01 Mar 3 New NJ Laws Should Impact You Life – And Wallet – In Marc…
NEW JERSEY – Two new laws went into effect on Sunday that may have a big impact on your life and you wallet. And another one is coming in two weeks that could be even more significant – and controversial.
The new laws take significant steps to help put more money in commuters’ pockets and help tenants battle landlords. Those laws went into effect on Sunday, March 1 (see below).
A more controversial one will take effect on March 17. That one will restore voting rights to nearly 80,000 people who had been barred from voting because they are on probation or parole.
Here’s what’s coming:
A new law essentially takes effect on Sunday requiring certain employers to offer a pre-tax transportation fringe benefit to their employees.
New Jersey businesses with at least 20 employees will be required to offer this benefit to employees who are not currently in a collective bargaining agreement.
“Many residents of New Jersey use mass transit or other forms of transportation to commute daily to and from work,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “Providing this pre-tax benefit to commuters throughout our state will reduce the financial burden of fares and parking costs, resulting in significant savings.”
A pre-tax benefit will allow an employee to set aside a certain portion of pre-taxed wages, which could be made available for specified transportation services while reducing the employee’s federal taxable income.
Primary sponsors of the bill include Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblymembers Daniel Benson, Thomas Giblin, and Anthony Bucco.
“Commuting costs, for the most part, are a predictable expense. If you asked someone how much they spend on their commute each month, most people could give a quick estimate off the top of their head,” said Weinberg. “This bill will allow workers across the state to set aside money to go towards their transportation expenses, like park and ride parking or transit passes, pre-tax. This would offer valuable savings to many New Jerseyans struggling to make ends meet.”
A law will soon take effect that will restore voting rights to individuals on parole or probation as a way to assert “the right to vote as both fundamental and critical to democracy,” lawmakers said.
The legislation was sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Cleopatra Tucker, Jamel Holley and Britnee Timberlake.
The law (A-5823), which will take effect on March 17, will remove the prohibition on voting by people on parole and/or probation convicted for an indictable offense, which in New Jersey are offenses for crimes of the fourth through first degree.
The New Jersey Constitution authorizes the state Legislature to disqualify certain people from the right to vote in primary, municipal, special or general elections. This law will eliminate the voting disqualification currently levied against roughly 79,000 people on either probation and/or parole in New Jersey.
“New Jersey can lead the nation as a model of racial justice and inclusive democracy with the enactment of this bill,” said Sumter, D-Bergen, Passaic. “The privilege to participate in the election process is a constitutional right afforded every American regardless of background, race or status. Every person of voting age should have the ability to cast their ballot without interference and without judgement of their personal history.”
States across the country have sought to ease voting restrictions on individuals with criminal convictions in recent decades. New Jersey’s law would be amended to provide for automatic restoration of voting rights upon release.
“Voting is an opportunity for all residents to have their say in who leads their communities and state,” said Tucker, D-Essex. “No one population should be disproportionately denied their right to vote. These are outdated laws that have no place in a modern democracy.”
A new law takes effect on Sunday that requires the court to provide tenants a grace period of three business days after an eviction order or lockout is executed. The eviction or lockout would occur because late payment of rent.
A landlord must accept all payments of rent made by a tenant within the three business day period and must to relinquish control of the property to the tenant.
This law also requires that landlords accept rent payments made by any means, including cash payments, personal checks or payments made by third parties such as rental assistance programs or charitable organizations on behalf of the tenant.
If a landlord does not respond, the tenant may seek a remedy by requesting an order to show cause. Upon payment of rent, a landlord is required to provide the tenant with a receipt after each rent payment made.
A landlord who violates any provision of this bill will be subject to a penalty of not more than $500 for each offense.