Legislature votes on numerous coronavirus-related bills

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly are voting on a variety of bills Monday that are aimed at easing the stress on the state’s residents and businesses.

The Senate announced passage of several bills by Monday afternoon.

The state’s tax filing deadline and fiscal year would both be extended under terms of bipartisan legislation authored by Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), the chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sparta), the Senate Republican Budget Officer, and Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Denville) that was approved by the Senate.

The Assembly also approved the measure, sponsored in that house by Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark) and Assemblymen Hal Wirths (R-Sparta) and John Burzichelli (D-West Deptford).

Gov. Phil Murphy had requested the extensions, with the tax filing deadline moving from April 15 to July 15 and the budget deadline moving from July 1 to Sept. 30. He announced Monday that he intends to sign the bill Tuesday.

Other bills passed Monday include:

  • Legislation to expedite the reactivation of retired and inactive medical professionals’ occupational licenses passed the Assembly, 79-0. It was sponsored by Assemblymen Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne) and James Kennedy (D-Rahway) and Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D-Newark). The bill complements another bill recently signed into law that expedites the licensure of medical professionals from other states coming to New Jersey to assist with the current health emergency.

  • A bill that would permit rent suspension for certain small business tenants financially impacted by the current public health emergency passed the full Senate and full Assembly Monday, 37-0 and 71-3-6, respectively. The Assembly sponsors were Daniel Benson (D-Hamilton Square), Vincent Mazzeo (D-Northfield) and Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton), as well as Speight.
  • Legislation that would allow a notary public to perform certain notarial work remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency was approved by the Assembly, 79-0, and the Senate 38-0. The measure was sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Ocean Twp.) and Lisa Swain (D-Paramus) and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Ocean Twp.).
  • Bipartisan legislation protecting health care professionals treating patients during the COVID-19 state of emergency from civil and criminal malpractice claims was approved during the Senate’s first remote session. The bill was sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield), Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Sens. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway) and Declan O’Scanlon (R-Holmdel).
  • Legislation sponsored by Sens. Gerry Cardinale (R-Creskill) and Jim Beach (D-Cherry Hill), as well as Kean, that explicitly authorizes school districts to continue educating students remotely in emergency situations that require school facilities to be closed for more than three days was approved by the Senate.
  • Legislation sponsored by Bucco and Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Cranbury) allowing the leaders of not-for-profit organizations to hold virtual meetings during a declared state of emergency, which passed the Senate unanimously.

Any measure must be passed by both houses and then signed by Murphy to become law.

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