in-kind contributions provided to approved grant applicants
– a status report on the activities funded by an approved grant applicant

The bill also would require the board to hold one public hearing annually in the northern, central and southern regions of the state to provide a forum for the board to report on how public funds are spent and gather public input on the consortium’s mission.

The consortium’s 13-member board would consist of the following members: two gubernatorial appointees; one member each appointed by the Senate president and the Assembly speaker; one appointment each, having a background in journalism, media or technology, by the president of each member university; and five members, appointed by a majority vote of the other eight appointed board members, of which one member is to represent the media sector, one member to represent the technology sector, one member to represent the nonprofit sector, and two members, not employed by the state or a member university at the time of their appointment, having demonstrated a record of commitment to public service and understanding the importance of media and technology to New Jersey’s future.

In addition, the governor’s two appointees may not be from the same political party; no more than three of the five members appointed by the presidents of member institutions of higher education can be from the same political party; and no more than two of the four members appointed by the other board members may represent the same political party.

The Senate passed the bill on June 25, 35-0.

Assemblyman Moriarty Bill Aimed at Incentivizing Media Production in New Jersey Clears Legislature

Legislation sponsored by Paul Moriarty entitled the ‘Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act’ received final legislative approval Thursday by the full Assembly, 59-18. It will now go to the Governor for further consideration.

The bill (A-1038) would provide a credit against the corporation business tax and gross income tax for certain expenses incurred for the production of certain films and digital media content in New Jersey commencing on or after July 1, 2018 but before July 1, 2023.

The bill originally received final legislative approval in April and was sent to the governor, but it was conditionally vetoed. The bill approved today concurs with the governor’s recommendations. Among the recommendations approved by the Assembly is one that offers a two percent tax credit for qualified film production expenses and digital media content production expenses to productions that make significant efforts to increase diversity in hiring.

After the approval of an application sent to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury, taxpayers would be allowed a credit amount equal to 30 percent of the qualified film production expenses and 20 percent of the qualified digital media content production expenses.

“There are so many parts of our beautiful state which could be utilized for film, and so many of our residents who could contribute to these films,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “What this bill does is put the infrastructure in place to realize these possibilities.”

If the expenses are incurred for services performed and/or personal property used or consumed in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, or Salem County, the allowable credit would increase to 35 percent and 25 percent respectively.

In order to claim the tax credit for qualified film production expenses, the following conditions must be met:

· at least 60 percent of the total film production expenses, exclusive of post-production costs are incurred in New Jersey, or the qualified production expenses exceed $1,000,000

· the film includes marketing materials promoting the state of New Jersey in the film and include an appropriate logo at the end of the credits denoting that the piece was filmed in New Jersey

· principal photography of the film commences within 180 days from the date of the application for the tax credit, or 150 days from the approval of the application

In order to claim the tax credit for qualified digital media content production expenses, the following conditions must be met:

· at least $2,000,000 of the total digital media content production expenses are incurred in New Jersey

· at least 50 percent of the qualified digital media content production expenses are for wages and salaries paid to full-time or full-time equivalent employees in New Jersey

Both applicants for the film production and digital media content tax credits must submit a tax credit verification report prepared by an independent certified public accountant licensed in New Jersey and comply with the withholding requirements provided for payments to loan out companies and independent contractors.

There is a limit of $75 million in tax credits that may be accumulated during each year of the five-year duration of the bill for film production expenses and $10 million for qualified digital media content.

The bill was advanced by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 5 and approved by the full Assembly April 12, 59-14.