Legislative Priorities 2023
Eliminating the credit score standard for recipients of state and federal housing subsidies - S934/A669 (Turner/Verrelli/Reynolds-Jackson)
This bill would prohibit landlords from considering credit scores when evaluating a prospective tenant.
● Interrupts a cycle of housing insecurity catalyzed by a lack of affordable housing
● Removes a key obstacle in ending the cycle of housing insecurity, as Speaker Coughlin and other legislative leaders have outlined as a priority
● No anticipated budgetary consideration
Discriminatory Appraisals of Residential Property Based on Race or National Origin - S777/A1519 (Singleton/Pou/McKnight/Wimberly/Timberlake)
This legislation would penalize holders of appraisal licenses or certifications, or appraisal management company registrations if they have knowingly engaged in a discriminatory appraisal of a residential property on the basis of the property buyer or property seller’s race, creed, color, or national origin.
Temp Workers Bill of rights S511
Temp Workers- Signed into law on Feb.6th!
About 127,000 workers in the state of NJ are considered temporary employees, they are often treated as “perma-temps” and hired by the same agency continuously. Without a law protecting workers, agencies can continue exploiting workers, who are largely people of color and immigrants. They usually take labor-intensive jobs in warehouses or face abuse from unregulated staffing agencies.
“Temp worker bill of rights,” would require temporary workers to receive salary and benefits equivalent to traditional workers, bar agencies from deducting transportation fees from workers’ paychecks, and improve record-keeping to reduce labor violations. Agencies also would be required to provide advance notice of assignments, including conditions like pay rate, hours, length of assignment, amount of sick leave, and health and safety concerns. It would provide some of the most sweeping protections for temp workers in the nation, supporters say.
Read the bill's full text here.
They’re known as “domestic workers,” and in New Jersey, nearly 50,000 of them provide essential services like child care, house cleaning, cooking and gardening. Many are women, immigrants and people of color who work in private homes – far away from the public eye. According to the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), here’s what the bill will do if it becomes law:
● Establish contracts between an employer and a domestic worker, documenting work hours, wages and duties
● Eliminate the safety and health exclusion to ensure safe and secure workplaces” ● Guarantee a two-week termination policy that provides adequate notice for domestic workers
● Protect against threatening workers for their immigration status and restrictions against retaliation from an employer when a worker asserts their rights
● Provide privacy and anti-trafficking protections to ensure workers are allowed freedom in their communication and private housing outside of work
● Provide paid rest periods and meal breaks after working a certain number of consecutive hours, as well as a clause that a worker is not required to work more than six days for the same employer without a rest period
The bill would also remove the exclusion of “domestic workers” from the Law Against Discrimination and the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law, and establish penalties for violations of its provisions, including penalties against “retaliation by the employer.”
The proposed law would apply to hourly and salaried employees, independent contractors, full-time and part-time employees and “temporary” workers. It would include people who “work in the residence of the employer for the purposes of caring for a child, serving as a companion or caretaker for a sick, convalescing, or elderly person, or person with a disability; housekeeping or house cleaning; cooking; providing food or butler service; parking cars; cleaning laundry; gardening; personal organizing; or for any other domestic service purpose.”
Prescription Drug Affordability Board
S329/A1747 establishes a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) to be staffed by a team of experts charged to take action to reduce costs, so we all pay less and don’t have to choose between filling a prescription or paying for groceries.
Big pharmaceutical corporations have raised prices so high that nearly 60 percent of New Jerseyans are concerned about being able to afford prescription medication, and 1 in 5 NJ adults report not filling a prescription, cutting a dose in half, or skipping a dose to make their medicine last longer.
Help Stop Discriminatory Auto Insurance Practices! This legislation would prohibit insurers from using credit history, education, and occupation in auto insurance pricing and underwriting New Jersey drivers are paying too much for auto insurance, and for all the wrong reasons. The solution: pass S357/A1674.
People of color and other low-income drivers are currently being overcharged significantly by auto insurers because NJ allows them to use education level, occupation, and credit scores when determining auto insurance rates.
Nearly 50 people have taken action on this campaign!
Second Look Sentencing
(New language is being drafted for a new bill)
We know that the state legislature is called upon to generate policy solutions to injustice in our state. The issue of NJ’s growing elderly prison population is both an expense and an issue of justice. This is about fiscal responsibility, the public’s desire to maintain safe neighborhoods and the state’s responsibility to care for the well-being of all its residents, even those who have committed a crime.
There are more than 950 incarcerated elders in New Jersey — and that number has been steadily growing over the years. Why is this a problem? Elderly prisoners often suffer from illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and mental health issues. Prisons are not designed with elder inmates in mind, meaning that they are unequipped to handle these special needs. This has a great cost, both financially for our state, and for the livelihoods of these inmates. What's more, people over the age of 65 are particularly unlikely to commit further crimes after their release, including violent crimes, because they are simply not in the physical condition to do so.
During the Covid pandemic, Gov. Murphy signed legislation that led to the early release of more than 5,400 inmates near the end of their sentences. But although the purpose of this legislation was to stem the spread of COVID-19 and deaths inside prisons, senior prisoners (who were the group most vulnerable to the virus) comprised only 1% of those released early. And in fact, even outside of the pandemic, the New Jersey State Parole Board does not appear to take age into consideration when deciding whether to release inmates.
We are urging New Jersey legislators and the governor to support legislation that would allow courts to take a second look at a person's sentence. We support legislation that would allow a person 60 and older and has served 20 years to petition the court for a "second look." The court then considers evidence of their transformation while incarcerated, such as the rehabilitative and educational programs they've taken, and determines if their sentence should be reduced. We have had many congregations and members join the growing number of those who support this concept moving forward in the legislative process.
Minimum SNAP Benefit
The federal government began providing emergency allotments to SNAP households in March 2020 to offer a temporary boost in food assistance benefits to individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With these additional payments ending as of February 28, 2023, we worked along with coalition partners to pass legislation that will raise the minimum SNAP benefit in New Jersey to $95 starting March 1, 2023. This represents a $45 increase over the initial State minimum benefit of $50 put into place for SNAP recipients when Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature established the State SNAP Minimum Benefit Program last year. We had over 50 members write, email or call legislators to advocate for this much-needed anti-hunger assistance program.