2014 Statewide Ballot Questions & Local Earned Sick Time Ordinances

In addition to candidates for Congress and local offices, this year there are two statewide ballot questions all voters should be aware of.

State Question No. 1 seeks to amend the State Constitution to allow judges to order pre-trial detention of persons involved in certain criminal cases.  The question, commonly referred to as “bail reform,” changes current Constitutional language in order to give discretion to judges to remove the ability to post bail and be released prior to going to trial. 

State Question No. 2 also seeks to amend the Constitution in order to dedicate additional state funds for environmental programs including the purchase of open space, farmland & historic preservation.  The bill also expands the type of programs this revenue can be used to include water programs, hazardous site cleanup, flood prone areas and removal of underground storage tanks, among others.  The main provision of the question is based upon dedicated revenue for these purposes.  Currently, the state dedicates 4% of the corporate business tax.  If approved, the dedication would increase to 6% in 2019. 

Finally, as momentum builds in the legislature to enact a statewide earned sick time law, it is important to note that this year there are two local earned sick time referendums on the ballot.  If you live in Montclair or Trenton, you have the opportunity to vote on this important issue.  Specifically, the city ordinances would allow workers to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. In businesses with 10 or more employees, five paid sick days can be earned per year. For those with fewer than 10 employees, workers would be eligible to earn three paid sick days each year.  The ordinance would not change anything for employers that offer better benefits packages or for employees operating under collective bargaining agreements. The sick days could be used for employees to care for themselves or members of their immediate families.

We bring these ballot questions to your attention for informational purposes because often there is significant drop off from candidate selections to ballot questions.   Please feel free to use this advisory to help inform your members and the electorate about these important matters.

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