(EAST ORANGE / ORANGE, NJ UPDATED MARCH 26, 2020) - Curious about foreclosure and evictions during COVID? School lunches? Working from home? The digital divide? Voting by mail? Upcoming elections? TAPinto East Orange / Orange has neatly compiled all the laws that address these issues and more happening in the state as it relates to COVID-19. 

The purpose of this article is for our readers to always be informed about the facts of what is happening in our state during this very unusual high anxiety filled time.  This article will often be updated as more laws, executive orders, and processes are enacted.

  • On Monday, March 16, in response to COVID-19, a package of emergency bills were voted on by the NJ State Assembly and on Thursday, March 19, by the Senate.

    Bill Number  

    Emergency Assembly Bill Description 

    *The Assembly bill numbers with stars next to them represent bills District 34 Assembly Members Thomas P. Giblin and/or Britnee N. Timberlake who represent both East Orange and Orange as well as Clifton and Montclair were either sponsors or co-sponsors of. 

    A3813 *

    Permits use of virtual or remote instruction to meet minimum 180-day school year requirement under certain circumstances.

    A3818 *

    Requires insurers writing homeowners insurance policies in the State to offer certain coverage for heating oil tanks.

    A3840 *

    Requires school districts to provide school meals or meal vouchers to students eligible for free and reduced price school meals during school closures due to COVID-19 epidemic.

    A3841 *

    Automatically extends time to file gross income tax or corporation business tax return if federal government extends filing or payment due date for federal returns.

    A3842 *

    Establishes Bridging the Digital Divide in Schools Grant Program in DOE to provide and expand access to technology and equipment for students in certain school districts.

    A3843 *

    Requires health insurance and Medicaid coverage for testing of coronavirus disease 2019 and for telemedicine and telehealth during coronavirus disease 2019 state of emergency.

    A3845 *

    Authorizes EDA to make grants during periods of emergency declared by Governor and for duration of economic disruptions due to emergency; allows EDA to grant certain business documentation submission deadline extensions.

    A3847 *

    Provides paid leave without utilizing accumulated leave time for local government employees under certain circumstances.

    A3848 *

    Concerns time off from work in connection with infectious disease.

    A3850 *

    Allows public bodies to conduct meetings, and provide notice, by electronic means during periods of emergency.

    A3851 *

    Permits extension of deadlines for adoption of county and municipal budgets under certain circumstances.

    A3852

    Allows conduct of State business and legislative sessions at locations other than Trenton during periods of emergency or other exigency; allows conduct of legislative business using electronic means.

    A3854 *

    Authorizes all licensed health care facilities and laboratories to collect specimens to test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); allows waiver of staffing ratio requirements.

    A3855 *

    Requires food access information be displayed on websites of 2-1-1 system and executive branch departments during public health emergencies to the extent practicable.

    A3856

    Makes FY 2020 supplemental appropriation of $10 million for healthcare and residential facility sanitation due to coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.

    A3857

    Makes FY 2020 supplemental appropriations of $15 million for grants to food banks.

    A3858 *

    Requires Commissioner of Human Services to issue supplemental cash assistance payments to Work First New Jersey recipients under certain circumstances; makes appropriation.

    A3859 *

    Concerns prohibition of residential tenant eviction and eviction due to residential foreclosure during certain emergency circumstances.

    A3860 *

    Establishes certain requirements to use telemedicine and telehealth to respond to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    A3861

    Permits corporations to hold shareholders’ meetings in part or solely by means of remote communication during state of emergency.

    A3862

    Permits professional and occupational licensing boards to expedite licensure of certain individuals during state of emergency or public health emergency.

    A3863

    Extends petition filing deadline by two weeks for all candidates, and waives signature requirements for candidates for party office, for 2020 primary election.

    A3864

    Authorizes Notaries Public to Perform Certain Notarial Acts Remotely."

    A3865

    Limits return of items purchased from retail food stores under certain circumstances.

    ACR165

    Urges DHS to apply for federal waivers to facilitate and increase access to SNAP benefits during coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.

    AJR158

    Urges FCC to take temporary measures to secure broadband access for those affected by COVID-19.

     

More laws voted on the Assembly on March 25, 2020. These laws are still awaiting Senate votes followed by the Governor's signature. 

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Bill  Bill Description
A-3900/S2304 Concerns family leave & disability during epidemic-related emergencies
A-3901 Permits professional and occupational licensing boards to reactivate licensure of certain individuals during state of emergency or public health emergency
A-3902 Permits extension of certain deadlines applicable to local government units under emergency circumstances
A-3903 Allows remote notarial acts during Public Health Emergency declared by Governor in Executive Order 103 of 2020.
A-3904 Permits virtual or remote instruction to meet minimum 180- day school year requirement under certain circumstances.

 

  • Governor Philip D. Murphy, signed the fist set of bills into law, he also announced more executive orders. Among the executive orders are new rules for social distancing. These rules expand on the ones he enacted on March 16th. Now included is a stay at home order and the closures of barber shops, nail, and beauty salons. Furthermore, all elections scheduled in March and April will now occur on May 12, 2020. To vote, everyone must use a vote-by-mail ballot.

 

Governor Philip D. Murphy's Executive Orders regarding COVID-19:

 

EO Number 

Executive Order (EO) Description

102 

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Establishing Coronavirus Task Force 2020/02/03

103 

Governor Murphy declares a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency, effective immediately 2020/03/09

104 

Governor Murphy Announces Aggressive Social Distancing Measures to Mitigate Further Spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey2020/03/16 

105

Governor Murphy Announces Changes to Upcoming New Jersey Elections in Response to COVID-19 2020/03/19

106

Governor Murphy Enacts Moratorium on Removals of Individuals Due to Evictions or Foreclosures 2020/03/19

107

Stay at home” order: All residents are to stay at home or at their place of residence unless they are leaving for certain reasons.

108

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order further directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of a few categories of stores,

109

 

 

 

110

Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 109, directing the suspension of all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults that are scheduled to take place after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27.

Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 110, directing all child care centers in New Jersey to certify by Friday, March 27, that they will solely serve as emergency child care centers for the children of essential workers. Child care centers that do not certify that they can and will exclusively care for these children of essential workers must close by Wednesday, April 1.

 

More updates: 

  • A COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Site at Bergen Community College in Paramus is now open. Get there early as there is only a certian number of tests available and it is first come first serve. The testing site, established in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be staffed by the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey State Police, and the New Jersey National Guard. Beginning on Friday, March 20th, the drive-thru testing center will be open seven days per week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In order to be eligible for testing, individuals must be current New Jersey residents and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Priority will be given to symptomatic individuals experiencing cough, fever (99.6F or above) and shortness of breath. 
  • For businesses with an immediate financial need, the U.S. Small Business Administration is providing loans to New Jersey businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • All public utilities and regulated entities shall immediately cease any in-home or business visits unless there is an immediate risk to health and safety;
  • Broadband internet providers may continue to connect new customers or repair existing service for homes with school age children, those who need internet access to meet job requirements, or other priority customers, as defined by each company, provided that such visits should only be done as a last resort after utilizing hotspots, self-install kits, and like measures to minimize in-home visits; and
  • All door-to-door sales activity by third-party suppliers or other sales persons selling energy or energy related products (for example: residential solar, community solar, or energy efficiency offerings) are to be suspended immediately.
  • NJ TRANSIT  is working to ensure a safe environment by following the health standards set by the CDC through the sanitation of our facilities and vehicles and the cleanliness practices amongst our employees. Additionally, NJ TRANSIT remains committed to providing reliable and dependable service. To that end, please see the attachments, reflecting the latest service information, and NJ TRANSIT’s request for federal COVID-19 emergency funding.
  • Release of Low Risk Inmates The Supreme Court issued an order late Sunday night that will suspend or commute county jail  sentences for low-risk inmates in light of the public health emergency caused by coronavirus COVID-19. The order commutes or suspends county jail sentences currently being served by county jail inmates either as a condition of probation for an indicatable offense or because of a municipal court conviction. It directs their release no later than 6 a.m. Tuesday. The court then ordered mediation, overseen by retired Presiding Appellate Judge Philip S. Carchman, between the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Public Defender, the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey and other interested parties. Under the order, other inmates serving a county jail sentence will be released by no later than noon Thursday, March 26. The Attorney General and county prosecutors may file an objection to any release they deem inappropriate. In those cases, judges or special masters will hold a hearing to determine if the release would pose a significant risk to the safety of the inmate or the public. The order would impact only those in jail for third- or fourth-degree crimes or disorderly persons offenses. It does not affect state prison sentences.

  • As of March 21, there were 442 new confirmed positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,327. A total county breakdown can be found at the COVID-19 dashboard. https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_dashboard.shtml Aggregate numbers can be found on the DOH homepage. https://www.nj.gov/health/
  • The Department of Banking and Insurance launched their own COVID-19 website and posted some COVID-19 FAQs
  • There is now a mechanism for employees to report employers who are not cooperating with EO 107. Employees will need to call either 211 or go on this new website https://covid19.nj.gov/violation

  • NJDOL is receiving an unprecedented volume of new claims due to the Covid-19 virus. NJDOL is working hard to serve all our customers during this unprecedented public health emergency. As legislation is enacted and implemented, the scope of the programs and their offerings may change. The sites below will be updated with the latest information so we encourage all to stay informed by continuing the check the sites provided. Please visit nj.gov/labor to find the latest and most reliable information including: What programs are available for employers and employees? Who qualifies for these programs?

  • The Department of Community Affairs issued a notice of rule waiver/modification/suspension  pursuant to Executive Order No. 103, which affects three rules:  Minor work (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.17A), Inspections (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.18), and Certificate requirements (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.23). 

    • Minor Work – Minor work inspections will now need to be completed within 30 days of the termination of Executive Order No. 103, rather than within the three business days of the request for inspection currently required under N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.17A(d). 
    • Inspections – N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.18, generally requires construction officials to perform a preliminary inspection, inspections during the progress of work, and a final inspection.  In the event a local enforcing agency (LEA) needs to close because of the COVID-19 emergency, and a permit for work has already been issued, construction may continue and the construction officials shall perform a Certificate of Continued Occupancy (CCO) inspection upon the office reopening.  The documentation for a CCO inspection shall, at a minimum, include the following: a report describing the work that was completed within the time that no inspections were available; the design professional or firm associated with the project should oversee, approve, and document the portions of the project where no inspections were performed; licensed/registered tradesmen shall document the process of their work in accordance with the inspection procedures of the UCC; and include before, during, and after pictures and/or videos of all work.  In the event the building has never been issued a CO, the same procedures shall be followed.  However, instead of the eventual CCO issued by the LEA when reopened, it may be necessary to reach out to the Department of Community Affairs in order to obtain a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO).  Once the building is initially occupied under the TCO, a CO would eventually be issued by the LEA per the applicable construction activity at N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.23.
    • These inspections will now need to be completed within 90 days of the termination of Executive Order No. 103, rather than within the three business days of the request for inspection currently required.

    • Certificate Requirements – N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.23(e), provides that CCOs shall be issued upon request of the owner of a building or structure.  The Department has concluded that a CCO inspection is a reasonable solution for ensuring that construction work that is performed while a LEA is closed due to the COVID-19 emergency is properly documented and that future projects within a building are not cited for violations resulting from work performed without permits or inspections.  Accordingly, it may be necessary for a construction official to perform a CCO inspection upon a LEA reopening even if an owner has not requested a CCO.https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/pdfs/COVID_memo.pdf and https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/pdfs/COVID_RelaxMod.pdf
    • Links to the rule waiver/modification/suspension and Division of Codes and Standards’ guidance: https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/

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