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Establishing the Council on Local Mandates

FROM NEW JERSEY PERMANENT STATUTES

TITLE 52 STATE GOVERNMENT, DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICERS

SUBTITLE 2A
LOCAL MANDATES

CHAPTER 13H
LOCAL MANDATES

52:13H-1. Findings, declarations relative to State-imposed mandates

1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. at the November 1995 general election, the people of this State approved an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution providing that, in certain cases, new statutes and new administrative rules and regulations promulgated by State agencies shall not impose unfunded mandates on counties, municipalities or school districts;

b. the purpose of this constitutional provision is to prevent the State government from requiring units of local government to implement additional or expanded activities without providing funding for those activities;

c. the long-standing, prior practice of State-imposed, unfunded mandates has contributed to the rise in local property taxes which has increasingly burdened New Jersey's property owners;

d. the constitutional amendment also directs the Legislature to create a Council on Local Mandates to resolve disputes regarding whether a law or a rule or regulation, covered by the amendment, constitutes an unfunded State mandate; and

e. it is, therefore, the purpose of this act to effectuate the will of the people of this State and to fulfill the Legislature's responsibility to establish the Council on Local Mandates.

L.1996,c.24,s.1.

52:13H-2   Unfunded mandate; mandatory status ceased, expiration

2. Except as provided in section 3 of this act, any provision of a law enacted on or after January 17, 1996, or any part of a rule or regulation originally adopted after July 1, 1996 pursuant to a law regardless of when that law was enacted, which is determined in accordance with the provisions of this act to be an unfunded mandate upon boards of education, counties, municipalities, or fire districts designated by municipal ordinance, because it does not authorize resources to offset the additional direct expenditures required for the implementation of the law or the rule or regulation, shall cease to be mandatory in its effect and shall expire.  A law or a rule or regulation which is determined to be an unfunded mandate shall not be considered to establish a standard of care for the purpose of civil liability.

 L.1996, c.24, s.2; amended 2010, c.106, s.2.

52:13H-2.1. Reimbursement by State for cost incurred for certain military leave.

4. In accordance with the provisions of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 5 of the New Jersey Constitution, upon application for reimbursement by a county or municipal governing body or a board of education to the State Treasurer for reimbursement and approval of the application by the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting, reimbursement shall be made by the State for any costs incurred as a result of the provisions of P.L.2001, c.351.

L.2001,c.351,s.4.

52:13H-3. Laws, rules, regulations, not unfunded mandates

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, the following categories of laws and rules or regulations shall not be unfunded mandates:

a. those which are required to comply with federal laws or rules or to meet eligibility standards for federal entitlements;

b. those which are imposed on both government and non-government entities in the same or substantially similar circumstances;

c. those which repeal, revise or ease an existing requirement or mandate or which reapportion the costs of activities between boards of education, counties, and municipalities;

d. those which stem from failure to comply with previously enacted laws or rules or regulations issued pursuant to a law;

e. those which implement the provisions of the New Jersey Constitution; and

f. laws which are enacted after a public hearing, held after public notice that unfunded mandates will be considered, for which a fiscal analysis is available at the time of the public hearing and which, in addition to complying with all other constitutional requirements with regard to the enactment of laws, are passed by 3/4 affirmative vote of the members of each House of the Legislature.

L.1996,c.24,s.3.

52:13H-4. Council on Local Mandates created

4. Pursuant to Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 5(b) of the New Jersey Constitution, there is created a Council on Local Mandates. The council shall consist of nine public members. The Governor shall appoint four members, at least two of whom shall be appointed from a list of six willing nominees submitted by the chair of the State committee of the political party the gubernatorial candidate of which received the second largest number of votes cast in the most recent general election for Governor. The President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, the Minority Leader of the General Assembly and the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court shall each appoint one member.

L.1996,c.24,s.4.

52:13H-5. Member qualifications

5. A member of the council shall be a citizen of the United States and a resident of New Jersey at the time of appointment and while serving on the council. Each appointee shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the official making the appointment that the appointee possesses knowledge of, and familiarity with, the legislative process, the regulatory functions of the Executive Branch, or the procedures and operations of counties, municipalities or school districts; except that in the case of a person appointed by the Governor from a list of six willing nominees submitted by the chair of the State committee of the political party the gubernatorial candidate of which received the second largest number of votes cast in the most recent general election for Governor the appointee shall demonstrate such knowledge and familiarity to the satisfaction of that chair.

L.1996,c.24,s.5.

52:13H-6. Members' selection; terms

6. a. Within 30 days of the effective date of this act, the chair of the State committee of the political party the gubernatorial candidate of which received the second largest number of votes cast in the most recent general election for Governor shall submit to the Governor a list of names of six nominees willing to serve on the council. Within 45 days of the effective date, the Governor shall appoint four members of the council, two of whom shall be selected from that list. The terms of the members initially appointed by the Governor shall expire on February 1, 1999. Thereafter, members appointed by the Governor shall serve terms of four years beginning on the expiration date of the prior members' terms and ending on February 1st four years later. At least 45 days prior to the expiration of the term of the gubernatorial appointees, the chair of the State committee of the political party the gubernatorial candidate of which received the second largest number of votes cast in the most recent general election for Governor shall submit a list of names of six nominees willing to serve on the council. Two of the four members appointed by the Governor shall be selected from that list.

b. Within 45 days of the effective date of this act, the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly and the Minority Leader of the General Assembly shall each appoint one member of the council. The terms of the members initially appointed by these officials shall expire on February 1, 1998. Thereafter, such members shall serve terms of two years beginning on the expiration date of the preceding members' terms and ending on February 1st two years later.

c. Within 45 days of the effective date of this act, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court shall appoint one member of the council. The term of the member initially appointed by the Chief Justice shall expire on February 1, 2001. Thereafter, the member appointed by the Chief Justice shall serve a term of five years beginning on the expiration of the preceding member's term and ending on February 1st five years later.

d. A member of the council shall not continue to serve in a hold-over capacity upon the expiration of the member's term. The officials responsible for making appointments to the council pursuant to this section shall do so in a timely manner in order to ensure that vacancies do not occur when terms expire.

L.1996,c.24,s.6.

52:13H-7. Vacancies

7. A vacancy in the membership of the council shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made, but for the unexpired term only. When a vacancy occurs among one of the gubernatorial appointees who is a member of the same political party as the Governor then in office, the Governor shall appoint a replacement of the Governor's choice. When a vacancy occurs among one of the gubernatorial appointees who is a member of a political party which is different from that of the Governor, the Governor shall appoint a replacement from a list of three nominees submitted by the chair of the State committee of that political party.

L.1996,c.24,s.7.

52:13H-8. Monetary compensation

8. A member of the council shall receive compensation in the amount of $150 per day for each day that the member attends a meeting of the council and shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of the member's duties.

L.1996,c.24,s.8.

NOTE:  P.L.2010,c.35, the Annual Appropriations Act overrode this section of law and capped the monthly compensation of the members of the Council and several other entities at $100 per month.

52:13H-9. Organization of council

9. The council shall organize as soon as possible after the appointment of its members. The first chair of the council shall be appointed by the Governor from among the members thereof. At the first meeting of the council held after February 1st in each subsequent year, the members shall choose one of their number to serve as chair of the council. While any one of the council's nine members may be chosen by the Governor as the council's first chair, subsequent chairs shall be chosen by the members in a manner which ensures that the chair rotates annually among the legislative, gubernatorial and judicial appointees. At least five members of the council shall be present in order for the council to conduct its business. A ruling of the council shall require at least five votes.

L.1996,c.24,s.9.

52:13H-10. Council plan, rules, staffing

10. The council shall establish, and revise from time to time, a plan for its organization and may incur expenses within the limits of funds available to it. The council may adopt rules governing its procedures. The council shall employ such clerical and secretarial staff as it deems necessary. In addition, each member of the council may employ one professional employee who shall directly serve the member for a period not to exceed one year. Upon completion of one year of service a professional employee shall not again be employed in that capacity by any member of the council. Professional employees of the council shall be deemed confidential employees for purposes of the "New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act," P.L.1941, c.100 (C.34:13A-1 et seq.). Employees and members of the council shall be enrolled in the Public Employees' Retirement System, except that no person who has been granted a pension or retirement allowance for any cause other than vesting or deferred retirement under any pension fund or retirement system established under any law of this State prior to commencing service as an employee or member of the council shall be eligible on the basis of that service for enrollment or membership in the Public Employees' Retirement System. The council may employ legal counsel, on a temporary basis, to represent it in any proceeding to which it is a party. The council may contract for the services of other professional, technical and operational personnel and consultants as may be necessary for the performance of its responsibilities under this act. The council may employ operational and administrative personnel, including an administrator and coordinator, who shall serve at the pleasure of the council; provided, however, that no individual shall hold the position of administrator and coordinator for longer than two years without being reappointed by the council. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as authorizing the council to employ an executive director, director, or any other employee, except as specifically provided by this section.

L.1996,c.24,s.10. Amended by L.1997, c.209; L.1999, c.65, s.1.

52:13H-11. Conflicts law, code of ethics; public employment restricted

11. The members and employees of the council shall be subject to the provisions of the "New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law," P.L.1971, c.182 (C.52:13D-12 et seq.), except that in addition to the requirements of that act, a member of the council, while serving on the council, shall not hold any other State or local office or employment or hold any State or local elective public office and shall not, for a period of two years thereafter, hold any State or local elective public office or hold any office or employment with a county, municipality or school district which filed a complaint with the council, or with a State agency that promulgated a rule or regulation which was the subject of a complaint filed with the council, while the member served on the council. The council shall adopt a code of ethics to govern the conduct of its members and employees.  The State Ethics Commission shall have jurisdiction to consider complaints regarding violations of P.L.1971, c.182 (C.52:13D-12 et seq.) or of the code of ethics or of this section by any member or employee of the council and for a violation of the restriction on holding office or employment after serving on the council occurring after the effective date of P.L. 2005, c.382, the commission shall impose a civil penalty of not less than $500 nor more than $10,000, which penalty may be collected in a summary proceeding pursuant to the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L. 1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

 Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as prohibiting a member of the council from serving as a member of a study commission or similar advisory body for which service no compensation is authorized or provided by law other than reimbursement of expenses.

L.1996,c.24, s.11.  Amended by L.1999, c.65, s.2; L. 2005, c.382, s.12, eff. March 15, 2006.

52:13H-12. Duties of council

12. a. It shall be the duty of the council to review, and issue rulings upon, complaints filed with the council by or on behalf of a county, municipality, fire district designated by ordinance of a municipality or more than one municipality, or school district that any provision of a statute enacted on or after January 17, 1996 and any part of a rule or regulation originally adopted after July 1, 1996 pursuant to a law regardless of when that law was enacted constitutes an unfunded mandate upon the county, municipality, fire district designated by ordinance of a municipality or more than one municipality, or school district because it does not authorize resources to offset the additional direct expenditures required for the implementation of the statute or the rule or regulation.  A complaint filed with the council shall be in the form of or accompanied by a resolution passed by the governing body of a county or municipality or fire district designated by ordinance of a municipality or more than one municipality, or by a local board of education.  A complaint filed with the council by the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Association of Counties, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Association of Fire Districts, the New Jersey Career Fire Chiefs Association, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, or the New Jersey First Aid Council shall be on behalf of at least two constituent members of the organization, which constituent members shall be identified in the complaint.  A county executive or a mayor who has been directly elected by the voters of the municipality may also file a written complaint with the council, after the mayor or county executive has provided the governing body with written notice of intention to file a complaint with the council.  A complaint may be accompanied by supportive evidence. The council shall review each complaint and, when necessary, interview witnesses and examine documents.  The council, by majority vote of its membership, shall issue a written ruling, accompanied by any concurring or dissenting opinions, as to whether or not a statute or a rule or regulation constitutes an unfunded State mandate and an explanation of the reasons for its determination.  If the council determines that any provision of a statute or any part of a rule or regulation constitutes an unfunded State mandate which is prohibited by Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 5 of the New Jersey Constitution and this act, that provision of the law or that part of the rule or regulation shall cease to be mandatory in its effect and shall expire.  A ruling of the council shall be restricted to the specific provision of a law or the specific part of a rule or regulation which constitutes an unfunded mandate and shall, as far as possible, leave intact the remainder of a statute or a rule or regulation.  The council shall not have the authority to determine whether the funding of any statute or any rule or regulation is adequate.

 b. The council shall have the authority to consolidate complaints filed by or on behalf of more than one governing body, mayor, county executive, local board of education, county, municipality, or fire district designated by ordinance of a municipality or more than one municipality, in regard to the same provision of a statute or the same part of a rule or regulation.

 c. Any group or individual may file a written request with the council to appear in the capacity of an amicus curiae in regard to a complaint.  The request shall state the identity of the group or individual, the issue it wishes to address, the nature of the public interest therein and the nature of the requestor's interest, involvement or expertise with respect thereto.  The council shall grant the request if it is determined by a majority vote of the council's members that the request is timely, that participation by the group or individual will assist in the resolution of the matter and that no interested party will be prejudiced thereby.  In granting permission, the council shall specifically define the extent of the requestor's participation in the matter.

 L.1996, c.24, s.12; amended 2010, c.106, s.1.

52:13H-13. Complaints considered

13. The council shall not consider complaints concerning pending legislation or proposed rules or regulations and shall not issue advisory rulings or opinions on any matter. The fact that the council may have previously issued a ruling in regard to a particular statute or rule or regulation shall not prevent the council from reconsidering its ruling upon receipt of a valid complaint and in response to changed circumstances such as discontinuance of funding.

L.1996,c.24,s.13.

52:13H-14. Public meetings

14. The council shall not be subject to the provisions of the "Open Public Meetings Act," P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-6 et seq.). The council shall conduct proceedings at which it examines witnesses and receives evidence in public. However, the members of the council may meet on all other matters in closed session.

L.1996,c.24,s.14.

52:13H-15. Rulings rendered, published

15. A ruling issued by the council shall be in writing and shall set forth the reasons for the council's determination. The council shall cause its rulings, together with any concurring or dissenting opinions of council members, to be published in a suitable form and made available to members of the public. The rulings of the council, as well as any record of its proceedings conducted in public, shall be public records pursuant to P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.).

L.1996,c.24,s.15.

52:13H-16. Preliminary rulings

16. The council shall have the authority to issue a preliminary ruling enjoining enforcement of a statute or a rule or regulation pending the council's consideration of whether the statute or the rule or regulation constitutes an unfunded mandate whenever a complaint filed with the council by a county, municipality or school district demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the council, that significant financial hardship to the county, municipality or school district would result from compliance and there is a substantial likelihood that the statute or the rule or regulation is, in fact, an impermissible, unfunded State mandate.

L.1996,c.24,s.16.

52:13H-17. Request for assistance

17. The council may request from any State agency or any county, municipality or school district cooperation and assistance in the performance of its duties.

L.1996,c.24,s.17.

52:13H-18. Rulings as political determinations

18. Pursuant to Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 5(b) of the New Jersey Constitution, rulings of the council shall be political determinations and shall not be subject to judicial review.

L.1996,c.24,s.18.

52:13H-19. Annual report

19. The council shall submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature prior to December 31 of each year setting forth the names and salaries of: the professional employees of council members, individuals employed by the council on a temporary or permanent basis, and personnel and consultants for whose service the council has contracted.

L.1996,c.24,s.19.

52:13H-20. Appropriations

20. The Legislature shall annually appropriate to the council from the General Fund of the State such amounts as may be necessary for the council to effectively carry out its responsibilities under this act.

L.1996,c.24,s.20.

52:13H-21. Findings, declarations relative to unfunded mandates and local governments and school districts.

1. The Legislature finds and declares:

Over the past four decades, prior to adoption of the constitutional amendment prohibiting unfunded State mandates on local government, the State routinely and systematically imposed greater and greater numbers of mandates, orders, directives and burdens on local government. This web of mandates and burdens came about as the result of the enactment and adoption of a plethora of unrelated laws and regulations addressing many and diverse issues. While these actions by State government occurred in order to address a variety of public concerns, they all shared a common philosophical underpinning: the mandatory implementation of State policy directives by local government officials.

While the overwhelming majority of these statutes and regulations was established by sincere-minded and well-intentioned public officials in order to address legitimate public concerns, the collective regulatory weight of these mandates on local officials continues to be a matter of deep concern and a subject that cries for legislative relief.

In response to this decades long pattern of seemingly inexorable increases in burdensome mandates from Trenton, local officials repeatedly petition the Legislature for relief. In response to entreaties of local officials, various committees of several Legislatures have determined to continue to address the problem of burdensome mandates on an expedited basis through the enactment of omnibus acts that repeal or modify many of those mandates, resolve administrative ambiguities and encourage more businesslike practices. This is the third such omnibus mandate relief act.

L.2000,c.126,s.1.

52:13H-22. Findings, declarations relative to certain mandate requirements, procedures for local governments.

1. The Legislature finds and declares:

Over the past four decades, prior to adoption of the constitutional amendment prohibiting unfunded State mandates on local government, the State routinely and systematically imposed greater and greater numbers of mandates, orders, directives and burdens on local government. This web of mandates and burdens came about as the result of the enactment and adoption of a plethora of unrelated laws and regulations addressing many and diverse issues. While these actions by State government occurred in order to address a variety of public concerns, they all shared a common philosophical underpinning: the mandatory implementation of State policy directives by local government officials.

While the overwhelming majority of these statutes and regulations was established by sincere-minded and well-intentioned public officials in order to address legitimate public concerns, the collective regulatory weight of these mandates on local officials continue to be a matter of deep concern and a subject that cries for legislative relief.

In response to this decades long pattern of seemingly inexorable increases in burdensome mandates from Trenton, local officials repeatedly petition the Legislature for relief. In response to entreaties of local officials, various committees of several Legislatures have determined to continue to address the problem of burdensome mandates on an expedited basis through the enactment of omnibus acts that repeal or modify many of those mandates, resolve administrative ambiguities and encourage more businesslike practices. This is the fourth such omnibus mandate relief act.

L.2001,c.342,s.1.