Updated January 30
NJSBA’s Board of Directors recently adopted the NJSBA 2014-2015 Advocacy Agenda/Action Plan, which will serve as a template for legislative advocacy for the legislative session that runs from January 2014 through January 2016.
Gov. Chris Christie signed into law several other bills from the 2012-2013 legislative session that impact school districts. Additional measures that had been passed by the state legislature were left unsigned, and therefore, have been “pocket vetoed.”
The following bills have been enacted into law:
- A-4300 extends the timeline for performing certain budget-related tasks in school districts that have moved the annual school election to November. NJSBA strongly supported the legislation. As of January 30th, there are 508 school districts that have opted for November elections. See article: Law Extends Budget-Development Timeline
- S-1127 permits boards of education to adopt salary policies of up to five years in duration. Specifically, this new law allows a local board of education to adopt a salary policy of “one, two, three, four or five years.” Current law limits the maximum duration of such a policy to “one, two, or three” years. See article: Longer Contracts Permitted Under Newly Signed Law
- S-2442 requires that school districts screen children for dyslexia and other reading disabilities at an early age if they show signs of having a reading disability. See article: Dyslexia Bill Signed
- S-2086 extends the deadline for November school board candidacy and makes other important changes in the school election process. See article: Quick Action on School Election Bill
- A-735 permits a child who moves out of a school district due to a family crisis to remain enrolled in that district until the end of the school year.
- A-3019 authorizes public schools to serve to students certain produce grown in community gardens.
- A-3292 requires school districts to provide instruction on responsible use of social media for middle school students as part of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Technology.
- A-3362 exempts certain properties acquired by municipalities from county, school, and fire district taxes immediately upon acquisition.
- A-3398 allows nonpublic schools to participate in joint purchasing agreements entered into by two or more school districts.
- A-4072 establishes a pilot program in the New Jersey Department of Education to recruit, select, and train veterans for school security positions in school districts.
- S-1479 upgrades the crime of soliciting or recruiting for a criminal street gang while on school property.
- S-2367, the "Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act," provides student-athletes, parents, and coaches with information on sudden cardiac arrest and establishes a protocol concerning removal-from-play for athletes exhibiting symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest.
- A-1273 requires the State Health Benefits Plan and joint insurance funds to provide certain information to participating public employers.
- A-3270 requires the Commissioners of Education, and Labor and Workforce Development to study and report on the departments' efforts in providing students with information on employment in high-demand industries.
The measures below were “pocket-vetoed.” Under New Jersey law, bills passed in the last ten days of the legislative session that have been left unsigned by the governor are automatically vetoed.
- A-3691 required school buildings to be equipped with an emergency light and panic alarm linked to local law enforcement. Gov. Christie issued a statement explaining his reasons for not signing the bill and encouraged the bill sponsors to work with the state’s School Security Task Force, established in 2013, to address concerns about student security in a more comprehensive fashion.
- A-1588 required the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to establish procedures for the inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities, certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers.
- A-3559 required school bus drivers and aides to complete a training program on interacting with students with special needs.
- A-3686 permitted two or more candidates for seats on local school boards to circulate petitions jointly and be bracketed together on the ballot for same term.
- A-3783 concerned the disclosure and reimbursement procedures of board of education and municipal employee health care benefit contracts.
- S-64 established measures to deter steroid use among students.
- S-134 established the Office of Dropout Prevention and Reengagement of Out-of-School Youth in the New Jersey Department of Education, and the Student Dropout Prevention Task Force.