The Assembly on Monday will begin what is scheduled as a three-week lame duck session with committee meetings where lawmakers will consider renewed legislation to create the Back to Work NJ job creation program and bills to help employers stave off layoffs, assist local governments repair Hurricane Irene damage, strengthen teen driver safety, promote the state's wine industry, help juveniles forced into prostitution get services they need and protect the state from cyber terrorism.
The Labor Committee will consider legislation (A-4332) sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) to establish the Back to Work NJ program to help out-of-work residents receive job training from potential employers. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill earlier this year. A similar program is in effect in Georgia, and President Obama has included the concept in his jobs program.
The panel will also consider a bill (A-3818) to provide unemployment insurance benefits for shared work programs. The bill is designed to encourage employers who must reduce work hours because of economic conditions to avoid layoffs by sharing the work by allowing a full-time employee to receive unemployment benefits when a worker's weekly work time is reduced by 10 percent or more.
The Transportation Committee will consider a bill (A-3909) designed to further improve teen driver safety by expanding education and practice requirement for special learner's driving permits and examination permits.
The panel will also consider a bill (A-4127) to promote mass transit usage by requiring public parking facilities at NJ Transit stations to be open to the public on weekends and other occasions when special events such as sporting events, trade shows and concerts are taking place.
The Judiciary Committee will consider legislation (A-3700/A3934) to require services be provided to sexually exploited juveniles charged with prostitution and victims of human trafficking, while creating a presumption of coercion as an affirmative defense for those charged.
The committee will also consider legislation to enhance crime victims' rights under the state's Crime Victim's Bill of Rights.
The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will consider two bills to promote the state's wine industry. One bill (A-3387) would expand the number of salesrooms a winery may operate and permit wine sampling at salesrooms, while the other (A-3388) would permit wineries to sell wine at farm markets.
The Environment and Solid Waste Committee will meet to consider a bill (A-4231), which would prohibit the shipping or transporting of tracking wastewater into New Jersey.
The panel will also consider two bills designed to combat flooding, including the kind that caused problems last summer throughout the state. The first bill (A-4267) would allow counties and municipalities to use open space trust funds to buy flood-prone properties. The other (A-4269) would authorize $100 million in general obligation bonds for the cost of transportation and water infrastructure projects related to damage caused by Hurricane Irene and other weather problems last summer.
The hearings will begin at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. in the Statehouse Annex in Trenton.
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM