Bill Text: NJ S1301 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires all elected or appointed local government officers to receive ethics training.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-02-01 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S1301 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S1301-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 1301

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  ANTHONY R. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires all elected or appointed local government officers to receive ethics training.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning local government ethics and supplementing P.L.1991, c.29 (C.40A:9-22.1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  Each local government officer serving in this State shall complete a training program regarding the requirements of the "Local Government Ethics Law," P.L.1991, c.29 (C.40A:9-22.1 et seq.), and any additional requirements of an applicable municipal or county code of ethics adopted pursuant thereto.  A newly elected or appointed local government officer shall complete the training program required under this section during the first six months of the officer's first term, or if first elected or appointed prior to the promulgation of rules and regulations under section 2 of P.L.    , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), within six months following the promulgation of those rules and regulations.  Once a local government officer completes the training program required by this section, that officer shall not be required to repeat the training when subsequently elected or appointed to any other local governing body or local government agency, except for updates as may be required under subsection b. of this section.

     b.    The Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs shall develop the training program required pursuant to subsection a. of this section.  In developing the program, the division shall examine similar programs developed by the various public, non-profit, and private sector entities currently at the forefront of government ethics issues and training across the country, and shall survey the available training resources and methods.  The training program that is developed shall not be limited to live training venues, but may instead be delivered through online or video technology when practicable.  The training may be provided by employees of the department or by any person, agency, organization, or entity contracted by the department for that purpose, and shall be offered on a semi-yearly or more frequent basis at locations easily accessible to those receiving the training.  The training program may include a requirement that local government officers attend update sessions when there is a significant change to the ethics laws or regulations.

     c.     Upon completion of the training required pursuant to this section, each local government officer shall sign a statement asserting that the officer has received the training and understands the requirements of the "Local Government Ethics Law," P.L.1991, c.29 (C.40A:9-22.1 et seq.), and any additional requirements of an applicable municipal or county code of ethics adopted pursuant thereto.

     2.    Within 120 days of the effective date of this act, the Commissioner of Community Affairs shall, in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt and promulgate the rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this act.  The rules and regulations shall include a time frame that shall not exceed 18 months from the promulgation of the rules and regulations, for the training of each local government officer in this State serving at that time, and shall implement in an escalating schedule, from $1,000 to $5,000, personal fines that shall not be paid or reimbursed by the governing body or local government agency, for the failure of a local government officer to complete the training within the specified time frame.  Fines imposed pursuant to this subsection shall be collected in accordance with the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately, except that section 1 shall remain inoperable until the promulgation of rules and regulations pursuant to section 2.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would supplement the "Local Government Ethics Law," P.L.1991, c.29 (C.40A:9-22.1 et seq.), to require all local government officers to complete training concerning the requirements of that law and any applicable municipal or county code of ethics adopted pursuant thereto.  The law currently defines a "local government officer" as:

any person whether compensated or not, whether part-time or full-time:  (1) elected to any office of a local government agency;  (2) serving on a local government agency which has the authority to enact ordinances, approve development applications or grant zoning variances;  (3) who is a member of an independent municipal, county or regional authority; or  (4) who is a managerial executive or confidential employee of a local government agency, as defined in section 3 of the "New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act," P.L.1941, c.100 (C.34:13A-3), but shall not mean any employee of a school district or member of a school board.

     The training would be developed by the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs, and would be administered on a semi-annual or more frequent basis by employees of that department or by an individual, agency, organization, or entity contracted by the department to do so.  In developing the training, the bill would require the division to examine similar programs in this and other states and to survey the available training resources and methods.  The Commissioner of Community Affairs would develop the program's rules and regulations, which would include a time frame, not to exceed 18 months from the promulgation of the rules, for the training and an escalating fine schedule, from $1,000 to $5,000, for the failure of a local government officer to receive the training within the specified time frame.

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