NJ is Close on a New 6-Year, $11.5B Incentives Package designed to Attract and Retain Businesses

At long last, NJ is close to a détente between the Legislature and the Governor’s office on a new business incentives program designed to attract and retain businesses to NJ. The new recovery and reform package will be known as the “New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020,” or Assembly Bill 4. It is scheduled for a remotely-held bill hearing at the Assembly Appropriations Committee Friday, Dec. 18, at 11 a.m.

According to Tim Sullivan, the CEO of NJ Economic Development Authority, the new 6 year, $11.5B incentives program will focus on job creation, innovation, and helping to solve longstanding economic inequality issues.

According to NJ ROI, there will be an Assembly Appropriations Committee meeting Friday, with Assembly and Senate votes likely scheduled for Monday.

Some of the highlights of the program:

Annual Cap – it will have an annual cap of $1.5 billion, with each of the programs having an individual cap;

Per Jobs Cap and Per Business Cap – it will cap per-job credits and total credits per business — the previous program had no limits on either — and awards will be focused on high-growth industries;

Transformational Projects – there will be an additional fund of approximately $2.5 billion for yet-to-be-defined “transformational” projects, thus giving the state the ability to offer massive incentives for Amazon-like projects;

North/South Jersey – the program will include a North-South agreement, with approximately 1 of every 3 dollars reserved for the seven counties that make up South Jersey;

Credits – it will include a food desert alleviation program, a state-level Historic Tax Credit, a brownfields remediation program and a program designed to support expansion of anchor institutions like higher education, hospitals and arts/culture institutions;

Evergreen Investment – it will include the Governor’s Evergreen investment program;

Main Street Businesses – it will have a $50 million direct appropriation to support Main Street businesses through grants, loans and technical assistance. It will do so with 25% being set aside to directly support minority- and women-owned firms; and

Prevailing Wage – it will require community benefit agreements that include prevailing wage rules and new requirements for building service workers.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who engage in the public-private partnership space where State based incentives are often critical to the success of a project.  If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Mike Barz, Paul Josephson, Sheila Slocum Hollis, or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19 – NJ adopts CDC guidelines for inbound travelers – reducing self-isolation quarantine timing to 10 day

Per NJ Department of Health guidelines posted on Friday, December 5, 2020, NJ is lowering the COVID-19 quarantine period that out-of-state travelers will need to observe. The new guidance, in line with CDC recommendations, reduces the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 days.

Under the new guidance, travelers to NJ should self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, or if testing is not available. They should also self-quarantine for 7 days after travel even if they test negative. Note that the self-quarantining is suggested rather than mandatory.

Recommended timing for tests per the CDC are to get a test between 1 and 3 days before the trip, and between 3 to 5 days after the trip,

Given the recent numbers of new cases, Gov. Phil Murphy and other state and federal health officials have discouraged any non-essential travel, especially the family gatherings typical of the holiday season.

Per NJ Biz, “essential travel” over state lines is largely exempt, and that includes for going to work, medical reasons, military purposes or court orders such as child custody, according to the state health department.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe. 

COVID-19: Counties and Municipalities in NJ are now permitted to establish curfews for Non-Essential Businesses

Earlier today, November 12, 2020, Governor Murphy executed an Executive Order allowing municipalities and counties the option to impose curfews on all non-essential businesses as early as 8:00 p.m. Municipalities and counties do not have to impose restrictions, but they will now have the power to do so if they choose.

In his press briefing, the Governor advised that other municipality or county actions such as: restrictions on essential businesses, full business closures, or restrictions on gatherings and capacity that differ from the statewide rules are “impermissible and will be invalidated.”

Per our earlier reporting, a closure requirement for all bars, restaurants and clubs at 10 PM until 5:00 AM goes into effect today and all bar side seating is prohibited.

Per reporting from NJ Biz, Gov. Murphy additionally announced that New Jersey was chosen by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services as one of the first states to receive CUE Health’s molecular rapid test. He said that the test has shown to produce results with 99% accuracy in approximately 20 minutes.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe. 

COVID-19: NJ Announces $60M of Additional Covid-Relief Small Business Grants

On November 11, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a commitment of at least $60 Million in additional relief grants under Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBEAG).

This funding is in addition to $70 M of funds already allocated for the current phase of the SBEAG program and will enable the NJEDA to fulfill grants for the entire pipeline of eligible businesses that applied for Phase 3 funding prior to the application deadline.

Without this additional funding, approximately 13,000 of the nearly 22,000 businesses that applied for Phase 3 grants would have been denied a grant given the amount of interest in the program.

Per NJ Business Today, the NJEDA’s suite of COVID-19 relief programs provides a variety of resources for businesses of all sizes, including grants for small businesses, zero-interest loans, support for private-sector lenders and CDFIs, and funding for entrepreneurs.

One of NJEDA’s relief programs is the SBEAG, which provides grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

To attempt to achieve an equitable distribution of funds, the NJEDA set aside 1/3 of the funding for this program to support qualified businesses located in NJ Opportunity Zones. The goal of this new round of allocations is to help minority and women-owned businesses obtain some of the available grant funds.

According to NJ Business Today, more than 22,000 small businesses have been approved for grants worth more than $64.9 million through Phases 1 and 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The average grant award has been roughly $3,000, which indicates the average approved business has three full-time equivalent employees.

Phase 3 significantly expands eligibility for the Grant Program and increases the amount of funding businesses can receive.

Eligibility – Any business or non-profit located in New Jersey, including home-based businesses, with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) is eligible to receive grant funding during Phase 3, including businesses that received funding in previous phases of the program.

Opportunity Zone Set Asides – To ensure funding goes to businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, Phase 3 sets aside funding for restaurants, micro-businesses, and businesses based in the state’s 715 Opportunity Zone-eligible Census tracts.

To date over $250 M of funding from NJEDA has been allocated to support small businesses with a significant focus being on restaurants, micro-businesses, and minority- and women-owned firms.

In addition to the SBEAG Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of technical assistance and low-cost financing programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19.

More information about NJEDA’s programs and other State support is available at https://covid19.nj.gov.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe. 

 

COVID-19: NJ Announces Additional COVID-19 related Restrictions – Restricting Indoor Food service after 10 PM and Indoor Sports

As of this morning, November 9, 2020, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy is set to follow through on his weekend commentary to impose new COVID-19 related restrictions given NJ’s continued increasing COVID-19 numerics.

Per NJBIZ, the Murphy administration has indicated that bars and restaurants will soon need to close all indoor service by 10 p.m. Interstate indoor organized sports will also be prohibited indefinitely, according to sources in the Murphy administration.

The Governor will announce the restrictions, and provide additional details, during his 1 p.m. news conference.

Specifically, restaurants, casinos and bars will be prohibited from serving food and alcohol between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and these new rules will take effect on November 12, 2020. Restrictions will also be placed on seating.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

 

COVID-19: NJ revises COVID Guidance for Public Gatherings – Self Service Food, Indoor Malls, Athletic Events and Private Tutoring Facilities

On October 31, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy and the head of the New Jersey State Police modified certain restrictions on businesses and public gatherings in New Jersey. The modifications are set forth in Administrative Order 2020-22 (the “AO”).

Key topics include the prohibition of self service food such as buffets and salad bars ; the allowance of indoor shopping mall vending machine and stroller rentals but prohibiting valet and play areas; the loosing of how we count maximum gatherings for athletic competition; and the allowance of private tutoring facilities to reopen for students and clients.

1.  Self-service FoodSelf service food such as buffets and salad bars are prohibited at retail businesses, like grocery stores, under the AO.  Note that self-service drinks are still permitted, but only if they are routinely and effectively cleaned and sanitized.

2.  Indoor Shopping Malls:

  • Vending machines and stroller rentals are now permitted to be operated at malls as long as they are sanitized, but playgrounds and valet parking must remain closed.
  • Valet Parking and communal play areas are NOT permitted at indoor malls

3.  Athletic events (including those for professional sports and collegiate athletic competitions) are still subject to Executive Orders 161 and 183 but, the AO confirms that athletes, coaches, referees, trainers and other individuals necessary to the performance of a competitive sporting event are NOT included in the number of individuals for gathering limits purposes.

For indoor athletic competitions, the amount of people permitted in such venues is capped at 150 people or 25% of the room’s capacity, whichever is lower.

Masks are required to be worn by spectators and non-athletes at both indoor and outdoor venues (except if under 2 years of age, where it is impracticable for an individual to wear a masks (such as when eating or drinking) or when doing so would violate Federal or State law.

4.  Private Tutoring Facilities: Private tutoring facilities may reopen for students and other clients.

For a copy of the Administrative Order No. 2020-22 –  please see https://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20201031/63/af/39/ad/30c4bf2e846cbe2de8b48b61/AO_2020-22.pdf

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ announces COVID centric private employer work safety rules effective November 6, 2020

Pursuant to a new executive order, the Murphy administration is setting up statewide COVID-19 safety standards for private sector employers, and a means to enforce those rules.

Under the order Gov. Phil Murphy signed earlier today, 10-28-2020, which goes into effect at 6:00 a.m. on Nov. 6th, the state has set up will set up a compliance regime with a collection of mandatory COVID-19 reopening protocols, and the means to go after non-compliant employers.

Per NJBIZ, at a minimum, workers have to undergo health screenings at the start of every shift, while everyone present at the workplace has to remain socially distanced. Employees must be made aware if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 at the workplace.

Employees have to wear a mask, provided at the expense of the business owner, who would also supply sanitizing materials to customers and workers at their own expense. High-touch areas must be routinely cleaned and disinfected, while employees must be provided hand-washing breaks throughout the day.

The Murphy administration included similar rules for large-scale business re-openings, like sanitization, face mask usage, 6-foot physical distancing, staggered shifts to avoid overcrowding, protocols for quarantining COVID-positive workers, and how to screen potentially infected employees.

But without a state-level system of private sector enforcement, it has been reported that many workers continued to feel at risk.

To date, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has only put out voluntary guidance for individual states, rather than strict mandates.

Under the Executive Order, the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development will be required to create a system to investigate a lack of compliance and pursue enforcement actions.

The rules are expected to include a system where employees can submit complaints.

State health and labor officials will be authorized to perform workplace inspections, issue subpoenas and interview both workers and their employers.

The two departments would jointly create a system to aid business owners in complying with the rules. Moreover, the labor department would create worksite notices and materials for both workers and business owners.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Caroline Austin, Danielle Dyer, Elizabeth Mincer, Kathy O’Malley, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ updates its Moratorium on Residential Utilities and their ability to pursue Non-Payment

Last week, NJ updated its guidance on COVID-19 related charges for most utilities in Executive Order 190.

Water, Gas, and Electricity:

No household may have its electricity, gas service, or water service shut off for nonpayment. This moratorium on utility shutoffs is extended to at least March 15, 2021 and applies to all residential gas, electric and water utilities, both public and private.

If there is any customer whose service has been disconnected since March 16, 2020, their service must be reconnected.

In addition, utilities will not be charging late fees nor fees to reconnect services that have been disconnected.

Although utility service shutoffs are still suspended, customers are still encouraged to set up payment plans with their utilities so they can begin paying their bills, if they are able, over a period of time.

According to NJ State published information on line, if you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your utility company about assistance programs and payment plans, or visit BPU’s “Assistance Programs” page for information about programs that can help.

Note: For any questions about your service, first contact your utility company. A list of public gas and electricity utility company phone numbers is available here.

If you are unable to resolve an issue with your utility company, you should contact BPU’s Customer Assistance team by filling out this online form, or by calling (800) 624-0241 and leaving a voicemail.

Phone and Internet:

No cable or telecommunications provider that provides residential internet and voice services to New Jersey residents shall terminate these services due to nonpayment before November 15.

After November 15, cable and telecommunications providers are required to enroll customers with an already existing account in an interest free payment plan of at least 12 equal monthly installments, including the balance already due, prior to disconnecting the customers service.

For households with school-age children who need Internet connectivity for remote-learning, Internet shutoffs will not be permitted through March 15, 2021. If a household experiences a change of circumstances where school age children will be using their home Internet service for school, the cable and telecommunications company will be required to reconnect that Internet service.

Source: Executive Order No. 190

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ announces $112M of grant funds for small businesses, restaurants and families under the CARES Act

Earlier today, October 13, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans to distribute $112 Million of the state’s CARES Act money via grants to small businesses and struggling families.

$70 million will be distributed by the state’s Economic Development Authority Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program:

$35 million to the food service industry (places defined as “food services and drinking places”);

$15 million to microbusinesses (those with five employees or fewer);

$20 million to replenish the EDA’s existing Small Business Emergency Grant program;

Other grants include:

$10 million to add to the EDA’s PPE program, which helps small business owners purchase PPE;

$15 million to support renters in the Department of Community Affairs Rental Assistance Program;

$5 million to food banks and other hunger relief efforts to help families battling food insecurity;

$12 million for the Department of Human Services’ new Housing Assistance Program, which provide rental or mortgage assistance payments on behalf of eligible households that have suffered a financial hardship.

The source of funds is the $2.4 Billion the state received in money from the CARES Act.

By way of background, the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program provides grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. To date, over 19,000 small businesses have benefited from the program. Phase 3 of the Grant Program expands eligibility to any business with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and increases the amount of funding businesses can receive.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

NJ enacts broad sweeping Environmental Justice Bill – S232 – ESG Focused

On September 18, Governor Murphy signed into law S232 / A2212 (Singleton / Weinberg / Ruiz / McKeon / Vainieri Huttle / Timberlake), which requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to consider the cumulative impacts of locating new power plants or major manufacturing facilities in certain lower-income areas.

Per the press release announcing the Bill signing, S2322 is intended to tackle the complex issue of assuring a healthy environment in certain urban communities.

The Bill requires the NJDEP to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to require mandatory permit denials if an environmental justice analysis determines a new facility will have a disproportionately negative impact on overburdened communities.
 
The bill defines an overburdened community as any community where 35% of the households qualify as low-income according to the U.S. Census, 40% of households are minority, or 40%of households have limited English proficiency. There are approximately 310 municipalities with populations totaling approximately 4,489,000 that have overburdened communities within their municipalities.
 
The Bill requires the DEP to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of the following facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing the following permit applications:
  1. Major sources of air pollution (i.e., gas fired power plants and cogeneration facilities);
  2. Resource recovery facilities or incinerators; sludge processing facilities;
  3. Sewage treatment plants with a capacity of more than 50 Million gallons per day;
  4. Transfer stations or solid waste facilities;
  5. Recycling facilities that receive at least 100 tons of recyclable material per day;
  6. Scrap metal facilities;
  7. Landfills; and
  8. Medical waste incinerators, except those attendant to hospitals and universities.
“For decades, residents living in overburdened communities have had their lives routinely and inconveniently interrupted by the toxic facilities located in their neighborhoods,”  said Senator Troy Singleton. “Their daily routines have been intertwined with the unpleasant smells of industry, unsightly smoke from pollution, and untimely visits to the emergency room for asthma and other respiratory ailments. Now, after years of having no say, these communities will finally have a voice in the siting of these industries. After years of waiting for action, this long overdue law will bring them the environmental justice that they deserve.” 
 
“As a statewide and regional hub of industry, commerce, innovation and energy, the impact of the legacy of environmental contamination is real and present in New Jersey. This historic legislation is a model to show the rest of the Country how to ensure that communities are protected and how by utilizing both activism and leadership simultaneously, you can truly change the status quo,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka, City of Newark. “I applaud the leadership of our State policymakers for making this law come to fruition, and we give our thanks to Governor Murphy for making environmental justice central to his administration.”
 
To read the text of the Governor’s press release – click here  https://t.e2ma.net/message/z8iqpd/rq338ni
 

Duane Morris has an Environmental Team to help organizations and individuals plan, respond to and address their environmental contracting, due diligence, compliance and permitting issues. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Lori Mills, Seth Cooley, Lindsay Ann Brown or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.