A law requiring radon testing in public school buildings (N.J.S.A.18A:20-40) was adopted September 14, 2000. The law required testing of public schools at least once every five years, with the first cycle of testing to be completed by September 14, 2005. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), together with the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE)), had created a program that satisfied the requirements of compliance with this law. Stringent requirements were placed on the currently certified radon businesses and individuals pertaining to school testing. An exemption program was developed in order for school district personnel to be trained adequately to test the schools in their districts, thus reducing the cost of testing for the district. A one-day course was developed and approved course providers had more than 270 individuals attend these courses.
Three school entities filed separate complaints with the New Jersey Council of Local Mandates (Council). The complaints requested that the Council rule that N.J.A.C. 8A:20-40 was an unfunded mandate and to issue a rule enjoining its enforcement. The Council consolidated the complaints on January 26, 2004.
The New Jersey Attorney General's Office filed a brief on behalf of the State in support of the motion to dismiss the complaints challenging the radon testing requirement in schools. On August 20, 2004, the Council concluded that N.J.S.A.18A:20-40 constituted an unfunded mandate and ceased to be mandatory in effect and expires. In other words, the legislation is struck down, and presently there is no law that requires public schools to test for radon.
Decisions of the Council are final and are not subject to appeal. In order to reinstate the law, New Jersey legislators will have to decide to provide school districts the funding necessary to perform radon testing. The schools are no longer required to test for radon, but are strongly encouraged to do so.
Letter from Commissioner Campbell to Superintendents and School Business Administrators 10/18/04 (PDF)