Governor Phil Murphy

This Week in New Jersey: November 27th, 2020


Governor Murphy Signs Legislation To Bring Changes To The Use Of Body Worn Cameras By New Jersey Law Enforcement

Acting on a commitment to further promote transparency in policing and build trust between police officers and the communities they serve, Governor Phil Murphy signed two pieces of legislation (S1163 and A4312), which concern the use of body worn cameras by members of law enforcement. The Governor also signed executive Order No. 201, which establishes a 14-member Interagency Working Group to provide recommendations to the Governor’s Office and Attorney General regarding technology solutions to facilitate the statewide implementation of body worn cameras in law enforcement agencies. The Working Group will work to identify barriers to adopting body worn cameras and recommend technology solutions to facilitate their implementation. 

“We’ve made it clear that New Jersey will be second-to-none in enacting vital reforms to promote transparency and boost public confidence in law enforcement,” said Governor Murphy. “Body worn cameras are a wise all-around investment in public safety that not only redouble our commitment to transparency and accountability, but also ensure that members of law enforcement are equipped with an important tool to help them carry out their sworn duties. Today represents another step down what we know is a long road to full understanding and lasting trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

“New Jersey has made great strides to promote a greater degree of professionalism, accountability, and transparency within our law enforcement agencies, and our state is committed to ensuring that our officers feel supported when they are in the line of duty,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “This legislation being signed today is about developing greater accountability and establishing trust between police officers and the people who rely on them every day to keep our communities safe.”

"We are in the midst of a national reckoning on racial justice, which has highlighted a lack of trust between law enforcement and many of the communities we serve," said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. "Since day one, we have been committed to rebuilding and strengthening that trust, and we know that body worn cameras are an important tool in those efforts. They encourage professionalism, promote better interactions between police and the public, and have been universally welcomed by agencies across our state. Today, we not only take an important step towards the uniform, statewide use of body worn cameras, but also towards making New Jersey a national leader on yet another set of policing policies and best practices. I thank the Governor and the Legislature for their leadership and support in these efforts."

“Today is a great day for New Jersey law enforcement and the communities we serve. The statewide implementation of body worn cameras represents an important step in strengthening the bonds of trust between police departments and communities while fostering greater transparency and accountability,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “The New Jersey State Police has learned that recording interactions with the public from patrol vehicles for the last two decades has been a valuable asset in protecting both our citizens and our troopers alike.  The addition of body worn camera technology is yet another layer of protection for our men and women in law enforcement and the communities they serve.”


Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Postponing Special School Elections Scheduled For January 2021

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 203, postponing all special school elections from January 26, 2021 to the March 2021 special school election date.

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to ensure that elections are held in a manner that ensures that every citizen is able to vote while conserving time and resources,” said Governor Murphy. “This change will allow special school elections scheduled for the first quarter of next year to be held on the same day, minimizing the burden on elections officials.”

Additionally, this executive order modifies Executive Order No. 193 such that notices in lieu of sample ballots for the Perth Amboy runoff election are mailed as “return service requested”, as required by current law.


Department Of Community Affairs Issues Outdoor Dining Guidance To Help Restaurants And Similar Establishments Adapt To The Ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic

The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) issued guidance for restaurants and similar establishments on the utilization of outdoor space during the winter months.

In June, the Division of Codes and Standards within DCA provided guidance on the issuance of permits, and the use of tents, tensioned membrane structures, and canopies per the Uniform Fire Code (UFC) and Uniform Construction Code (UCC). Due to the approaching winter weather conditions, establishments that want to maintain the use of tents past November 30, 2020, are required to apply for a UCC permit from their local construction office. Additionally, a permit for any electrical equipment, electrical wiring, or mechanical equipment that would otherwise require a permit must also be filed. Municipalities are encouraged to waive permit fees for tents in use past the November 30th deadline provided that the tents meet the snow bearing requirements or meet the guidance issued today.

In addition to the UCC permit, “operational items” such as portable cooking equipment used around and/or under the tent should be maintained in accordance with the Uniform Fire Code (UFC) and addressed by the local fire official.  This would apply to the operation/usage of portable propane heaters and similar items.

“We recognize the restaurants in our state have been hit extraordinarily hard by the pandemic. We are doing everything we can to help these businesses stay afloat until we can return to more normalcy,” said Governor Murphy. “The guidance issued today is part of our effort to help ease the burden this pandemic has placed on eating establishments. We are leaving no stone unturned as we work to assist the restaurant community.”  

“Today’s guidance demonstrates our commitment to ensuring a safe outdoor dining experience while working with business owners to meet their needs,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “We urge all our municipalities to suspend permit fees for tents as much as possible to help our restaurants survive this winter season.”


NJEDA Covid-19 Relief Programs Have Supported More Than 30,000 Small Businesses

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that it has provided more than $165 million in COVID-19 relief to more than 30,000 businesses since March 2020. The Authority’s announcement comes in advance of the kickoff of most businesses’ holiday seasons, which begins with Thanksgiving and the accompanying retail-oriented holidays Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, my administration has focused on not only addressing the public health crisis the virus has caused but also providing economic support to the thousands of businesses and workers who have been impacted by the pandemic. The NJEDA has been central to these efforts, acting quickly to stand up new programs that have provided millions of dollars to more than 30,000 businesses in communities across our state,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “These efforts have been vital to getting us through the darkest days of the pandemic, and the NJEDA’s ongoing work will help many more businesses overcome the challenges they face today and make a strong recovery.”
“Since March, Governor Murphy has made it a top priority to support small businesses that are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact. NJEDA staff has worked tirelessly to provide relief to more than 30,000 businesses already, and we expect to support thousands more before the end of the year,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “COVID-19 has created an extraordinary and ongoing need for economic relief throughout New Jersey. The NJEDA is committed to doing all we can to meet this need now and to provide the ongoing support businesses and communities need to recover.”


DEP Announces Expansion Of New Jersey Artificial Reef System

New Jersey’s artificial reef network has been significantly expanded through a deployment of 6,000 tons of concrete on the Manasquan Inlet reef site, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced.

Material for the first deployment on Oct. 28 consisted of 74 concrete forms, measuring 40 feet x 8 feet x 1.5 feet each, donated by Maher Terminals in Elizabeth, Union County. Another 77 forms were deployed Nov. 10. The forms, once used by U.S. Customs to scan shipping containers, were no longer needed and were slated to be recycled.

“This beneficial collaboration gives new life to these materials, keeping it out of landfills and providing habitat for a wide array of marine life, including species important to New Jersey’s world class commercial and recreational fishing sectors,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “We are proud to partner with Maher Terminals to enhance the marine ecosystem of our coastal waters.”

Artificial reefs are typically made up of concrete, steel, decommissioned ships and barges and provide a habitat for a variety of marine life. DEP studies have shown that these materials are colonized quickly with organisms such as algae, barnacles, mussels, sea stars, crabs, sponges and corals. 

The structure of the reef, and the feeding opportunities provided by the animals growing on the reef, attract species such as black sea bass, tautog and lobster, and provide excellent opportunities for recreational anglers and divers.