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New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act" of 2006 -  On January 9,2006 the Assembly passed the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act. This legislation was previously passed by the Senate in December and will be signed into law next week as one of the final acts of Acting-Governor Richard Codey. The law will go into effect 90 day after being signed. The Act prevents smoking in most public places of business or accommodation (except casinos). All establishments must post signage with letters or symbols indicating that smoking is prohibited on the premises. The Statute is civil in nature and will be enforced in municipal court as a penalty enforcement proceeding. Complaints under the Act will be brought by either the State Department of Health and Senior Services or by local health departments. Liability for violations will be imposed upon both the smoker and the person in control of the premises where the smoking occurred. Fines are set at $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1000 for third or subsequent offenses. The Court also can impose additional orders to ensure compliance. Click here to view Bill

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, as well as federal laws, protect employees from discrimination based on their religion and their national origin. Increasing concern has mounted regarding the possibility of discrimination against Muslims, and against those of Arabic descent. In an effort to clarify the the obligations of employers to prevent such discrimination, the federal government has put out a publication : US EEOC Fact Sheet on Discrimination Against Asians/South Asians/Muslims/Arabs. The website to access the information is http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/backlash-employee.html. Employers are encouraged to view this site to ensure they are compliant with federal regulations. For more advice regarding discrimination, and the tools employers need to ensure governmental compliance, contact Julie Colin, Esq., at Hill Wallack. Ms. Colin can provide counseling and training which is required under current law. If your business does not have a policy against discrimination, it is exposed to liability. To learn more, contact us.

Hill Wallack Action Postpones New Jersey’s Mini-Micro Procurement For Review of Restrictive Specifications  - On December 28, 2005, on behalf of Sun Microsystems, Inc., Hill Wallack partner Maeve E. Cannon filed a challenge to New Jersey Treasury specifications seeking bids for the provision of desktop computer systems and other related technologies for purchase by State and local government agencies. Hill Wallack challenged the specifications on the basis that the State unfairly limited competition by precluding certain unspecified computer equipment manufacturers, such as Sun Microsystems, from offering its wholly compatible computers to the State. Click  here to see entire article

The Director of the Division of Purchase and Property Agrees to Revise Desktop RFP -  On January 12, 2006, in response to the specification challenge filed by Hill Wallack partner Maeve E. Cannon on behalf of Sun Microsystems, Inc., the Director of the Division of Purchase and Property directed the Purchase Bureau to make necessary revisions to the Request for Proposals for desktop computer systems and other related technologies. The changes to the RFP are to reflect the addition of the AMD processor as an acceptable processor within the RFP and that such expansion of the RFP “may provide efficient and cost effective access to product alternatives that may meet the needs and requirements of the contract and may further enhance the competitive environment of this procurement.”

 
New 'Pay to Play' law effective January 1, 2006 - New Jersey's new 'pay to play' statute becomes effective January 1, 2006 and replaces Executive Order 134, which had been in force for the past year. The new statute is based on, but in some respects substantially differs from E.O. 134. This area is especially complex and fraught with pitfalls for the inexperienced. Public scrutiny of compliance will be high and the consequences of violating the law can be severe politically and financially. To learn more about how the newest 'pay to play' rules affect your specific political activities and contributions Click here.

New lobbying rules alert!! -  On January 1, 2006, New Jersey's expansive new lobbying rules take effect for businesses, citizens groups, trade associations, lobbyists and others who have contact with State Government. A broader range of persons must now register annually and report to the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission on a broader trading Forex range of contacts with government. Any entity that spends more than a few hours in Trenton annually should consider how these rules may affect them. ELEC will now begin to issue advisory opinions applying the new rules to specific situations. Now is the time to present your situation and seek guidance from ELEC. Clients are advised that counsel experienced in appearing before ELEC are best suited to work with your in house or regular outside counsel to develop and present advisory opinion requests. Click here to read more and link to the Rules.

Josephson cited for distinguished service on lobbying rules - On December 16, 2005, Partner in Charge of Governmental Affairs Paul Josephson received the NJ State Bar Association's Distinguished Legislative Achievement Award. Mr. Josephson was recognized for his work on behalf of the State Bar to assure that attorneys may continue to meet with government officials without registering and reporting as lobbyists under expansive new lobbying laws passed in 2004. This was an important achievement preserving attorney-client confidences and recognizing the Supreme Court's ultimate authority to regulate attorneys. Mr. Josephson will continue to work with affected corporations, citizens groups, trade associations, lobbyists and attorney groups in 2006 to ensure that these principles are applied by the Election Law Enforcement Commission as it entertains advisory opinion requests that will shape New Jersey lobbying law for years to come. Click here to learn more

Governor Codey Signs Act Amending State Procurement Law -  On January 12, 2006, Governor Richard J. Codey signed into law Senate Bill No. 2194, incorporating significant changes to the State’s contracting process. New provisions permit State agencies to use federal supply schedules from any federal procurement program to make purchases.  Click here for more information

New ethics laws for 2006 mean it's time for an ethics check-up - January 2006 will bring more than a change in Administration in Trenton. This month also ushers in important new laws and regulations that will drastically alter the way citizens and business entities interact with their state, county and local governments. See entire article

     

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