Matt Arco, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
TRENTON — New Jersey on Tuesday became the third state in the nation to put a law on its books to oppose a movement that encourages a boycott of Israeli goods and services.
Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bipartisan measure that bars the state's public worker pension fund from investing in companies that refuse to do business with Israel.
The Garden State joins Florida and Illinois, which have similar laws. It's a public pushback against businesses participating in the Palestinian-led "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement.
The BDS movement is a global campaign to put pressure on Israeli to stop "colonizing Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes."Read more
By John C. Ensslin, The Record
Governor Christie signed into law on Tuesday a measure that prohibits state investments in any company that boycotts Israel.
“Israel is the beacon of democracy in a region that is in constant conflict and turmoil” Christie said moments after signing the bill.
He noted New Jersey does $1.3 billion in trade with Israel annually.
Christie encouraged other states to adopt similar measures.
Assemblyman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, was present for the bill signing at the State House.
“I’m very grateful,” she said afterwards. “I’m happy to see that New Jersey remains a strong ally to Israel. The purpose of the bill is to make sure – they are the sole democracy in that area – that we don’t stifle them.”
The bill, which had 60 co-sponsors, passed the Assembly by a 70-3 vote. It was unanimously approved in the Senate where the Israeli Consul General from New York addressed the lawmakers before the vote.Read more
Our View, Press of Atlantic City
Illegal room and apartment rentals through online services are a significant threat to the Jersey Shore tourism industry.
Since these rogue operations through internet-based facilitators such as Airbnb aren't licensed, inspected or paying taxes and fees, they have a competitive cost advantage over legitimate hotels, motels and apartment complexes.
They're siphoning off revenue needed by the legal hospitality industry to maintain the high standards of appearance and services needed for the shore to remain an appealing destination.
Under their proposal, whose language is still being worked out, users of Airbnb-type services would pay a 7 percent sales and use tax and a 5 percent transient accommodation fee. Certain municipalities would be authorized to impose a 3 percent accommodation tax.
DeAngelo, Mukherji, Vainieri Huttle & McKeon Bill to Require NJ Transit to Notify Public Prior to Service Reduction Gains Final Legislative Approval
Legislation Assembly Democrats Wayne P. DeAngelo, Raj Mukherji, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and John McKeon sponsored to help ensure that mass transit riders are properly informed of proposed service cuts gained final legislative approval from the Senate on Monday. The measure now heads to the governor's desk.
The bill (A-227) would require New Jersey Transit to hold a public hearing and provide notice prior to a reduction in bus or rail services. Current law only requires a hearing and notice prior to a "substantial" service cut.
"Any time there's a proposal for bus or train service to be eliminated, people's ability to get to work so they can keep a roof over their family's head and put food on the table is at stake. That's always substantial," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "At the very least, NJ Transit passengers ought to be informed of how these changes may affect their lives and have the opportunity to voice an opinion."
Under the bill, NJ Transit would be required to provide notice of a hearing regarding a proposed service cut at least 15 days before the hearing's scheduled date. Should NJ Transit ultimately decide to discontinue bus or rail service, the corporation would be required to notify the clerk of each municipality in the counties whose residents would be affected, as well as the respective boards of freeholders, at least 45 days prior to the change in service.
Phil Gregory, Newsworks
New Jersey could require home rental websites to pay the same state and local occupancy taxes as motels and hotels.
A legislative proposal calls for imposing a 7 percent sales tax and a 5 percent transient accommodation fee on rentals booked on those websites, said Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle. Municipalities could charge a 3 percent fee.
"More people are using online marketplaces like Airbnb to book their vacation rentals," she said. "It's important to have parity — not only to have everyone pay their fair share of taxes, but it also provides a much needed revenue boost to the state."Read more
Jeff Goldman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
TRENTON — Online marketplaces such as Airbnb that offer short-term house and room rentals would be taxed like hotels under a proposal introduced in the state Assembly this week.
The bill introduced by Annette Quijano (D-Union) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) would impose a 7 percent sales and use tax and a 5 percent transient accommodation fee on accommodations booked through Airbnb and similar websites.
The caveat is that only landlords who have collected at least $1,000 by renting out their property in the past 12 months would be taxed.Read more
Katherine Landergan, Politico New Jersey
Lawmakers in Trenton have introduced a bill that would impose the first statewide taxes on Airbnb hosts in New Jersey.
If enacted, residents who rent out their properties through the website would be required to pay the same taxes and fees as hotels. The proposal, which does not yet appear online, comes just months after Newark and Jersey City agreed to tax Airbnb rentals like hotel rooms.
Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, a sponsor of the proposal, said in a statement that the taxes will generate some much needed revenue for the state and municipalities.
“This is all about fairness,” said Quijano, a Democrat from Union County. “There is nothing fair about one company having to pay certain fees while another one that provides essentially the same service is exempt.”
It’s unclear how much revenue the state could generate from these taxes, and no fiscal estimate was immediately available. But in Jersey City and Newark, city leaders have said the taxes could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars or more for their cities, according to NJ.com.Read more
John C. Ensslin, The Record
New Jersey vacation rentals booked through online services such as Airbnb would be subject to the same state and local occupancy taxes as hotel and motel rooms under a bill introduced in state Assembly.
Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, and Annette Quijano, D-Union, have co-sponsored the measure, which would impose on these rentals a 7 percent sales tax, a 5 percent occupancy fee and up to a 6 percent municipal occupancy tax — the same as motels and hotel pay.
“This is all about fairness,” Quijano said in a prepared statement. “We are trying to stay on top of technological advances in business, and how they impact brick-and-mortar companies and our economy.”
“There is nothing fair about one company having to pay certain fees while another one that provides essentially the same service is exempt,” Quijano said.Read more
By Valerie Vainieri Huttle, posted on Politicker NJ
Last week was quite an emotional one for me as I attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) as a delegate for Hillary Clinton. Each day invoked a powerful theme of our collective values as Americans and how we all deserve a chance to live up to our God-given potential. A simple but powerful overarching message was conveyed – bridges are better than walls and we are stronger together when we all share in the opportunity of the American Dream.
Day 1 – Putting Families First – Michelle Obama delivered one of the best speeches of the convention by reflecting on what it was like raising two African American girls in the White House and what it would mean to see a woman become the next president. Our own Cory Booker then declared that our best days are yet to come.
Day 2 – Roll Call Vote – I was honored to be part of the New Jersey delegation and cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. I listened to the Mothers of the Movement hold back their tears as they spoke about the tragic deaths of their children while chants of “black lives matter’ erupted in the hall. President Bill Clinton mesmerized us all with “herstory” as he gave us an intimate glimpse of Hillary as a proven change maker in a way that only he can deliver.Read more
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
Last week, New Jersey was one step away from adopting what could have been the most comprehensive anti-smoking law nationwide and it’s likely to be at least 18 months before that opportunity arises again.
Advocates of a proposal to ban smoking at all public beaches, parks, and outdoor sites statewide said that while they are pleased Gov. Chris Christie agreed to block cigarette use on state-owned lands, a more comprehensive prohibition would have done much more to protect human health and the environment. But a full ban at county- and community-owned outdoor sites will have to wait for a new governor, they conceded. (Christie’s second term ends in January 2018.)
The proposal – the latest attempt to expand a state law that now prohibits smoking in all public buildings – had bipartisan support in the Legislature and backing from a wide array of health advocates and environmental groups concerned about the impact cigarettes have on the environment and the fire hazard they cause. At least half-dozen states have laws or executive orders that restrict tobacco use in certain outdoor sites, but New Jersey’s proposal may have been alone in extending the ban to all state, county, and local properties, according to the American Lung Association, which tracks anti-smoking laws nationwide.Read more