On March 19, the full Senate passed a series of emergency measures designed to provide relief to local districts during the current public health emergency.  The bills had previously been passed by the General Assembly on March 16.

A3840, A3848, A3849, A3850 and A3855 were signed by the governor on March 20.  The remaining bills, including A3813, remain under review.

The governor also signed into law A3852, which allows conduct of state business and legislative sessions at locations other than Trenton during periods of emergency.  The bill further allows conduct of legislative business using electronic means.

Another bill, A3847 (identical bill S2285) that provides paid leave without using accumulated leave time for local government employees under certain circumstances passed the Assembly but remains on second reading in the Senate.

Summaries of the legislation follow:

Hunger-Free Students Bill of Rights Act  A1104/S687 requires certain school meal information be provided to students’ parents; establishes protocols for identifying eligible students for meal programs; prohibits stigmatizing students with bill in arrears.

Virtual Instruction  A3813/S2292 permits use of virtual or remote instruction to meet minimum 180-day school year requirement under certain circumstances.

School Meals  A3840/S2281 requires school districts to provide school meals or meal vouchers to students eligible for free- and reduced-price school meals during school closures due to COVID-19 epidemic.

Access to Technology  A3842/S2282 establishes Bridging the Digital Divide in Schools Grant Program in the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to provide and expand access to technology and equipment for students in certain school districts.

Leave Time  A3848/S2301 concerns time off from work in connection with infectious disease.

OPRA Response  A3849/S2302 modifies deadline by which public agency is required to respond to request for government record during period of emergency.

Remote Meetings  A3850/S2294 allows public bodies to conduct meetings, and provide notice, by electronic means during periods of emergency.

Food Access Information  A3855 /S2287 requires food access information be displayed on websites of 2-1-1 system and executive branch departments during public health emergencies to the extent practical.

Broadband Access  AJR158/SJR77 urges FCC to take temporary measures to secure broadband access for those affected by COVID-19.