Dear New Jersey NFIB Members,
As your State Director I have been closely following legislation moving through the state Capitol in Trenton, and keeping my eyes out for the bills that are good, bad or even ugly for small business. I will tell you about a few of them in a moment, but first a thank you to you is in order!
A bad bill was amended to be less bad because many of you read our email alert, and wrote your lawmakers though our automated system telling them why a small business in their district did not like the bill.
That bill imposes a tax on health insurers, which we believe ultimately falls on policy holders in the form of higher premiums. Lawmakers mentioned hearing from constituents opposing the bill, and shortly thereafter it was amended so that it doesn’t apply to small business group plans. Governor Phil Murphy did sign the bill on July 31. While NFIB does not support it, at least it is less harmful for our members.
Your grassroots efforts are powerful and we greatly appreciate them! Currently we have an action alert asking you to write Governor Murphy and ask him to veto another bill that could cause the New Jersey Workers Compensation System to go broke and send business premiums skyrocketing.
That bill, Senate Bill 2380, passed the Senate and Assembly and awaits Murphy’s signature to become law. It assumes certain “essential employees” contracted the COVID-19 virus during the scope of their employment, and not elsewhere, even though that would be impossible to prove.
Workers who could automatically have their workers’ comp claim approved include not just hospital workers and first responders, but also those who provide medical-related healthcare, emergency transport, social services, food, beverages, essential goods, pharmacy, and fuel. The bill does not limit the time an employee can presumably have contracted the illness to the period of the stay-at-home order.
Not all bills are bad. Yesterday I noticed another workers’ compensation bill that would exclude unemployment benefits paid during coronavirus pandemic state of emergency from the calculation of an employer’s rating experience. If passed would that could prevent drastic hikes in worker’s comp premiums. I will be asking lawmakers to vote for that bill.
We are working hard for you, but it works even better when you take a just a moment to let your elected officials know your thoughts! If you would like to become more active reach out to New Jersey’s Grassroots Manager, Sharon Sykes at [email protected].
New Jersey’s NFIB State Director