NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy has signed nine New Jersey bills into law to tackle the coronavirus crisis – some of which could provide a boost to businesses struggling amid the pandemic – and also deal with police reform.
New Jersey’s criminal justice system got a big shot in the arm after Murphy gave the thumbs-up to three new laws on Thursday.
Murphy signed three bills, including A744, which give police departments and other law enforcement agencies in New Jersey more power to check into an applicant’s past, including previous disciplinary issues. Read more: Gov. Murphy Signs Laws On Police Hiring, Services For Ex-Inmates
Murphy also signed these bills to deal with the coronavirus.
Boosting bars and restaurants
Murphy signed legislation, S-2346/A-3919, that’s intended to reduce “red tape” requirements for outdoor service for restaurants and bars and to help local business districts regain economic activity.
The legislation amends the Permit Extension Act to extend state, regional, county and municipal agency permits for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
Sen. Paul Sarlo said lawmakers are “trying to provide every means possible for restaurants, bars and breweries that would otherwise remain closed, to open and conduct business.”
“We should remove barriers to the reopening of restaurants and bars for outdoor service by reducing red tape and eliminating fees,” he said. “We also need to set dates for restarting indoor service and catering businesses so they can make the plans needed to emerge from the shutdown. Because catered events are planned in advance, they need to know when they can reopen.”
Testing and telehealth
Murphy signed a bill into law that ensures COVID-19 testing, telehealth and telemedicine coverage to remain in effect for 90 days after the declared state of emergency and public health emergency end.
Sponsors of the bill, Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez, D-Middlesex; Nancy Pinkin, D-Middlesex; and Roy Freiman, D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset, issued the following joint statement:
“As New Jersey gradually reopens, we are reminded that the novel coronavirus still poses a significant risk to public health. With that in mind, to mitigate future spread, the state’s strategy has been to look toward a ‘new normal,’ one that relies heavily on access to testing and remote delivery of healthcare.
“Prior legislation set out to make testing as well as telehealth and telemedicine universally accessible, but only accounted for its need during the period of declared emergency. This law takes a critical step to ensure testing and care can remain safe and affordable beyond this point. It functions to provide crucial time to assess the continuing role of policy in these areas.”
Protections for in-person graduations
Murphy signed legislation (A-4227) to ensure school districts and students in New Jersey are protected with proper liability insurance when they host graduation ceremonies.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said the state must ensure that graduating high school seniors continue to be covered under a school district’s liability insurance policy after June 30.
““We are experiencing unprecedented challenges as we live through the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Graduation is a rite of passage for high school seniors. We must put all possible safeguards in place so that students can safely celebrate a milestone they’ll remember forever.”
Murphy signed the following coronavirus bills into law:
A-3919/S-2346 w/GR (Calabrese, Spearman, Murphy/Sarlo, Sweeney, Singleton, Bucco) Extends certain permits, approvals, and deadlines during COVID-19 emergency
A-4227/S-2558 (Coughlin, Quijano, Wimberly/Diegnan) Ensures insurance coverage for certain persons attending school graduation exercises in July and August of 2020
A-4037/S-2433 (Houghtaling, Downey/Gopal) Requires electronic signature and submission process for all candidate, recall, initiative, and referendum petitions for remaining 2020 elections and thereafter during COVID-19 emergency
S-2355/A-3963 (Gopal, Bateman/Mukherji, Benson, DeAngelo) Delays mandatory retirement in SPRS when it would occur during period of state of emergency; extends eligibility for appointment as member of State Police and enrollment in SPRS for 160th Class of NJ State Police
A-3945/S-2430 (Murphy, Chaparro, Mukherji/Greenstein, Diegnan) Extends eligibility for accidental disability and accidental death benefits to certain PFRS, SPRS and PERS members who contract COVID-19 and test positive for SARS-CoV-2
S-2467/A-4215 (Pou, Addiego/Lopez, Pinkin, Freiman) Extends duration of certain laws pertaining to use of telemedicine and telehealth in relation to COVID-19 pandemic
Murphy also signed these bills into law:
S-2498/A-4298 (Greenstein, Codey/Moen, Carter, Lopez) Authorizes NJ Infrastructure Bank to expend certain sums to make loans for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2021
S-2499/A-4299 (Smith, Bateman/Meija, McKnight, McKeon) Appropriates funds to DEP for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2021
S-2527/A-2636 (Sweeney/Jasey, Wimberly, Chaparro) Concerns online marketing of affordable housing units
This article originally appeared on the Brick Patch