New Jersey Municipal Consolidation Bill Signed into Law

by Patrick J. McNamara on July 21, 2017

Gov. Chris Christie recently signed legislation aimed to make it easier for New Jersey communities to pursue municipal consolidation. Senate Bill 956 authorizes special emergency appropriations for the payment of certain expenses incurred to implement a municipal consolidation. Consolidations are governed by the Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act, which was enacted in 2007. However, […]


US Supreme Court Sides with Church in Grant Funding Suit

by John G. Geppert, Jr. on July 17, 2017

In Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Carol S. Comer, Director, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the State of Missouri violated the U.S. Constitution when it denied a playground resurfacing grant to the Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia based solely on its status as a religious institution. Facts […]


New Jersey’s Arbitration Interest Cap Set to Expire

by Craig A. Long on July 10, 2017

Local governments should be aware that the two percent cap on interest arbitration awards is set to expire at the end of the year. The cap limits how much compensation arbitrators can award police and firefighters who have reached a contract negotiation impasse with New Jersey municipalities. Under existing law, any time after a collective negotiation […]


OPRA Requestor’s Declaratory Judgement Action Deemed Moot

by Jessica F. Gonzalez on July 7, 2017

In Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLC v. County of Bergen, the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of a declaratory judgment action arising from a records dispute under the state’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Because the OPRA requestor had received the documents at issue prior to filing the suit, the appeals court held that […]


NJ Appeals Court Affirms Broad Power of State Comptroller

by Michael A. Jimenez on June 30, 2017

In Larkins v. Solter, the Appellate Division recently affirmed the broad audit authority of the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). The appeals court held that the State Comptroller was not obligated to disclose his reasons for selecting the North Bergen District Board of Education (NBBOE) for a performance audit before commencing the […]


NJ Assembly Committee Advances 9-1-1 Bill

by Krystle Nova on June 28, 2017

The Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee recently advanced Assembly Bill No. 1821, which would require 9-1-1 service facilities to be equipped to receive text messages within three years. To help fund the upgrades, the proposed legislation temporarily increases the 9-1-1 System and Emergency Response Fee by 10 percent.  The ability to summon police […]


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently seeking comment on whether it should enact rules to promote broadband infrastructure by preempting state and local laws that inhibit deployment.  As set forth in the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry, Section 253 of the Federal Telecommunications Act (FTA) provides that “[n]o State or local statute or regulation, or […]


NJ Legislature Passes Bill to Tax Short-Term Rentals

by Michael A. Jimenez on June 21, 2017

The New Jersey Legislature recently passed legislation that would impose taxes on short-term rentals, or “transient space marketplaces,” like Airbnb.  The bill, Assembly Bill No. 4587, now heads to Gov. Chris Christie. According to Airbnb, approximately 6,000 New Jersey “hosts” earned more than $50 million last year.  Nonetheless, an increasing number of New Jersey municipalities are […]


The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently agreed to consider whether the New Jersey Constitution bans a county government from giving historic preservation grants to local churches. The case is Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  The suit, which was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), alleges that […]


In Doe v. Hopewell Valley Reg. School Distr. Bd. of Ed., the Appellate Division held that Hopewell Valley Regional School District was not liable for damages arising out of sexual abuse committed against a student by one of the District’s former teachers. According to the court, there was no evidence the District knew, or had any […]