Month: April 2014

New Jersey Legislatures Concerned Over Standardized Testing

As New Jersey moves toward a new form of statewide testing for its students, state lawmakers are introducing several bills attempting to place certain controls on the new exams. There has always been concerns surrounding state testing, but legislators are focusing on the issue as New Jersey adopts the new

Court Broadens Scope of Who Can Circulate Nominating Petitions

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s ruling in the Empower Our Neighborhood, et al. v. Guadagno, et al. case may have a significant impact on nominating petitions. Empower Our Neighborhood (EON) is an educational and advocacy group that focuses on issues that impact residents of New Brunswick. Facts of

Aggregate Campaign Contribution Limits Violate First Amendment

The recent opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Committee has struck a blow to the regulation of money in elections. The Court struck down the federal limits on the total amounts individual donors may contribute to candidates and political committees. The Court reasoned that donating

City Council Members Entitled To Absolute Legislative Immunity

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently rendered an important decision for all municipal officials. In American Islamic Center v. City of Des Plaines, the court held that city council members accused of discriminating against an Islamic organization in its application to rezone property were entitled

City of Irvington Using Eminent Domain To Help Underwater Homeowners

Irvington, New Jersey, is plagued by residents with underwater mortgages, homes in foreclosure and residences left abandoned. In response, the Township Council has authorized the mayor and administration to use eminent domain to acquire properties with mortgage problems. Eminent domain is the procedure whereby governments are allowed to acquire property

“Breakfast After the Bell” Program May Be Expanding in New Jersey

New Jersey legislators are seeking to expand the “Breakfast After the Bell” program as evidence by a bill passed by the Assembly (A-679). The bill requires the state to monitor and record the percentage of eligible students participating in the meal program in each school district. The bill also requires

Federal Court Dismisses School Bullying Claim Against East Orange Board of Education

Bullying claims continue to pose challenges for boards of education throughout New Jersey. The United States District Court recently dismissed a suit against the East Orange Board of Education, which alleged various state and federal statutory, constitutional, and common law claims. The plaintiff in the case, a guardian ad litem

Latest EEOC Guidance on Religious Discrimination Addresses Public Employees

Many employment discrimination laws that apply to private employers also apply to New Jersey municipalities. Most notably, the definition of “employer” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes state and local governments. As municipalities should be aware, Title VII prohibits employers with at least 15 employees