TRENTON – Discussions on New Jersey’s troubled state pension system, Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed clean energy cuts and efforts to reform affordable housing and bills to turn property tax rebate checks into a credit and to protect consumers from harassing debt collectors top Thursday’s Assembly committee agendas.
Legislation targeting unscrupulous car dealers, foreclosures, government regulations unfriendly to businesses, distracted driving and sentencing alternatives will also be considered.
All Assembly hearings will be streamed live at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp
Senate committees will meet on Thursday to consider a number of bills including measures to facilitate equal pay in the workplace, to promote educational stability for children in foster care, and to permit adopted persons to access family medical records.
The Assembly Budget Committee will meet to hear testimony from invited speakers on the status of the various state pension systems. The hearing comes after the Assembly last week unveiled a series of bills to reform public worker pensions and benefits.
The Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee will hear testimony on Christie’s cuts to clean energy programs that have been benefiting New Jersey businesses.
The Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee will hear from invited guests on recent developments regarding the state Council on Affordable Housing and possible avenues for its reform.
The committee will also consider to allow the state to convert property tax rebate checks into a property tax credit.
The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee will consider to combat unscrupulous debt collection practices. The New Jersey Fair Debt Collection Practices Act would eliminate abusive debt collection practices and provide consumers a way to dispute and validate debt information to ensure its accuracy.
The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee will consider legislation to protect homeowners in jeopardy of foreclosure from ‘foreclosure rescue’ scams perpetrated by unscrupulous lenders and consultants.
The Assembly Higher Education Committee will hear testimony on concerns surrounding mental health care on college campuses.
The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee will consider to require police accident reports to include whether drivers were distracted at the time of an accident. It will also hear legislation intended to help give released inmates an improved chance of success and to save taxpayer dollars by cutting recidivism through sentencing alternatives.
The Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee will begin considering legislation to cut back on state regulations that hurt New Jersey businesses. The will consider legislation that would:
- Require all state agency rules to be published in the New Jersey Register; and
- Ban state agencies from using regulatory guidance documents, unless authorized to do so by state law.
The committee will also hear testimony on the feasibility of prohibiting a state agency from adopting any rule that would exceed federal standards or requirements, unless authorized to do so by state law.
The committee will also consider legislation to direct the State Commission of Investigation to look into the finances and operations of the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The Senate Labor Panel will consider a bill which would call upon the New Jersey Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education to conduct studies and develop guidelines for employers to correct the conditions that lead to gender-based pay disparities.
The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will meet to consider a measure to help provide educational stability for children in foster care. The bill would allow children who are put into foster care, or placed in a different foster home to remain in their original school district.
If the Division of Youth and Family Services determines that remaining in the school district is not in the best interest of the child, the district in which the foster parent resides would become the designated school district.
The Health and Human Services Panel will also consider a group of measures aimed at giving adoptees access to family medical records. One bill would permit adult adoptees and members of their immediate family to access the adoptee’s original birth certificate and other related information. Adoptive parents would be permitted to access the information on behalf of minors.
Another measure, would allow adoptees to have access to nonidentifying family medical information.