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Quarterly Payments Bill Signed into Law, Unions Testify in Various Committees

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The fight to fund pensions saw a victory today with the Governor doing the right thing by signing the quarterly pension payments bill into law despite vetoing it twice before. The law requires pension payments on a quarterly basis, allowing for increased investment returns and minimizing the risk of reduced payments at the end of the fiscal year. We recognize the diligent efforts of affiliates and elected officials who were essential to bringing this law to fruition.

In addition, many bills of concern to working families moved through committee today during a busy day at the Statehouse. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO lobbied and took positions on several bills. Below is a summary of legislation and corresponding committee actions:

S-2842: Investment of State Pension Fund Assets

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO testified on the bill heard by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee that provides for investment of State pension fund assets in certain debt obligations issued by New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority and New Jersey Infrastructure Bank. The committee voted 11 to 0 to release the bill. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO advocated for desperately needed amendments to provide checks and balances on these potential investments. Senate President Sweeney, prime sponsor of the bill, committed to work with labor advocates to address their issues before advancing the bill further. The bill was originally posted for a full senate vote on Monday but is now being held.

S-1: Encouragement of Shared Services

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO testified on the bill heard by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee that aims to encourage shared services for local and regional governments. The committee voted 3 to 1 to release the bill. Senators voted as follows: Yes – Brian Stack, Jennifer Beck, and Jeff Van Drew; No – Christopher Connors. The State Federation urged the committee to hold the bill at this time in order to adopt amendments to address our concerns related to civil service and layoffs.

A-3296: Employee Contributions to State-Administered Retirement Systems

The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to release this bill from committee. The measure specifies that increased employee contributions to TPAF, JRS, PERS, PFRS, and SPRS will be credited as additional contributions to those retirement systems and will not be used to reduce the normal contributions of the State and the other public employers. The bill was previously released by the Assembly Local Government Committee. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is in support of this legislation and thanks the prime sponsors, Assemblymen Singleton, Wimberly, and Holley.

Paid Family Leave

The Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Relations Committee heard testimony on the state’s paid family leave benefits program. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO testified, recognizing the success of the program and proposing ways to further strengthen it and increase utilization. The primary recommendation of the State Federation included an increase of benefit levels and providing job protection that prevent employers from firing workers for using the program.

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