Senate to Vote on Partial Furlough Plan for 100k NJ Employees: Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced he will move legislation that will furlough 100,000 state employees and have them recoup lost pay through enhanced unemployment insurance. The Senate President said he expects the bill to be heard in a Senate committee this Thursday, and to be voted on the floor of the Senate next week. The Senate Majority Office estimates that state and local governments can save $750 million over three months, by furloughing a quarter of the state’s 400,000 employees.
Murphy Signs Executive Order To Give DEP More Time on Applications: Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 136, to give the state more time to make critical decisions issuing environmental permits during the COVID-19 pandemic,. The NJDEP normally has 90 days to make decisions on construction permits, including for developments in coastal areas, flood zones and wetlands. If that 90-day period, expires, the permit is automatically approved. Under the Executive Order NJDEP has effectively no deadline to make these decisions.
NJ Schools Closed, Remote Learning will Continue: On Monday, Governor Murphy announced that all New Jersey schools will continue to be closed for the rest of the academic school year.
BPU Allows Construction of Solar Projects to Continue: The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) clarified that the State considers solar projects “essential construction projects” under Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 122. Click here to view the BPU’s press release.
Murphy Warns of Looming Fiscal Disaster: Governor Murphy warned that NJ is facing a financial disaster due to loss of revenue and increase in expenses related to the coronavirus outbreak. “A fiscal disaster is not months away – these decisions will be on our doorstep in just a few weeks,” said Murphy.
Murphy warned possible layoffs and cuts to state services would be inevitable without flexible federal aid along with State legislation that would allow the administration to use short-term borrowing to make up the revenue shortfalls.
In a sign of the fragility of State finances, Governor Murphy lifted a previous Executive Order that instructed State Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio to deliver a $1.3 billion surplus and he vetoed several bills, including ones to fund food banks and education technology grants. Murphy said, “I didn’t want to veto them. But, given our current fiscal situation, I have no other choice.”
Senate President Sweeney Introduces Legislation to Expand Unemployment Benefits: S2350, would significantly expand unemployment insurance benefits, increasing the maximum amount a laid-off worker can earn, from 20% of the worker’s weekly unemployment insurance benefit to 40%. This bill would also extend unemployment insurance benefits to teachers and other school employees who meet certain criteria. The Senate Budget Committee has posted the bill for a vote this Thursday.
Northeast Governors ban together to purchase medical supplies: Governor Murphy and six other Northeast governors are banding together to buy medical equipment to prepare for a possible return of the coronavirus in the fall. In addition to New Jersey, the group members include New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Latest NJ COVID-19 Statistics: The number positive coronavirus test results in New Jersey has increased to a total of 130,593. The number of statewide coronavirus-related deaths is currently 8,244.
Mental Health Awareness Month: The New Jersey Department of Children and Families have announced that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For anyone feeling stress, isolation or grief right now, please reach out for help. NJ Mental Health Cares: 1-866-202-4353 @CrisisTextLine text ‘NJ’ to 741741
All NJ residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and resources available to them should visit: www.covid19.nj.gov
For more information about NJ business assistance programs and application information, please visit: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
CARES Act: The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed in Congress are intended to assist small business owners with whatever needs they have right now. For more information on the small business owner’s guide to the CARES Act, click here.
Jobs and Assistance: A online portal to provide information to impacted small business owners. The portal includes information on Executive Orders, regulations impacting small businesses and access to financial assistance from the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
Testing Sites: There are currently 104 COVID-19 testing sites open across the state, including state-sponsored and private facilities. Click here to get updated information and locations of public testing sites.