Category: Regulatory Counseling and Departmental Action

Why and How – Basics of Government Affairs (Part 1 of 2)

“Don’t you know someone in the Governor’s Office?” “You know the Senate President, right?” “That woman we met at that Chamber of Commerce event last month, she is the Chief of Staff to the Assembly Speaker, right?” After a lobbyist hears these words, most times the next sentence goes something like this: “We are having a problem with … and our CEO asked me to see what we can do in order to …” Then the client relates to us the sad tale of a difficult piece of legislation, or regulation, or land use development that will negatively impact the client’s core business. The CEO then asks you to fix the problem and save the day. And more times than not, the final nail in the coffin necessary to sink the client’s business interest in this bill, regulation, or development is being acted upon by the government … in a matter of days. In these types of cases, it is simply too late. Too late to begin to think about a government affairs strategy. The cake has already been baked. These scenarios happen, unfortunately, more frequently than one would think, even among sophisticated businessmen and-women across a myriad of industries....

With the Budget Done, Line Item Veto Shapes the FY17 Budget

On June 27, 2016, the New Jersey Legislature sent S17, the FY 2017 budget bill, to Governor Christie. S17 makes various language changes and adds $275 million to the Governor’s proposed budget. Usually, the Governor is limited to three options when reviewing passed legislation. He can accept the bill as it is written, veto the bill in its entirety or suggest changes, or send it back to the Legislature. The budget bill is different. The New Jersey Constitution gives the Governor the ability to enact laws, that appropriate money, while reducing or removing specific line items. Article V, Section I, paragraph 15 provides that “If any bill presented to the Governor shall contain one or more items of appropriation of money, he may object in whole or in part to any such item or items while approving the other portions of the bill. In such case he shall append to the bill, at the time of signing it, a statement of each item or part thereof to which he objects, and each item or part so objected to shall not take effect.” That same section also grants the Legislature the ability to override the Governor’s line item veto by a...

Waterfront Access Regulations Make Long Walks on the Beach More Complicated

For the second time in eight years, the New Jersey Appellate Division has rejected the State’s waterfront access regulations. On December 22, 2015, the court held in Hackensack Riverkeeper v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that the most recent iteration of the waterfront access rules exceeded the authority of the NJDEP. This decision prompted quick legislative and executive action prior to the end of the 216th Legislative Session, and ushers in the possibility of future legislative action. NJDEP initially issued waterfront access regulations in 2007 that mandated broad public availability. These regulations were struck down by the Appellate Division in Borough of Avalon v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 403 N.J. Super. 590 (App. Div. 2008), certif. denied, 199 N.J. 133 (2009). In response to Avalon, the NJDEP issued new regulations in 2012 and 2015. The 2012/2015 regulations required each town to develop its own public access rules, known as Municipal Public Access Plans (“MPAP”). The MPAP would be reviewed and approved by the NJDEP on a case-by-case basis to ensure proper public access. After the NJDEP’s approval, the MPAP would then be incorporated into the town’s master plan. Upon a challenge from various groups, the Appellate Division...