This Week in Trenton – January 20, 2010

Christie Signs Executive Orders
Governor Chris Christie today signed a series of executive orders designed to make budgeting and finances more transparent, halt unfunded mandates on towns, freeze new regulations on business and broaden state pay-to-play prohibitions to limit donations by labor unions. A brief summary of the executive orders follows:

Executive Order 1 freezes and suspends for a period of 90 days proposed rules and regulations and further requires that any proposed rule or regulation that may have been transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law, but not yet published in the NJ Register be withdrawn. These provisions will not apply to any proposed rule or regulation if failure to adopt will adversely impact public safety or security, adversely impact the public health, negatively impact the state’s ability to obtain certifications or funds from the federal government, negatively impact the State agency’s ability to function or are required to comply with judicial deadlines. A list of proposed rules and regulations that are frozen and a list of those that are not frozen is expected to be available shortly.

Executive Order 2 requires all state agencies, boards, commissions, departments and authorities over which the Governor has power to veto minutes to adhere to a set of common sense principles when proposing rules and regulations. The Executive Order outlines the specific principles to be followed.

Executive Order 3 creates a Red Tape Review Group to undertake a review of certain rules, regulations and processes that are a burden on New Jersey ‘s economy. This group will also review all pending and proposed rules and regulations, as well as all operative Executive Orders from previous administrations in order to assess their effect on New Jersey ‘s economy and to determine whether their burdens on business and workers outweigh their intended benefits. The Red Tape Review Group will be chaired by the Lieutenant Governor.

Executive Order 4 prohibits all state agencies, boards, commissions, departments and authorities over which the Governor has power to veto minutes from recommending, proposing, publishing or submitting any regulation containing an unfunded mandate unless expressly authorized in writing by the Governor or Lieutenant Governor.

Executive Order 5 establishes the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors charged with analyzing and advising the Governor on issues related to the fiscal condition of the State. The Council shall consist of a Chairperson and four members, all of whom shall be appointed by and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

Executive Order 6 designates monitors and other employees of the Casino Control Commission whose attendance is required for New Jersey casinos to be permitted to operate as essential attendance employees, thereby ensuring that in the event of any state government shut down these employees will continue to work.

Executive Order 7 extends current “pay-to-play” restrictions to any labor union or labor organization which enters into contracts with the State of New Jersey and its instrumentalities or with other New Jersey public entities. This Executive Order also extends existing “pay-to-play” restrictions to Legislative Leadership Committees.

Executive Order 8 requires the Department of the Treasury to publish quarterly reports on all State expenditures. These reports will specify the State’s spending patterns, rates and timing within the Fiscal Year and shall also disclose actual or anticipated short-term borrowing necessitated by the timing of expenditures within the fiscal year.

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