December 31, 2021

New Jersey Legislative Update

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Governor Murphy Conditionally Vetoes Three Bills

A5353: Under this bill, temporary nurse aides could become certified nurse aides if they successfully complete an eight-hour training course, work a minimum of 80 hours under the supervision of a licensed professional nurse, pass a background check, and successfully complete a State-approved nurse aide written examination, within 45 days after the end of the public health emergency declared in response to COVID-19, which means that temporary nurse aides would have had to comply with the requirements of the bill by July 2021.  Recognizing the pandemic's continuing and present effects on employment, Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed the bill and recommended that the deadline to complete the eight-hour course and 80 hours of supervised work be extended until January 11, 2022.  Governor Murphy also recommended that temporary nurse aides pass a State‑approved clinical skills competency examination, in addition to the written examination required in the bill, by February 16, 2022.  Finally, Governor Murphy further recommended extending the background check deadline until June 4, 2022.

S3238:  This bill is aimed to establish the New Jersey "Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program" (the "Easy Enrollment Program"), but it received a conditional veto by Governor Murphy.  Under the Easy Enrollment Program, individuals filing a State income tax return will be able to indicate that they are seeking health care coverage. Using this information, the Department of Banking and Insurance, in coordination with the Department of Human Services, would be able to verify an individual's eligibility for the State Medicaid Program, NJ FamilyCare Program, and insurance affordability assistance on the State-based exchange and assist in enrolling the individual in insurance affordability assistance and "minimum essential coverage", as required by the Affordable Care Act.  Though he expressed support for the bill, Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed it, stating that "the program designed under the bill presents numerous operational challenges that risk creating consumer confusion and unattainable expectations."  As such, Governor Murphy requested changes be made including a longer implementation timeline, a clearer delineation of the work to be performed by each department, and the leveraging of existing systems and programs to increase efficiencies and ensure full compliance with federal law.

A4435: The Department of Children and Families ("DCF") contracts with school districts and non-profit organizations to provide prevention and support services for students through the School‑Linked Services Program ("Program").  This bill would require DCF to prioritize school districts that propose to focus on providing "clinic health counseling services to students" when awarding grants under the Program.  While Governor Murphy supports the prioritization of youth mental health services, he conditionally vetoed the bill due to concerns that the bill overly restricts DCF's discretion in awarding Program contracts.  

 Developing Mobile-Friendly Software for SNAP Benefits Becomes Law

S3941:  Governor Murphy signed this bill into law, which directs the New Jersey Department of Human Services to develop "mobile-friendly" software for SNAP recipients and appropriates $2 million from the General Fund to the Department of Human Services to fund the development and maintenance of the mobile-friendly software required under the new law.  The law requires that such mobile-friendly software must include certain functionality such as: (1) view the user's SNAP case status and the current benefits the user receives; (2) request an electronic benefit transfer card or a replacement card; (3) upload and submit required documents for continued participation in SNAP and track the current processing status of those documents; (4) receive notices and updates regarding important deadlines or actions; (5) read and print notices and letters; (6) update contact information; (7) request to have a letter mailed to the user listing the amount of benefits the user receives; (8)  view local contact information for the County Board of Social Services for the county in which the user resides; and (9) access any other functionalities as determined by the department

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