Legislators today will tackle the last board list for the 2018-19 legislative session, which includes a revised bill to promote electric vehicle use in New Jersey, but not legislation on misclassification of employees or expanding bad faith lawsuits in auto and homeowners insurance.
Any bills not passed by noon on Jan. 14 will have to start the legislative process from the beginning in the new legislative session.
S-4204 would expand the definition of who is an employee versus who is an independent contractor in an effort to prevent some employers from treating employees like contractors when it comes to taxes and benefits. As written, however, the measure would have hurt thousands of legitimate independent and “gig” workers, such as independent truck drivers and freelance writers.
The issue is expected to come up again early in the next session.
“We look forward to working with the Senate President and other bill sponsors to ensure New Jersey’s misclassification laws are strong enough to stop companies that are true bad actors, but the laws should do so without interfering with those who choose to work independently and be their own boss,” said Mike Wallace, NJBIA’s senior vice president for Government Affairs.
NJBIA supports legislation to make New Jersey a leader in the use of electric vehicles after legislators amended the measure to make it more cost-effective and flexible. As originally written, A-4819 (Benson, D-14; Pinkin, D-18) called for higher subsidies and a broad plan to install public charging stations, much of which would have been paid for by higher electricity rates for both residents and businesses.
NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs Ray Cantor said the compromise would make a substantial commitment to support purchasing electric vehicles, providing a $5,000 rebate, but without burdening ratepayers with excessive costs.
Bad Faith Legislation
Legislative leaders pulled S-2144 / A-4293 from today’s agenda. NJBIA opposed the bill because it would have opened the floodgates for frivolous lawsuits by allowing people to sue for bad faith when a claim is denied or delayed. According to an independent study performed by one of the nation’s leading actuarial firms, the legislation would likely increase overall insurance premiums by an estimated $300 for each auto insurance policy and $100 for each homeowner’s policy.
NJBIA led a grassroots campaign against the measure in which members contacted legislators asking them to vote against the bill.